Letters from the week of August 1, 2002

Norman Invasion 

Letters from the week of August 1, 2002

Pride and prejudice: Regarding C.J. Janovy's "Gay Games" (July 25):

As a member of the KC Pride Democratic Club, my first response was positive as I read the unidentified quote leading off the article: "I had hoped that we had progressed beyond just 'I need to be elected because Tim's gay and I'm gay.'" That is pure Terry Norman. He has no illusion that anyone should be elected because they are or are not gay. With all due respect to Representative Marsha Campbell, with whom Terry is close to evenly matched in platform and policy, the gay community deserves Terry's representation.

When I found that quote attributed to Van Zandt, I was saddened at Tim's suggestion that Terry's candidacy was a backward step. That only reinforces how much he has sold out a large block of his constituents. Then again, why should Tim care? He's leaving Kansas City for "bigger and better" things in Washington D.C. He got what he wanted out of us, and now his only interest is in seeing his "girlfriend" get re-elected.

Terry Norman has based his career and his campaign on the needs of people. I have tried for three years to find a place where my voice could be heard in Kansas City Democratic politics. Four Freedoms never gave me that opportunity. KC Pride has. I did not spend my evening posing for pictures. I had substantive conversations with almost every labor and community representative present at the Beaumont that night. I did not expect a glowing report of our efforts. I did expect fair reporting. I guess I had set my hopes too high.
Ken Gies
Kansas City, Missouri

Marsha, Marsha, Marsha: Thanks for that great exposé on Terry Norman! I am a big fan of Marsha Campbell, based on my school-choice leanings. I did listen to Terry at the Volker neighborhood meeting this month and was surprised to hear nothing come out of his mouth as far as his plans should he be elected. Marsha was very specific on her ideas, issues she planned to work on and her preference for committee assignments.

All Terry said he would do is fight for social justice; then he asked for questions from the audience. I am worried that he may be elected, and then I do not see any representation for our community.

Thank you again for a clear picture of his hypocrisy.
Sandy Aguirre Mayer
Kansas City, Missouri

Club wars: Not even expensive cologne could hide the stench emanating from July 25 issue of the Pitch. The story on the 39th District state representative's race may have carried the byline of C.J. Janovy, but its sour odor came from the bitter old queens in the Four Freedoms Democratic Club, who have designated Janovy as their attack dog.

It's way past time Kansas City lesbians and gays had a political club that was not all puffed up with its overblown sense of self-importance. Just as the black civil-rights movement had its share of "Uncle Toms" who wished to concede and assimilate at every opportunity, Four Freedoms is viewed as "Auntie Toms," content to accept crumbs from the majority's table instead of demanding a seat.

Ironically, Janovy notes that Norman was shaking hands at the gay pride celebration while Tim Van Zandt hosted a cozy little get-together where he wouldn't have to rub shoulders with the rabble. Van Zandt is a product of the elitist thinking spawned by Four Freedoms. That's why he leveraged his time in the legislature into a cushy job after he was term-limited out instead of working to develop new leaders among Kansas City's gay and lesbian community.

Using words like best bud and girlfriend to describe Marsha Campbell, Janovy describes her as a friend of the gay community. Hmm, last time I checked my gay slang dictionary, those words were more synonymous with fag hag. Campbell voices support for the gay community but then takes donations from Hallmark, which helped sponsor the recent "ex-gay" conference in Liberty. If Campbell had any integrity, she'd return that tainted money -- but I don't think Campbell and integrity have had more than a passing acquaintance.
Van Buckley
Kansas City, Missouri

Presidential Campaign
TIFfed off: Thank you for reporting in Casey Logan's "Legal Vacancy" (July 18) on how tax-increment financing is working in KC. I appreciate knowing more about the decision-making process and the issues and people involved.

I would like to keep those decisions way out in the open and available for discussion by the public.
Mary Ellen Vincent
Kansas City, Missouri

Show me the money: I don't necessarily agree with subsidizing every project that comes along, but this is exactly the kind of obstructionist activity that makes it difficult to get businesses interested in downtown redevelopment. It sounds like the developer bought the Hotel President based on getting tax-increment financing and now the TIF commission wants to yank his financing.

Also, if this building is the one I am thinking of, I have often wished someone would develop it. I don't think we need a new park there!
Robin Urmanic
Kansas City, Kansas

Claws and Effect
Animal story: The Kansas City Strip article by Allie Johnson was apparently intended as satire (July 18). However, satire should be subtle and slyly humorous. This piece missed badly on both counts. It had all the subtlety of a sledgehammer and was sadly lacking in humor.

Furthermore, it was aimed at inappropriate targets. Dr. Wourms has spent his entire adult life in the fields of conservation and animal welfare, where he has achieved a large measure of success. Conservation is one of the foundations of the Kansas City Zoo, along with education and research. Unfortunately, no zoo has discovered the secret of eternal life, and animals die there, just as they do elsewhere. Even now, some geriatric animals, crowd favorites all, are nearing the end of their natural lives. They will, however, have lived full and healthy lives.

The Kansas City Zoo, with its dedicated keepers, on-site hospital and nationally renowned veterinarian, has an estimable record in the field of animal care.
Kenneth Lee

War of the Words
The Cook's tale: I would like to add one clarification to Kendrick Blackwood's article "Mary Quite Contrary" (July 18). I was at the April 15 forum where Mary Pilcher Cook debated Cindy Neighbor. While I disagree with Mary on most issues and certainly on school finance, I felt that the moderation at that event was not evenhanded. Ambush might be too strong a term -- but not by much.

I was very disappointed in the moderator for the confrontational nature of her questions to Ms. Cook. That sort of bias just diminishes the credibility of the forum and serves neither the candidates nor the public. I am not surprised that Ms. Cook was reluctant to appear at another such forum.
Name Withheld Upon Request

Tax Cut
Bear hunt: Casey Logan's "Little Blight Lies" (July 11) missed one important indicator of blight: The presence of those awful giant teddy bears. Maybe the teddy bears have a special insight; they seem to congregate in formerly blighted areas (Union Station, Crown Center, Crossroads) as well as areas teetering on the precipice of blight (the Plaza, Crown Center, Leawood, Lee's Summit).

Thankfully, the teddy bears were considerate to spare currently blighted neighborhoods from the additional burden of their presence.
Eric Rogers
Kansas City, Missouri


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