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Letters to the Editor

The following letters were sent to the editor in the past week. Due to limitations in space, we were unable to place them into our print edition. While we do ultimately have a choice as to whether to print letters to the editor, this does not imply we agree or disagree with the author’s opinions, nor are we able to fact check each part of these letters.



Dear Editor,

I would like to share an opinion regarding the medical marijuana ballot initiatives this election cycle in Missouri.
I believe it is just a matter of time until marijuana use will no longer be a felony but will be marketed and regulated like alcohol. I also believe that it is known to be therapeutic for conditions such as glaucoma and pain relief.
Therefore it might come as a surprise that I recommend a vote against all three of the ballot initiatives legalizing medical marijuana in Missouri. However, there are two very powerful reasons to vote against all of them:
1. Medical marijuana laws create an unfair dichotomy. Rich people can shop for a prescription and use the product with impunity. Poor people would still be "criminals," subject to heavy penalties, for the same behavior. This simply isn't fair.
2. The current proposals are a mess, in most states but especially in Missouri. The three ballot initiatives are a clear indication that this has not been well-thought-out at all. The current laws have been on the books for many decades. Change is sure to come, but let's know what we're doing when that time arrives. Meanwhile, let's learn from the other states, particularly Washington and Colorado. In particular, we should figure out what data to gather, how to regulate the industry, and how to allocate tax revenue resulting from any legislative changes. A rush to action will create mistakes that will be very hard to undo. And there will be vested interests pushing hard for early action while hiding their real agenda. We can make a much wiser decision by watching what happens elsewhere first.
Don't rush to follow the crowd. Think first, then make a fair and wise decision that will benefit the state for decades to come.

Yours truly,

Donald C. Wunsch II, Ph.D. EE, MBA
Mary K. Finley Missouri Distinguished Professor Director, Applied Computational Intelligence Laboratory Missouri University of Science & Technology Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Rolla, MO



Letter to the Editor

Don’t be fooled by the Prop. D Gas Tax Proposal

Prop. D on the Nov. 6 ballot will raise the gas tax 10 cents/gallon. Vote No. 2/3 of the money will go to fund the highway patrol, not go directly to MoDot to fix roads. Then the money currently in the state budget for our roads can be used by legislators for whatever they want. Maybe it will go to our roads, or maybe it will justify another tax cut. But I am still stuck paying 10 cents/gallon more for gas and might still have potholes. Our legislators don’t have the political courage to raise the gas tax themselves because of trucking industry lobbyists, so they came up with this boondoggle of a bill to trick the voters. Compare this gas tax to the lottery. A Washington Post story revealed that instead of using lottery  money as additional school funding, state legislatures have used lottery money to pay for the education budget and then spent the money that would have been used had there been no lottery on other things. Public school budgets, as a result, haven’t gotten a boost. Just like lottery tickets, a higher gas tax will hurt our lower income people the most. And give me a break about the bill keeping Olympic medalists from having to pay state tax on the medals they won. How many Olympic athletes from Missouri have won a medal? Vote No on Prop. D and make our legislators do their jobs.

Earl Fuller

Willow Springs, Mo.



Letter to the Editor,

After the massacre of 20 little kids and six staff at Sandy Hook in Connecticut in 2013 a bill to ban assault weapons was introduced in the Senate and it failed. Roy Blunt voted NO on the ban and Claire McCaskill voted YES.

After Sandy Hook, an executive order was proposed preventing the sale of firearms to certain classes of mentally ill people. In 2017, President Trump rescinded that order with Jason Smith and Roy Blunt voting YES supporting Trump and Claire McCaskill voting NO.

In Missouri, it is legal to carry assault weapons on our streets, there is no limit on the size of the magazine and the age has been lowered for carrying a concealed weapon.

Jason Smith was a co-sponsor of a bill that would make silencers for firearms legal. Silencers hinder law enforcement in locating a shooter and make it harder for victims to escape.

Jason Smith votes regularly to lessen the safety net concerning guns and massacres.

The places change, the numbers change but the choice of weapon remains the same. In the U.S., people who want to kill a lot of other people most often do it with a gun.

Remember this when you go to vote on November 6th.

Maxine and Ken Horgan

Mountain View, MO





Letter to the Editor

Representative Jason Smith may be effective in representing the special interest groups that accounted for more than three-quarters of the 1.3 million in contributions to his campaign in 2017 (VoteSmart.org). But he doesn't pay attention to ordinary constituents because he is confident that Republicans will vote for him, regardless.

A month ago, the Mountain View Chamber of Commerce sent Smith an invitation to participate in a public meeting October 16 with his challengers, Kathy Ellis and Jonathan Shell. As of four days before the planned event, he still had not replied.

Anecdotal reports from people who have interacted with the Congressman support the impression that he ignores anyone who is not politically useful. For example, Smith was sent a letter asking the number of constituents he met during the Congressional recess, how many public meeting he has held since his re-election, and whether he would be willing to participate in a public forum with his challengers. He never responded.

The same questions were then asked to Smith's Washington staff.  Again, there was no response.  In the last two days, his office has been called a total of nine times during working hours in an effort to speak to Smith's scheduler. Staffers reported he was in the office but not at his desk. This is possible, but it suggests deliberate evasion.

Send a representative to Washington who is committed to working for us. Kathy Ellis has spent her career helping people as a certified clinical social worker and addiction counselor. She knows how to listen. She is also a business owner.

Ellis wants to make health care available to all, increase opportunity through debt-free public education, address climate change, reduce income inequality, and advocate for family farms. Learn more at www.ellisformissouri.com.

When Ellis says she will be a “servant / leader” in Congress, you can believe it. It comes naturally to her and her life proves it.

 Dan Leary

Moody, MO



Letter to the Editor,

Southeast Health Center in Doniphan stopped “in-patient” operations on October 15th, 2018. Ripley County Memorial Hospital Board, along with other agencies, hope to explorer re-opening under limited hospital status. Missouri Highlands Health Center (MHHC) proposes to take over clinic operations and if feasible offer many clinic options.

The Southeast Health Center is the 5th rural hospital to close in Missouri since 2010.

A study, published in Health Affairs, shows the benefits of Medicaid expansion verses non-expansion. The study indicates that in states that expanded Medicaid, hospitals had considerable leverage against financial ruin, especially those hospitals serving high numbers of uninsured patients who cannot pay their bills. Whereas, non-expanding states have seen a significant increase in hospital closures.

The Missouri legislature voted against expansion of Medicaid in Missouri. Before Representative Jason Smith voted YES, for the American Health Care Act (AHCA), he said, “I don’t care about the bottom line of hospitals. I care about access of our constituents to health care.” The AHCA, discriminates against people with pre-existing conditions.

Kathy Ellis, who is very concerned about the health care crisis, is running against Jason Smith to represent everyone in the 8th District. Ellis supports a health care system that expands Medicare for all. She wants to work for greater access to health care and coverage for all.

If you care about your health care and health coverage, be sure to vote for Kathy Ellis on November 6, 2018!

Maxine and Ken Horgan

Mountain View, MO

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