Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor on Stephenson, university cuts, voting out lawmakers, unity, Southwest

Stephenson will be missed

I’m a Creighton University graduate and supporter, a longtime College World Series season ticket holder, and a past member of the Creighton baseball broadcast team (1999-2006). I watched the birth and evolution of Shocker baseball under coach Gene Stephenson.

Although I have a multitude of favorable and unfavorable memories of Stephenson the coach, there is no disputing what an unbelievable job he did for not only Wichita State baseball, the university and the city of Wichita but also for college baseball.

Eck Stadium and the surrounding baseball facilities are a testament to Stephenson’s vision and dedication. It was a treat to broadcast a game against a legendary coach, a successful program and enthusiastic fans in one of the best venues in the country for college baseball.

Creighton is leaving the Missouri Valley Conference and might be missed by some fans in the league, but it is indisputable that Stephenson will be missed more by those of us who are college baseball fans. Unfortunately, the orchestrated demise of Stephenson was poorly handled and deprived the architect of Shocker baseball of a more deserving ending to a brilliant career. I hope that Stephenson will be able to continue to coach elsewhere as long as he wants.

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Elkhorn, Neb.

Value education?

I have been teaching for 23 years in the School of Journalism at the University of Kansas. I grew up in Wichita. My father was an administrator for the Wichita school district. I am a born-and-bred Kansan with love for this state.

I teach three courses in the journalism school, one with 100 students. I spend about 50 hours a week creating assignments, revising lectures and, especially, grading. Good teaching requires good feedback. My colleagues work as I do, tirelessly to educate students.

Many of my students come from financially strapped families and from small Kansas towns. They work, sometimes full time, while trying to take full course loads, often at the expense of their physical and mental health. I am devoted to trying to give them the best education their dollars can buy.

The message from this Legislature in its funding of higher education is – well, I don’t even have words for it. Hurtful. Depressing. Insulting. Hateful. It implies that education is not important.

I can’t wrap my mind around what outcome legislators are hoping for, or their motives. To punish universities? Why? To punish students? Why? Do they hope for a less-educated state, a less-economically prosperous state?

By forcing universities to increase tuition to fund operations, the state makes a college education less accessible, less public. It limits the dreams and ambitions of young Kansans who want to go to college but cannot afford it.



Vote them out

My father’s roots lead back to northeast Kansas populism, which turned against the politicians who represented the rich instead of the working families and landowners. Interesting how history is repeating itself.

About 150,000 of Kansas’ lowest-income residents could be insured with Medicaid. But Gov. Sam Brownback and the Republican Legislature were so busy voting on wedge issues, such as restricting women’s reproductive health and guaranteeing already federally guaranteed gun rights, that they chose to deny low-income Kansans the health care that Congress provided for them. They also denied Kansas the $350 million of federal revenue to cover 100 percent of the cost.

The valued, equal and suitable education guaranteed in our Kansas Constitution has been denied by this Legislature, even though the courts have ordered multiple times that it be funded. GOP lawmakers want education to be funded by raising your property taxes. They have raised your sales tax to eliminate any tax on businesses. They have reduced the standard deduction you can take on your state income tax. Taxes are going up $777 million over five years.

If you have a government-issued ID, you can register to vote, and if Kansas can survive another year of this two-year session without going completely bankrupt, you can vote these rascals out of office.



Need to be united

Would the United States still be a union if something horrible were to happen to the state? This was a question brought up by my geography professor last spring. It’s a good question to ask ourselves.

I honestly think the answer would be “no.” Think about all the hate between the two sides, Democrats and Republicans, or more specifically, liberals and conservatives.

I read Opinion Line every day, and I read online articles on politics. I read all the hateful comments we have toward one another. It is disgusting.

We are all Americans. That is what we are, first and foremost. We do have different ideas for issues, but there is room for compromise.

We should stop segregating as liberals and conservatives, blacks and whites, impoverished and wealthy, and become a union – united and indivisible again.



Southwest way

I was a Braniff airline employee at Dallas Love Field when Lamar Muse was president of Southwest Airlines. Most of the other airlines were sure it would not last.

But Muse did something that most top people even today don’t understand or believe: He listened to the workers – the ticket agents, ground crews, pilots, flight attendants, etc. – and built his airline using their ideas. And just look at it now.

Southwest does many smart things. That includes using only Boeing 737 airplanes, which helps ensure excellent maintenance.

You can bet I’ll be on those flights. Hip hip hooray. Wichita has won the airline lottery. Keep it going.



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