Martin, May 29

On Track

David Martin’s column proposing a Jackson County-only light-rail system looks like it could be the start of a serious discussion of mass transit in KC. This sounds horrible, but I agree that Johnson County cannot and will not initiate a system on its own but would act to attach to an existing system such as Martin discusses. The whole pitch for Johnson County would be its attractiveness for relocating businesses if it had a viable mass-transit system.

Thanks to David Martin for discussing this creative alternative.

Tom Gottschalk, Lenexa

Transit isn’t Sexy?

Kudos to David Martin for looking beyond the Chastainian boundaries of the light-rail situation here in Kansas City. The idea of getting fleets of SUVs and other gas-guzzling vehicles off our roads and putting their passengers into cleaner modes of transportation isn’t just sexy — it’s smart. Still, I remain skeptical that light rail will ever work in this town. Suburban resident Joe Blow is willing to walk, say, three blocks in KC’s suffocating summers and icy winters from a rail station to his office? Come on. Gasoline prices are going to have to climb considerably from where they are now before Joe will sacrifice his transportation habits. And really, money is what matters here. We need to stop fooling ourselves into thinking that pollution, global warming or even traffic are significant motivators to get Joe out of his truck and into a train. It must financially behoove him to make such a lifestyle change.

Tony Agee, Lenexa

Outward Bound

I am a Northlander who would definitely benefit from a plan that would get me around the city. I work in Overland Park, and a system that would get me to work in an hour or so would be extremely welcome. There are other areas of the Metro I would like to go to again, but because of gas prices and a not-so-economical vehicle, I am pretty much limited to riding to work and back and hoping that what I am looking for is on the way home or close to my home.

I understand that the “vast Northland” is not light-rail friendly, but I wouldn’t mind walking a few blocks or, God forbid, driving to a light-rail station. I would settle for a decent bus system.

Jeanie Beeler, Kansas City, Missouri

Feature: “Change Is Gonna Come, May 29

Wake Up, KC

Thanks so much to Peter Rugg for doing his story about how black ministers have responded to HIV and AIDS. God has waited so long to hear from real folks who will let their hair down and pour out many blessings into a situation like we have here in Kansas City, Missouri, and Kansas City, Kansas. It’s about results, and with God turning the light on the black community, it’s time to “wake up KC.” I love Pastor Williams and Bishop Prim for the work they have done and the churches that are now involved in getting the message out not only to this city but also to the world. There is another brother I would like to thank for his courage and encouragement, and that is the man who didn’t play a minute in the basketball game but looked like he was ready to get in and be the spark: the Rev. Gilmore. These pastors have formed a great team of dedicated people. Thank you for the time you put into this project. You get five popcorn bags on this one.

Calvin Wainwright, Raytown

Feature: “Are You Ready for Some Women’s Football?” May 22

Chicks Without Dicks

Regarding Jen Chen’s article about the KC Tribe: I have been a Dallas Diamonds fan for many years, and what a great team to have followed from its inception! (All the KC teams put together don’t add up to the time the Diamonds have been on the field.)

I’m writing about the comment that Megan Penrod made about Jessica Springer (No. 46) on the Diamonds team: “Just for the record, I think No. 46 has a penis.” That comment really surprised me. I have heard all the comments from the public regarding women “attempting” to play a “man’s game,” etc., and all the stereotyping that goes along with it, but when a woman who actually plays in the league makes a comment about another female player like that, it is just ridiculous.

Springer is one of the most well-rounded athletic people I have ever met, a great example to follow. She has the knowledge and a love for the game like no KC Tribe player will ever know. It didn’t take a penis to beat the Tribe. It took a bit of skill, teamwork and pride.

Sounds to me like Penrod might just have a slight case of penis envy.

Perhaps Jen Chen shouldn’t have put that comment in the article. Maybe she should have left it among the Tribe team members; I think she might have just put some fuel in the tanks of No. 46 and her teammates!

Can’t wait for the next game.

Name withheld by request

Feature, “You’re Fired. Love, Hallmark,” May 15

America’s Downfall

I worked at Hallmark Cards from January 1999 until October 2007, and I can say that Eric Barton’s story was right on. I was part of the outsource to ACS in 2004. The examples given of terminations without cause and of managers being required to identify people who should be terminated is accurate, and I witnessed it firsthand. At the time, I was not in management and could only wonder what the heck was going on. Shortly after I was moved into the management team in my department, the lights started to come on. A few months later, ACS took over and I lost the “inside” that I’d had. I still communicate with people at Hallmark on a regular basis, so I know how they feel and what’s happening. It makes me sad, though I keep telling myself that this same thing has been happening in corporate America for longer than it has happened at Hallmark. It’s sad to see that kind of thing happen at a company that used to care about its employees. I honestly do not believe that it does anymore. Sure, Hallmark pays its employees lip service like everyone else. But we all know that actions, not words, convey true intent. Hallmark’s actions do not convey any indication that employees are important as people, only as sources of revenue. The company can’t count on long-term success with its current strategy. It simply doesn’t work, and it contributes to the ongoing decline of this great country.

Bryant Hayward, Edwardsville

Ribbon Roundup

The Pitch made an excellent showing at Saturday night’s Heart of America Awards banquet, sponsored by the Kansas City Press Club. Winning Gold Awards in the large-daily category (we compete against The Kansas City Star) were Nadia Pflaum in the General Reporting category for “Buried Truth”; Carolyn Szczepanski in the Feature category for “The Power of Half a Brain” and in the Profile category for “Back to School With Kris Kobach”; and Peter Rugg in the Magazine category for “My Secret Life in the Klan.” The entire staff took home Gold Awards for Best News Web Site and Best Blog. Rugg also won a Silver Award in the sportswriting category for “The Underdogs of Southeast,” and C.J. Janovy won a Silver for News Column. Bronze winners were Eric Barton in the Profile category for “In Herm’s Head”; Justin Kendall in the sportswriting category for “End Zone” and Magazine Story for “Miracle on the Mountain”; and Crystal K. Wiebe for Non-News Column. Barton, Kendall and Szczepanski also won honorable mentions in Deadline Reporting, General Reporting and Entertainment writing, and Magazine Story, respectively.

And in the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies awards ceremony in Philadelphia on Saturday, David Martin won a second-place award in the long-form News Story category (papers with circulation of 55,000 and over) for “Not Hiring.” Eric Barton won a third place in the Innovation category for his “Smoke & Mirrors” story and podcast.