letters from the week of August 16 

Letters, July 26

Signing Off
I was deeply offended when I read Malisa "Lisa" Monyakula's letter saying that I had no part in the design of the sign at Lulu's restaurant. This sign was a part of the experimental process that I and her husband, Dennis Baughman, took on to try to introduce a new material to the city, and show everyone how we could use it to its maximum potential. While I acknowledge that I did not originally design the existing logos, I was instrumental in the fabrication and installation of these projects as well as many artistic projects that I had the joy of being a part of. I felt my knowledge was vital to the custom sign work that we were creating. Artistic integrity is something I hold sacred and I would never claim credit for the work of another artist. The concept of the River Market Art Co. is to help our artists reach their goals and give them the recognition they deserve, as well as to combine artistic energy to create art that everyone can appreciate and enjoy. I hope everyone involved can move on and get the credit they deserve whether they work for a company or for themselves.

James Lopez, Kansas City, Kansas

“Idle Hands,” June 28

Steering Problems
I'd like to commend Nadia Pflaum for her excellent story that outlines a prime example of how the "justice" system can screw over an economically disadvantaged person like Mr. Charlton Bradford.

The problem begins with police operations run amok. Setting someone up in a so-called kill-switch sting is working outside the bounds of proper law enforcement. As pointed out by Mr. Bradford's public defender, it is not "the police department's job to create crimes." In other words, law enforcement, properly applied, is not to be proactive but reactive. What happened here is a clear case of entrapment, pure and simple.

Brad McCullough, Kansas City, Kansas

Feature: In Amato We Trust?” July 19

Minus Signs
Thank you for your recent cover story about the new superintendent of the Kansas City, Missouri, School District.

I hope that Peter Rugg will continue to follow Anthony Amato's progress. My daughter is starting kindergarten in the fall, and I have a lot of issues with his decision to disrupt extended day programs and math programs and the fact that he is sending eighth-graders to school with kindergarteners.

I look forward to reading more.

Name Withheld by Request

Basic Fraction
In his hatchet job on Superintendent Anthony Amato, Peter Rugg neither identifies the district's real problem — that it is broken beyond repair — nor proposes any solution. That solution is the district's complete dissolution.

Over 35 years, I have witnessed the district's downward spiral, starting as a student at Van Horn High in the 1970s. Since then, except at Lincoln Prep, the district has so deteriorated that it succeeds only at turning out an irreversibly permanent underclass of adults.

Amato appears guilty only of trying to instill expectations of achievement, while responsibly spending taxpayer dollars. By insisting that students in after-school programs be tutored rather than "sit around watching movies, doing nothing," he carries out the intended mission of schools — to educate and prepare kids for life, not to entertain them. Likewise, if LINC cannot produce a signed contract for the $1.2 million of services in question, why should the district pay the bill?

Given the district's sorry history, it is only reasonable that anyone taking the Kansas City job be paid very well, with a substantial severance package negotiated prior to taking the job. Dealing with fickle school boards, lazy bureaucracies and belligerent staff virtually guarantees short careers for superintendents anywhere.

Throwing more money at Kansas City's hopeless schools will not fix them; billions have been wasted on horribly failed court-ordered social engineering and magnet programs. The district needs to be taken off life support and be allowed to die, with Mr. Amato as its last superintendent. Save Lincoln Prep, and have bordering public school systems salvage something from the district's remaining ashes. It is clear that the Kansas City School District can't fix this "tough situation."

Jay Fisher, Independence

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