Feature: "Blood for Blow," January 10
I think Justin Kendall's article about the murder of Anthony Rios and Olivia Raya was disgusting. Facts are facts, but I don't think he needed to add his own personal opinion, especially relating to an article where someone has lost a life, in this case, two people. Who even gave the go-ahead for this horrible article? Well, I guess since The Pitch is free, you can't pay for good reporters anymore. This really truly was a disappointment and hurt a lot of people.
Manda Hernandez-Sanchez, Kansas City, Missouri
Feature: "Your Tax Dollars Not At Work," January 3
I believe the delay on the Citadel Plaza project is the city's fault. I watched this escalate on the city government channel. The more we delay this project, the more it costs. City Hall always wants to debate when it comes to a big project that needs funding in the 5th District. I can tell you right now that the project will be a success. One prime example: Price Chopper in Brookside is being used 100 percent of capacity. If we would do a survey, you would probably discover that 50 to 60 percent of its customers drive from east of Troost. I believe if a grocery like this would be put in the Citadel area, it would be a success. I would be one of the customers who would venture over to that part of town. I believe in the urban area of the city — that's why I reside in the 4th District.
Come on, city: Let's build. The headquarters of the Church of the Nazarene moved to Lenexa, and Cleveland Chiropractic moved to Overland Park. These establishments probably left due to low interest in the area from local government and developers who came up with big plans over the years but didn't step up to improve the area from 63rd and Prospect to Oak. Who is to blame? We have to take a risk.
Finally, tear the Landing Mall down — please!
Name withheld upon request
Feature: "Fear of Flying," October 18, 2007
I was quite alarmed after reading Nadia Pflaum's story on the Federal Aviation Administration and its mistreatment and understaffing of air traffic controllers. Particularly alarming was the quote from one retired air traffic controller who stated that she did not feel safe flying because of the current problem of short-staffing of air traffic controllers.
After reading your article, I wrote a letter to my elected representatives, U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver and Sens. Kit Bond and Claire McCaskill. I enclosed The Pitch's article and urged them to use their authority to investigate the problems you highlighted.
I finally received one response, a well-written and informative letter from McCaskill, dated December 13, 2007. I have received no response from Bond or Cleaver.
I thought your readers might be interested in Sen. McCaskill's response to the problem, so I offer her letter for publication in The Pitch.
Thank you for highlighting the problem and for the great service The Pitch provides in informing its readers of the way their government is run. This type of information is vital to a democracy run by the people.
Randy Hite, Kansas City, Missouri
Editor's note: Sen. McCaskill's letter has been edited for length.
Dear Mr. Hite:
Since June 2006, when the FAA imposed a contract on its air traffic controllers, the agency has put in place staffing plans that it says will increase efficiency and save taxpayers money. However, many have complained that under the new contract, air traffic control towers are now chronically understaffed, leading to higher rates of error, though the FAA reports that error rates are going down.
I support the FAA's goal of increasing efficiency and reducing costs for the taxpayer. Yet, if the agency cannot retain its most skilled and experienced employees, not only is it going to end up costing the taxpayers more money, it is going to make our flight system less safe.
Congress is considering measures to overhaul our outmoded air traffic control system as it reauthorizes the FAA. The proposed, GPS-based system will be more accurate and efficient than our current system, hopefully helping to reduce delays and improve fuel efficiency. We are going to need top quality air traffic controllers to manage it.
The Senate Commerce Committee's version of the FAA reauthorization bill, S. 1300, includes a measure which would require the FAA and employee representatives to enter into binding arbitration if they could not agree on a labor contract. This should help employees address concerns about staffing, hours and treatment. Hopefully, this will keep experienced employees on the job and attract the best new recruits. The House-passed FAA reauthorization bill throws out the current contract imposed on the air traffic controllers and requires the parties to go back to the table. I am hopeful the House and Senate can come to an agreement on an FAA reauthorization bill this Congress.
Claire McCaskill, U.S. Senator, Washington, D.C.