Kansas City, Missouri
Yellow Trick Road
Kans-ass: Regarding Tony Ortega's Kansas City Strip ("Wussies of Oz," June 16): Excellent commentary on our embarrassing state Legislature and its ongoing lack of balls to do the job its members were elected to do. Ortega's article easily encapsulates why I have zero respect for our state's legislative branch. Keep up the good work.
Hard to stomach: If the bizarre babies-floating-in-soup image was supposed to draw readers into your June 16 cover story, it probably succeeded ("Mm, Mm Good"). Too bad that, once readers were hooked, writer Allie Johnson buried the real story of the Kansas Legislature's efforts to curtail abortion access amid salacious accusations of cannibalism. How slanted is this story? Readers endure eight references to "eating babies" and "cannibalism" before Johnson quotes a former staffer who refutes the allegations. And roughly 4,000 words into a 4,400-word story, she drops a single quote admitting that despite 17 witness interviews, no fetus-eating charges were ever substantiated. Why didn't the writer provide more context? With 700 open cases on various types of clinics pending investigation by the Board of Healing Arts, it seems unlikely that Rajanna's clinic is the only one that failed to meet existing regulatory standards. If anything, the admission of open cases indicates the need for more investigators, not laws; if investigators are already stretched too thinly to address current violations, new regulations are unlikely to make anyone safer. In the end, Rajanna was shut down because he violated existing regulations. Legitimate abortion providers who genuinely care about the women they serve were as appalled as anyone by his clinic and glad to see his license revoked. Unfortunately, the Women's Health Protection Act had nothing to do with concern for women's health. More regulations mean increased costs, more clinics forced out of business and greater impediments to reproductive freedom for Kansas women -- a scenario far scarier than anything concocted by Rajanna's staff.
Talk soup: I am afraid that much of the article and the sick-o image of babies in soup capitalized on the sensational claims of the anti-choice crowd at the expense of the truth. For the benefit of those readers who may have missed it: The good news is that the existing laws can be used to shut down clinics like the one described in the story. This case demonstrated the need for vigilance to protect would-be patients from "bargain" medical care. The specific procedures provided by Dr. Rajanna at the clinic should have had little bearing on the case. It is laughable the extent to which the majority of the Kansas Legislature was suckered, again, by the ridiculous tactics of the anti-choice lobby, which, like the Pitch, will go to extraordinary lengths to attract attention to its cause. Thank goodness for Gov. Sebelius' wisdom, integrity and political courage in once again vetoing this effort to create bad law. There is no justification for creating a separate and unequal standard for medical treatment for women. I hope the Pitch and the Kansas legislators will be more protective of their credibility in the future. Regardless, we can expect the antis to stay way out there in the outer limits. When their mission is to legislate, for all, a moral code of a religious minority, where else could they be?
Eleanor Adams Harris
No shiitake: As a frequent diner and avid supporter of Café Trocadero, I was interested to read Charles Ferruzza's take on the restaurant's reincarnation as Dragonfly Grill ("All Aflutter," June 16).
Like Ferruzza, I suppose I could also learn to share the smaller plates of food, which I often do at other eateries serving tapas such as Carmen's Café and La Bodega. I just can't quite bring myself to forgive or forget that final meal this past December at Café Trocadero, where, after a disastrous dinner, I walked away feeling shanghaied by the owners, who likely fancied themselves as midtown hipsters and perhaps thought no one would care or realize that they'd strangled and then stripped the restaurant of its alluring identity. Dragonfly Grill might well be brilliant, even taking into account the owners' disregard for loyal patrons of Café Trocadero, but under the same guidance was already flawed and almost certainly doomed to failure before spreading its wings and attempting to lift off.
Kansas City, Missouri