Letter to the Editor

'Who really governs'

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Dear Editor:

In a Letter to the Editor Jan. 21, Walter Cochran comments, "Missouri voters defeated a Constitutional Amendment 3 this past November by nearly 70 percent of the voters." Each county's vote, in our area, was reported on this amendment. All cast a negative vote of more than 75 percent. The proposed bill would have eroded local school board control, severely limited teacher tenure, and required districts to use standardized testing of student performance as a basis for salary of teachers.

Yet he reports that Sen. Emery has introduced for the current legislative session a bill closely resembling Amendment 3. The proposed bill would remove local control from school boards, eliminate teacher tenure, and require districts to base a teacher's salary on student performance with standardized testing.

He asked in his letter, "Who does Sen. Ed Emery represent?" He reports a wealthy man is among those who were supporting Amendment 3.

I agree with Mr. Cochran and have raised questions with Mr. Emery about who he represents. He has at least given me the courtesy of responding to my comments while many other legislators completely ignore what is being said to them.

"Who does Ed Emery represent?" He admits a wealthy man contributes to his campaigns, but he acts for the best interest of his district. Some other legislators seem to ignore what is being said to them.


Many sources report bills introduced into Missouri's legislative bodies are identical to bills introduced in other states. These bills can be traced back to organizations that depend on the wealth of a few individuals. These supporters can use their own companies' power or recruit those who serve on their boards or from boards on which they serve.

Ideas promoted in their "think tanks" are favorable for corporations, such as their own. Their position: Reducing government size, regulation, taxes, wages and pensions paid to workers will make for efficiency, lower cost and evidently would miraculously create more jobs.

Unemployment has increased as jobs have been lost or moved to poorer countries. Legislators become convinced such ideas make sense. After all, they come from "successful, influential persons" who, obviously, know more than the public. Coincidentally, they make generous contributions to politicians who support their ideas and vote the way they want them to vote.

Upper management salaries have increased, profits and stock values have risen. Managers of failed companies have been rewarded with extravagant "bonuses" at taxpayer expense.

Look at the results of such governing in the last 30+ years. Wages of workers have remained almost level. Pension programs have been "raided" or have not been funded, even blamed for "bankrupting town and city governments."

Regulations on banks and industries have been reduced, allowing greater risks or damage to our environment. Unemployment increased to more than 10 percent but decreased in the last six years, despite policies and obstruction by many of our politicians. These groups are trying to "privatize" government services. Prisons, schools, our Postal Service, all are being targeted. Some states have depended on toll roads.

Do we want our children educated by corporations? Charter schools, in some communities, use public facilities. Some prisons are administered by corporations. Our postal service suffers under restrictive over payment of pension funds and limiting services they could provide, yet has done an amazing job. Low population areas have been forced to give up service.

Criticism of services is used to convince the public that profit makers can do a better job and result in lower taxes and smaller government. Does any of this sound familiar?

These conditions raise a question about our system and what is happening within it. I would like to offer some information that I hope would be helpful in interpreting the events of the past, the present and hopefully explain future activities.

I hope to share in articles for the paper. I would like to begin with a title, "Conservative, Liberal, Radical." This is to consider into which of these groups you might fall.

In other writings I have described how many other words are used as synonyms or adjectives to make the above words carry negative meaning. It seems we must guard, carefully, the henhouse.

There are those who think we should pay taxes that favor their own interests or a small group of wealthy persons who contribute liberally to those who vote in their favor.

Lester Thornton