Archive for Wednesday, October 25, 2000

Letters to the Editor

October 25, 2000

KPERS change needed

To the editor:

In 1859 the first Kansas Constitution was drafted, and the framers included a provision to prohibit the state from becoming a stockholder in any banking institution. At the time this made sense. Founders were determined to protect citizens from an unstable banking industry. However, the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System has always been hampered by this outdated restriction.

Currently, the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System cannot allow its investment managers to buy shares of any of the profitable financial institutions traded in today`s stock market. Because an entire industry is excluded from the investment pool, the system loses valuable opportunities, estimated in a single year to be as much as $45 million in lost potential revenue. Plus it costs an extra $1 million annually in special management fees to keep the investments "bank-free."

Voters can change this outdated law by voting "yes" for the constitutional amendment on their Nov. 7 general election ballots. Constitutional Amendment No. 1 makes an exception to the restriction so the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System can own bank stocks as part of its portfolio. A "yes" vote on this amendment will save time and money for the system, along with the potential for improved investment returns. That means a better retirement fund for public employees and other teachers like me. Please vote "yes" Nov. 7. It just makes good sense.

Ed Delk, Ozawkie.

Priceless value of the vote

To the editor:

George Orwell`s book, "1984," projected the possible results of the erosion of personal liberty, ending in a totalitarian world. He was the one who coined the phrase "Big Brother is watching you." Big Brother was the government.

Reading that book reminded me of the priceless value of personal freedom.

The term "politically correct" is used to categorize speech, actions and thinking. It is like a blinking yellow light signaling "danger." Who determines what is "politically correct"? Why should it be imposed on others?

We must beware of laws that take away freedom so no one will be offended. It is impossible for everyone to live and speak in such a way that no one could ever be displeased by something you say and do. Sometimes the majority is silenced to accommodate only a few.

Government must reflect the will of the people. The bigger it gets, the more inefficient and cumbersome it becomes. The more powerful, the easier it is to become corrupt and controlling. There is no such thing as a "free lunch." You are paying for it with your hard-earned money.

It is our right, our duty and our extreme privilege to go to the polls and vote for the candidate who will do the best job to uphold the constitution, to perpetuate our freedoms, to stand up for the American way of life. We must become educated on what each candidate stands for. If they are an incumbent, how they have represented us in their voting record.

Vote for candidates with personal integrity and morality. Even if you are unsure about some of the candidates, at least vote for the ones you know. There is no time for apathy or indifference. The future of America stands in the balance. Vote.

Kathie Clarke, Tonganoxie.

Against electing judges

To the editor:

Voters of Leavenworth and Atchison counties are being asked to throw out the present merit selection for judges and replace it with direct election of judges. This proposal will be on the county special ballot on Nov. 7.

Currently, judges are selected for nomination to the governor based upon merit. This merit is determined by application and interviews of judge applicants to a panel of eight, including four persons elected by practicing lawyers and four lay people appointed by the county commissioners of Atchison and Leavenworth counties. These interviews are presided over by a Justice of the Supreme Court. The nominations are then further screened by the governor`s office and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

Not only does the present system assure that candidates are selected for reasons of merit, as opposed to party or individual politics, but the pool of potential judges is far larger than if candidates were proposed by political parties. The last time a judge was selected for Leavenworth County, the pool of applicants was 12 lawyers.

The present system assures the nomination of the best judge candidates without consideration of improper influences. All citizens are then given the right to review the judicial appointment at the first general election. This system far surpasses partisan politics in selecting competent, impartial and independent judges.

Please vote "no" on this ballot question to preserve the superior system we now have in place.

Don Huebner, Tonganoxie.

Don`t revert to judicial election

To the editor:

I am writing to express my opinion concerning the manner in which district court judges should be selected in Leavenworth County.

Thirty-four years ago, when I graduated from law school, judges were elected by the voters in a partisan political election. It may sound like a democratic way to do things but it was a mistake. Thankfully it was a mistake the voters corrected eight years later when the current method for selecting and appointing judges was adopted.

Political election of judges all too often resulted in a judiciary that was responsive to their contributors instead of to the law, justice and an evenhanded treatment of litigants. Frequently the "judge" was someone who simply could not make it as a practicing lawyer. His judgment was clouded by the overwhelming desire to be re-elected. There is a scene in the movie "Miracle on 34th Street" where a politically elected judge declared a kind old man to be Santa Claus out of fear he would not be re-elected the following spring. His decision was influenced by a cigar-smoking old politico who sat in the judge`s chambers clouding his judicial thought process with political "reality."

That scene was funny but this issue is far too serious to be left unanswered. The current system works. I am a firm believer if something isn`t broke -- don`t fix it. You would not want a politically elected and influenced surgeon to decide whether your heart bypass surgery was as necessary as his contributor`s was. Why would you elect a politically influenced judge to protect your financial and social well-being?

Vote "NO" on Leavenworth County Question Number 1.

Kent Weatherby, Tonganoxie.

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