Joco Opinion

Letters to the editor: Stern’s leadership of the symphony; Brownback’s tax cuts

Symphony leadership

The Kansas City Symphony’s music director Michael Stern will remain in his position through the 2019-2020 season (10-1, A11, “Symphony renews Stern’s contract”). In my knowledge, such an extended offer is unheard of in the music world. For instance, the contract for a musician is renewed for another year at the end of each season, never five years.

Stern will be the second most durable conductor of the orchestra in my memory, after Maestro Hans Schwieger, the German conductor who led the Philharmonic for 23 seasons (1948-1973). It declared bankruptcy in 1982.

Having retired in 1997 after 30 years as a cellist, I’ve never played under Maestro Stern, who took the podium in 2005. Yet I’ve met him and chatted with him during the annual luncheon the symphony offered for retirees and I’ve watched him conduct many concerts. During my 14 seasons in the Philharmonic, his famous violinist father, Isaac Stern, was a soloist at least twice.

Our symphony has come a long way, particularly because it has been performing in the acoustically divine Helzberg Hall in the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts since 2011. At the time some orchestras are struggling to stay afloat, the news that our own symphony performed more than 100 concerts in the 2014-2015 season, earned nearly $2.8 million in subscriptions, and had ticket sales for both classical and pops series at 95 percent capacity should make all of us proud.

Therese Park

Overland Park

Kansas job losses

Gov. Sam Brownback vowed that his massive income tax cut experiment in 2012 and 2013 would bring many new jobs to Kansas. But his plan has failed miserably, as evidenced by the following numbers.

Kansas lost 4,300 jobs, and the unemployment rate climbed for the fourth straight month in July. Also, Kansas added a paltry 5,600 total jobs over the last year, which is the sixth worst rate in the U.S.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Kansas had the third-largest job loss among all states in July and was the second worst in percentage loss.

Over the past 12 months, Kansas gained 5,600 jobs while Missouri gained 38,400.

So, governor, where are all the jobs you promised?

Jane Toliver


Ephemeral artwork

When we first moved to Kansas, living in Overland Park off Quivira Road, we noticed a huge outdoor figure in the landscape of the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art. It was a weeping sort of figure hiding her face in her hands.

We visited the museum and got familiar with the sculpture as we drove by every day. Recently, I noticed something wrong.

The gentle giant was gone. A huge void substituted it.

I gathered my family and went to the museum to ask about it. The giant was there on a temporary basis and has returned to her original museum.

No farewell ceremony. No goodbye, my friend, it was a privilege to have you here.

It is a huge loss, and she will be missed, and oddly there have been no news media reports about letting her go.

Luis Peraza

Overland Park

Marijuana problems

Attention Kansas legislators: Please resist efforts to legalize recreational marijuana in our state. Don’t be misguided by the proposed need for the availability of medical marijuana. That’s a totally separate issue.

Read “The Unexpected Side Effects of Legalized Weed” by Marjorie Haun in Newsweek in May to realize the deleterious effects of cannabis use in Colorado thus far. She cites several problems as follows: interstate pipeline, increased teen use, spike in edibles prompting emergency room visits, explosion of the homeless population and a reliance of Colorado on cannabis revenues.

How many years have passed since “gambling” boats were authorized in Missouri. The passage was, in part, justified on the grounds that it would provide funds for our public schools. Has anyone noted any significant improvement in our public schools as a result? The “boats” have certainly had a negative effect upon area restaurants and entertainment. And, area mental health experts can attest to a definite rise in gambling addiction. The jury is still out as to whether marijuana is a gateway to other drug use.

Please study the facts surrounding the Colorado experience before considering the legalization of recreational marijuana. Remember the words of Nancy Reagan and “say no to drugs.”

Steve Katz


Concerns for U.S.

Currently the citizens of Greater Kansas City are upset about the sale and possible destruction of the Plaza ownership. They should be more concerned about the destruction of our country’s Constitution. We currently have a president who is doing as he pleases, adhering or not to our most precious document. Congress and the judiciary are too cowardly to do anything about it along with a complicit media. This blatant disregard for the boundaries of our government is a greater danger than any group or groups of terrorists.

Adhering to the restrictions of the U.S. Constitution is what protects the citizenry from tyranny. We should be terrified and angry at our current behavior of our federal government. President Abraham Lincoln said in a famous speech that if we are to be destroyed it would have to be by our own doing.

He was referring to the Civil War. The shredding of the Constitution by the current democratic administration is just as dangerous as the war between the states.

Joseph Lavender


To send letters

Visit the Letters website at to submit your letter to the editor for 913. The website form, with helpful reminders on required information replaces an email address for online submissions. You may also mail letters of up to 300 words to 913 Letters, The Kansas City Star, 1729 Grand Blvd. Kansas City, MO, 64108. Online letters are preferred.