Letters from the week of October 16, 2003

Suit of Armour 

Letters from the week of October 16, 2003

Barber chop: Regarding Allie Johnson's "The Bellerive Tolls" (September 25): Oh, boy! Another one-sided story by the Pitch! Sloppy as usual. This article sounds like a witch hunt.

I have lived at the Bellerive for almost four years. I have had some of the same problems as the other people complaining in your article. But no one's perfect. I would suggest slamming some of the other properties along Armour Boulevard that have been unkempt and run down by drugs and poor management. This entire area is historic.

Funny thing is, one of the former managers of the Bellerive is currently managing one of the rundown and drug-and-prostitution-infested apartment buildings east of the Bellerive! So is it really management that's a problem? Or is it someone with a personal issue against the current management at Bellerive? Sure, I would be pissed, too, when a lunatic decides to turn on fire sprinklers for no reason. This much damage is going to take time to repair. And yes, the gate to the parking lot is "out of order" a lot, maybe because someone decides to vandalize it and then it takes time to get someone here to repair it. Also, Yankee Hill apartments have been renovated and are almost full to capacity -- that was incorrectly reported in Johnson's story, too!

Brent Barber's personal issues and lawsuits have nothing to do with the Bellerive. The former owners are the ones who chose to sell the property. If they sold to someone that isn't worthy, then that's off on the former owners. Of course, I would not want the Bellerive to fall to slum status. There is plenty of blame to go around. The Hyde Park Neighborhood Association could be more involved in the Armour Boulevard area. The city could crack down on the crap that goes on in the neighborhood. The Bellerive management certainly has a responsibility to maintain this area, but everyone needs to work together and be patient. And the Pitch, for once, could do a positive story that's fair and balanced!
Tim Rule
Kansas City, Missouri

Check-out time: This reader came to Kansas City sixty years ago. While I never had reason to visit the hotel, I always admired the Armour Boulevard neighborhood. I lived in the Hotel Mayfair on Linwood Boulevard and deemed Linwood to be the most beautiful boulevard I had ever seen. A few old mansions, fine churches and apartment buildings. Alas! Today, they are just a memory. I recall hearing reports about Liberace strolling about between his performances in the Casbah.

In my second reading of the article, I learned that the Bellerive is registered in the National Historic Registry. Does the Historic Registry not carry enough clout to kick a few greedy butts? Or, how does one get the community shakers and doers to offer their services?
Richard Corliss
Kansas City, Missouri

Short Cuts
Beauty and the beast: In response to Jen Chen's Kansas City Strip (September 25): We wholeheartedly agree that the present Plaza management has made a quantum leap lately. However, it's a backwards leap, and we hope that Beauty Brands is not the harbinger of Plaza management's projects.

The management seems to make it increasingly difficult or impossible for stores (like Anteks) to operate here. This is another step backwards, as time will tell. J.C. Nichols was anxious to work with his tenants rather than against them. This is why the Plaza used to draw shoppers from a huge surrounding area. We hope that you will continue this effort to get those in power to wake up and smell the roses before it's too late!

We disagree on Panera Bread, though. The Plaza no longer offered a place to have a morning pastry and coffee at an affordable price and hear soft classical music. It soothes rather than frazzles the nerves. (You'll find that this fact gets more important as you age!)
E. Ward Cero
Kansas City, Missouri

Annual Rate
Lend me your fears: Yet another article on payday lending (Allie Johnson's "King of Pain," September 18)? Aren't there more pervasive issues that deserve annual coverage? It seems the Church/Community Organization "strategy" is to develop a relationship with a local reporter and feed news stories to the Pitch. In essence, the Pitch is being used as a public relations news agency on behalf of the CCO.

This might have to do with the fact that the CCO hopes to secure money from foundation grants that have a current objective of improving consumer lending. These request deadlines are coming soon, so her article is most timely. No doubt this article will wind up as part of the CCO's bid for foundation grants.
Imani Malaika
Kansas City, Missouri

Roped In
Tavern on the scene: I disagree with Charles Ferruzza's review "Calling All Cowboys" (September 25).

I've been a customer of City Tavern since it opened. Most Friday nights, you'll find me at the bar for dinner and drinks. It's a great way to kick off my weekend.

Both bartenders, Sean and Mike, are far from being "bumpkins." These guys are current on movies, music and sports. I've seen them get slammed, kick out drinks and maintain their cool. They earn their money.
David Youmans


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