Letters to the Editor

SRS options

July 10, 2011


To the editor:

Let me see if I understand Gov. Sam Brownback’s reason for closing the Lawrence SRS office. I believe the reasons were to save money and that “Lawrence … has several major SRS offices on four-lane roads.” Wait a minute, I can think of an even better office to close, Mr. Brownback: the Johnson County SRS office in Overland Park. I imagine even more money could be saved by closing that office. As for access ease, the Kansas City SRS Office is even closer for the Johnson County recipient than the three offices (Ottawa, Topeka, Overland Park) that the Lawrence recipients would need to access. Citizens in western Johnson County could use the Lawrence office.

Oh, I forgot Johnson County’s overwhelming vote for Mr. Brownback, and Lawrence voted for his opponent. I am sure that isn’t the reason he decided to close the Lawrence office, not the Overland Park office.

I do have a possible solution for us unfortunate citizens of Douglas County. Several years ago several southwestern Kansas counties proposed seceding from the state and becoming a part of Oklahoma. How about Douglas County seceding? Of course, I don’t think I want to become a part of any of the states around us, certainly not Missouri, but we could become the 51st state. We would be the smallest state in the union, but Rhode Island would be happy. I would suggest we name the new state “The Free State.”

One final thought, if they think the closing of the Lawrence SRS office is bad, just wait to see what the redistricting might look like. Will Lawrence become a part of four districts?


lunacydetector 6 years, 8 months ago

gee...not another letter to the editor slamming brownback about SRS. If the office does stay closed, it looks like people who receive aid from SRS will have to move away from lawrence. i'm sure some of the SRS employees will be working remotely from lawrence, so maybe it's not as bad as it sounds.

there were only 150 democrats that went to listen to a few of their comrades complain about SRS closing. misery always loves company but not too much company after all the headlines. at least they didn't burn a pile of bibles.

Bob_Keeshan 6 years, 8 months ago

You understand the room was at capacity, right?

P Allen Macfarlane 6 years, 8 months ago

Don't worry, when the next Democratic governor gets elected and takes actions you don't like, it will be your turn to lament.

Scott Drummond 6 years, 8 months ago

Right wingers burn books, not educated liberals.

lunacydetector 6 years, 8 months ago

after reading all the rambling hate about people of faith from the looney liberals on here and some dillusional "theocratic state of kansas" comments, i'm quite surprised.

deec 6 years, 8 months ago

When one religious group attempts to impost their religion on the whole population via the State, people tend to get testy.

lunacydetector 6 years, 8 months ago

just like JFK got his marching orders from the pope....oh, i get it. bigotry knows no bounds.

deec 6 years, 8 months ago

First of all, that falsehood was used during the campaign. I believe it pretty well died down once he was elected and patently not taking orders from Rome. Brownback's reign, however has been dominated by morals issues; four abortion bills, the stripper bill, the bath salts bill, the faith-based SRS initiative, the marriage improvement program, etc. This guy is clearly attempting to impose his own morality on everyone in Kansas. Mercifully, I am not one of them, although Lawrence was my home for about 25 years. Given his close association with both Opus Dei and the Family, it is not unreasonable to fear his attempts to impose his narrow, perverted version of Christianity on the whole populace, especially since Kansas may well be the incubator, the "sleeper cell" if you will, of the theocratic movement.

Scott Drummond 6 years, 8 months ago

That's the point. You shouldn't be surprised, you shouldn't misunderstand objection as "hate," and you should understand why people currently fear the imposition of a theocratic state. One of Flim Flam Sam's brethren, after all, is running for President pledging to ban pornography. And you can be sure the way "pornography" is defined will be quite interesting.

Oh, and it's "delusional."

Richard Heckler 6 years, 8 months ago

How Vermont Enacted Single-Payer Universal Health Care

A talk by Jonathan Kissam of Vermont

Thursday, July 14, 2011, 7 pm

Lawrence Public Library Auditorium, 707 Vermont

Question & Answer Session/ Refreshments Served

Health Care is a Human Right!

Jonathan Kissam will talk about Vermont’s recently-enacted universal healthcare law, which has made Vermont the first state to move toward a single payer healthcare system. Mr. Kissam will present how the Healthcare Is a Human Right Campaign, a grassroots movement of thousands of Vermonters, made this pioneering legislation possible.

Sponsored by Lawrence Coalition for Peace & Justice, Health Care for All, and others. Come Join Us.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 8 months ago

Improved Medicare Single Payer Insurance for All is THE solution.

  • Easy to Implement: Medicare has been in existence since 1966, it provides healthcare to those 65 and older, and satisfaction levels are high. The structure is already in place and can be easily expanded to cover everyone.

  • Simple: One entity – established by the government – would handle billing and payment at a cost significantly lower than private insurance companies. Private insurance companies spend about 31% of every healthcare dollar on administration. Medicare now spends about 3%.

  • Real Choice: An expanded and improved Medicare for All would provide personal choice of doctors and other healthcare providers. While financing would be public, providers would remain private. As with Medicare, you choose your doctor, your hospital, and other healthcare providers.

  • State and Local Tax Relief: Medicare for All would assume the costs of healthcare delivery, thus relieving the states and local governments of the cost of healthcare, including Medicaid, and as a result reduce State and local tax burdens.

  • Expanded coverage: Would cover all medically necessary healthcare services – no more rationing by private insurance companies. There would be no limits on coverage, no co-pays or deductibles, and services would include not only primary and specialized care but also prescription drugs, dental, vision, mental health services, and long-term care.

  • Everyone In, Nobody Out: Everyone would be eligible and covered. No longer would doctors ask what insurance you have before they treat you.

  • No More Overpriced Private Health Insurance: Medicare for All would eliminate the need for private health insurance companies who put profit before healthcare, unfairly limit choice, restrict who gets coverage, and force people into bankruptcy.

  • Lower Costs: Most people will pay significantly less for healthcare. Savings will be achieved in reduced administrative costs and in negotiated prices for prescription drugs.


Flap Doodle 6 years, 8 months ago

How many times today did you copy/paste this same text, merrill? How many times have you posted it over the last few years? Do you even bother to keep a count?

Richard Heckler 6 years, 8 months ago

Medical insurance cannot get any better than this:

IMPROVED Medicare Single Payer Insurance for ALL would cover every person for all necessary medical care 24/7 to include:

prescription drugs hospital surgical outpatient services primary and preventive care emergency services dental mental health home health physical therapy rehabilitation (including for substance abuse) vision care hearing services including hearing aids chiropractic durable medical equipment palliative care long term care

No deductibles No Co-pays

A family of four making the median income of $56,200 would pay approximately $2,700 a year for all health care costs.

Allow IMPROVED Medicare Single Payer Insurance for ALL to be available now to all taxpaying consumers and let them make the choice. The mechanism is in place as we speak.

Health care in and of itself will remain a private industry.

IMPROVED Medicare Single Payer Insurance for All leaves choice of doctors,clinics,hospital and services across the board to the consumer.


jhawkinsf 6 years, 8 months ago

Yes, Merrill, write a blog. Your views can be read by whomever chooses. But putting the same long winded stuff on every thread just encourages us all to skip past your ideas. If nothing else, Merrill, your strategy is counter-productive.

tomatogrower 6 years, 8 months ago

He can post where he wants. You guys don't have to read it. It sure seems like you guys will defend low lifes like the Westboro Church's right to free speech, but not Merrills. Can you spell H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-T-E?

jhawkinsf 6 years, 8 months ago

Suggesting that he write whatever he wants in a more productive manner, like his own blog, is not infringing upon his right of free speech. He can write whatever he wants, where ever he wants, but clearly from the comments of several others, they've grown weary of the repetitive nature of his comments to the point where they are not being read or taken seriously. Hence my comment that it has become counter-productive. And thank you for your well thought out and friendly advise. It's the friendly, good natured comments like yours that keep us all coming back. Thank you.

Brock Masters 6 years, 8 months ago

I don't read anything he posts or pastes due to the length and cut and paste aspect of them. He can paste and I can ignore.

tomatogrower 6 years, 8 months ago

Like I said, don't read his posts if you don't like it. Just don't try and tell him where and when to post, or you are being a hypocrite to your supposed Libertarian ideals.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

I don't think he should write a blog because I've noticed that you can always tell when he's clipped from other sources without crediting them because when he does, there are no spelling or grammatical errors.

When he writes his own original material, not so much.

P Allen Macfarlane 6 years, 8 months ago

Obviously, it must be the fault of the unemployed that they have lost their jobs and need assistance from SRS, or the children of families that are way beyond the normal dysfunctional family unit that we see every day. Somehow, I have a hard time imagining that theories and mantras can help these individuals.

Get a life!

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 8 months ago

"Imagination is fertilizer" (i.e. BS) alright.

tomatogrower 6 years, 8 months ago

Rich people abuse their children too. The food stamp and money assistance is the smallest problem. The police need a social worker there when they interview a suspected abuse victim. Is the social worker going to make it to Lawrence before the police have to legally give the child back to the abuser? Of course, I've heard a lot of conservatives say they consider child raising the business of the parents, even if that means beating the kid. Kids are your property, right conservatives?

Isn't Johnson county one of the richest counties in the nation? Why do they need an office. Oh yeah, all of their underpaid servants need food stamps.

Jimo 6 years, 8 months ago

The need for the SRS is quite high considering how many "job creators" Kansan policies like low taxes and low regulation must be creating.

Or maybe we won't see any results until we finally adopt the no taxes and no regulation model of Somalia. Yes, then we'll see a spontaneous creation of order from disorder, a libertarian nirvana. Or we'll just eat each other.

tomatogrower 6 years, 8 months ago

Create the jobs, then get the tax breaks. That's how it should work. It's easy. But the Republicans keep saying "Trust us." Give tax breaks, then jobs will magically happen. Of course, they don't say that the jobs will be in a third world country, not the US.

notanota 6 years, 8 months ago

If having more money created jobs, we should be overwhelmed with the high employment rate, not disappointed with the low one. The wealthiest citizens of this country have continued to increase their wealth while removing jobs, and it's not just because they're sending them overseas.

deec 6 years, 8 months ago

Its 15,6 miles from the Johnson county office to the Wyandotte county off, up I35.

deec 6 years, 8 months ago

And 30.4 miles from the Lawrence office to the Johnson county office, so yeah, it's twice as far.

Bob_Keeshan 6 years, 8 months ago

Yeah, I mean just look at the Senate President and the last few Speakers of the House, none from western Kansas am I right?

No, I'm not. They're all from western Kansas.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

"move water from eastern Kansas to western Kansas?"

Ain't gonna work. The altitude of western Kansas is higher and so it's uphill and would have to be pumped.

The Republican River which clips the northwest corner of Kansas beside St. Francis eventually drains past Manhattan, and guess what, eventually to right past Lawrence.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

Old joke: Know why they call it the Republican River?

Because it's so crooked!

xclusive85 6 years, 8 months ago

None2, you hit this right on the head. I grew up in western Kansas, I mean real western KS (west of Hays). I made my way to KU for school in 2003, and found out that many/most people here only care about what happens here. I think the same mentality happens where I came from too. I posted a question on another story about SRS. Where was the outrage when the closures were going on in western KS? Why is it ok for people there to have to drive up to 3 counties away to get to an SRS office, but here it is not ok for someone to drive 20-30 minutes? Keep in mind that the counties out west are larger. Why do the people of Lawrence deserve services that people from western KS do not get? No one was able to or wanted to answer that.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

I think the answer to your questions is that there are not that many voters in the western half of the state.

xclusive85 6 years, 8 months ago

so, because there are not many voters they don't deserve the same services as people in Lawrence? How compasionate of you, the same compasion that many people say is missing in the closing of the SRS office in Lawrence.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

I was told by someone who would know that the SRS office in Cheyenne county (the NW county) was closed years ago. Since then, things have been done through the mail and by phone interviews. It's way to far to drive to the nearest office which is much, much farther away than Topeka is from us.

The friend of mine that told me about it is a single mother of two. She acted as though she was a bit inconvenienced, but things did work out for her.

Maybe the people in the far western half of the state are just more stoic.

hedshrinker 6 years, 8 months ago

Why do some people (the Gov and his supporters) think that educated, experienced social workers can be replaced with a computer and voice mail? The work social workers provide is being demeaned by ignorant people who are doing work that apparently is invisible to many or is devalued in the same way their clients are. Kansas today seems to be dominated by people who either care only about power and money (especially if it's cloaked in religiosity) or who disparage anyone with an education or profession as "elitist". Most of them wouldn't know the first thing about helping kids in need of care trying to escape desperate circumstances or elderly and handicapped in increasingly dire straits due to cutbacks in all the things that help them stay safe and sane. Welcome to the Dark Ages Redux.

tbaker 6 years, 8 months ago

I had to look up what "SRS" even means. I didn't realize we had permanent structures devoted to transfering wealth. What exactly does the SRS office provide people that they cannot and should not be providing for themselves? Why is an "office" needed for these things? What could the private sector do and how much cheaper would it be? Answer all that and then I'll ask why does it take 87 people to do these hand outs. People who rely upon some form of assistance from the state need to be set on a path to rely upon themselves.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 8 months ago

Pretty impossible for a 10 or a 90 year old, wouldn't you say? Grow up, tbaker.

tbaker 6 years, 8 months ago

Exactly. You'll get no aurgument from me when my tax payer money is spent helping those who by definition cannot help themselves. Your 10 and 90 year old are perfect examples. Now I ask what percentage of those the SRS office are providing services to fall into that "cannot help themselves" category? Whats so impossible about asking able-bodied people to be put on a path to self-reliance? I am all for safety nets for the most vunerable, but creating hand-out cultures where you have multiple generations of some families on public assistance is simply imoral. If you want to tell someone to grow up, you should start with the bums perfectly able to work and support themselves who would rather take a handout.

Brock Masters 6 years, 8 months ago

As a society we have no obligation to the individual but we do have an obligation to do what is best for our society. It is in the best interest of our society to provide some sort of safety net for those who can't make it on their own. We do not owe it the individual to provide this safety net, but it is in the best interest of our society to provide some level of care for those who cannot provide for themselves.

The problem is defining those who truly cannot provide for themselves and those who are just taking advantage of the program and could indeed make it on their own. They not only harm society but the individuals that really do need help. They take away resources from them and they make people cynical and willing to cut these social programs.

The public sector, if properly managed should be able to do it cheaper than the private sector since it doesn't have to make a profit.

marzipan 6 years, 8 months ago

"Social Rehabilitation Services" also helps people find jobs, among other things. If you think the private sector is going to devote any money of its own free will to help people "get handouts" (which is generally the description conservatives use to describe social services) you are dreaming.

Here is a list of services SRS provides: http://www.srs.ks.gov/services/Pages/default.aspx

tbaker 6 years, 8 months ago

I disagree with your characterization, but thanks for being a value-add to the blog by providing the link.

mr_right_wing 6 years, 8 months ago

Hey, were it possible I have no doubt 90% of Lawrence would be in favor of seceding and becoming East San Francisco (or New San Francisco).

The 10% of us (in this city) who supported Brownback would also oppose that move.

I'm not sure I understand, or completely support this closure, but I did vote for the man knowing some (more than one or two) of the cuts that needed to be made would be painful. .

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

Just kidding here, but presenting a fact: There already is a San Fransisco, Kansas.

But it's spelled and pronounced in English, as: Saint Francis, Kansas.

Scott Drummond 6 years, 8 months ago

"Ignorance is bliss."

"Blind faith in your leaders, or in anyone, will get you killed."

Stephen Roberts 6 years, 8 months ago

How many people here on this board that do not want the SRS office to close are willing to increase their taxes to keep it open>????

notanota 6 years, 8 months ago

raises hand

Seriously, taxes are too low, and I'd support a higher tier on the graduated income tax rate, even if it meant I paid more.

Note: I do not receive SRS services, nor do I anticipate receiving them. But it is within my enlightened self interest to make sure such services exist in facilities staffed by an adequate number of adequately compensated employees. You think the disabled, abused, or impoverished go away if we don't help them? Think again. I don't intend to be first against the wall when the revolution comes, but the rich who stood idly by when the poor in this country starved surely will be.

marzipan 6 years, 8 months ago

taxes should simply be imposed using an exponential model based on annual income :)

the rich who complain about being taxed out the wazoo, at the end of the day, still enjoy a perfectly comfortable lifestyle. Not everyone can say the same.

tomatogrower 6 years, 8 months ago

I have been calling for increased taxes. Let's roll the tax rates back to the 80's.

Carol Bowen 6 years, 8 months ago

SRS case workers do more than hand out money. They are problem solvers/coordinators for those who need help, because of insurmountable problems. Maybe, we should change our perspective. How are other communities able to get help, or do they not have access? The entire state should have reasonable access to SRS services.

jafs 6 years, 8 months ago

Data recently released by SRS shows Lawrence employees to have a significantly higher caseload than other offices like Overland Park.

jafs 6 years, 8 months ago

I retract my comment.

If corrected by population, it is not true.

LH3867 6 years, 8 months ago

Rumor has it they plan to reduce the number of area offices to 4 and redistrict to match the federal congressional districts. This puts the majority in western Kansas. Someone needs to tell them this is not the fdnot the federal government and if they miss working for them they should go back. Soon please. This taxpayer has had it with the nonsensegoing on in SRS. Time for a legislative post audit on the management of SRS.

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