Letters for the week of July 3

Plog: “George Carlin in Hell, Phelps-Roper says,” June 24

Phelps vs. Carlin

I know there’s no convincing to be done here; otherwise, it totally counteracts all of George Carlin’s work as challenging the First Amendment — and Shirley Phelps-Roper’s, too. However, I would feel much more comfortable if the Plog entry about the Phelps family’s response to Carlin’s death was removed from your site. This is a really disgraceful entry that I’d rather read on someone’s private blog than one run through a magazine-based Web site.

Spencer Brown, Roeland Park

Martin: “The Road Gang,” June 26

Waiting on a Train

Kansas City could be a great city. Unfortunately, we seem destined to be just a so-so town because of our divisions. We have a state line (wall) running through the center, a river creating a “north of the River” entity, and a few powerful people who know how to use these divisions to defeat progress. Even the vote of the people is not enough to overcome these obstacles, as we have seen on the light-rail issue.

The tremendous land area occupied by the Kansas City metro will be our undoing as energy costs continue to escalate. If anyone needs light rail, we do. If the need continues to escalate, and if some of the rich farts and road builders pass from the scene (some of them are not so young anymore), we may eventually get light rail. It will, however, probably be too little too late.

Robert Brightwell, Lee’s Summit

Feature: “O.G. to the Rescue,” June 19

Econ 101

I enjoyed David Martin’s article on Ollie Gates and his Black Heritage District proposal.

I agree with Mr. Gates on the effect of the tax break: “Everything will go up. So it will probably be a wash between what you think you’re going to lose and what you gain, and it will probably be some advantage.” Mr. Gates just needs to quit fumbling around with terms like “inverted TIF.” Call it what it is: supply-side economics. The ironic thing is that Mr. Gates’ fellow KC Democrats are supporting it, and the Republicans in Jefferson City are opposing it.

Chris Salzmann, Overland Park

Hi! He’ll Help You

Thank you for your article on Ollie Gates. Kansas City needs more people with critical-thinking skills like his. He looks you in the eye and feels no obligation to sugarcoat or sidestep.

I recently moved my business out of a building owned by the city. What a relief! I had 10 different entities listed as being co-insured on my liability insurance. TIF, PIEA, CID, a whole bunch of acronyms and a whole bunch of horseshit — people I had never met, who didn’t know a thing about me and had some say over whether I could pay rent and run my business out of a city-owned storefront in the City Market.

I am a small-business owner, and I am just beginning to understand what TIF is and who benefits. But any moron can see that when you create a bunch of red tape and loopholes, the only people who can possibly dredge through all that and benefit are people who already have money, resources and access to lawyers.

Kansas City doesn’t need to give more money to shiny chains. They have had their pump primed long enough. It’s insulting that in a city with as much unique flavor as KC has, hardly any local businesses are represented in the Power & Light District.

I support a tax-free zone to encourage growth in the Black Heritage District. I support calling it what it is. I don’t care if people do move to that area and leave others behind. I don’t care if the area and the willing business owners who move in make a shit-ton of money off the tax break. I hope that one day, some giant corporation is crying in its corn flakes because it missed an opportunity to move into the Black Heritage District.

Kip Ludwigs, Kansas City, Missouri

Stage: “Mommy Dearest,” June 19

Mistaken Identity

Even though I bitterly disagree with Alan Scherstuhl’s review of Storm Stories, my main concern is that the writer is going to state names, he needs to make sure they are correct. Lisanna Michelle was not part of the Honeymooner scene. I was: Shanese Shields. It saddens me that the review sucked because of the day he chose to come see the show — during Rock Fest. In addition, it saddens me even more that his credibility has been diminished because he failed to put the right actress’s name in the story. I was happy that he had something positive to say about my role but sad that he put the wrong name when the program clearly stated that I, Shanese Shields, was the actress in the scene.

Shanese Shields, Kansas City, Missouri