Letters to the Editor

Letters: Readers discuss the American Royal Barbecue’s move, Jennifer Bertrand and Chief Darryl Forté

Respect contest

Want to know how to destroy a great Kansas City tradition? Just follow the decision-making by the leadership of the American Royal Barbecue. (March 30, 3A, “Barbecue contest to return to track with holiday date”)

1. Don’t play well with others. Two long-established, large and successful Kansas City festivals are held during Labor Day weekend: the Kansas City Irish Fest and SantaCaliGon Days. Almost 500,000 people attend these festivals each year. Do we really need another festival that weekend?

2. Forget traditions. The barbecue has traditionally been the first weekend in October. It owned the calendar. You could plan your year around that weekend. Last weekend in October? Now Labor Day? Really? It is now an itinerant festival.

3. Disrespect participants. You want to put the heat of Labor Day weekend together with the heat of a barbecue contest? Calling all EMTs!

This is the second terrible decision by American Royal Barbecue leadership in three years. The first was the move to the Truman Sports Complex. The second is giving up October.

Time for new leadership.

David Mertz


Coal miners

There are fewer than 70,000 coal miners in the United States. Worldwide, 25,000 people died of black lung disease in 2013 alone, according to a study in the Lancet.

President Donald Trump’s executive order did nothing about black lung disease. Trump’s deregulation of the coal industry makes coal mine disasters much more likely.

Trump doesn’t give a damn about the coal miners. He does care about donations from the corporate owners of coal mines.

B. Jerome Wheeler

Kansas City

Hometown star

The Kansas City Home Show was fun again this year, especially with the “Property Brothers” designers from HGTV. However, I believe we do not give enough credit to our own HGTV “Design Star” winner, Jennifer Bertrand.

She is there every year, working hard to be sure everything goes well and that everyone is happy. She is a star in her own right, and we should feature her and her accomplishments

Let’s recognize her more in coming show years. Let her know we are proud of her and happy she is in Kansas City.

Pat Wilson-Maxwell

Kansas City

Ride frustration

In 2015, I relocated to Kansas City in your great state from Texas. I find it nearly impossible to find commercial transportation here.

Once needing to get to the hospital, I waited 45 minutes for a prominent taxi service before finally canceling. It was a no-show.

I know some may think I should have called an ambulance. However, shouldn’t I have that choice?

So when a new smartphone-based ride service appeared on the scene, I was excited at the possibility of reliable transportation. Unless you don’t drive, I’m not sure you can fully comprehend.

My first ride was wonderful. A young man named Conner arrived in mere minutes. He hopped from the driver’s seat, opened the passenger-side back door while offering a polite, “G’morning ma’am.” Wow, I was delighted.

Unfortunately, since then, I have not experienced such service with the company. It hasn’t been for my lack of trying. Including a request today, the service has been a no-show three times.

I’m really at a loss. Is this the norm for Kansas City? Or are there other transplants feeling not so welcomed in Missouri?

Shirley Atchison

Kansas City

No foresight

Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forté recently announced he will retire in May. I groaned when I heard this news.

Forté has led KCPD in enhancing the department’s results and reputation, while many police departments nationally experienced the reverse. He has been highly involved in the community.

For me, Forté’s leadership to improve community policing and personally appearing at each homicide scene stand out.

It’s funny how news about Forté was so consistently positive, yet very quickly switched to the negative. Kansas City owes Forté nearly $500,000 as his employment ends.

Kansas City should have been accruing funds for this earned payout throughout his tenure as chief. It should come as no surprise that many of his actions and accomplishments came at the expense of vacation, personal time and sick leave. Forté put the city first often.

He deserves what he’s earned — no whining.

Blame for an “unexpected” $500,000 expense rests solely with Kansas City leaders.

Lisa Hays