Letters to the Editor

Letters: Readers discuss jail conditions, an inspirational hero and renaming the Nichols fountain

Jail conditions

Jackson County Executive Frank White said of the Jackson County Detention Center, “Things happen in jail.” (June 7, 2A, “New Jackson County jail? Frank White unsure it’s necessary”)

On Jan. 20, my 53-year-old mother, ReGina Thurman, died at the jail hours after her arrival, detained for a minor violation. She lay on the jail floor sweating and begging for help, to no avail. Why? Why no reaction to her need? Here was a controllable circumstance, yet no reaction.

My mother’s health crisis went untreated until death. Am I to accept it as one of those “things” that “happen in jail”?

Just use Google for the long history of our tax-funded detention center’s systemic problems — inmates raped, brutalized, living in filth and dying.

Do people realize how easily it could be their mom, dad, child or sibling who winds up at the jail, treated with a quiet malice as my mother was? Residents of Jackson County must stand against basic human rights violations occurring there.

I can’t have my mother back, but I’d like to know her death was not totally in vain. It’s time to shine a very bright light into this dark corner of Jackson County. I hope others agree with me.

Nikki Aguirre


True inspiration

Thank you to Darryl Chamberlain for demonstrating how to be a real man in this chaotic world. (June 19, 1A, “KC man buys enough instruments to build urban youth orchestra — and a community”)

His kindness and wisdom, no doubt learned from his parents’ example, are strengthening his students in ways far beyond measure.

The man is quite simply a hero, and I’m thankful that The Star chose to shine a light on his good deeds so that more of us can thank him for his generosity.

Kathleen McMahon

Kansas City

Nichols fountain

Steve Kraske’s June 19 column was a shocking surprise, as he recommended renaming the J.C. Nichols fountain, based on the restrictive covenants placed on the deeds of property he developed and sold in Kansas City. (19A, “Kansas City should rename famed J.C. Nichols fountain”)

Consider George Washington, our first president. He owned hundreds of slaves from Africa. In marrying Martha Custis, gaining control of her thousands of acres and farming that land with slave labor, he became one of the richest men in the world. Even when he was president, after helping America gain independence from Britain, he continued to use slaves (depriving them of independence) at Mount Vernon and his presidential residence in Philadelphia.

The J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain is Kansas City’s thank-you to Nichols for developing residential projects where the streets, avenues and boulevards are lined with majestic trees — and developing the Country Club Plaza, surely the most magnificent shopping area in the country.

Should Washington’s image be removed from stamps? Should the Washington avenues, streets and boulevards be renamed? Should the state of Washington be changed to Jefferson or Hamilton? How about the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C.?

Of course we should continue to honor J.C. Nichols. He remains a heroic figure in our history.

Vernon Reed


Accepting reality

There was hope that once the country saw who was elected as president, people would come to their senses.

Now that the Republicans have won all four special elections since the presidential race, we see that voters have said, “We are satisfied with the new resident in the White House.”

Although I will always believe in climate science and continue to support issues such as universal health care, campaign finance reform and social safety nets, I must accept that I am now the minority.

There is work to be done.

Larry Morris

Kansas City

Represent us all

Sen. Roy Blunt represents all the people in Missouri, yet he refuses to have real town hall meetings and answer questions face to face with those he serves. His “tele-town hall” meetings are very restrictive. Few people get to talk or ask questions, let alone follow-ups.

If Blunt is so sure he’s representing Missourians with what’s best for them, how would he know? He must be afraid of his positions, votes and opinions, because he refuses to be held accountable for them by the people he represents and who pay his salary.

Sen. Blunt, what are you afraid of? Call his office and tell him how you feel at 202-224-5721.

He needs to hear from us.

Barb Thompson

Kansas City