Kansas City Star, The (MO)-October 23, 2007
Build light-rail ‘spine’
Mike Hendricks hit the nail on the head in his column “A light-rail coalition won’t work” (10/17, Local).
I speak from experience, since I was a member of the original light-rail task force. Incidentally, it was sabotaged by former Kansas City Mayor Emanuel Cleaver and other prominent residents just as we were ready to start preliminary engineering.
The point is that we were ready then, and we should now build a “spine” from the Country Club Plaza to the Missouri River. This is absolutely necessary if we are ever to have light rail in Kansas City.
Once it is built, “they will come.” That is, other cities in our metropolitan area will come on board when they see how great light rail is.
This has been clearly demonstrated in other cities that have built light rail, such as St. Louis and Portland, Ore.
Norman O. Besheer
Loves her stuff
C’mon people. Let me enjoy my stuff.
I read with amusement, the letter (10/19) espousing “Life isn’t about stuff.” One person’s opinion, of course, but then I really started to think about it.
I have a lot of stuff. I like my stuff! When did having a lot of stuff hurt anyone?
Sometimes my spouse says, “You’ve really got to get rid of some of that stuff.” The truth is, I get a certain amount of pleasure looking at my stuff.
Most of my stuff is now neatly organized on a five-tier shelf in my basement. Often times I peruse my stuff, remarking what a heckuva bargain I made or smile as I remember who gave me that thingamabob that I just haven’t found the right place for. Is there a “stuff” law that I am unaware of?
So kudos to those who have consciously chosen a simpler, less consumer-oriented life. I’m happy for them. I would like to say to them that one person’s stuff is another person’s treasure.
If having stuff makes you happy, then so be it. Enjoy your stuff. It seems to me that we all have better things in life to do with our time than to postulate about other people’s effects.
You’ll have to excuse me now. I have to go check out my stuff.
Susan F. Weiner
Melting ice caps
Recently C.J. van der Veen (10/18, Letters) mentioned the melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet, which is also the example given by Al Gore in his “An Inconvenient Truth.”
If this melts, then the sea levels will rise 20 feet, and a good portion of Florida would be under water, as shown in Gore’s book.
However, nothing much has been said about the melting of the ice in Antarctica, with its 7.2 million cubic miles of land ice, when melted, would cause the sea level to rise well over 250 feet.
How much land would disappear worldwide? How many stars would we have to take off our flag if this happens?
Kenneth S. Schmitz
Snakes kill rodents
Richard Dahms of St. Joseph (10/19, Letters) writes that “the only good snake is a dead snake.” Is that so?
I wonder how Mr. Dahms feels about rodents. They represent much more of a risk to human life, through the diseases they carry, and their population would be far greater if not for snakes.
Kansas City, Kan.
Say no to annexation
I heartily agree with state Rep. Ben Hodge’s plea (10/17, Letters) to the Johnson County Commission to reject Overland Park’s annexation request of the 15 square miles to our south.
I am a homeowner in Overland Park, and if you put this proposal to our residents, you would find they would soundly reject it. This plan is certainly not “by the people,” nor is it “progress.”
In an As I See It column in July, John Jennings pointed to many things that need to be done in the city. He said we should resolve not to annex any additional parcels and work to improve basic services and infrastructure. He also said that you don’t become a “world-class city” by saying yes to every developer who wants to build another unneeded strip mall.
In a letter to the mayor in August, I expressed the same sentiments.
I live near the quadrangle of 135th Street and Metcalf Avenue. At that intersection there are six lanes of westbound pavement. Yes, strip malls and dense population.
I run the gantlet daily, from Lamar Avenue to Antioch Road. It’s only one mile, but it’s saturated with eight traffic signals. We sit and wait as those signals go through their programmed cycles, and we burn our fuel and our tempers.
The worst is yet to come, as the multistoried apartments come and the large Corbin Park shopping center, 96 sites, on the southeast quadrant.
So let’s be kind enough to leave the contented people to our south to the happiness they now enjoy — as we work to improve our model of “progress.”
U.S. spending priorities
The Democrats made a serious mistake in supporting the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. They attempted to do the fiscally responsible thing and fund it with a tax increase on cigarettes.
Clearly, the president would have been more likely to sign the bill had it contributed to the deficit. Under his leadership, the debt will have increased by at least $4 trillion. When Republicans controlled Congress, President Bush never vetoed wasteful spending, nor did he adequately fund protection for our borders, veterans’ health care or improved infrastructure.
President Bush thinks we cannot afford $35 billion for our children, but he will spend $2 trillion in Iraq. His Iraq misadventure has damaged our military and destroyed the one Arab nation that was a countervailing power to the Iranian threat. While we struggle in Iraq’s civil war, China and Russia (real military threats) continue to expand their military prowess.
I pray for a president who really believes in fiscal responsibility, in the quality of life for all Americans and in a stronger U.S. military.
Johnson County District Attorney Phill Kline and his minions are disgusting. I am sick of the subject of abortion.
The government having control of a woman’s womb is a denial of freedom in this country. As a woman, I am more qualified than the government to make those decisions, and I totally resent someone else, under legal aegis, making them for me. To see politicians, for votes and money, make a political football of this issue turns me off completely. Eeeew!
Sprint Center opening
My wife and I attended the grand opening of the Sprint Center. Elton John put on an excellent show. We noted that the entire audience seemed to enjoy it immensely.
The other star of the night was the beautiful Sprint Center. Everything worked to perfection. The escalators moved people to their seating levels. The sound system was just perfect. The well-dressed and rehearsed staff greeted concertgoers with enthusiasm and after we filed out thanked us for coming.
Overall, straight A’s for the new arena.
Michael R. Lawler
More about atheists
The Oct. 18 letter “About atheism” by Alvina Gottschamer ends, typically, with a cherry-picked Scripture passage and terse warning: “The fool has said in his heart, there is no God.”
Apparently the author has missed the fact, recently made public, that the icon of the faithful, Mother Teresa, had expressed doubts of God’s existence, even into her later years.
Maybe the past silence of atheists can be attributed more to their trying to avoid being on the receiving end of stern warnings and sometimes even death threats (see the article about the “chocolate Jesus, 10/18, A-14, “Artist serves up chocolate Jesus again; Sculpture was fiercely protested when it was originally set to debut during Holy Week”) that ironically come from the most devout.
Brian A. Quarnstrom
La Raza conventions
La Raza had conventions planned for both Kansas City and San Diego. In Kansas City we have a political appointee who happens to be a member of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps. In San Diego we have a Minuteman group so offensive that the national organization has disavowed it. Plus, San Diego elected a state senator who is a vocal supporter of that disavowed group.
La Raza’s leadership finds Kansas City so offensive that the convention is called off. San Diego, though, is just fine (10/21, A-1, “La Raza withdraws convention from KC”).
Given 10 issues on which La Raza and the Minutemen disagree, I imagine I would side with La Raza at least nine times. So it’s terribly disappointing that La Raza’s leadership is going out of its way to alienate so many supporters.
La Raza’s president, Janet Murguia, made an offensive and ill-advised threat months ago and then apparently was so afraid of losing face that she refused all reasonable compromises. She chose to ignore the many positive things happening in Kansas City’s Hispanic community and instead focused on a silly nonissue.
Her verbal contortions in justifying La Raza’s absurd KC-no/SD-yes position make a dumb position even dumber.
Semler didn’t start this
Charles Lona of the local La Raza Political Club is quoted as saying he “feels betrayed by the Semler appointment and by (Kansas City Mayor Mark) Funkhouser letting her use the park board to promote the organization” (10/19, A-1, “La Raza decision to come Saturday; As Hispanic group is about to decide convention’s fate, Cleaver seeks compromise”).
I guess he is talking about the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, but I don’t recall Frances Semler being the one to call attention to her membership in this, shall we say, political club. In fact, I was under the impression that her membership was somehow leaked to the press and that she was rather blindsided by the fact that her membership was so controversial.
I also can’t find any reference to her using the parks board to promote the Minutemen. When did this happen?
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Index Terms: Johnson County Commission
Location(s): Kansas City; St. Louis; Portland, Ore; Florida; Kansas City, Kan; Iraq; China; Russia; Columbia; San Diego Personal Name(s): Mike Hendricks; Emanuel Cleaver; Susan F. Weiner; Al Gore; Kenneth S. Schmitz; Richard Dahms; Elaine Hines; Ben Hodge’s; John Jennings; Corbin Park; Norman Price; President Bush; Alice Homeyer; Elton John; Michael R. Lawler; Brian A. Quarnstrom; Janet Murguia; Charles Lona; Frances Semler Record Number: 200710230001KNRIDDERMOKCITYS_23letts_102307
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