Your Turn

Your Turn: Longtime resident concerned for Kansas
March 24, 2015
I recently spent a rough night, filled with bad dreams. Everything I tried to do turned out exactly the opposite of what I had set out to achieve: Several haircuts left my hair even longer than before, and multiple attempts to park my bike near some building I apparently needed to get to were thwarted by regulations that sent me increasingly farther from my destination (“You’re using the wrong brand of lock and chain, so you’ll be fined if you park here”).
Your Turn: Battle for open government continues
March 17, 2015
March 15-21 marks the 10th anniversary of the nationally commemorated Sunshine Week during which open government proponents throughout our nation point with pride at transparency breakthroughs, but are equally alarmed about setbacks to the people’s right to know what their government is up to. A review by the Kansas Sunshine Coalition for Open Government shows the Kansas experience over the past 10 years is no different. While sunshine victories can be proclaimed in some areas of our state government — the legislative enactment of a media shield law, for example — there have been serious setbacks, including the expansion of exceptions to the state’s Open Records Act from 10 or so to 57 and counting. Meanwhile, the cost of gaining access to these “open government” records has mushroomed to the point that pressing access in many instances simply isn’t worth the effort to the citizenry.
Opinion: Charity good for recipients and givers
March 3, 2015
We continue to receive good news about the economy. But one part of the story has not received the attention it deserves. That part is charitable giving.
Your Turn: Texas judge endorses merit selection
February 27, 2015
Some members of the legislative and executive branches of Kansas government have publicly expressed their admiration for many “things Texan.” For example, they acclaim Gov. Rick Perry’s conservative leadership and praise Texas’ lack of a state income tax. Their high regard for our southerly neighbor may explain why our legislature is considering whether Kansas should switch to Texas’ system for selecting Supreme Court justices. Texas procures justices through statewide elections.
Your Turn: Tax incentives good for Lawrence
February 20, 2015
I am writing in response to Mr. Herynk’s recent letter to the editor and to reply to the recent Journal-World editorial on the use of tax abatements that are requested by developers in the city of Lawrence. I work with several active developers in Lawrence and am active in requesting incentives for various projects we work on in downtown Lawrence. I would like to make the following points in response:
Your Turn: Law will help Kansas caregivers
February 18, 2015
All of us either are, have been or will be a caregiver at some time in our lives. A recent AARP report indicates that there are over 600,000 non-paid caregivers in Kansas. These are selfless, dedicated people who are the backbone of our health care communities and they save us approximately $4.1 billion a year in health care delivery costs.
Your Turn: Congress needs to overlook the aisle
February 9, 2015
There were two State of the Union addresses this year: one on Jan. 20 in Congress, the other on Jan. 22 at the Anschutz Sports Pavilion on the Kansas University campus. The differences between them were telling. The president’s address in Washington began with a house divided — an aisle down the center of the chamber — Democratic members on the right side; Republicans on the left, as they sit during sessions of Congress.
Your Turn: Ninth St. concerns deserve attention
January 30, 2015
Over the past couple of months, there has been lots of conversation about the Lawrence Arts Center’s proposed development for East Ninth Street. At city commission, East Lawrence neighborhood meetings, in the Journal-World and on the street, people have been discussing the potential impacts and opportunities of this first-of-its-kind project in Lawrence.
Your turn: Jail expansion proposal spurs questions
January 23, 2015
The Douglas County Commission is considering expanding our jail.  News reports suggest $20 million to $30 million may be spent to expand the jail from 196 to 336 beds. As representatives of the NAACP-Kansas, Kansas Appleseed, and NAMI-Kansas, we are concerned about this proposal because it will have a large impact on people of color, the justice system and people with mental illnesses. In terms of both tax dollars and the effects on human lives, this is a very serious decision, and we are encouraged to see the commissioners have committed to asking tough questions before making up their minds. Here are the three biggest questions we’ve heard so far in the community:
Your Turn: Pedestrian group seeks to make city safer
January 14, 2015
As a 16-year-old, in Lawrence, my bike and running shoes were my initial forms of transportation. After several close calls, I got a driver’s license. My safety concerns were not unfounded. My childhood neighbors lost their 8-year-old son after he was hit and killed, at Eighth and Kasold, while walking home from school. That intersection has had stop signs in his honor for 30 years.
Your Turn: K-12 science standards key to Kansas success
January 12, 2015
Astrophysicist and well-known science advocate Neil deGrasse Tyson once said that “science literacy is the artery through which the solutions of tomorrow’s problems flow.” From the depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer (the main source of water in the western third of our state) to maximizing Kansas’ renewable energy potential, our state has a long list of complex challenges and opportunities to address over the coming years. And this will require a combination of well prepared engineers and scientists working with policy makers, government officials and citizens with a grasp of science and engineering.
Your Turn: Role of East Lawrence group defended
December 28, 2014
I’m a resident of East Lawrence, and live directly on the prospective “arts corridor” along Ninth Street. While I’m not a member of the East Lawrence Neighborhood Association board or a regular attendee of its meetings, I know many of its board members, and I’m very concerned with what I see as misunderstandings, and even outright distortions, of the positions of the ELNA board with respect to this project.
Your Turn: AAUP supports KU students’ request
December 20, 2014
Our community has witnessed an illuminating public debate about academic integrity and its necessary conditions of transparency and openness. As with many debates, information is often limited. We would like to offer our concerns, observations and opinions to enhance the dialogue.
Your Turn: Students defend information request
December 17, 2014
“The creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.” – Ayn Rand The number of universities on the other end of the Kochs’ $50 million investment in academia has skyrocketed from just seven in 2005 to about 250 in 2012. Thanks to individuals utilizing open records legislation, several of these secret contracts and related correspondence have been made public. Former national American Association of University Professors President, Cary Nelson, explicitly condemned the Koch contracts for containing “language (which) violates academic freedom and poses problems because of its unspoken agenda.”
Your Turn: Nonschool programs fill gap
December 16, 2014
News about the present and future of American K-12 education continues to be discouraging. But a series of effective out-of-school programs is creating a glimmer of hope. If we focus on these, thousands of children can be salvaged from a broken system.

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