Letters to the Editor

Letters: Readers discuss Sly James’ Hawaii trip, yellow-arrow signals and obeying police

Sly belonged there

As someone who lived in Missouri for 63 years, I was disappointed that The Star Editorial Board adopted the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell theory of executive leadership: the idea that chief elected officials aren’t entitled to fulfill the duties of their office for their entire terms. (July 7, 12A, “With a month left in office, why did Mayor Sly James go to Hawaii on taxpayers’ dime?”)

Mayor Sly James’ attendance at the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Honolulu was important. The real action in U.S. governance these days takes place at the city level. His not attending would signal to the rest of the country that Kansas City is a backwater burg in the middle of nowhere, rather than the up-and-coming city it is.

James will soon join the brain trust of other former Kansas City mayors — Charles Wheeler, Richard Berkeley and Kay Barnes — providing free, ongoing counsel to future elected city officials.

The cost of the trip was a rounding error in the city’s budget. Would you have objected had the meeting been held in Omaha?

Tom Shrout

Los Angeles

Nowhere to turn

Blinking yellow-arrow traffic turn signals they seem to have appeared at intersections throughout town in the past few years. What is their point?

If I am stopped by one and don’t proceed into the intersection to make my turn, everyone behind me starts honking.

If I proceed and there is no chance to turn, I am in the the middle of the intersection with no choice but to turn when the arrow becomes red — along with anyone tailgating me. In this scenario, would I be ticketed?

The whole concept seems confusing. Can the police department make the rules regarding blinking yellow turn lights clearer?

Kit Cullinan

Overland Park

How he acted

In his July 5 column, Leonard Pitts Jr. described being a victim of a “swatting” call to 911. (9A, “People are shocked police didn’t kill me. Why is that?”) He was taken from his home, told to kneel, handcuffed and taken to stand behind a police cruiser.

Pitts wrote: “Once I understood what was going on, I felt reasonably confident everything would be fine if I remained calm and allowed police to figure things out.” After about 30 minutes the police were satisfied the only crime committed had been the fake 911 call.

Pitts also wrote: “Nobody yelled or cursed at me. I wasn’t manhandled, and when it was over, I received an apology. … (I)n a tense situation, police conducted themselves coolly and professionally.”

What Pitts didn’t emphasize enough was the part his own actions played in this situation.

He followed directions, was calm and cooperative, and did not make threats or accusations. When we treat others with the respect we would like to receive from them, things usually work out well.

Merlyn Grubb

Lee’s Summit

Yes, celebrate them

There has been debate recently about whether it is appropriate to honor the military on Independence Day. (July 11, 16A, Letters)

Yes, the armed services should be included in the Fourth of July celebration, because if they hadn’t defeated the British, there couldn’t be an Independence Day in the first place. We would be British subjects.

Lynnette Koenig


Step in, U.N.

The United Nations should declare the United States’ southern border a humanitarian crisis and send aid and troops for support.

The U.N. should also condemn the actions of the Republican Party for its support of the U.S. actions that have brought this crisis upon these immigrants and a stain upon America.

John Lancaster

Plattsburg, Missouri

Law to scrap

Dan Tarwater and his fellow Jackson County legislators are furious with County Executive Frank White because White is following Missouri state law regarding home evaluations for property tax purposes. (July 2, 4A, “Spiking assessments have homeowners calling for recall of Frank White”)

I’d like to suggest that if we’re going to start ignoring state laws, let’s start with the asinine gun laws coming out of Jefferson City.

If you’re required to demonstrate an ability to safely operate a motor vehicle before you’re given a driver’s license, shouldn’t there be a similar standard before you’re allowed to purchase a military assault rifle, whose sole purpose is to kill people?

Brad Lucht

Kansas City