Letters from the week of March 2nd 2000


Letters from the week of March 2nd 2000

Great piece on hip-hop (Reverberations, "Fact checkin'," Feb. 17-23). I always look forward to the music pieces in Pitch; they are usually the first things I turn to every week.

I totally disagree with Star columnist Jason Whitlock, and I believe that hip-hop culture has created more good than harm, but sometimes I wonder if music could be more positive without having to resort to censorship or blame. I think that those two options are far worse than anything we are dealing with now.

This debate has gone on for years and years, and there are no good answers. When I was a kid, my grandparents just swore that the hard rock music I listened to was going to send me straight into a drug-induced hell. Well, it didn't. Some of my friends took that awful path, but it wasn't because of Ozzy Osbourne or Judas Priest. It was because no one listened, or no one cared, or no one took the time to talk to them and help them deal with the world.

I'm a dad now, and if my son wants to listen to Kid Rock, Korn, or RDV, it's fine by me, because we can talk about it. I love him, I let him know I love him, and I explain how the world is to him. I won't allow a song to do that, not by itself.

Thanks for your time, and keep up the great work.

-- Jason K. Gober
Overland Park, Kan.

We at Phatahdat Records, an independent record label in KCK, think that Shawn Edwards' article, "Fact checkin'," is right on. Although we like to hear Jason Whitlock on AM 810 and read his sports articles in The Star, we thought he was way off base on what he wrote on the connection between hip-hop music and NFL players.

Mr. Whitlock and others should leave hip-hop reporting to those who eat, live, and breathe it daily. We think that Shawn Edwards touched on the good and bad about hip-hop culture. What culture doesn't have good or bad in it? We know that hip-hop and rap culture is not "pristine," but it should not be blamed for all of the ills in society, especially urban society.

We won't rehash everything you stated, because you did a good job, and everyone should read this article for themselves.

Phatahdat Records is in the trenches every day, preserving this art form. It is nice to know that people like Shawn Edwards are in there with us.


-- John "JD" Daniels Jr.
Phatahdat Records
Kansas City, Kan.

I enjoyed Bruce Rodgers' "The captain" (Pitchout, Feb. 17-23). I'm originally from Kansas City and now live in Houston. I'm enjoying Pitch online and especially enjoyed his article about the captain. I will be a regular reader from now on. Keep up the creative talent; it's appreciated by your readers.

-- Name withheld by request

Thank you for publishing the column on the Union Station ripoff ("Science sham," Feb. 3-9). Patrick Dobson put in print what I have been telling everyone I talk to. The Union Station Science Museum? How could that cost $250 million? We have been ripped off again!

I went to the well-publicized grand opening of Union Station and the Science Museum. I was shocked. For the exorbitant entrance fee, I expected to see some science. I do not remember seeing any science at all. In fact, the fountain was probably the best exhibit of all. And you could see it for FREE. The rest looked like an oversized McDonald's playground. How can our civic leaders call this a science museum and keep a straight face?

I told my wife that it looked like someone had a great time spending a lot of money doing something "artsy." I was under the impression that the whole basement area was to be converted into the science museum. I remember how large the passenger loading dock area was. What a waste!

I think the Union Station is beautiful and should be used for something, but housing a playground is ridiculous. The interior of the Union Station was very nice; I missed the long bench seats that were in the main waiting areas, though.

I too was upset that the public was not allowed access to the whole main floor of the station.

-- Jerry Swaffar
Independence, Mo.

As a longtime fan of Pitch and a former employee of The Daily Grind (yes, I was working the night we went up in flames) I wanted to write and say that Andrew Miller's article, "Access denied" (Feb. 3-9), is the best thing I have seen in Pitch in a long time.

The underage scene in Kansas City has been a mess for as long as I can remember. The city makes it almost impossible to keep an all-ages club open. Not that I'm placing the blame entirely on the city; the people who have owned these clubs have had the heart but not the business sense to make it work, and the kids themselves have been a problem. The patrons of any future all-ages clubs need to know that they MUST respect the rules of the club and the laws of the city. One of the best things I've seen was a sticker on the wall at The Fusebox (one of many failed venues) that said, "It's your scene, support it." But remember that in supporting it, you also must respect it.

There are all-ages clubs all over the world that work. They work because the city, owners, and patrons work together to make it so. Financially, it's not easy to run a club. There were nights where we worked for free because there wasn't enough to pay us and the bands. I'd love to do it myself, but I know that I don't have the knowledge or the money.

This city CAN have an all-ages club that stays open for more than a year and a half. It's just going to take a lot of work on the part of EVERYONE involved. We are a smart scene, and we can do it if we put our hearts and minds into it. I wish everyone who goes out on a limb to try to do this every day the best of luck, and I say a very heartfelt THANK YOU to Andrew Miller and everyone who helped with the article. We need voices in the crowd to make it work here in Kansas City.

-- Brandy Stube
Kansas City, Mo.

'The exposé on the Oz project ("The wizard behind the Oz curtain," Feb. 10-16), gave your readership an excellent synopsis and picture of this grandiose boondoggle. It's unfortunate that several public officials continue to pave the "yellow brick road" for this empty promise -- and potential waste of taxpayer and investor dollars.

It's also shameful that the elected representatives of Kansas cannot hold the U.S. Army and the U.S. government accountable for their 40-year legacy of contaminating our environment. Instead, they are allowing the General Service Administration (GSA) and the U.S. Army to do their utmost to quickly unload the contaminated property, divesting themselves of responsibility for cleanup.

We should be outraged at the way this overt sham is playing out before our very eyes. I just hope the voters will remember the facilitators and purveyors who have allowed this charade to move forward, unabated and without public accountability.

When the final curtain comes down on this project, and undoubtedly it will, watch the responsible parties heading for the tall prairie grasses of the Land of Oz.

-- Ken Davis
Mayor, City of Countryside
Countryside, Kan.

We thank PitchWeekly and Patrick Dobson for the hard work spent in gathering the facts and the way Dobson reported those facts in his outstanding cover story, "The wizard behind the Oz curtain." He said it like it is.

-- Jimmie D. Oyler, principal chief
United Tribe of Shawnee Indians
DeSoto, Kan.

Oz is nothing more than a front to fill pockets of developers who will never bring this project to an end.

This all started years ago, when the original idea was to have it in the area of 110th to 126th streets between State and Parallel avenues in Kansas City, Kan. The Board of Public Utilities gave $600,000-plus for a feasibility study. As of yet, I have never seen any results of this "feasibility study." Where did the money go? Was there any accountability? Now another group is doing the same: bilking money from the state, for a pie-in-the-sky pipe dream, which is actually ludicrous.

We have Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun. Can the area support another amusement area? I seriously doubt it. We need only look at the failures around the city (River City Market area, Woodlands, Science City, Power and Light District) to see that this Oz thing will only make some people rich at the taxpayers' expense.

This has been a dog that has been kicked too many times. The dog is dead, folks! Wake up.

-- Rob Robinson
Bonner Springs, Kan.

As a resident of Johnson County and the state of Kansas, I want to thank PitchWeekly for Patrick Dobson's story on the so-called Oz theme park. It was the most complete article that has been done to date. I'm sure it took a lot of hard work and time on his part.

It's the kind of reporting that the greater KC area has been lacking for a long time. The rest of the news reporters want to sit and be spoonfed their info. This story should be on the front page of every paper in this area.

The people of Johnson County and Kansas don't realize that they are being scammed out of 9,000 acres of prime park ground and that they are going to have to pay for it with their tax money.

-- Tom Price
Olathe, Kan.

I am a regular reader and I was looking over your Web site when I came across the article about the Wizard of Oz theme park. Although this will (supposedly) bring more tax money and revenue, it will give Kansas a worse name than it already has. I am not anti-gay, but in the past decade, the phrase describing homosexuals as "over the rainbow" has increased in popularity. Kansas already has the distinction of being "full of wheat-farming, cow-tipping hicks."

Again, I stress that I am not an anti-homosexual. I went to the "youth in government" junior legislature with a bill to legalize homosexual marriages in Kansas. It passed all the necessary hearings (despite a few negative comments to the authors of the bill) and was signed by the governor. It was one of only six that passed.

But I say again that this park will bring a negative name to our already facetious label. And in my own opinion, it doesn't really seem very interesting, especially since 90 percent of the cast and crew are deceased.

-- Name Withheld by Request
Roeland Park, Kan.

I want to commend and congratulate PitchWeekly on Patrick Dobson's magnificent article concerning the REAL truth about this Oz fiasco! A million "kudos" for printing an honest and balanced account about why this particular Oz thing is evil! You have, indeed, brought to light the truthful facts about the so-called "magic" of the man behind the curtain. It's sickening, too, that Kansas legislators -- many of whom aren't even from Johnson County -- would give a green light to this project without first fully checking out ALL the facts. Forget the "scarecrow" -- if anyone needs a brain, they do!

The sad part is that Johnson Countians had to suffer through this phony-baloney process, which wasted a lot of taxpayer time and money. This pattern with Oz is getting to be familiar! A similar situation can be found just across the state line, with the Richards-Gebaur abortion! Big corporate money buys favors from politicians, who then impose their will on the peasants! It's all done with smoke and mirrors. These razzle-dazzle presentations help the corporate welfare folks achieve their goals! It's a vicious cycle!

How do we break the cycle? We ask the public to get involved! We ask them to get off their couches, put down their "clickers," and become responsible citizens by either writing letters or making phone calls. It seems that while we are chasing the almighty buck through the front door, our freedoms are escaping through the back door.

That dovetails with the four things that should be the most important to us but aren't: 1) the Lord; 2) our families; 3) our health; and 4) our freedoms! We can start with Oz and Richards-Gebaur! It's not too late. For Oz, join TOTO and call 913-856-5295. For Richards-Gebaur, call either FoR-GA at 816-331-0593 or MOMS at 816-331-8383.

-- Robert Haggerton
Overland Park, Kan.

I appreciated the article on "two-spirited" people and how they are viewed by Native Americans ("Talking Circle brings 'two-spirited' Native Americans together," Feb. 10-16). Such reporting helps counterbalance the wave of homophobia we have seen. Keep up the good work.

-- Matt Ignoffo
Eatontown, N.J.

Patrick Dobson's cover feature, "Finally getting people somewhere" (Jan. 13-19), was excellent. The headline stated: "Public transit starts getting the attention it deserves and needs." We wholeheartedly agree.

We very much appreciate your great comments on the performance of Kansas City Area Transportation Authority operator Bill Newsome. We have known for some time that Bill is one of our best transit operators. We very much appreciate your sharing your perceptions of his performance with your readers.

Thanks again for the excellent coverage.

-- Richard F. Davis
General Manager
Kansas City Area Transportation Authority
Kansas City, Mo.

Is it not bad enough that we have to see enough ugly women, but now we have to be tolerant of men dressed up as ugly women? Who told them they looked good?

I am a tolerant middle-age woman who has no gripe with homosexuals. However, the guy on the cover of the Jan. 20-26 issue ("Men with fashion sense to spare") and most all men who dress up with no waists, ham-size hands, wrinkled brows, guts, and totally over-made up make me and many folks SICK. Give me a break! My 14-year-old son had to turn over the Pitch because the guy dressed as a woman on the cover was sooo Uggllyyy (sic).

Be who you are: man or woman, gay or straight, but don't pretend to be something you're not. I'm sure this makes me way unhip. So be it.

-- Name withheld by request
Shawnee, Kan.

Please bring back Dr. Carroll's SexFiles. The answers in that feature were direct and factual and not offensive to any direct preference. You can find Dan Savage's editorial ability on the walls of any interstate rest stop.

I would be ashamed to refer the Pitch to anyone for fear that they would think I am promoting his column.

-- Randy Bledsoe
Paola, Kan.

What IS all the fuss about Melissa Etheridge and David Crosby? Was it not Melissa's live-in partner who had the baby? If so, then Melissa is not biologically connected to the child, and I would guess (not being a lawyer, I cannot claim to know) that Melissa has no legal status where the child is concerned.

It seems that Melissa's announcement was just to generate publicity and as such, should best be ignored. It really isn't newsworthy for me, and the potshot taken at the Kansas City Star reporter (PitchForks, Jan. 27-Feb. 2, and Mail, Feb. 10-16) was rather childish.

-- Kenneth Bate
Grandview, Mo.

I sincerely thank your wonderful readers for voting me "Best Television News Anchor" in your recent Best of Kansas City poll (Jan. 27-Feb. 2).

Those of us who serve the public in the role of covering the news rely on news consumers for their readership and their viewership. It is most appreciated to have acceptance reaffirmed by the votes of individuals in our community.

I congratulate PitchWeekly for being a continuing force and sometimes conscience in our Kansas City community. Keep up the good work.

-- Larry Moore
KMBC Channel 9
Kansas City, Mo.


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