Thank you for Carolyn Szczepanski's insightful coverage of Kansas City, Missouri, School District candidate Airick Leonard West. I think the article highlighted West as a dedicated individual who is willing to make tremendous sacrifices for the children and people of Kansas City. I loved the personal take on his life choices, what he has been through, what has shaped him into the person he is today. I was left a little unclear about what makes Airick a good candidate. I think the dedication and motivation to run are clearly evident in what he commits his time and energy to. However, a dedicated individual with no vision has little to offer our failing district. What does he want to do and change in the school district? His Web site, kcu4ea.org, provides some of these foundational responses. I believe that Airick Leonard West provides a new and fresh vision that will bring the people of Kansas City together in a way we have never seen before. I also believe that the vision he champions for our city and our children is one that offers hope and the foundation for lasting change. I hope the people of Kansas City will join me on April 8 in voting for Airick West, a vote for our children and the future of our shared city.
Rachael Hoffman, Kansas City, Missouri
Thanks for your article on Airick Leonard West! It was nice to see press about the school district that wasn't just bad news. He's dynamic and committed, and we all look forward to hearing more from him — and about him.
Sandie Rosenblatt, Kansas City, Missouri
As a UMKC graduate student studying urban policy, I've had a unique opportunity to learn more about Kansas City urban issues, particularly those of the 3rd District. The community in the 3rd District has numerous projects underway to improve the area's economic and social well-being, and Airick Leonard West's high-energy participation is a definite plus. So I appreciated your coverage of West, his run for the Kansas City School Board and his dedication to the area and its youth. But I have to admit that I would have liked to see more about his concrete plans for change for the KC school district. I think the entire metropolitan area shares a concern and frustration with the education situation and would really like to understand what specific policies and programs would bring hope to the district. Maybe you can do a follow-up?
Sandra Price, Overland Park
You do your readers and your subjects disservice by permitting Charles Ferruzza to continue as your food critic. He fails to cover the required subjects of any good review: quality, atmosphere and service. Worse still, his hubris suggests bigotry lurking in the background. How can he give a fair review?
In "Room Out South," Ferruzza spends six column inches whining about fabulous memories and glamour lost by time and distance before comparing those memories to Room 39's new restaurant in Mission Woods. The weak premise lasts through half the review, until he reveals his true criticism of an "atmosphere influenced by the more upscale clientele" that he later calls "stone-faced." What would he know about any of them, outside his own prejudices? Perhaps they were a tired suburban couple, relieved to have a night away from the kids. Perhaps they have lived abroad, speak several languages and are true gourmands! Instead, under his pen, they became "a more sanitized version of anything you'd find on 39th Street" — as if that's a disease.
Fortunately for the intrepid reader, the food review begins thereafter. And it sounds fantastic in quality, imagination and style. But the damage is already done. For those who gave up reading, the restaurant received a bad review. And those who did trudge through were left with a mixed feeling. Perhaps some descriptive comments about the service, hopefully a good experience, would have positive overall results. Alas, that portion of the review is missing.
An apology is in order: first, to the owners and staff of Room 39, who have given us creativity with style, quality and bright service; and, second, to your readers, who seek a fair and enlightened peek into the area's food venues.
Kurt Van Keppel, Kansas City, Missouri