Letters to the Editor/Online comments

BY DI READERS | APRIL 15, 2015 5:00 AM

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Invest in youth

The Iowa Legislature has been going back and forth for months now arguing about the state’s budget, and lawmakers still cannot come to terms on one of the most important issues facing our state; the educational budget for K-12 students. With the Senate Democrats arguing for a 4 percent (now 2.62 percent) increase and House Republicans pushing for a measly 1.25 percent increase, our elected officials have lost touch with the needs of Iowans.

Iowa is currently ranked 35th in the nation on the amount of expenditures per student, which is $1,600, less than the national average. At the same time, our state is projected to grow 5.7 percent during fiscal 2016 and another 4.9 percent in fiscal 2017, which will broaden the amount spent per student even more. By not increasing our K-12 funding to adequate levels, school districts may be forced to make many tough decisions that will hurt our students. Teachers will either be laid off or classroom sizes will have to increase.

We need to invest in the youth of this state, which are the future of Iowa. If we want to remain a competitive state, we will need to provide a competitive education to our young citizens. I don’t understand how this state’s administration can find the money to cut taxes for businesses coming to Iowa but can’t seem to be able to find the money to fund our education system. We need to do that right thing for the youth of this state and raise our K-12 spending to adequate levels that will enable our school districts to provide our students with an exceptional education.

Troy Raymer

Tobacco ban: oppressive at best, condescending at the least

The move to require complete and total subservience of tobacco users, by those who would believe, that tobacco in any form presents catastrophic public danger, is oppressive at best and condescending at the least.

We live on a campus that permits de facto sexual assault through compartmentalized and inefficient systems of response, denies transgender students from using safe-ride services, and falls far short of providing space for impromptu exercises of free speech.

The touting of safety and health through banning forms of tobacco use, such as snuff or snus, which present danger only to those who partake, serves only to satisfy the egos of our ever-conscientious oppressors.

Yet, the passing of such policy will only extend the already banal enforcement of the supposed smoke-free campus or will require a misguided shift of resources, furthering us from the euphemism of safety upon which the policy hangs.

Chris Betsworth

Online comment on ‘Guest Opinion: Hawkeyes know the real Rand Paul’:

“Paul doesn’t respect the issues we care about, either.” Except he’s been the biggest advocate for criminal-justice and drug-law reform. He’s also has a much more pro-peace foreign policy than the current administration and Hillary (she voted for Bush’s oil war in Iraq). Not surprising this article comes from the College Democrats, who overwhelming supported building a new $150 million prison in downtown Iowa City.

Joey Gallagher

Take back our government

Is it not time we confronted and dealt with the reality that what may have once been OUR government has morphed into THE government — a political theater of the absurd made possible by, and at the expense of, a politically unengaged electorate? This Kabuki Theater that we allow to pass for government must be confronted and dealt with in order to tackle the issues that confront us.

Too many in government refuse to put our principles before their ideology and ambition, much less welcome fundamental campaign finance reform in order to put us, average Americans, in control of our elections.

The one thing most all of our lawmakers have in common is affiliation with one of the two major parties — the parties that control our elections from start to finish and, in effect, proffer ballots of false choice resulting in lawmakers that represent interests that finance their careers, not us. Seriously, does anyone believe any money comes without expectation of a quid quo pro?

Removal of all private, special-interest, and anonymous monies from our elections process is a fundamental necessity if we are, to quote many screamers, to “take our country back.” Now that the 2016 campaign has begun, if a candidates does not acknowledge the need for true and fundamental election reform (and I don’t mean this voter fraud straw man) or tells us he/she would love it but it can’t be done because …  the candidate cannot be trusted to hold public office.

Truly representative government, a government of, by, and for the people is a necessity if this country is ever to become, as Ronald Reagan often described the United States, a “shining city on a hill.” With all due respect to the Great Communicator, we ain’t there yet.

Tom Knapp

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