Hodge letter to the editor, KC Star — eminent domain

Kansas City Star, The (MO)-August 22, 2005

Cindy Sheehan war protest

I find it interesting that Jonah Goldberg (8/18, Opinion, “Experience authority”) judges Cindy Sheehan for questioning the war in Iraq since her son’s death there, and yet he has the authority to tell her she is wrong because he has a computer and writes a column.

He questions George McGovern’s authority to speak out on the issue, even though McGovern is a World War II veteran and has firsthand experience in war.

Americans who have served in war or have sent loved ones to fight have the right to be heard. To call Sheehan’s actions an “orchestrated publicity stunt” is out of line and an insult to those who choose to disagree with the president or Goldberg.

People with firsthand experience do have the authority to talk. If only someone would listen.

Paul Budd

Sugar Creek

The only thing Cindy Sheehan accomplished by camping out at the president’s ranch in Crawford was to make a spectacle of herself. Her son volunteered for the military. He knew the possibility existed he would not make it out alive. She dishonors his death.

I sympathize with all the families who have lost loved ones in this war. But Sheehan saying we should pull out of Iraq before the job is done is ridiculous. Whether you agree with the reasons for going to war in Iraq, you have to be able to see that by pulling out now we will have lost all these soldiers in vain.

In the 2 1/2 years that we have been in Iraq, we have seen a ruthless dictator toppled and a country undergoing a complete overhaul. The people of Iraq obviously hunger for the freedom that we are giving them. If all goes as well as it has thus far, it has been suggested that we could start withdrawing troops by spring of 2006. Why quit when we are so close to achieving our ultimate goal?

Michael J. Seeley


Milk, weight loss

I applaud your article for pointing out that people who do not drink milk can get enough calcium from healthy, plant-based foods, which don’t contain the fat and cholesterol found in dairy products (8/17, Food, “Calcium correctness”). But I also hope readers don’t buy into the notion that drinking milk can help them lose weight.

Considering the saturated fat, sugar and calories found in milk, it’s no wonder that dairy products do not effectively aid weight loss.

The few studies that have shown a positive link between milk consumption and weight loss were paid for by the dairy industry.

Other researchers have come to the opposite conclusion. Last November, University of Vermont researchers reported no significant difference in weight loss between high and low-dairy dieters.

Luckily, there are plenty of nutritious vegetarian foods that won’t compromise your health or figure.

JoAnn Farb


Light sentence

Tucked away in The Star on page B-2 (8/17) is one of the most unbelievable pieces of news I have read in a very long time. This should have been on the front page – above the fold.

Wyandotte County District Judge J. Dexter Burdette sentences a woman to 32 months in prison for burning a 15-month-old baby girl with a hot iron and cigarettes and beating her with a belt, and then grants her probation!

Why? Did this woman, perhaps, have children at home that needed her to “look after” them? What a total outrage.

But that’s not all. Then he grants the co-perpetrator of this heinous crime six months in prison.

How on earth did this judge come to believe these two should basically get away with torturing a helpless little child? I am stunned.

We need a new activist group: Mothers Against Demented Judges!

Kathleen Harvey

Overland Park

Financial aid

With fall classes starting, college students and parents should take a moment to tell Congress to stop cuts to college financial aid. Recently, lawmakers proposed the largest cut ever, an estimated $11 billion, to the federal student aid programs when they passed H.R. 609 out of the House Education Committee.

H.R. 609, cleverly named the College Access and Opportunity Act, is anything but an opportunity for students receiving federal loans.

Tuition prices at all Kansas institutions of higher education increase annually. Unfortunately, this legislation puts affordable higher education even further out of reach for Kansas families.

This bill freezes funding for grant programs, increases student loan interest rates and charges students bigger upfront fees to borrow.

This is wrong for our country. Let your legislators know that they should do the right thing for Kansans and vote against this irresponsible legislation.

Nick Sterner, Shawnee

Josh Bender, Sterling, Kan.

University of Kansas seniors

The Bush recovery?

On Aug. 16, there were two letters regarding good economic news and the record amount of revenue collected by the Treasury in July. They gave Bush tax cuts the major credit. While tax cuts can improve the economy, they played only a minor role in the recent recovery.

The Fed’s record-low interest rates and the resulting housing boom have been the real impetus behind the good news. Quoting Paul Krugman, “Our economy is good because people have been trading houses financed by Chinese money.”

China, by purchasing huge amounts of U.S. Treasury notes, has been responsible for interest rates so low that people could purchase a new home, and the mortgage payments would be less than their present one.

In addition, large numbers of homeowners refinanced their mortgages and had money left over for spending. The results were large improvements in construction, furniture, hardware sales, etc.

Give the Chinese and the Federal Reserve the credit, not George W. Bush.

Carl Galler


Eminent domain

I thank the Missouri officials responsible for creating the task force on eminent domain. I would like to ask for the help of Johnson County residents to see that the issue gets moving in Kansas.

On Aug. 18, I made a proposal to Johnson County commissioners to pass an amendment to the county charter that would limit the county’s ability to take private property.

A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling allows for local and state governments to take property not only for true public use but to create additional tax revenue. Johnson County may now take homes and sell the property to a developer merely because of the property tax benefit.

This ruling is a loss for every property owner, but is a greater loss for the modest and the poor. In Johnson County, the average Roeland Park homeowner will have fewer means to fight a court battle than someone in Mission Hills; a Gardner resident fewer means than a property owner in Leawood.

I encourage Johnson County residents to call the county commissioners and ask that they support an amendment to limit the use of eminent domain and to protect the rights of private property owners.

Benjamin Hodge

Member, Johnson County Community College Board of Trustees

Prairie Village

Thank you

After reading a beautiful letter on this page recently, I, too, would like to express my “thank you” to a very dear person I do not know.

This young man called me and left a message that he had found my billfold at the airport. He assured me that he would not misuse my credit card. He told me he worked at the federal building and that he would mail the billfold or I could come and pick it up. One of my sons is employed there. So I asked him to please give it to him.

I told him that I would gladly pay him for his trouble, and his answer was, “All I ask is that when you go to church, please pray for me and my family.”

I shall forever be grateful to this young person. It is reassuring that there are still honest and decent people in this world.

Dorothy J. Powell

Kansas City

Page: B4

Index Terms: Opinion
Record Number: 1712165
Copyright 2005 The Kansas City Star Co.