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Rights and Wrongs

Letters from the week of January 8, 2003

Killed Bill: I found the sophomoric comments about Bill Douglas inane and irrelevant. It is obvious that the reporter was very naive and incompetent. If one is going to write about something, please learn to be objective about the subject.
Sheila Rekdal
Kansas City, Missouri
Cheap Shot
Off target: After reading, trying to analyze and finally rereading "Half-Cocked" (KC Strip, November 6), I came to the same conclusion a previous reader came to in a letter: The article was of some interest but limited in actual useful information. The issue at hand isn't necessarily egotistical men suffering from "little man's syndrome" but people who like the idea of having a right to feel protected at all times. What the article failed to realize and acknowledge is that that group of people includes women -- yes, women. Remember? The "other" sex.

I am a full-time college student, and I happen to work full time as well, which usually means my day ends pretty late. I don't see the need for the protection of a handgun, but this is just me. Attending school in a small, relatively quiet town may have something to do with that feeling of security. Perhaps someone else in the same situation in a different part of town would feel a bit different. If the writer of the article had been more objective and focused on the issue at hand rather than going off on another tangent, maybe the reader could have gotten a better sense of whether the issue was for the worst or not.
Ebony L. Dunn

Foul Play
Out of bounds: Regarding Kendrick Blackwood's "Dropping the Ball" (December 25): I live in Kansas, and why would I ever support a bistate tax to help the Royals or Chiefs? I am treated like a second-class person when it comes to getting tickets for the Chiefs. The tickets go on sale ONLY to Jackson County residents, then a day or two later to everyone else. So, if I am lucky, I might be able to get two seats together -- IF I AM LUCKY.

The teams do not provide any revenue for my city and community, so what good does it do me if they are here or not? I like baseball, and I now go to the Kansas City T-Bones games and will continue to do so. With free and close parking and VERY affordable ticket and vending prices, why would I drive a half-hour to get in the Kauffman Stadium mess? Heck, the way Kansas City, Kansas, is growing, why not build a stadium over here for the Chiefs?

I believe the city would not even be in this mess if it collected the 1 percent tax on all the athletes, like they do to everybody else who works in the city. A lot of the athletes make more in one day than the average person makes in a year. So if the teams do leave, bye-bye, and take the "city leaders" with you, please. They got rid of hockey, so why not football and baseball?
Name Withheld Upon Request

City Limits
No Kay: I started to write regarding the first story about the mayor's response to Becky Nace bringing up questions regarding the TIF Commission, appointments, expenditures and the way in which those expenditures are reported, i.e., a spreadsheet or memo ( KC Strip, November 13). I didn't, though; I thought, What the hell, this is Kansas City. Pendergast made deals with politicians and that was business as usual. I am not a fan of Mayor Barnes, despite the "sweet old lady" appearance.

Regarding Joe Miller's "Shut Yer Pie Hole" (December 18): For the city attorney to cry foul/illegal is ludicrous. Every government (city, county, state and federal) has some type of "general discussion" forum. It is during such forums that issues designated "important" get added to an upcoming agenda where the public can be present. He was not holding the public's interest in his heart, just that of Mayor Barnes.

The mayor's claim that she got in big trouble discussing city business at lunch is exactly why Sunshine Laws were generated. Good ol' boys in steam rooms and on golf courses made deals, came to understandings and circumvented the public's right to know. I have a topic for the council: "Mayoral Recall."
Dominic Santos
Kansas City, Missouri

Club War
Bar stool: Regarding Ben Paynter's "Last Call?" (December 11): Unbelievable! That's what I find the ruling of Judge O'Malley's court decision against the XO Club. I am the sort who reads or hears of these injustices and shakes my head, then returns back to my own reality without another thought to it. However, at this, I feel compelled to speak out!

It appears obvious that O'Malley's ruling was of a personal nature. How can any legal official justify such mandated conditions of conformity that are blatantly unconstitutional? First: How can XO possibly monitor the listening habits or actions of perfect strangers parked within 50 feet of its establishment? Can you control who parks in front of your house? Second: If Mr. Grow had a crime take place in front of his residence, would he then be ordered to provide security for the neighbors in the blocks surrounding his home? Finally: You can't order someone to join an association! That seems as ridiculous as me taking my neighbor to court to make sure she attends my latest Tupperware party. Or better still, if a neighborhood is mostly of one religion, you wouldn't rule that the rest of the block join the same church!

Have our legal officials forgotten what stands behind every word of the Constitution? Are our lives becoming so mundane that we feel the need to control the lives of others? I feel most people these days suffer from a very serious disease that makes them intolerant, impatient, unkind, unthoughtful and rude. It's called "Self Dis-ease." Grow needs to grow. And what was O'Malley thinking!
Alta Sieker
Kansas City, Missouri

Room to Grow: Demagogue Jerry Fowler's December 18 letter in response to Ben Paynter's story on Jim Grow and the 3 A.M. Coalition is typical. No one wants to take responsibility for coexisting.

Contrary to Mr. Fowler's opinion, the airport analogy is inapt. An airport is very large, and cities usually have one or two locations over several generations. A local airport serves a population covering several states. When an airport displaces residents, there is much discussion and therefore at least the opportunity for fairness and compensation.

A private business serves a small minority and profits an even smaller minority. Venal government officials are hard-pressed to achieve fairness when a tax-income-generating enterprise seeks to locate where it will predictably cause a nuisance. A business serving a legitimate purpose has a right to be in a mixed-use area such as Westport. It also has a responsibility to operate within the law. Kansas City's noise ordinance clearly states that noise carrying into a residentially zoned property cannot exceed 55 decibels at night.

To question whether Jim Grow was blind is off the mark. It was fair to assume that the business would be a good neighbor and comply with the law and that the authorities would enforce the law.

The Health Department is charged with enforcing the noise ordinance, but they have demonstrated to me in Brookside that they prefer hiding behind incorrect interpretations of the ordinance, erroneously relieving them from their duties. Whether they are overburdened or instead choosing to laissez-faire under pressure from some other influence remains to be learned.

Perhaps Mr. Fowler would prefer to fill those houses with passive types, too weak-minded to assert their rights, allowing the neighborhood to decay and the houses to be slummed. I'm happy to have Jim Grow there.
Walter P. Klammer
Kansas City, Missouri

Smooth Moves
Got a witness: There's a certain feeling I get when I see something that I'm grateful that I've lived long enough to witness. I had that feeling when I read C.J. Janovy's "Strictly Basement" (December 18).

It is hard to explain what it feels like to have entire realities of your life ignored. To be rendered as nonexistent in the eyes of others, even others who think they know about you. There is a peculiar feeling, a hole or something -- although you know your reality, there's still a certain emptiness that comes from having others look right through you and miss so much of your life. So when another part of your daily existence comes to light, it is like another hole inside fills up.

There is dancing going on in these major black cities, yet there is never anything written, no acknowledgment that this exists.

In Detroit, black baby boomers (ever notice how "baby boomers" doesn't really mean blacks?) dance to Motown and the oldies every night of the week. There are hustle and ballroom classes, competitions and contests, just like in this article about Kansas City. I had to laugh out loud at the familiarity of some of the things in the article. I've got a score of folks I'm going to forward the article to, including one of my coworkers, a county sheriff known around Detroit as Mr. Ballroom.
Marsha Cusic
Highland Park, Michigan

Editor's note: Around 700 people -- every last one of them dressed to impress -- packed into the Park Place Hotel ballroom on Thursday, December 18, for the $10,000 Step Off finals. Twenty-five couples competed, and in a surprising upset, Rita Owens (wearing a form-fitting red, rhinestone-studded dress with matching long red gloves) and Luther Walker (in a white zoot suit) danced their way to the top prize. Pitch cover couple Evern Thrower Jr. and Linda Turner came in second, and Nathan Mack and LeAndrea Allen took third place with a choreographed routine. But, organizers say, "All of the contestants are winners in our eyes." Ours, too.
Base Instincts
Grilled and flayed: Charles Ferruzza's review on Cabela's Yukon Base Camp Grill offended me ("Just Shoot Me," December 18). His comments were self-centered and tasteless. And his lack of compassion for the food that he eats is reflective of our society's attitude toward animals in general. I expect more from someone who makes his living shoveling food down his throat.

I hope for Ferruzza's sake that he one day has an opportunity to crawl out of his own ego and take a look at the world as it really is. I think he'll find he has an opportunity to do something more productive with his writing talents.
Mark Heminger
Kansas City, Missouri

What Do You Say to That?
Funk you: As a loyal reader of Jen Chen's Night Ranger column, it saddened me to see a nice gal's stalking of first Tony G. (November 20) and now Jeremy lower-case g (December 11) fall shy. In the case of the latter, she had the right station, merely the wrong personality. For her, I have two words, my friend: WALT BODINE.

Back in the day, I was a communications major at UMKC who served as Walt's teaching assistant. I was there on a tennis scholarship, which had caused me to forsake KU. You want off the hook, you go kick it with Walt sometime -- or "Funky Walt Bodina," as he was known in those days. (Ever hear that song? It was DJ Randy Miller's work, I think.) Tooling through campus with Funky Walt in my convertible 300ZX -- I used to give him rides back to his palatial Plaza crib after class -- made me a ricochet hit with the ladies. Trust me on this: He's the man, dawg. I enjoyed being the wind/wingman beneath Walt's wings, even if the honeys were only after some wings.

People tell me I'm the spitting image of actor Wesley Snipes. All that proves is that Wesley ain't no Walt. I'll get to the verb: What could be more natural than rolling into Funkytown sometime alongside Funky Walt Bodina? This I offer up solely for Chen's most humble consideration.
Mark Dewar

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