Letters from the week of June 28 

Burnt Ends, June 21

Our Sick Sense of Humor
In response to your sarcastic and ill-informed blurb regarding the attempt of Ascension Health (not Carondolet Health, as you mistakenly noted) to see ER patients in a more timely fashion: Is this a bad thing? I am curious about the research your newspaper has done in regard to ER waiting times and the triage process as a whole. We do not, as a rule, leave patients to bleed all over the waiting room. Nor do we leave the "injured and infirm to suffer" in our waiting rooms, as you so helpfully mentioned. We do, however, attempt to see the sickest patients as quickly as possible, which, when you think about it, is really the most important job of an emergency department. Unfortunately, we have a limited number of rooms and staff, which means that people occasionally have to wait. We have a trained and experienced triage nurse whose sole job is to make sure that the sickest people are seen first.

You might be better served informing the general public about how an emergency department really works, rather than going for the easy, cheap shot regarding ER waiting times and belittling the "hapless and overextended staff members" who bust their butts daily trying to make every patient's wait a shorter one.

The movie tickets that you chose to focus on may seem cheesy to you, but we hope that they signal an honest effort to let the people of our city know that we are concerned about waiting times and are doing everything in our power to make things better. Thanks for your support.

Chris Hughes, RN, St. Mary's Medical Center

Crossroads Cruelty, June 14

Blight Rail
Thank you, David Martin, for your excellent column. I'll wager that the real-estate tax burden presented to owners in the Crossroads District was intended to weed out as many "little guys" as possible, thereby eliminating undue distractions northward on the way to the holy grail of all entertainment venues. After all, our fair city's fiscal solvency nefariously teeters on the success of an out-of-town enterprise, the downtown entertainment district.

The unfairly treated Crossroads urban pioneers managed to rebuild their blighted area without the aid of tax abatements. Many of them invested everything they had to bring dilapidated old buildings up to code, an undertaking that was not cheap. Nobody running a café or an art gallery is getting rich anyway.

Also, as everyone in Jackson County has seen their real-estate taxes sustain hefty increases since the arena was approved by gullible voters, I can't help but think that we're having to make up for what surcharges on car rentals and hotel rooms won't cover to rebuild downtown. The money has to come from somewhere.

The downtown revitalization effort has forced viable, taxpaying businesses out, razed the whole area and handed a company from Minnesota the keys to the city.

Cheryl Sortore, Kansas City, Missouri

Risks and Rewards
When developers undertake large projects, they also assume large financial risks. Tax breaks are set up by governing bodies to entice developers and entrepreneurs to take risks so that blighted areas can be revitalized. Why? Because flourishing businesses and prospering residents produce more tax revenues.

The next time David Martin feels the need to lash out by kicking some inanimate object, perhaps he should direct his ire at those who feel the need to collect these taxes. Martin and others have fallen prey to the premise that just because assessed values increase, taxes must increase proportionately. Martin refers to tax assessments that have increased 200, 300 and 400 percent, but instead of being outraged at the disproportionate level of taxation, he directs his anger at the developers and entrepreneurs who are working to revitalize the area.

Do the residents of the Crossroads receive 200, 300 or 400 percent more government services such as police and fire protection, improved streets and sanitation, and schools that are good enough to bring families with children back from the suburbs? When we can answer this question with a resounding yes, then and only then are taxes of that magnitude justified. However, it's nonsense to assume that just because the assessed value of a property has increased, it justifies confiscatory levels of taxation.

Martin would be better served directing the spotlight on those who feel the need to punish the longtime residents of the Crossroads by perpetuating the myth that increased property values must equate to increased property taxes.

Bryan Cochina, Kansas City, Missouri

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