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Laid Back

Letters from the week of October 30, 2003

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Take my wife, sleaze: In his letter to the editor in the October 2 issue, David Youmans starts by saying he's a single man and that sometimes a guy wants to get laid. He goes on to say that he doesn't want to deal with games and rejection. So, inevitably, most men pay for sex by either buying it from a prostitute or a wife.

I'm a wife. I've known sex workers. I can't speak for single men, or men at all, for that matter. But I do question Mr. Youmans' assessment of sexual relations between men and women. If that is really his attitude toward women, maybe that's why he finds himself played, rejected and (I'm guessing) single against his will.

I talk with single men and women who are that way by choice. They tell me that finding safe sex partners can be difficult but not impossible. And not one of them has ever confided that they've had to buy sex. Other married men and women don't see their sexual relationships as sex for money, either.

Maybe Mr. Youmans should stick with going to a professional until he decodes how other single men manage to have healthy, friendly, noncommercial sexual relationships with ADULT women. Or maybe he's unable to figure it out because he can't see women as anything more than assorted body parts on sale to anyone with the asking price.
Wasit Yu
Kansas City, Kansas


Off Track
Loose caboose: Did something seem strange to you about C.J. Janovy's "Runaway Train" (October 23)? I went to C.J. in good faith to be interviewed on my transit plan, Ballot Question No. 3.

Weeks before, I had been interviewed by Pitch reporter Casey Logan about Question No. 3. All he wrote was an article clowning around with Clay Chastain, how I dressed, and how my plan had no chance of winning ("Laugh Track," June 19).

Anyway, the moment I sat down, C.J. declared, "This interview will be on my terms," and it quickly became apparent that those terms were to attack me personally and not discuss Question No. 3.

C.J. began badgering me about my residence, the fact I was messing up transit authorities' plans for Kansas City, and that I was just doing this because I had a vendetta against the establishment. I sensed from her opening conversation that her motive was to rile me up so I would act crazy. I decided at that moment to play along, act crazy and give her what she wanted, to see whether she would write about Crazy Clay or Question No. 3.

As I suspected, C.J.'s article focused entirely on Crazy Clay and even produced a distorted picture of Crazy Clay along with a cover teaser: "Why must we always end up riding Clay Chastain's crazy train?"

This character assassination I played along with finally proves my long-held contention that some media outlets and reporters are only interested in killing me -- the messenger -- rather than reporting on my message to improve Kansas City.

I challenge C.J. to print our entire conversation.
Clay Chastain
Athens, Tennessee

Rant control: I usually enjoy C.J. Janovy's rants, but I found the personal attack on Clay Chastain appalling. Chastain's plan is exciting and energetic. It will bring new life to our stodgy old town. It will bring new construction and much-needed jobs. And the results of the plan will be very visible and useful to new businesses attracted from near and far.

Kansas City is a lot like St. Joseph was at one time. St. Joe might have become a real city. Instead, it lost its motivation and crumbled into a small town, geriatrically fond of old memories and lost opportunities.

Chastain's plan is full of youthful ambition and vision. At one time, those words described Kansas City. Now the KC media, including my beloved Pitch, have chosen to descend into ridicule and ill-advised rant.
Larry Rochelle
Overland Park

The rail world: Questions 1 and 3 on the November 4 ballot present two very different transit proposals to Kansas City voters. Of course, Question 1 asks people to pay pittance to support the current Metro system (see Casey Logan's "Bus-ted," October 23). Question 3 is much more optimistic, endorsing multimodal transportation. It's also composed by Clay Chastain, and that means it can't be safe in the eyes of many in the power elite of Kansas City.

In most cities, all of Chastain's ideas would not be shocking or risky, in that they are pipe dreams. Rather, real efforts to research and add momentum to multimodal transit options for Kansas City's region would be created.

Considering that until 1957, Kansas City had one of the best systems of public transport in the nation, it is sad that so little of that history is used to build a momentum that could make the region even more appealing and accessible to all.
Ryan Caviglia
Philadelphia

Vapid transit: The Pitch has once again shed the light on where taxpayer money is really going. To TIF subsidies. This is why Kansas City has the highest transit spending per capita in the nation for bus service only -- $87.85. The KCATA is not interested in a financial analysis of how they operate and discussion of facts. The KCATA is trying to play to people's emotions about the disabled and jobs. They are blackmailing us to try to get this tax increase passed.
Terrence Nash
Kansas City, Missouri

Strait shooter: I am angry about C.J. Janovy's column in the October 23 issue. I don't have any quibble with the content. But the title and illustration are simply unacceptable. "Runaway Train ... a few passengers short of a load" is accompanied by a photo illustration of a cross-eyed man wearing a straitjacket.

I am a member of the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI). I have a family member who, during times of crisis, has been confined in a straitjacket. Mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are NOT conditions to make fun of. They are serious brain disorders: organic diseases. Would you find it humorous to show a diabetic in insulin shock or a person with MS falling down the stairs? It is simply not funny to make light of a person who is vulnerable and in a state of crisis.

I have been a loyal Pitch reader for a long time, and I enjoy your sharp humor. But this is not humor; it is simply a perpetuation of bigotry. Please take some time to educate yourselves about mental illness. You can start at nami.org (check out "StigmaBusters"). And please, try to be more responsible in the future.
Elizabeth Smith
Lawrence


Matter of Principal
Tickle me, Elma: I just read Joe Miller's article about Audrey Bullard and Elma Warwick ("Principal Skinner," October 16). I am deeply ashamed of Elma Warwick. It seems that she has taken the Kansas City, Missouri, School Board over and is using it as her own personal vehicle for revenge. I thought when we got rid of [former school board president Ed] Newsome and a couple of his cronies that the board would be able to function. Apparently not.

I used to work in the KCMO district and went to another district. I wish that the board could hear how they have turned KCMO into the butt of all jokes. Whenever I hear teachers from other districts talking, they are laughing at KCMO. Perhaps it is time to do what St. Louis did and get a management team in that doesn't care about education, just like the people on the board. At least they would not have any political agendas!
Name Withheld Upon Request


Priest Collared

Bishop's pawn: I just read the article that Kendrick Blackwood wrote about Rebecca Randles ("Mother Superior Court," October 16).

Rebecca is right-on! The Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese is not as "clean" as it would like one to think it is. And Bishop Raymond J. Boland is certainly not as "squeaky clean" as he would have one believe he is!

I write to lend my voice and support to Rebecca and urge any victims who have not come forward to please do so to get the help and support they need.
Lawrence Link
Boston


Self Expression
Exit wound: Great to read Theresa Bembnister's fine piece on Dana Self, former curator at the Kemper ("Exit Interview," October 16). Art rarely gets talked about so clearly and engagingly.

As one of the artists with whom Dana worked at the museum, I was lucky to have enjoyed her independence of mind, unusual intelligence and sparkling personality. One can only imagine the institutional shortcomings that would have allowed one of Kansas City's best and brightest to slip away.
Ken Aptekar
Paris, France


Kracker Barrel
Duck and cover: Regarding Geoff Harkness' "Lame Duck" (October 16): First off, I think the title flat sucks! Kracker is anything but a lame duck. Sure, he has done more than his share of barrooms and state fairs. Kracker -- whether he or anyone else believes it -- is a star in his own time. He is a writer, an entertainer and a performer, and can and will sell out or force-feed an auditorium.

Call it Lame Duck, call it a lame fuck; I think Harkness needs to re-evaluate his findings by talking to the people.
Christi Lamirande
Hinton, Oklahoma

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