COVID-19 rules unfairly target churches

Laurie Dean Wiley, Independence

To the editor:

As our country, county and city reopen, I am cautiously optimistic we will do so with respect for fellow citizens and respect for the experts, whose guidelines we have been asked to follow. What seems to be clearly missing is the respect for the church.

I am disappointed that there are doable guidelines for almost all to reopen, except churches. Grocery stores, restaurants, retails shops, etc. can meet based on a percentage of space and size, along with social distancing guidelines, but churches are limited to 10 people. I personally don’t know of any church with only 10 attendees, so the guideline for churches really seems as a way to not allow the church to meet together, period.

Jackson County leadership, I hope that this is a mistake or an oversight, and something that will be corrected. Yes, we have online options, just as groceries and retail do. What many non-church attendees may not realize is that the church is instructed to meet, to worship together, to fellowship, and to have our doors open for those seeking God. Meeting together is a part of our worship.

Let me be clear: Each family can and should make the decision to attend when it is right for them. However, I also believe that it is time for the church to stand up and to be afforded the rights provided in the Constitution.

This is not about my church or a particular church. This is about stifling the big church, which is the body of believers. As a member of the church, I ask that the Jackson County executive and legislators rescind their discrimination against the church. I invite you to join me, members of the church, and many area pastors through the process of civil discourse to demand our right to meet.

It’s still about, love your neighbor as yourself, but it is first “Love the Lord your God.” -- Luke 10:27.

Independence needs less crime, more business

Chris Heitzman, Independence

To the editor:

I am a proud resident of Independence, Missouri, and have lived in this great city the entire 53 years of my existence. I attended Randall Elementary, Jim Bridger and graduated from William Chrisman High School in 1985. I grew up living in Hawthorn Apartments and have been a dedicated blue-collar worker all my life to get where I am today.

I have been married to my wife for 32 years, and we share two daughters and a grandson who all reside in Independence.

It is important for us to have safe neighborhoods, safe streets, less crime and more police/community policing, in order to attract better-paying businesses. In return this would attract families and new home construction. Independence needs to become a business-friendly city, and creating a safe environment is a step in the right direction. I will support our city police and fire 100 percent.

We cannot ignore the need to provide a fair share of the budget to the southwest part of town. Blighted areas are part of the problem in southwest Independence, and these areas should not be excluded or disregarded. We must do better at stopping blight and removing eyesores that affect our property values and tourism.

I am concerned with the crime that is affecting southwest Independence and Independence as a whole. We must move toward community policing and stop reacting to crime and start preventing crime. We as a city must bring an end to our ever-growing tent cities and homeless camps in our parks and on private property. We must start sending a message to crime that we are not going to tolerate it any longer and come together and start promoting neighborhood watch programs like the Sycamore Hills area has done recently.

I will also be pursuing changes to improve our local-preference ordinance for companies that do business with our city. This will keep city purchases local and promote our local economy by earning tax and utility revenue. This improvement will also attract new businesses to Independence and again will better the local economy. Buy local.

I would also like to assure the quality of all city projects and see that the right contractors are awarded the jobs, not only because they are the low bid, but because they do quality work. The lowest bid is not always the best choice.

I will also support rebuilding our city’s infrastructure, streets and adding sidewalks.

I will not support any kind of frivolous spending and will support the needs and concerns of the people in District 4 and Independence as a whole. My goal is to earn your support and trust. I can assure anyone interested that there will never be favors owed in regard to myself or my campaign during the election or following the election. I believe that honest and hard work will always lead to a positive outcome.

Independence has been a great place to raise a family, live and work. I am taking this opportunity to give back to the city I was born and raised in and serve as a transparent, honest and trustworthy City Council member for the people of District 4 and my hometown. If you are interested in supporting my campaign, please visit my website at

U.S. must steer clear of war with Iran

Steve Kellogg, Independence

To the editor:

By March both houses of Congress completed passed of Senate Joint Resolution 68 directing removal of U.S. armed forces from hostilities against Iran that have not been authorized by Congress. The findings prompting the bill include:

• Congress has the sole power to declare war under Article I of the Constitution.

• The president has a constitutional responsibility to take actions to defend the United States.

• Congress has not declared war upon, nor authorized the use of military force against, Iran.

In the midst of a global pandemic as Iran is crippled to medically care for its population in spite of reported sanctions relief because vendors and banks are reluctant to risk fines and litigation for perceived violations of overall sanctions provisions, it is time for Congress to reinforce that war with Iran is not authorized by passing the No War Against Iran Act (S. 3159 and H.R. 5543), which prohibits funding for military action against Iran without congressional authorization except in response to an attack on America or its armed forces.

Lifting the sanctions on Iran in the midst of this crisis would further reduce the risk of war. Improving treatment everywhere reduces the risk for all of us.

Insurance considerations during a pandemic

Jim Turner, Independence

To the editor:

I spent most of my career in commercial property and casualty insurance and hope to collect a pension.

Business-income insurance helps companies stay afloat after a covered loss forces them to close or operate in a weakened state. Civil authority triggers coverage for businesses at least partially closed to reduce pandemic spread of a coronavirus. Some insurers previously added a pandemic exclusion, which means they thought the hazard existed. Insurers who did not exclude the peril owe their customers their loss of net income plus continuing expenses, usually including payroll.

Businesses that stayed open or re-opened may or may not have a liability to customers, if they slip and fall or get sick from their visit. Medical payments are a customer goodwill coverage, regardless of fault and are included in business liability insurance.

Insurance is regulated by the states who determine that claims ought to be paid. It is against public policy not to have insurance companies pay what they owe to insured businesses, in my opinion.