The Kansas City Star - - Opinion -

Dis­tant sec­ond

Read­ing The Star’s re­cent in­ter­view with Joe Bi­den put me in a glum mood. (March 10, 4A, “Bi­den dis­cusses hous­ing and health care in KC”) I’ve spent the last year lis­ten­ing to bril­liant, sharp-as-a-tack Sen. El­iz­a­beth War­ren, and now I’m sup­posed to lis­ten to Bi­den?

If he’s the nom­i­nee, I’ll vote for him, but, man, what a come­down. - Lyn El­liot, Kansas City

Se­niors caught

It is a sad sit­u­a­tion when a 74-year-old wo­man has to go back to work just to pay ris­ing prop­erty taxes so she can stay in her home. (March 9, 1A, “Ris­ing taxes price older res­i­dents out of John­son County”) Se­niors on fixed in­comes should never be forced out of their homes by tax­a­tion.

Kansas of­fers its SAFESR par­tial prop­erty tax re­fund pro­gram, but it is lim­ited to those 65 or over with a yearly in­come of $20,300 or less — a level that falls short of help­ing many re­tirees.

It would be a sim­ple fix if leg­is­la­tion were passed to freeze the prop­erty taxes on the pri­mary homes of se­nior cit­i­zens at the times of their re­tire­ments. At least these home­own­ers would then be able to man­age one known ex­pense.

Of course, there would have to be lim­i­ta­tions to a pro­gram like this, such as the per­son’s level of in­come and freez­ing rates on only a main res­i­dence. A freeze might be 100% for those with less than $70,000 in­come per year, and the per­cent­age re­duced could de­crease on a set sched­ule for those with higher in­comes.

Se­niors face in­creased costs ev­ery year in drug prices, med­i­cal care, in­sur­ance, gro­ceries and util­i­ties. Even with the best re­tire­ment plan­ning, in­come can­not be stretched to cover it all when costs rise with no limit. - Terry Ham­mon­tree, Ed­wardsville, Kansas

To achieve peace

Pope Paul VI said, “If you want peace, work for jus­tice.” By treat­ing each other fairly and fos­ter­ing righteous re­la­tion­ships in our homes and schools, we can ob­tain peace in our com­mu­ni­ties.

Treat­ing all hu­man life with jus­tice can lead us to peace. But one way peace in our com­mu­ni­ties is ob­structed is the killing of in­no­cent peo­ple. Ac­cord­ing to a 2014 study by Sa­muel R. Gross and oth­ers at the Na­tional Academy of Sciences, 4.1% of peo­ple sen­tenced to death are in­no­cent.

If peo­ple con­tinue to be falsely ac­cused and sent to death row, we can­not achieve the peace we need to live healthy lives of faith and friend­ship.

No mis­take that any­one can make is greater than the value of his or her life. Lawyer and so­cial jus­tice ac­tivist Bryan Steven­son shares that mes­sage when he says, “Each of us is more than the worst thing we have ever done.”

Though peo­ple make mis­takes, it is no se­cret that Kansas City has seen a rise in shoot­ings re­cently. If all peo­ple loved their neigh­bors as them­selves, we wouldn’t have so many killings on the streets.

By treat­ing each other with re­spect, our com­mu­nity can work to­ward peace. - El­iz­a­beth Ritchey, Lee’s Sum­mit

Lead­er­ship void

You would think that 70-some days would be enough time for our lead­er­ship to have put in place a na­tional net­work of lo­ca­tions ad­e­quately equipped to pro­vide im­me­di­ate test­ing to those who think they may have been ex­posed to COVID-19.

Such a pro­to­col would pro­vide us with knowl­edge crit­i­cal to our be­ing able to com­bat the in­evitable spread of this virus. In­stead, we are be­ing given opin­ions, fin­ger-point­ing and base­less “the­o­ries” as to what will or will not be done, when or not when.

The health and safety of the cit­i­zenry are the pri­mary re­spon­si­bil­ity of a free so­ci­ety’s govern­ment. Per­haps this ex­pe­ri­ence will pro­vide us with a re­newed sense of the im­por­tance of this fact and will help us more wisely choose our new lead­er­ship in up­com­ing elec­tions. - Dou­glas Wash­burn, Lenexa

Vot­ing du­ties

I ap­pre­ci­ate the headsup on the is­sues Mayor Quin­ton Lu­cas faced while try­ing to vote in Tues­day’s pres­i­den­tial pri­mary. (March 11, 1A, “Kansas City mayor turned away from polls try­ing to vote”)

This should, hope­fully, be a wake-up call for all vot­ers to check in with their elec­tion boards be­fore the next elec­tion to make sure they are regis­tered to vote. Do not wait un­til Elec­tion Day.

Rather than dis­en­fran­chis­ing vot­ers, I hope this makes all cit­i­zens aware of the steps they need to take to en­sure that their votes count. As the news story stated, 4,494 in­di­vid­u­als cast pro­vi­sional bal­lots be­cause they weren’t show­ing up on the voter roll, and only 1,529 ended up be­ing counted.

To para­phrase Travis Kelce, “We have to fight for our right … to vote!” - Deb­bie Hat­field, Lib­erty

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