Wheeler Keeps Turning

The old man and the seat: After reading Allie Johnson’s article on Charles Wheeler’s campaign for state senator (“Sorry, Charlie,” June 27), I was angry. Then, after reading it a second time, I realized she had accurately described the situation.

There are three candidates for the senator’s seat in the 10th District of Missouri. One is a doctor and a lawyer who has served the public as county coroner, Western Judge of Jackson County and eight glorious years as a Kansas City mayor. During all those years as a public servant, he did so with honesty, integrity and humor.

The claim to fame of the leading candidate, as Ms. Johnson reported, is that he spent ninety days in the federal prison for lying to a bank about a bad-check scheme at an auto dealership he owned with his brother.

The third candidate’s experience is selling giant jars of mayonnaise to restaurant owners.

And people wonder why the youth of America are apathetic about government. It becomes so obvious why the real estate attorneys and political lobbyists are not supporting Dr. Wheeler: He will serve the people, not the special-interest groups.

So Ms. Johnson is right. Dr. Wheeler’s chances are slim unless the public decides to make a difference. The public at large is a much more powerful group than self-serving special-interest groups. But they read articles like this, roll their eyes and say, “Of course the guy who spent time in prison will win. That’s how politics work. Why vote? We can’t beat the machine.”

Yes, you can. Just vote in the primary on August 6.

Raymond Braswell

Kansas City, Missouri

Men of Convictions

The best legal system in the world: Regarding T.R. Witcher’s “So Long, Joe,” (July 4): A very sad story that serves to demonstrate just how lousy our legal system is. Of course, the legal system claims to be the best in the world. Tell that to this poor dude.

Only in the legal system would you use the coerced testimony of felons to convict other felons. Outside of the courts, nine out of ten people with functioning brains would realize this is not a very practical or reasonable way of getting the truth and certainly would not rely on it for anything important.

In our courts, they let crack investigators (they are called “crack” because they crack heads) use this perjured testimony to take the lives of other people! (Remind me why those regimes in Cuba and Afghanistan are so brutal?)

I’d like to see the investigator that coerced the perjured testimony, the prosecutors that relied on it and the judge get to trade places with this man. Day-for-day.

Name Withheld Upon Request

Pay Check

Lady slings the booze: I appreciated Andrew Miller’s article on the Blues and Jazz Festival (“A Sad, Sad Song,” June 27). I am the president of People for Animal Rights, a Kansas City-area animal-advocacy group. Our nonprofit group and others have been singing the blues — we still haven’t been paid for working one of the beverage tents in the 2001 B&J Festival.

Since the mid-’90s, we have staffed one of the beverage tents. Although it was a lot of work for the sixty-plus volunteers who worked the three-day event, most enjoyed the experience. The festival staff and volunteers were friendly, well-organized and very hardworking. Still, I would like for the hard work of my volunteers to be compensated. Even a letter apologizing for any delays in payment would have been nice. Instead, since early in the year, I don’t get responses to my messages or a letter. Mr. Carr, if you are out there, please respond!

Although I would still like the work of our volunteers to be compensated, I have to thank the festival for giving me the opportunity to listen to blues and jazz for twelve-hour shifts. Now I like the blues and listen to KCIY 106.5.

Kelly Beard-Tittone

Kansas City, Missouri

Phone Manners

Misha-mouthed: In response to Charles Ferruzza’s short comment about 40 Sardines Restaurant in the Mouthing Off column (July 11): It is true what happened on the phone to the unknown caller. The phone was answered by my five-year-old daughter, Misha. As is true with most young children, they want to please their parents. Misha knows that our new business is important to us, and therefore it is important to her. To help us, she likes to answer the phone, and she likes to be a hostess and seat people. We hope everyone will be patient with our children.

Debbie Gold

Kansas City, Missouri

Gorilla Warfare

Insane cloud posse: In Steve Walker’s article about Gorilla Theatre’s Sunrise Production of Aristophanes’ The Clouds (“Stormy Weather,” June 27), he writes: “Johnson’s scenery chewing and bellowing, one-note diction give his frequent speeches the monochromatic tint of unbridled buffoonery.” I, on behalf of the production, say, “Uh … well, yeah.”

It’s funny that he should point this out as a flaw when the character is obviously supposed to be just that: a hammy, bellowing buffoon. And so, because Walker’s interpretation was so accurate, Chris Johnson must have done (and did do, I might add) a wonderful job on the show, his performance perfectly tuned to fit his role.

Name Withheld Upon Request

Correction: Last week’s Stage column misidentified the director of Eating Raoul, who is really Steven Eubank.