Your Turn

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.
Your Turn: Elected mayor might benefit Lawrence
December 13, 2014
Chad Lawhorn recently compared the “Most Educated Cities in America,” by per-capita GDP. Lawrence is solidly in last place at $33,501: 20 percent lower than the next (Fort Collins at $41,805) and 26 percent below the mean average for all ten ($52,674). In spite of our rich social capital, fine educational institutions, and proximity to the Interstate 70 and Kansas Highway 10 corridors, we falter.
Your Turn: KU lecturer shares academic freedom view
December 9, 2014
For more than 25 years, I have dedicated myself to teaching economics and generating original economic research focused on public policy issues. Like all scholars nationwide, I have operated under the bedrock principle of academic freedom.
Your Turn: Diversity benefits higher education
December 8, 2014
When I first told people I was giving up a successful career in investment to teach at my alma mater, most scratched their heads. I understood their confusion. But while it can be hard to see what these two worlds have in common, for me it’s simple: They’re both markets. At my company, Jayhawk Capital Management, I worked in financial markets; at the University of Kansas, I entered the marketplace of ideas.
Your Turn: Inequity threatens U.S. society
December 5, 2014
As the events in Ferguson and across the nation unfold we continue to “dig” ourselves into racially loaded and socio-economically delineated trenches. It is as if we live in parallel universes where multiple narratives define our factual frames of references. As a nation, it seems to me, we can only agree that the tragic death of Michael Brown is exactly that: a tragic loss of a young life. Everything else about this tragedy is politicized and seen as an excuse for fictitious projections of blame in the oversimplified dichotomy of “us” and “them.”
Your Turn: State official outlines mental health plans
December 3, 2014
I am writing in response to your Nov. 24 editorial regarding mental health care in Kansas to provide your readers with some additional information.
Your Turn: Sentencing among top issues
November 27, 2014
In an address to the U.S. Conference of Mayors recently, Bill Clinton predicted that prison sentencing would be a major issue in the next presidential election.
Your Turn: Life lessons gained at local store
November 24, 2014
Chad Lawhorn’s wonderful Journal-World article regarding the long and distinguished history of Francis Sporting Goods was sent to me by my 91-year-old father, who still lives in Lawrence.
Your Turn: Disparate jail fees are unfair
November 22, 2014
You’ve got two friends. They went to two different parties. Both of your friends had too much to drink. Both of them drove home. Both of them got stopped for driving drunk. Both were charged with DUI and found guilty. Both already had a previous DUI conviction. So both went to the Douglas County jail for five days, followed by probation. The friend who was tried in Lawrence Municipal Court? He has to pay $71 a day for jail costs. That’s $355. And the friend who was tried in Douglas County District Court? He has no jail costs. That’s because Douglas County Jail was built and paid for by Douglas County, and the city of Lawrence has to reimburse Douglas County for every day every prisoner convicted in municipal court spends in jail. Rather than write this expense into the city budget, the city expects the folks in jail to pay it.