Your Turn

To submit a lengthier opinion piece about a topic of public interest, please email your submission to letters@ljworld.com and indicate that you would like it to be considered for a “Your Turn” column. Submissions must bear the name, address and telephone number of the writer.

Your Turn: In defense of school district’s actions

I am writing in response to your Dec. 2, 2016, editorial regarding the Lawrence Board of Education and open government. KS.A. 45-221(a)( 4) allows a public agency to withhold personnel information to protect the privacy of public employees. Likewise, KS.A. 75-4319(b)(l) provides an exception to ...

Opinion: Kansas’ post-truth fail goes national

“Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.”— Daniel Patrick MoynihanTo prepare for life in post-truth America, just study the example of Kansas politics since 2010, when Gov. Sam Brownback and Secretary of State Kris Kobach were elected.What is post-truth? The ...

Opinion: Bipartisanship required for finance fix

When the Kansas Legislature convenes in January, one-third of the seats will be filled by someone new. The election results show that many voters recognized the serious financial trouble in Kansas and now expect a change in direction. But will they get it? Lawmakers face a daunting task. To ...

Opinion: Experience a good teacher, we hope

In education, external events sometimes create a “teachable moment” by illustrating a basic principle. On Nov. 8 Kansas voters considered six years of teachable moments as they rendered the results of the state’s general election. We have evidence of teachable moments in the state House ...

Opinion: We must dramatically increase voter turnout

Given the bitter and divisive nature of the recent presidential campaign, it is hardly surprising that its aftermath is filled with acrimonious and bitter recriminations. But one large group of critically important Americans has remained relatively unnoticed and unscathed in what promises to ...

Your Turn: Time to consider changes to Lawrence government

At last the national elections are over, which makes for a good time to shift our attention to the government nearest at hand — Lawrence.In the past year and a half, Lawrence has displayed a notable lack of political leadership. In the April 2015 city elections voters did not re-elect two ...

Opinion: Kansas voters rebuke tax experiment

Kansas voters rebuked legislative allies of Gov. Sam Brownback and his reckless tax experiment in the August primary elections and again last Tuesday in the general election. Forty legislative seats currently held or contested by backers of the experiment changed hands, 25 going to centrist ...

Opinion: Is this election the beginning of the end?

A year ago, in assessing nascent opposition to some of Gov. Sam Brownback’s policies, I quoted Winston Churchill’s famous lines: “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” Bearing in mind the precipitous drop in tax ...

Opinion: Why I support the proposal for jail, crisis center

I began my career standing at the bars of the Des Moines City Jail interviewing people to see if they qualified for release on their own recognizance or release with treatment services. Since then, I have visited jails and prisons in multiple states. I know we have a major problem with mass ...

Opinion: Judicial independence under attack

Judicial merit selection was first adopted right here, in this part of the country. Will its death begin here as well, in this year’s Kansas judicial retention elections?Merit selection is just a shorthand. The plan Kansas and many other states use is officially called the Missouri ...

Opinion: Trump is Brownback on national scale

Sam Brownback’s approval ratings as governor of Kansas are dismally low, yet polls show Donald Trump winning Kansas. How can both of those things be true? It does not make sense for Kansans to boo Brownback but vote for Trump.Over the last year, Brownback has consistently polled in the 20 ...

Opinion: Medicaid change starts with Legislature

Kansas’s hardline opposition to Medicaid expansion has to change, if health care and health outcomes are going to grow in rural Kansas. Given the governor’s position, and a bill (HB 2552) passed in 2014, that change will have to begin in the Kansas Legislature. A change in the Republican ...

Opinion: Brownback coalition an utter failure

With the approach of upcoming elections I am reminded of a private conversation five years ago with Gov. Sam Brownback’s chief of staff, who mused: “The real issue is whether conservatives can govern.” At that time I held out hope that the relatively new governor and his legislative ...

Opinion: Kansans, are you better off now?

Debating incumbent Jimmy Carter in 1980, Ronald Reagan pulled one of his classic moves. Reagan summed up decades of political science research with a pithy, homespun-sounding question. Once thought impossible, inflation and unemployment were both high at the same time, so the economy was on ...

Opinion: Facing a Trump-Brownback ticket

Like a supernova, Donald Trump has illuminated the electoral universe in 2016. Win or lose, he is likely to explode, showering his light and heat upon thousands of other races across the country, from county commissioner to U.S. senator. Like a red dwarf, Sam Brownback’s presence has shrunk, ...

Opinion: We must restore confidence in the value of education

It is time for a reality check.Americans are losing confidence in higher education, its quality and its availability. According to a recent poll by Public Agenda, 57 percent of the public are uncertain about the necessity of college; 46 percent say a college education is a questionable ...

Opinion: Brownback dealing in dreams, not reality

Recently, Gov. Sam Brownback held a press conference to invite Kansans to email him ideas for a new school finance formula. That sounds nice. Can anything be wrong with asking people for input? Well, actually, quite a bit.The big problem: A new school finance formula requires resources — ...

Opinion: Brownback’s economy spin wearing thin

For six years Gov. Sam Brownback has put his spin on the state of the state’s fiscal condition. Perhaps we have all been too dense to appreciate the underlying grand strategy of this supremely skilled budgeteer and his legislative allies who knew in advance that planning both pleasure (tax ...

Opinion: Kansas Chamber represents only a very few

The tail wags the dog when it comes to the politics of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce. A few businesses underwrite the chamber’s electioneering with results contrary to the interests of most Kansas businesses.The Kansas Chamber Political Action Committee conducts the chamber’s campaign ...

Opinion: Kansas especially reckless, thoughtless on taxes

I’ve lived in the Midwest my entire adult life. By temperament, I’m a Midwesterner — relatively pragmatic, optimistic within reason, and generally kind (I hope). I’ve lived in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, and — for the past 37 years — Kansas. Traveling through this ...