Letters

A Chase Conclusion
I'm an average citizen (not a police officer). I don't agree with your opinion concerning the "Deadly Pursuit" article in your magazine [by Brian Wallstin, March 10]. It seems that every time something happens, it's easier to jump on the good guy than the bad guy.

We do live in a time where criminals are dictating the way we live. Let's just imagine for a minute. What if there were no police chases, and criminals were allowed to escape by driving ten miles above the speed limit? What kind of life will (if you can call it living) we be faced to endure?

In law enforcement work, men and women risk their lives and limbs making a small piece of the world a safer place for all of us. Police chases are necessary to catch criminals that injure, kill and steal. If it comes to police chasing someone to retrieve your vehicle or letting go, I wonder which course of action will you choose.

I have a proposed solution to the long chases. The problem in most cases is that police cars are too slow to chase down any sports car on the road today. Police cars go from 0 to 60 mph in about 11 to 12 seconds. The average sports car will do the same in 6 seconds flat. Not to mention the new Camaro Z28 (outfitted with Corvette engines) will tackle that feat in 5.3 seconds. Since the police department is already using Camaro Z28s, let's convert most of the fleet to these ultra-fast sports cars and have the remaining police cars for transport. This is how the system will work. A police Z28 tracks down a speeding car and radios for a transport unit. The Z28 can track down most cars in the first half-mile. This eliminates the need for several vehicles in a high-speed chase over a long period of time and distance. The driver of the Z28 will radio for a transport unit. When the transport unit arrives, the arresting officer will make a recorded report via police recorder in the transport unit. The prisoner and recording are taken to the holding facility, where the prisoner is processed. This will free the arresting police officer to remain out on the street, reducing the need for high-speed chases due to increased police presence.

Cedric Banks
Houston

Naked and Hurt
Evidently you [Susie Kalil] feel we are on a first-name basis because you viewed an artistic image of me, partially disrobed, in Laura Letinsky's show at Lawndale [Art, "The Naked Eye," April 21]. Evidently you feel anyone who would bother showing the likes of me in an intimate situation must be making a "parody of porn." Perhaps you've never made porn, but your writings certainly parody intelligent criticism! Evidently you feel that Ms. Letinsky, by barging into my and others' bedrooms and making images, has "colonized low culture." I would advise you, Susie, not to patronize ignorantly others' private tastes, personal appearance or pedigrees. And evidently you feel that, having bravely deigned to expose myself in such an apparently sordid back-room scenario, I fail to show, or Letinsky fails to capture, "psychological depth." Such a consummately subjective judgment is made all too easily by a critic who finds only "grotesque banality" in human desire and has the naivete to declare "true porn gives us true sex." Excuse me?!

Ms. Kalil (if we may pull our panties up again), your criticism smacks of snobbery (thinly veiled as PC bromide), it smacks of prudery (oh! adult bookstores and pimples and dirty, ugly, yuck!) and it smacks of the intolerant impatience of one who has found little pleasure, I fear, in strange bedrooms or strange gallery spaces. I'm truly sorry we cannot all be tumbling shoes for you, Susie -- but you see, some of us "low-culture" art-world types aren't done disrobing until we get at least past our ankles.

Eric Schwab
Houston

A&M's Fine Foundation
I read with interest the article by Brian Wallstin in the April 7 issue of the Houston Press entitled "Aggie Alchemy." Mr. Wallstin's attempt to be cute no doubt increased readership, but cleverly ignored many of the facts. I would like to clarify a couple of points which may be illustrative.

First, the Texas A&M University Development Foundation follows the Council for Aid to Education's definition of private grants. A private grant, unlike contract research, provides for unrestricted support of a particular project, activity and/or research. The private grant that came through the so-called Philadelphia Project was characterized by the donor and the recipient, after careful review by the Development Foundation and the university, as a private grant.

Second, Mr. Wallstin described the Foundation as a mechanism for those who do not want to pay overhead at 43 percent. The indirect cost rate or overhead for federal grants and contracts is a calculated and negotiated rate set out by the Office of Management and Budget. Texas A&M's current rate with the federal government is 45 percent. However, most private individuals, corporations, foundations and other sources of funding for research will not and do not pay the negotiated federal rate. In fact, the average recovered overhead rate at Texas A&M last year was 7 percent, not 45. Thus, private grants for research are unrestricted, like gifts, and are handled by the Development Foundation. The issue is not one of avoidance of overhead.

My review of this private grant comes with some independence and objectivity. I assumed the presidency of the Development Foundation after [the Philadelphia Project] had been processed. It appears that the Development Foundation employees in every area applied a higher level of care with this project than with the standard. The process and procedures were adequate. The Foundation, like other organizations, is not capable of detecting deception on the part of individuals at any point of the process.

Finally, the public would better be served by a knowledgeable press that considers all the facts and reports the issue with objectivity.

Eddie J. Davis
President,
Texas A&M Development Foundation
College Station

Make Mine Modern
The first thing I flip to in the Houston Press is "This Modern World," the comic strip by Tom Tomorrow. Please keep running it! It seems that it is fashionable these days to not publicly take a stand on "hot" issues. Tom negates this trend. He not only combines biting irony with politics, he makes sense sometimes!

Tim Schaller

Houston

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