Ballot Boxed

Preacher’s pet: C.J. Janovy’s “The Preach and the Prep” (July 1), on the race for Missouri’s 5th District congressional seat, should be required reading for every constituent of the district. Jamie Metzl, complete with a Harvard law degree and a Ph.D. from Oxford, is running against local icon and former Mayor Emanuel Cleaver. Cleaver seems to be taken aback that someone — anyone — would question his actions on anything from past business dealings to his accomplishments during his time as mayor. That’s fine. He will have plenty of time to address these concerns before the election.

The most troubling of his statements during the debate came when talking about challenging the Patriot Act. The mayor’s response: “America is great because America is good. When America is no longer good, it will no longer be great.” What? Boy, I can just hear the roaring response his church congregation would give that one.

On paper, this would not seem to be a close race. The writer states that Metzl is “aggressive, ambitious and freakishly educated.” Trouble is, I know who will win.

All this makes me glad I live in Kansas.

Todd Scofield

Olathe

Shop Talk

Call of the mall: As a new resident to the area, I may be in the dark as far as any possible restrictions on what can and cannot be done at Union Station (David Martin’s “Income Taxidermy,” July 1). That being said, why is it so hard to figure out what to do to make it a viable destination spot? All you have to do is look a little to the east and see what St. Louis has done with its station. It has retail shops, restaurants, theaters, etc., and it is a very vibrant tourist attraction and shopping destination.

To me, Kansas City needs to attract a major retailer or restaurant chain into the station, and I believe the others would follow suit. How many different museums can this area realistically support?

Ryan Butler

Grain Valley

Oral Exam

The mouth that roared: Ben Paynter’s “Oral Argument” (June 17), on Dr. Steven Thomas, caught my eye, since I have had oral surgeries performed by him twice in the last few years. One of the two surgeries was to correct what another oral surgeon had completely screwed up. The information presented seemed straightforward and balanced (though to describe Thomas’ office as a “strip mall” was misleading and inaccurate), and it is a fairly intriguing story.

Bottom line, though, of what your readers should know is that Thomas is an incredibly gifted oral surgeon; Paynter’s description of him as “esteemed” is right-on, and his surgical credentials, as mentioned in the article, are impeccable. Take it from me, an avowed dentaphobe: If you need oral surgery done, Thomas is the man in KC.

Bob Kuhl

Shawnee

Wisdom tooth: I just stumbled upon your article on Dr. Thomas. Since he did my jaw surgery a few years back, I found the article to be very interesting.

My experiences with Thomas were highly positive, to say the least. That man is an amazing surgeon with a true gift for what he does. Coupled with my orthodontist (Dr. Heckler), he did an amazing job with my teeth and jaw. (I can show you pictures if you’d like!)

Prior to selecting a surgeon-and-orthodontist team, I did lots of research, asked as many people as I could find (including some who worked in the industry), etc. I heard nothing but positives about both of them, and I was not disappointed by my experiences.

I know your article did not say that people should avoid Thomas, but I just wanted to send in my letter of support. If people avoid Thomas due to this issue, they will be making a big mistake and missing out on one of the best maxillofacial surgeons around.

Scott Boxberger

Overland Park

Dan Frenzy

Beat patrol: Ben Paynter’s “Beating the Rap” (July 1), on Dan Renzi, was interesting and well-written, but I think it begs a larger question: Doesn’t the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department have better things to do than to catch men masturbating in a sorry, run-down movie theater? Just who is being harmed by this behavior, considering adults paid admission to the theater? It sure beats (so to speak) the men hanging out in city parks looking for sex.

John Minnick

Kansas City, Missouri

Danny, boy: Nice in-depth article on Dan Renzi, but there wasn’t a lot of fresh, new material in there. I understand he is a local and celebrity there in the gay scene, but magnifying a minor arrest into a full-blown cover story doesn’t seem very newsworthy or warranted.

There must be more compelling human-interest stories that do some good public service and break new ground for the community than writing about Dan Renzi.

John D. Martin

Boston, Massachusetts

Last Bell

Detention center: Nothing in Kendrick Blackwood’s article (“The Girl in the Bathroom,” June 4) about the high school high jinks in the restroom at Ruskin surprised me. I have no doubt that something — either consensual or nonconsensual — occurred, because adults haven’t been in charge at Ruskin for a long time.

I taught at Ruskin for one year. I walked out the door after one year because of the lack of any discipline or administrative competence. Students roamed the halls freely, and every morning at least 125 students would be tardy to their first block class. When the teachers tried to address these two problems, our efforts were undermined by the administrators. I quickly figured out that Ruskin merely was a “warehouse” where the parents of 1,100 students could drop off their children for 7 hours, 5 days a week for baby-sitting.

I don’t doubt that the administrators mentioned in Blackwood’s article botched their investigation. They’ve been botching the education of hundreds of students for years. The taxpayers of the Hickman Mills District (if any actually give a damn — and I could probably count those who do on both hands and one foot) should demand some accountability from the school board and possibly the resignation of the so-called administrators involved.

Name Withheld Upon Request

Music Notes

Funk you: This quote sufficiently sums up John Kreicbergs’ “Wakarusa Walkabout” (July 1): “… finally … overwhelming for this festival novice, and I decided to abandon my appointed duties.” Festival novice is right. Had your “reporter” been a little more educated on this scene, he’d understand that Wakarusa 2004 was indeed a “smashing success'”(as he sarcastically peppered throughout his article).

Instead of a well-informed/thought-out article, Kreicbergs’ short, choppy rants read more like, well, a festival novice who has little to no idea of any music scene outside of the Hurricane. Compare Wakarusa to another festival that happened just a week before in Tennessee — Bonnaroo, with 90,000 kids walking 3 miles to stand 600 yards from the stage of their favorite performer. In contrast, Wakarusa allowed every fan easy walks or buses to the venue and FANTASTIC access to every stage.

And by the way, Kreicbergs’ “funk” seems to be more of a preference, since there were ample locations to shower and get yourself clean. I, as many others did, left Wakarusa musically satisfied, clean and appreciative of a low-key festival 45 minutes from my front door.

Pete Kinser

Kansas City, Missouri

Dogg house: The Pitch‘s steady decline in coverage of the local music scene has been a sore spot for many. The hiring of Mr. Nathan Dinsdale put the first nail in the coffin. Not firing him by now has finished the job.

I was astounded by the Pitch Music Awards ballot. “Completely out of touch” would be an understatement of titanic proportions. Nobody who’s actually involved in the local scene appears to have any idea who the majority of these nominees are. Where are the pillars of our musical community? No room to nominate the Shotgun Idols for the punk category? Or Federation of Horsepower in rock? Or Mike Ireland and Holler in roots/country/bluegrass? No Daybirds or Lust-r-tones in pop? No Kristie Stremel, Amy Farrand or Sue Stubbs in Best Female Vocalist? You’ve got punk bands in the country-roots categories, rock bands in the punk categories, people who haven’t lived in the area for a couple of years in the Best Female Vocalist category, and bands who’ve never lived in the KC-Lawrence area at all on the ballot.

So get ready, Pitch folk. Venues have already begun pulling their ads. More will follow. You can ignore letters to the editor. (And I suspect you’ll ignore this one.) Now the scene will hit you in the wallet.

Chris Meck

Kansas City, Missouri