Letters to the Editor

Letters: Readers discuss Plaza architecture, tenants’ rights and medical marijuana

The Plaza’s charm

I am thrilled that Nordstrom is relocating to the Country Club Plaza. (Nov. 11, 8A, “New Nordstrom store a little larger than earlier plan, will affect Cinemark’s space”) However, why is the design of the new building not in keeping with the area’s Spanish architecture?

It seems every few years we have some company, such as Polsinelli law firm or Seasons 52 restaurant, that ignores the beauty and uniqueness of this shopping area.

The owners of the Plaza, Taubman Centers Inc. and the Macerich Co., should have style requirements for new construction. I believe the people of Kansas City want to keep the integrity of this unique district’s architecture. Save our Plaza.

Sheryl Kiefer

North Kansas City

They need help

I read with interest the Nov. 8 commentary, “A right to counsel in criminal cases, so why not in evictions?” (13A) I volunteer for the Heartland Center for Jobs and Freedom, a nonprofit organization assisting tenants facing eviction. I help inform tenants about their legal rights.

Jackson County averages 42 eviction suits daily, and 98 percent of tenants don’t have legal representation. They represent themselves. Tenants struggle to understand court processes. Thanks to interventions of the Heartland Center in the halls of the courthouse, tenants learn about their rights and are better able to avoid eviction, keeping their families housed. More is needed.

Tenants facing attorneys attempt to negotiate agreements, assert complex defenses and present evidence without legal training. The Heartland Center’s work is a Band-Aid, perhaps a tourniquet, on the hemorrhaging of the thousands of evictions filed each year.

As affordable housing shrinks and low wages remain stagnant, it is reasonable to expect the problem to worsen.

Tenants often live on the edge. Illness or a cut in work hours can land them in eviction court. Others stop paying rent because of broken furnaces, vermin, standing sewage and other serious problems.

Many evictions can be resolved without forcing tenants into homelessness, if only the scales were balanced.

Patrick Devine

Overland Park

Another way

I am very disappointed with my fellow Missourians who last week voted down the increase in the gas tax to fund improvements to roads and bridges in the state.

However, I see a huge potential source of revenue whenever it rains: State law requires headlights be turned on when windshield wipers are operating. The majority of cars and trucks I see on the road are breaking this law and need to be issued tickets, which would bring in massive amounts of revenue and actually make driving in the rain and snow much safer for everyone.

Dick Davenport

Lee’s Summit

Positivity ahead

A full-time governor who cares about Kansas — that’s what the people of the state voted for last week with state Sen. Laura Kelly. They decided a mini-me of President Donald Trump, with his mean-spirited attitude toward immigrants and non-existent voter-fraud obsession, was the last thing Kansas needed.

And we especially didn’t want a Gov. Sam Brownback Part II leading the state into debt, downgrades and a tarnished reputation. Plus, who needed a governor like Kris Kobach, who as secretary of state is more obsessed with being Trump’s lap dog than doing his job here at home? It’s clear we would have gotten more of the same.

Now we will have a governor who will do what’s right for Kansas. She’ll reach across the aisle and compromise and get the state’s business done. And finally, that light we see at the end of the tunnel won’t be a train loaded with doom and debt, but with the sunshine we were promised.

Kathleen C. Butler

Wichita

Your turn, Kansas

Congratulations, Missouri, for becoming the 32nd state to legalize medical marijuana. Not only are you taking care of your ill residents, but you have found another source of revenue to bite into what usdebtclock.org says is your $46 billion state debt.

Meanwhile, according to the same site, your neighbor Kansas is struggling with a $40-plus billion debt, and it didn’t even put medical marijuana on the ballot.

Remember how long it took the state to start selling liquor on Sundays? For years, Kansans drove to Missouri for Sunday beer and wine, lining that state’s pockets with revenue.

It’s time for Kansas to stop being so conservative and start finding other streams of revenue to take care of its own.

Greg Schoen

Overland Park

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