letters from the week of August 9

Feature: “In Amato We Trust?” July 19

After-School Detention

I read with great interest Peter Rugg’s in-depth article about Superintendent Anthony Amato. My first question: Had the Kansas City Board of Education known these facts about Amato, would they have still hired him? My second question: Why didn’t they know these facts?

Mary S. Stephenson, Kansas City, Missouri


I am on the site council at Blenheim Elementary School, a member of the board of Tri-Blenheim Neighborhood Association and a product of the Kansas City, Missouri, School District (a Lincoln High School graduate).

At a school board meeting on May 9, Amato talked about researching funding for our district but proposed closing schools, which automatically takes funding out of our community. He also proposed taking out much-needed services that were provided by LINC (Local Investment Commission), such as affordable child care, senior services, GED programs, utility assistance, food and clothing assistance, etc.

The child care that is now available is not before- and after-school care. It is not affordable for the working poor, as it was when LINC provided it. Amato did not have an answer when we asked how he would ensure that the people who will be caring for our children are who they say they are, and whether it would be convenient for working parents, especially those who do not have cars.

I spoke at that board meeting and asked Amato, “Why is it necessary to take productive services that are making a difference in the quality of life of the students, the parents and all of us who live in our neighborhoods — are you trying to prove a point, and if so, what is it?”

Amato has heard lots of parents, grandparents, neighborhood residents, teachers, principals and other concerned people voice their displeasure over the changes he has proposed. I asked him, “Can’t there be a compromise? This is a democracy, and I know that we, the people, are willing to give some to get some — are you?” My answer was just a blank look and an echo of silence from Amato.

Mary A. Rabon, Kansas City, Missouri

Feature: “Empty Nests,” July 12

Capital Punishment

As someone who is in the mortgage industry, I read David Martin’s article with great interest.

I find it disheartening to read articles that paint a dim picture and then point the finger squarely at the lender while putting little if any blame on the borrowers/customers. Martin used a local family as an example of how an evil lender put someone in a bad loan that they could not afford, and then raised their rate on them — at the agreed-upon maturity time in their signed contract.

Nowhere did I see mention that Nova-star (or any other lender) solicited the family to purchase a bigger home that they couldn’t afford. And no one held a gun to their head and forced them to take an adjustable-rate mortgage.

It is ridiculous to blame a mortgage company for someone buying a house that they cannot afford and then putting themselves into a risky loan that may cause them to lose their house in a few years. People should be responsible for their own actions.

I am in no way condoning the practices of certain lenders that prey on the uneducated consumer, but at what point do we put some of the blame on people living beyond their means? Just because someone tells you that you can afford something doesn’t mean you have to take their word for it.

Steve Cotton, Kansas City, Missouri

Night and Day, July 19

Menninger Clinic

Thanks for Chris Packham’s terrific piece about Fielding’s “Dear Dr. Menninger” presentation on July 20. In a small space, he managed to convey the intriguing angle between Menninger’s Ladies’ Home Journal column and the spread of psychoanalytic thinking throughout the United States in the ’30s. We had several people from Kansas City attend as a result of reading Packham’s item.

And the headline “Shrink Rap”? Hope they gave him a bonus for that one. Sylvia Williams, Fielding Graduate University, Santa Barbara, California