Feature: "Monopoly Boy," October 16
The latest scandal from the BPU follows decades of scandals: The 2006 incidents of BPU management and their cronies dining out lavishly and visiting a KCMO strip club with BPU credit cards; concealing information regarding pollution at their coal-fired power plants; using ratepayer money to purchase suites at Kansas Speedway and blocks of tickets to Chiefs games; racism against black employees bypassed for promotion; racism against employees of Middle Eastern ancestry who were followed by BPU-hired investigators; board members arranging employment for the kin; kickbacks from consultants; FBI investigations; on and on for decades.
All previous solutions have failed. The deepest, darkest problem that has plagued Wyandotte County ever since the 1960s is nepotism and patronage between the Unified Government and the BPU. When so many people are cousins, second cousins, high-school classmates, drinking buddies, etc., reform becomes impossible.
The best long-term solution is as follows:
(1) The BPU's electric operations should be sold. This includes the aged coal-fired power plants, the electric transmission grid and the franchise rights to sell electricity in KCK. All sale proceeds should be used to pay off BPU debt.
(2) The BPU water-treatment plant and its operators should be consolidated into the Unified Government public works department.
(3) The managers who have turned a blind eye toward misuse of public funds should all be let go.
Kansas City, Kansas, residential ratepayers consist mostly of working-class people, poor people and retired people. They've been gouged for years by the BPU. Local politicians who defend the BPU betray the people they represent.
There is no other solution but to dismantle the BPU as we know it.
Sen. Chris Steineger, Kansas City, Kansas
Feature: "The Ghosts of St. Elizabeth," October 9
Concerning Peter Rugg's fine article "The Ghosts of St. Elizabeth," there exists a golden opportunity for the pastor, Father Bruce, and Bishop Finn to turn a negative into somewhat of a positive. Why not at least offer to build a monument to the victims of sexual abuse on the rectory's property. In addition, invite the victims to a face-to-face meeting with Father Bruce, Bishop Finn, Bishop Hart and Father Reardon, in front of the parishioners. The healing must start right away.
David Biersmith, Kansas City, Missouri
Thank you for a sensitive and powerful article by Peter Rugg, outlining the ongoing suffering of victims of sexual abuse by priests. As a psychotherapist who has worked for many years with victims of sexual abuse, I think I can safely say that the church's poor handling of these cases (the coverups, the legal maneuvers, etc.) cause as much pain or more than the original abuse. My advice to the kind priest who wishes to speak out but is afraid of saying the wrong thing: Speak anyway. Survivors of the hell of clergy abuse will forgive your awkwardness and will be greatly comforted by your empathy and courage.
Peg Schwartz, St. Louis
Unfortunately, St. Elizabeth's is just one of thousands of churches and rectories around the country holding secrets of sexual abuse. We must continue this difficult conversation; future generations depend on it. It is a shame that Father Bruce didn't invite one of the victims to address the congregation — maybe their response wouldn't have been so cavalier.
Peggy Warren, Wichita
Café: "Frittered Away," October 16
I loved Charles Ferruzza's review of the "new" Stephenson's. I won't waste my time — the original Stephenson's Old Apple Farm Restaurant was so bad two to three years before it closed, I can't imagine going to J.L. Stephenson's Santa Fe Inn. But my favorite line in the review was the waitress's statement regarding the fact that there are no fancy restaurants in Raytown, just Applebee's! What a laugh: Applebee's fancy? Is that an oxymoron or what?
Deanna Rudd, Prairie Village
Music: Wayward Son, September 18
I was wondering, how about you do an article on hip-hop men and family. Half of the hip-hop men you write about have kids and are not responsible fathers. So when my child gets of age and sees the things that were said about her father in an article, I would like to show her where I spoke up for her. When you look at pictures of the men in clubs and on the covers of CDs, a single mother like myself just wonders, what the hell am I going to tell my child when she sees this? The question a child asks is, "If he could do all this, then where was he for me?" I'm not a hater. I'm just a single black mother. While my daughter's father is always in the limelight, I'm the one who goes to the SAC meetings to know about my daughter's education. It amazes me. When can I stand up and speak for my child? When can I let my voice be heard?
Janeva Grigsby, Kansas City, MissouriClick here to write a letter to the editor.