Letters from the week of June 3, 2004

Suite Charities 

Letters from the week of June 3, 2004

The best week ever: Hella props to your May 20 issue. I freakin' fell out laughing at least five times. Thanks!

C.J. Janovy's article about Union Station (" Move Over, Mary") brought out some good points, especially about the MAD (Misfits and Dimwits) people running it into the ground. The Pitch ought to form the new committee (like the mayor ALWAYS does) for changes mentioned in the article and name it CAUSES (Citizens Against Union Station Executives' Stupidity) and make Jen Chen the chairwoman. As a side note, what if a minicasino were put in Union Station? That would solve the cash shortage problem. Hmmm ...

And regarding Tony Ortega's " How Suite It Is": Is one of the reasons why Jason Whitlock couldn't finish the marathon because of one too many buffets, especially at arenas? Hmmm ...

And I see TIF (This Is Fu**ed) is at work again in David Martin's " High-Class Handout." TIF is giving us a FIT and a PAIN in the ASS!

Keep up the good work!

Ed Hendricks
Kansas City, Missouri

Superior courts: Tony Ortega's "How Suite It Is" was interesting but seemed one-sided. I realize the Star has been reporting the arena issue with an incredibly positive spin, but it'd be great to receive a little more balanced information from the Pitch (even though the Strip has an editorial feel).

The KC downtown area definitely has a huge challenge ahead with the arena -- mainly if/what team and sport will agree to move to KC and if the arena can truly offer additional advantages from Kemper, other than being new and shiny. The idea of the masses sitting in cheap seats and sportswriters and rich people in ultra-luxury boxes is old news and unfortunately, part of the economics of any arena these days.

The part that really concerned me was the cities used as examples: Phoenix and Los Angeles. From the article, both of those cities have been failures, but there was no mention of successful new urban arenas or stadiums. Both Denver and Minneapolis added sports teams downtown with tremendous success. I lived in Minneapolis for several years and watched the Target Center kick-start the transformation of the downtown area. In the years following the building of the arena that houses the Timberwolves, restaurants and bars popped up within a three-block radius (twenty in the first year), and real estates prices increased significantly.

Obviously there is a great deal of work ahead of Kansas City as it begins to breathe life into downtown, but it'd be great to understand the challenges and opportunities rather than just the obvious negatives that come with professional sports today.

Alex Hannah

Arena balled: I read "How Suite It Is" and thought how despicable it is that a corporation can lay off thousands of employees while top management makes millions in bonuses and the company wants to spend money to have its name on Kansas City's arena.

Since Sprint has all this money to endorse the Kansas City arena, maybe it should keep the money instead and use it to pay its employees instead of laying them off.

This is just another example of corporate greed and arrogance that makes me want to puke.

Dave Butler
Kansas City, Missouri

Arrested development: Thank you for keeping us up on what is actually happening in Kansas City.

David Martin's "High-Class Handout" really hit home. Kansas Citians are treated like mushrooms: kept in the dark and force-fed a multitude of development projects aimed at Mr. and Mrs. Johnson County. Seems that the only people who stand to gain from all these development projects are the developers. It looks to me like all Mayor High and Mighty's bright ideas are nothing more than payback to these cronies.

As a resident of the urban core, it really burns me up to see our infrastructure crumbling and the truly blighted areas of the city that are in much more need than the Plaza going neglected for years.

Regarding Tony Ortega's "How Suite It Is": Personally, I am against the use of public funds for private development, especially the blind giveaways by our present mayor. Let the millions of dollars generated by area sports pay for the arenas and stadiums. I doubt that this market can afford to support the kind of revenue needed to buy a bunch of extraordinary players. Who loses in this game? The taxpayers, that's who.

The Pitch quoted from City Auditor Mark Funkhouser's report that "the use of TIF has been driven by private developers rather than explicit public strategies and policies." We need a transparent, public audit of TIF and Union Station.

My exception to the Pitch's recommendations in C. J. Janovy's "Move Over, Mary" as replacements for Union Station's board of directors would be to give more of a voice to the citizen groups that are now publicly opposing these developments. I am all for letting these citizens have more of a say, since they are standing up to the powers that be and showing some backbone. Please do a story on them -- I'd like to get to know them better!

Imani Malaika
Kansas City, Missouri

Cookie Dough
Girl sprout: After reading Tony Ortega's " To Hell With Cookies" (April 29), I reflected upon my decade in scouting. In Troop 202, we were learning rappelling and spelunking, car maintenance, Turkish dancing and computer science. We designed and made our own uniforms, went on many trips (including one to Hawaii) and also authored a genealogy book that is in the Library of Congress.

I lamented that if only we were young again (8 to 12 years old, to be more precise), my gal pals and I could be performing educational "plays" about "the secrets of a healthy life" in the "Princess ZIP" program distributed by the National Cattlewomen's Association. Wow! What other exciting badges are now available? "Sustainable Farming & Ecology" by Monsanto? "Playgrounds are a Blast!" by Nintendo? "Back Off! Self-Defense & You" by the NRA? "Yoga & Meditation" by Pfizer? "Justice & Rehabilitation" by Corrections Corporation of America? Or maybe even "Independent Music: Express Yourself!" by Clear Channel?

I imagined Girl Scouts' Juliette Lowe sitting on a hill in Scotland in 1912, dreaming up this progressive organization. She would be so proud that the Girl Scouts have continued to provide innovative opportunities for young women.

Sarah J. Beasley
Kansas City Missouri

Spirit Fest
Native speaker: Regarding Nadia Pflaum's " Chased by Spirits" (May 6): Hey, nice work in trying to portray "the modern Natives." I don't understand why this well-known paper would victimize Native American students, especially at Haskell Indian Nations University. The article put much disrespect on the school and focused on negativity in full force.

Why doesn't Pflaum attend HINU and really see what it is like -- perhaps do an internship? The thing is, I felt that the article was more or less making a joke of the school and Native people, especially the students. Not cool.

If you did read this, thanks for the humiliation.

Sarah Kissoon

Trouble Clef
Butterfly effect: Thank you ever so much for Annie Fischer's piece on me and Madama Butterfly that the Puccini festival put on last Saturday ( Night & Day, May 20). We had a great time. It was fun for me to sink my teeth into a larger, more dramatic role like Pinkerton. Through the music alone could I feel the stress and see the death of the lamented heroine, Cho-Cho San.

I'm not normally inclined to write a response to a newspaper, but I feel that I must ask, in reference to the American Tenors CD not being well-received by critics, which ones? To which critics is Annie Fischer referring?

Journalism is a serious job. How can a writer be taken seriously if she doesn't check her facts? It has been my experience with the American Tenors that our press has generally been very good. Sure, there are critics who don't like the music, but there are those who really like it, too.

I'm seriously surprised that the Pitch wrote anything about classical music at all. However, I feel that it is such a slap in the face every time classical music is written about. I can just imagine the drama at the office: "Ohhh, must I write about Puccini? Must I review New Ear? I'd sooo much rather be writing about the Fat Beef Farm, a new band from wherever, who do original music in four-four time."

It's such a sucky thing, first to not be included in what I used to always think of as the coolest read in town, but then, when it is included, to get this hurtful, passive-aggressive treatment. WTF?

Thanks again?

Nathan Granner
Kansas City, Missouri


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