Letters from the week of November 30, 2000


Letters from the week of November 30, 2000

The Rail Story
The great train robbery: Again, the Kansas City voters let their prejudices and tunnel vision overwhelm them to vote down the light rail proposal. Must gasoline prices rise to $3 per gallon before we wise up? Must our air quality be as polluted as it is in Los Angeles before we wise up?

On the overnight call-in talk show "Wave Station X" at 90.1 KKFI, several listeners called and informed the host that they were against light rail. In various comments on and off the air, they stated that they were not giving "niggers" easier, cheaper access around the city, airport, and eventually the suburbs.

Some callers also stated that they personally didn't like Clay Chastain (Bruce Rodgers' "On a Rail," November 16). They called him a troublemaker, egotistical, and other derogatory names. These are stupid people who couldn't intelligently debate the issue, so they resort to childish ad hominem attacks. Unfortunately, a lot of people make important decisions based on that, and not the issue itself.

On the show Ruckus on KCPT Channel 19, a member of the panel stated one of the reasons he was against light rail was because while it was being built, massive amounts of traffic would have to be rerouted to the "bad" parts of town. Of course, that is a code word for the black and Latino communities.

To Mr. Chastain, thousands of us share your vision. If Kansas City would see how cities like St. Louis and San Francisco benefited, then residents would vote differently. But as long as mass transportation is stigmatized as transportation for the benefit of only minorities and poor people, then Kansas City will never have the status of a progressive city ready for the 21st century.
Chuck Tackett
Kansas City, Kansas

AIDS and Abetting
Licensed to ill: Regarding Tony Moton's "Dying for Dollars" (November 16): As a long-term survivor of AIDS, I have been around since the beginning (1983). I have lost all of my old friends one by one. This whole mess is turning into a racial issue and it is becoming absolutely crazy. Yes, there are problems with the health department and the Ryan White money, but I must say that every time I have contacted Judy Moore-Nichols on the phone, she has been very caring.

If anyone is being neglected, it has nothing to do with the color of our skin. The ones who are being neglected are the ones who are doing our part to take care of ourselves and control this disease.

We are the ones who are budgeting what monies we have to live. We pay our electric, rent, and buy groceries. If we run out of something, we go to HARCMart and ask for a pound of cheap coffee and are told, "Well, we have it, but you can't have any until next week," then we pick up a loaf of moldy bread and leave! I can tell you for six years I have never had a caseworker call and say, "I haven't heard from you for a while so I was just calling to see if you are OK!"

Yes, the entire Ryan White Program needs to be investigated. If the people on the planning committee could stand up to certain individuals, things would change. Salaries are being paid to people who do not do their jobs; money and assistance are being given to clients who in turn waste it on booze, drugs, and a night at the DB trying to "get off" one last time. I do feel sorry for those people, but they are not doing the rest of us any good. I am very certain that if my apartment needed cleaning I could not depend on any of the barflies, sex addicts, or "drop your pants" types of people to help.

I hope this will generate some other serious people or PWAs to speak out.
Name Withheld Upon Request
Kansas City, Missouri

Sludge Happens
The tao of poo: I would like to compliment Joe Miller on his excellent article concerning the sewage sludge runoff on Jim Bynum's farm ("Field of Bad Dreams," November 16). What is going on there is also true for several other locations around the country. People getting sick; dogs, cats, and other animals dying; and people being forced to stay shut up in their houses are some of the nuisances brought about by sludge. Keep up the good work.
Gary O. Schaefer
Grand Bay, Alabama
Theater of the Absurd
Fire Walker with me: In regards to a letter in the November 16 issue of the Pitch from William J. Sollner on a review written by your "supercilious simpleton" critic, Steve Walker: Mr. Sollner is correct in his assessment of Walker's ignorance of theater as a craft.

Having endured Walker's inept reviews for some time now, it is obvious that he really has no education or experience in any aspect of the theater. His reviews only point out his lack of knowledge in what a director contributes to the art form, the responsibility of an actor in the interpretation of the play, and the role of designers in enhancing the intent of the playwright.

We are so convinced of Walker's incompetence that he is no longer included in our Press Nights at the New Theatre. The Pitch only demeans its credibility by continuing to employ Walker as its theater critic.
Dennis D. Hennessy
and Richard Carrothers

Artistic Directors,
New Theatre Restaurant

Overland Park


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