Letters from the week of March 22, 2001

Letters 

Letters from the week of March 22, 2001

Sisters of No Mercy
Girls don't cry: Regarding Deb Hipp's "Tough Love" (March 15): This was one of the most terrible stories I have ever read. If this was an attack carried out by males on this female, all of the girls mentioned in the story would have called for the males to be sent to prison. I don't know how many times I have read where lesbians said they turned to women because of the violent tendencies of men. These so-called young women, who were nothing more than ugly witches, bent on revenge, showed more violence toward this poor girl than anything I have ever seen from males in my entire life.

For Dawn, 21 years old, and Courtney, 18 years old, to try to make the readers feel sorry for them is laughable. Courtney is right in one statement: All of the parties involved should have been sent to prison. And the one male, Jason, who participated in this attack, severely needs his ass kicked and then needs sent to Lansing, where he could be turned out as the punk he truly is.
William Wyrick
Overland Park


Female trouble: I was amazed at the lengths to which these young girls and guy went to feed their need for acceptance and excitement. I praise the victim for making it and wish only peace of mind in her future. Justice was not sought completely, but I am glad at least two of the girls are facing tough penalties for their crimes. The way teens are these days, I would hate to be growing up today -- it's just scary.
Carolyn Dobbs
Kansas City, Missouri
Store Wars
Requiem for a dream: After reading Kendrick Blackwood's article "Gunning for Him"(March 8), I became disturbed. Since when is it a crime to be a legitimate businessman? I have never met Tony Ragusa, but I admire him for going into a "war zone" each day and trying to make an honest living. Mr. Ragusa has made numerous attempts to work with the system, but the system has apparently made him out to be the bad guy. Furthermore, Mr. Ragusa pays taxes. These taxes go toward supporting the very community in which his store is located. Sadly, that community and its leaders want Mr. Ragusa out.

To argue that Mr. Ragusa's store attracts dubious individuals is just plain stupid. Why would it be different from any other business in the community? People like Councilwoman Mary Williams-Neal and resident John Cyprus need a reality check. Perhaps they should crawl into the trenches with Mr. Ragusa and his employees and face armed robbers for the minimum wage. Or maybe they need a lesson in truthful and accurate history, not some watered-down revised version of history. For example, people immigrated to this country (including my ancestors and Mr. Ragusa's ancestors) to pursue a better life in as free a society as they could get. Many of these immigrants dreamed of owning their own businesses, and for some it became a reality.

It is a sad reflection on our contemporary society that hardworking people like Tony Ragusa are treated with such contempt.
David D. Youmans
Lawrence


Willams-Neal down: Once again, black folks have shot themselves in the foot. Before I go any further, let me inform you that I am a black man who has lived in this city all my life. Kendrick Blackwood's article pissed me off to no end and made me realize how scared a lot of our black "leaders" really are. To make a scapegoat out of Mr. Ragusa but to never even bother to confront the drug pushers and hookers that plague 27th and Troost like vultures is cowardice on the part of Mrs. Williams-Neal and her organization.

The B&C Party Shoppe isn't to blame for the problems at 27th and Troost; the hooligans and addicts are. When Mrs. Williams-Neal removes herself from her high horse and stands on the corner at about 1 a.m. and confronts the dealers and users, she'll have my support. Until then, she should back off.
Thomas McCormick
Kansas City, Missouri


Block party: I live no more than ten blocks away from 27th and Troost. Drunks, prostitutes and drug dealers have been roaming those areas for years. Mr. Ragusa can only do so much.

I do not go to the store, but I drive that way every day. There is a liquor store on almost every corner of 27th Street, so what is the difference? If the city were to make him move, then I think every liquor store on the corners should move. I frequently go to the liquor store at 27th and Brooklyn because that is a close spot for me when I need to pick up milk or cereal for my children. The same thing happens around there.

As long as you do not bother anyone, they will not bother you. Please do not make him move his store. If so, the police need to stake out all the liquor stores from Parade Park Liquors to Bea's Liquor. We do not need to close the stores, we just need to get the young kids off the street who are selling the drugs.

We are spending all this money on new buildings. We need to get a new building for the homeless and try to get people together to help the homeless find jobs and shelter. Get them into drug rehab. I myself know that Ms. Williams-Neal's Courtyard Apartments are not all merry, as she says. There are still drug dealers around her area, but she just can't see them.
Name Withheld Upon Request
Kansas City, Missouri


Shop talk: I enjoyed Kendrick Blackwood's story about Mr. Ragusa and his store. The people in the neighborhood who use the store and those who wish it to go are themselves neighbors. It seems only some of our neighbors have rights and others can be denied their rights. No easy answers can be found anywhere.

People will continue to buy what they need or want, even if it is down the street ten blocks or so. I can only say good luck to Mr. Ragusa and hope he can get a good price for his property and find a new business elsewhere in the neighborhood until they run him out of that location too.
Phil McPeake
Kansas City, Missouri


Schoolhouse Crock
That's Italian: I'm writing about Michelle Rubin's article "Culture Shock" (February 22). Normally, I read the Pitch for movie times, reviews, etc. I have also read some informative, well-written articles from time to time. However, this article was not one of them.

I took an interest in reading this article because I have a friend who is a teacher at the Scuola Vita Nova and, by the way, has a Ph.D. in languages, received in Rome, Italy. I am tired of articles about disgruntled parents (and God knows that we have thousands of those living in Kansas City!) who complain about the experience of principals and the undercertification of caregiving educators. Gina Valente's qualification for running an Italian cultural center/alternative school, among other things, is that she is willing to care for these parents' children's happiness and education.

I have sat in on the adult Italian language classes and toured the cultural center. I believe that Gina successfully retains the ethnicity of the Italian culture while supplying the pertinent classes for each of the children's age groups. Any child would be lucky to have the kind of exposure offered under Gina and her staff's care. With articles like this one, I think that I will stay with the movie section.
Name Withheld Upon Request
Overland Park


Permanent Vocation
Life on the assembly line: It has come to my attention that Allie Johnson's article "The Factory Life" (February 15) has created some controversy regarding Casco Area Workshop and its services. I would like to formally voice my support for Casco and the fantastic job it does serving its consumers, including Kenny Hain, of whom I am guardian.

I have always been extremely pleased with the staff and services at Casco. I have visited the workshop on many occasions and I have met with its staff. I have never once worried about the environment in which Kenny and others were working, nor was I ever given reason to doubt the professionalism or concern of all the staff employed at Casco Area Workshop.

The article did not reflect my personal level of confidence in Casco and its supportive services. I have been, and always will be, a supporter of Casco Area Workshop and its staff. I would recommend, without hesitation, Casco Area Workshop to anyone in need of its services.
Tom Willett
Liberty


Workers' comp: I worked for Vocational Services in North Kansas City for a year as an administrative assistant. In that time, I worked under four different supervisors and saw a lot of problems in the system and the management, but I also saw a place for the sheltered workshops and what they provide. Some of the problems are those inherent to all businesses: management taking much of the profit for salaries and offices for the top dogs, while the people who do the work are practically minimum wage and working in squalor. But some of the problems aren't their fault.

Some of the more able people are made to slow down in their production because if they make "too much money," they lose Social Security benefits. Businesses aren't contributing enough work to these workshops because they can get cheap labor elsewhere.

The concept is wonderful, though, for these people who otherwise would be vegging out in front of a TV in some group home. They have a place to go every day. They have responsibilities and a purpose. And they are thrilled to get their money at the end of the week. Sadly, it's only enough for maybe a movie or dinner at McDonald's, but it's theirs and they're proud of it.

I always felt that if the public were made more aware of this, perhaps the workshops would get the legislative help and philanthropic help needed to give these loving, special people a more ideal situation. Thank you for the publicity that may open dialogue.
Danni Nordstrom
Parkville


Spanish Dancer
North of the border: Again, the Pitch has asked its readers to vote for their favorite local musicians for its annual Kansas City/Lawrence Area Music Awards.

Take a look at the ballot, then take a look at the front page of the March 8 issue of The Kansas City Star. If you are white or black, maybe you won't notice anything. But if you are one of the area's 100,000 to 120,000 Hispanics, you might notice something. The population of Hispanic people is up 60 percent in the last decade, and again, the Pitch chooses to ignore Latin area music. No categories for Mexican, Ranchera, Nortena, Salsa, Merengue, Tejano, Tex-Mex, etc. Nada, zilch, zero!

The Klammies are just one example of how the Pitch ignores Mexican culture (unless it sends its Anglo food critic to review Ponak's or Margarita's). Not to be politically correct or anything, but the Pitch should take a look at its own editorial staff and think about the word "diversity." Why is diversity always about whites versus blacks, straight versus gay? Does any of your staff speak Spanish? If someone doesn't have any tattoos or a post pierced through his nose, would you hire him? Is the Pitch aware of the bands from Mexico that play at the Rainbow Center or the 18th Street National Guard Armory?

A la mejor, ustedes no estan escuchando.

Richard Wagner
Kansas City, Missouri

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