Letters to the Editor

Letters: Readers discuss a Westport bar playlist, Pompeo’s future and KC’s pre-K plan

It’s not skin color

I was taken aback by the sheer pettiness of The Star’s recent editorial about certain songs being banned from a Westport club’s playlists. (March 15, 10A, “Why are Drake, Cardi B and other artists of color on these Westport bars’ no-play list?”)

The editorial acknowledges that the club plays music from all stripes, but by coincidence the banned songs were all by artists of color. It asks what kind of “message” it sends to black patrons who already feel unwelcome in that area.

It goes without saying that the decisions of the club owner are based on the content of the songs and not the color of the artists. Would the editorial board feel better if the club banned some songs by white or Latino artists — just because? And does that imply it takes objectionable music to make certain patrons feel “welcome”?

Taking one club owner’s business decisions, slapping a tenuous racial interpretation on it and blasting it out to the public via the newspaper does a disservice to everyone.

In a society already divided in so many ways, you’re not helping things.

Joe Fopeano


My friends and I stopped going to Club Rain on Troost Avenue after we found out that the management had put Willie Nelson, the Beach Boys and the Eagles on the official no-play list.

Pete Connors

Lee’s Summit

Need to know

As Kansas voters, we learned a lot from The Star’s extensive interview with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. (March 18, 1A, “Pompeo keeping options open in Kansas”) In discussing his and his wife Susan’s future, Pompeo said he “expects they’ll buy property in Kansas again.” Reporters Lindsay Wise and Bryan Lowry called this “a move that would be seen as a prerequisite for running for elected office in the state.”

I agree that this would be seen as a prerequisite for running here. I just wish it weren’t. As secretary of state, Pompeo needs to be in Washington, D.C., a lot, but also needs to travel internationally and keep connected to American citizens. His life as a senator would be similar, just with more work time in Kansas and less overseas.

Elections are job interviews, and we as voters occupy the role of hiring managers. We should keep our focus on what Pompeo says and does as secretary of state. The work of government is not like an episode of “House Hunters” on HGTV, where we all pretend we learn something significant about people from their property choices.

Neal Allen

Chair, Department of

Political Science

Wichita State University


They lived it

In the 1950s, my uncle, who lived in Kansas, coached his daughter and other junior athletes in the Amateur Athletic Union. He had many of the same experiences I hear about on TV or radio, or as portrayed in the movie “Green Book.”

While on a road trip, if they visited a restaurant that would not serve the African Americans on his team, he would go in, get the food and bring it to the car. If motels would not allow them to rent a room, they would sleep in the car.

My uncle’s younger daughter was recruited by a Southern college, but he told her she could not attend that school because of the unrest there.

In the 1920s and ’30s, that small town my uncle, my mother (his sister) and my father grew up in had a school that integrated white, African-American and Mexican-American students, long before Brown v. Board of Education went into effect.

These are events that too few of us remember today. So now you know the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey used to say.

Theresa Cotter


The way to pay

I had expected to vote for City Council member Jolie Justus in the April 2 mayoral primary and had looked forward to doing so, but her enthusiastic embrace of Mayor Sly James’ pre-K plan has turned me off.

The plan is an egregious breach of church-state separation and an end run around the city’s elected school boards. The school districts should not be devalued.

Some Democratic candidates for president in 2020 have plans for equitable and universal financing of child care and pre-K education, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren has a plan to pay for both with a tax on the wealthy, who have avoided their civic responsibilities through the tax code.

I would encourage school boards in the city to get ready for a possible influx of money from the federal government after 2020. That would be a long-overdue investment in the youth and families of our country.

Gordon Risk

Kansas City