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Letters to the Editor

Priorities

August 5, 2011

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To the editor:

Gov. Brownback will travel to Texas to attend an Aug. 6 rally advocating fasting and prayer in response to national crises. But on Aug. 2, he would not meet with Rep. Paul Davis to discuss the closing of Lawrence’s SRS office. Making time for the Texas rally while neglecting the plight of some of the least fortunate Kansans is shameful.

After he returns, the governor should atone by honoring his commitment to Davis and by coming to Lawrence to meet with SRS clients and their family members. He needs to look into the eyes of these people and listen to their voices. They have a right to know why he thinks that closing our SRS office is beneficial.

The governor’s priorities and character are questionable. His constituents must expect and demand accountability from him, now and in the future — a future that his decisions make more bleak.

Comments

grammaddy 3 years, 1 month ago

"The governor's priorities and charachter are questionable." Never a truer word spoken!

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funkdog1 3 years, 1 month ago

But he IS taking time for the poor ... by going all the way to Texas to pray for them.

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letsgiterdone 3 years, 1 month ago

I'm glad the SRS office is closing. Especially if it helps the budget. If we can't pay for stuff then we need to start downsizing.

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Pastor_Bedtime 3 years, 1 month ago

I'm sure you feel all tingly inside. Would you feel the same for the elimination of all the abatements, subsidies and handouts to others, or are you just gleeful to see those in need hurt? Pray for a recall, I say.

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jayhawxrok 3 years, 1 month ago

We could have afforded the office, had Brownback not hired in out of state right wingers at high salaries to help him justify its closure. He is on a mission and it has NOTHING to do with helping Kansas or Kansans, it's about helping Brownback gain additional favor with the far, far right. He's a zealot and a lunatic and an absolute disgrace to tihs state.

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4getabouit 3 years, 1 month ago

Brownback appears to be a coward who uses religion as a vehicle to grab power. He certainly has not demonstrated the integrity or personal courage to face the citizens of Lawrence. Or any place else for that fact.

Brownback is the worst kind of leader: He puts his personal agenda above the wellbeing of others ..........and his interest is be President of the United States. He is deceitful and lacks empathy for anyone who is different from him or his gang.

Good letter Ray.

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Pastor_Bedtime 3 years, 1 month ago

And so do freaky acts of zealotry. Put away the snakes and bible, Sam. You look ridiculous.

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KayCee 3 years, 1 month ago

"But on Aug. 2, he would not meet with Rep. Paul Davis "

I wasof the opinion that the meeting was postponed because the governor had another commitment.

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gudpoynt 3 years, 1 month ago

Interesting comparison. However, it's worth noting that Brownback cited that the reason he cancelled the meeting was because of Rep. Davis hadn't yet organized a comprehensive list of concrete alternatives. Note that Davis didn't dispute this publicly.

So, if you really want to see this meeting happen, then help Rep. Davis get ready for it by sending in some realistic suggestions.

My approach would be the following:

1) The stated preference of the administration is to reduce administrative costs first before cutting service. Since the salaries of brand new administrative positions at SRS nearly total the real amount the state will save as a result of closing the Lawrence office (after subtracting federal subsidies), then a legitimate argument can be made that chosen course of action defies the stated cost-cutting preferences of SRS office itself.

2) Emphasizing the qualitative value of an office nearby over the quantitative value of providing transportation to offices far away.

3) Emphasizing that the shifted costs of closing the office will result in: a) Additional operating costs to local non-profit organizations, many of which are already working with tightly stretched budgets. b) Additional trasportation costs not only to the state, but to case workers. c) Additional hours out of the work day required for recipients of service from SRS. They may have to take additional time away from work and/or dirctly caring for their children, both of which impede rehabilitative efforts that are part of the goals of SRS.

4) Focus on the SRS office's role in organizing rehabilitative efforts across multiple organizations. Consider the consequences if the capacity for SRS to serve as the the "spoke of the social services wheel" is diminished, and how that will have a ripple effect in coordinating efforts for cases.

5) Consider a de-centralized office. a) Identify currently unused office space in state, county, city, and perhaps even school district buildings, and assess the available capacity.

b) Identify the core functions of a centralized office.

    i) Does it house a lot of paper files? If so, how accessible do they need to be? If not much, can they be stored in a small storage space somewhere? If they need to be readily accessible, get them all scanned onto one or more remotely accessible servers.

    ii) Does it serve as a meeting place? If so, how often? What are the special requirements of these meetings and can they be met in one or more locations around town, in various buildings?

    iii) For services for which recipients must be contact SRS personnel directly, does it have to happen in the SRS office? What are the requirements for these types of service, and can these requirements be met using de-centralized office spaces across the city?

c) Minimize the need for employees to require a physical office space by providing them with tools for adequate communication (i.e. laptops and 4G smart phones).
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gudpoynt 3 years, 1 month ago

This may be true.

But when making this counter argument, keep in mind that many other offices around the state are closing as well. From the SRS office's perspective, the additional salaries are still less than the overall savings in administrative costs (which if memory serves me correctly, was roughly $1M).

Not saying that makes it right, just saying that the SRS office has to look at the state as a whole, and not just Lawrence.

Furthermore, while I think that better solutions can be found than simply closing all these offices, I support the effort at fraud prevention, provided there was a lack of it to begin with (anyone have any info on what fraud prevention measures have been in place up to now?).

Eliminating inefficiencies, particularly fraud, should be a palatable measure for everyone, shouldn't it? Two things I'd like to see though, are: 1) The report detailing the estimated cost of fraud that justified the creation of this directorship... if it exists. 2) A report one year from the creation of this position that details the estimated money saved by implementing the directors fraud prevention measures.

But given that Democrats have about as much weight in the Legislature as an anorexic in a sumo match, I doubt we'll see either of these, despite that they would be great examples of the administration sticking to their supposed fiscally conservative ideals.

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gudpoynt 3 years, 1 month ago

cont....

6) Be open to downsizing employment. It doesn't take many salaries to equate the $412K of savings to the state (and even fewer to equate the ~$200K that is actually being saved).

7) Be open to cutting back non-essential services. Take the "if you can do it on the Internet..." in a thoughtful and realistic way. If there really are services to which SRS does not really add value for the recipient, then consider cutting back on them.

8) But before suggesting anything, request a more time to organize. Cite the widespread opposition not only by Lawrence residents, but by county and city government officials, as well as the school district and other social service organizations, as a justification for a moratorium on the closure. In the name of fairness to we Kansans who this decision will most directly and adversely affect, we deserve the right to make an appeal.

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somedude20 3 years, 1 month ago

pray in one hand, poop in the other and see which fills up first!

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Stain 3 years, 1 month ago

Public posturing. Disgusting.

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jayhawxrok 3 years, 1 month ago

Brownback is a hate monger, not a Christian, and a disgrace to the office of Governor.

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George Lippencott 3 years, 1 month ago

OK, there is a perceived issue with priorities. To begin with, it has been documented that we spend at least $20K per poor person. From my perspective, it is difficult to judge the validity of such an issue when we seem to consistently overlook what we are already doing to help the poor.

Kind of reduces all such letters to the status of an ideological rant about Democrats not liking anything Republicans do. Hardly newsworthy!

If there are to be more of these letters, how about some notion as to exactly what is unfunded? $20K sounds like a lot of money. It amounts to most of the needs comprising the price established for the Federal Poverty Level. Is that not enough? How much more? From whom? Nasty little data points the left never answers!!!

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Corey Williams 3 years, 1 month ago

20K per? Anything to back that up?

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matahari 3 years, 1 month ago

since new library goin thru, I guess all can learn to burn books for heat this winter. City, state federal, all underneath the same bedsheets. S'cuse... I meant to say spreadsheets

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pace 3 years, 1 month ago

Some of the meanest self centered people cloak themselves in the cloth of Christianity, then say you are attacking the church when you mention their behavior. Just mean. Robbing children of food, books, schooling, families of homes and jobs, ruining infrastructure and giving our tax money to Koch brothers, watta guy. Robbing working families to feed the rich.

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Stain 3 years, 1 month ago

I never trust anyone who wears it on their sleeve the way Brownback does. The Bible warns against that.

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sunny 3 years, 1 month ago

He's doing a great job and doing exactly what he was elected to do!

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Abdu Omar 3 years, 1 month ago

Ruining people's lives in the name of Jesus? come on!! He is a sham and he is setting himself up to run against other evangelicals for president. We don't need this. We need statesmen who believe in the rule of law and who follow the Constitution of the USA.

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mr_right_wing 3 years, 1 month ago

I've written this several times, and here it goes again. I and the majority of Kansans voted for Mr. Brownback knowing it would be necessary for him to make some very painful and unpopular cuts. I don't like our SRS office closing, and unfortunately I don't think this will be the last painful cut.

Here is something to consider (and this is speculation on my part) what if the governor chose closing some offices over cutting benefits? Could it be that those were the only two options; cut benefits and keep all the offices open, or maintain benefits but close some offices??

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jafs 3 years, 1 month ago

  1. The "majority of Kansans" did not in fact vote for Brownback - he was elected by about 2/3 of those who voted, with about a 50% turnout. He was, therefore, elected by about 1/3 of the eligible voters in KS.

  2. We're not actually saving any money - he's created two new administrative positions that cost almost exactly as much as we're "saving" by closing the SRS office. And that doesn't even take into account the possibility that we may have to pay the landlord for the rest of the lease, or spend money defending against a lawsuit.

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mr_right_wing 3 years, 1 month ago

Ok, I didn't mean 'majority' in the literal sense; I meant more did than didn't.

I didn't say this move might 'save' money, I said that perhaps it was a draw, either cut benefits or cut offices. No 'savings' just a choice that had to be made; one or the other. (Again, that point was speculation on my part.)

Hopefully this will be irrelevant if the city/county plan goes through.

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Crazy_Larry 3 years, 1 month ago

Only two to choose from, ay? How about that new state logo! Wonder how many tax dollars were spent implementing that brilliant plan. And the new State of Kansas web-site. These things have priority over the poor folks, I guess. Because, you know, the state is going bust and all that jazz. YOU LIE! http://salinapost.com/2011/07/29/state-tax-revenues-23-million-more-than-expected-in-july/

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Crazy_Larry 3 years, 1 month ago

A new report shows Kansas collected $23 million more in taxes in July than expected.

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jafs 3 years, 1 month ago

Since we're spending money on the two new administrative positions, we clearly had a third option of simply keeping the offices open, and benefits the same, and just not hiring two new administrators at the cost of about $100K each.

Why wouldn't that be a better option than either of the other two?

And, yes, it's irrelevant, but now we're spending twice as much money for the same services, which is completely unnecessary.

But, somehow, people still believe that this governor is saving taxpayer money - auughh!

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