Letters from the week of May 15, 2003

Brown Out 

Letters from the week of May 15, 2003

National geographic: Regarding Andrew Miller's "Jayhawk Squawk" (Kansas City Strip, April 24): I don't want to distort the symmetry, because it was really nice the way everything was so parallel with Roy Williams and Larry Brown, but I really don't think Larry Brown was a North Carolina native. He played basketball there, but I'm sure he's from New York City somewhere (Brooklyn), and he was one of the guys Frank McGuire and Dean Smith lured down there in the late '50s and early '60s

Makes a nice story, though.
Mark Lidman

The Great Debate
Word domination: Regarding Joe Miller's "War of Words" (May 1) and "Word War 2" (May 8): Bravo! There is a God! I never thought that Central High's debate team would ever get their props!

I, too, was recruited by Ms. Rinehart as a freshman at Central. Though I did not know Marcus or Donnell personally, I admired them immensely. Their words were spoken with such power, conviction and truth. It was as if they were speaking for all the angry black intellectual teens that really had something to say. I loved watching them in class. Those kids can drop some serious knowledge.

I was heartbroken when my mom pulled me out of Central, but you know what? If Ms. Rinehart would take me back, I would willingly and gladly endure the 5 a.m. wake-up call and the chilly 6:45 walk, metal detectors and all, just to have the satisfaction of showing those snotty Shawnee Mission kids how it's really done.

P.S.: God bless Joe Miller! Ms. Rinehart has truly earned her place in heaven!
Simoné Morris
Kansas City, Missouri

Something to talk about: Even in my time, 35 years ago, the restrictive and parochial rules of the MSHSAA disadvantaged Missouri's "national circuit" debate competitors relative to their counterparts in other states. Since then I've come to understand, though not to share, the values underlying the MSHSAA's policies.

But there's no doubting the penalties, psychological and otherwise, these restrictions impose on our "best and brightest" students. Limiting students' opportunities to compete at the highest level benefits nobody (those not invited don't gain by keeping invitees home) and merely adds another incentive for promising youngsters to flee the backwater of their birth for more congenial environs.

As ever, the MSHSAA favors competence but abhors excellence. Excellence, you know, frightens the cows.
David Dunlap
Kansas City, Missouri

Novel Approach
The write stuff: I am not one to write fan letters, but after reading Allie Johnson's "Heaven Is Hell" (March 27), I just want to ask her, WHY IS SHE STILL IN KC? I think that she has the makings of a great screenwriter or, better yet, a best-selling novelist.

Coming from a black woman who only reads the Pitch when I see a cover story with Johnson's name on it, she is the sh--! The story about the Nation of Islam would be a great movie. I know people who live in Kansas and had been recruited by the NOI, and I've eaten at that diner, so it really hit home. Another story that sticks with me is the one about the gangland murder on Prospect ("Hit Happens," September 6, 2001) -- that read like a novel.

Sometimes you just have to let someone know that they are great at what they do. That's what I'm doing. Keep up the great work, girl! When you get your first screenplay Oscar, you better invite me to the party. Blessings.
Patrice Harris

Station Identification
Schitt happens: Nice detective work by Andrew Miller in his article on the latest loony rumor coming out of KKFI 90.1 (Around Hear, May 8).

As a former KKFI DJ, I was struck by their seemingly magnanimous decision to keep Mr. Schitt on the air even though he publicly trashed station "CEO" Robert Barrientos and actively sabotaged the station's record library. Since Mr. Barrientos and his friends have used the slimmest of pretexts to dismiss programmers in the past, it's nice to note their change of heart. Unfortunately, since Mr. Schitt is now in violation of KKFI's infamous "dirty laundry" rule, he should now be fired from his show under KKFI bylaws for airing the station's internal problems in Mr. Miller's article.

There is hope for Mr. Schitt, however, since Mr. Olenick, Mr. Biswell and Mr. Tackett of the KKFI board of directors were also guilty of this transgression during an episode known to industry insiders as "the Three Stooges show," when all three went on the air during a Democracy Now time slot, disparaged a local nonprofit organization by calling its members "terrorists," insulted other people by name and discussed the station's internal turmoil during the course of this often unintentionally hilarious broadcast. As far as I know, they were never disciplined for this action nor removed from the board, so perhaps Mr. Barrientos simply doesn't give a Schitt.
Barry Lee

Correction: Joe Miller's series on Central High school's difficulties with the Missouri State High School Activities Association ("War of Words," May 1, and "Word War 2," May 8) incorrectly referred to the Pace Academy in Minneapolis. The Blake Academy is located in Minneapolis; the Pace Academy is another national-circuit powerhouse in Atlanta.


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