By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
Taste of Turpentine
I found your rather scathing and venomous attack on state Representative Sylvester Turner ["Man Overboard," by Jim Simmon, October 24] to be characteristically similar to Wayne Dolcefino's $5.5 million-dollar story -- grossly misleading and extraordinarily biased.
Surely, we (your loyal readers) would expect you to jump to the defense of one of your fellow fiction writers (oops, I mean journalists) by insulting the jury's intelligence and making martyrs out of witnesses that the jury obviously found less than credible.
But making a statement about what is "true" in terms of what most Houstonians think about Representative Turner is truly a stretch and begs the question -- just what poll or crystal ball have you been reading? What is both true and irrefutable is this: 12 jurors (in this case, nine whites, two blacks and one Hispanic) listened to several weeks of testimony, deliberated for almost a week and delivered a stinging verdict totaling $5.5 million on behalf of Representative Turner.
I know it must be difficult for you to swallow, but so is turpentine.
By the way, it might help your readers put your ultra-negative spin on the verdict and Representative Turner in perspective if they knew that Jackson & Walker, the law firm that represented Mr. Dolcefino and Channel 13, also represents another well known media outlet -- the Houston Press.
Jim Simmon replies: It might help readers put Mr. Jones's letter in perspective if they knew that he is a close friend of Turner's and managed his 1991 mayoral campaign, and will probably manage a second Turner campaign should the state representative test my assertion that "most Houstonians" would not have him as their mayor. As for the Press's relationship with Jackson & Walker: The law firm does not represent this newspaper in any current legal proceeding, but does perform pre-publication review of stories for both the Press and its sister paper, the Dallas Observer, and currently is representing the Observer in two legal matters. Mr. Jones may know of the Press's association with the firm because he has read disclaimers to that effect in past stories and items we have published on Turner's lawsuit against Channel 13 and Dolcefino. Such a relationship calls for the Press to pay Jackson & Walker for its services. If Mr. Jones thinks that arrangement had one iota of influence on what I wrote, then, by an extension of the same logic, he must believe that Sylvester Turner was involved in or knew of the insurance swindle described in Dolcefino's reports, simply because Turner was the lawyer for the main perpetrator of the attempted fraud.
Battle of Bartlett's
You might want to share with reader Terry "Quote Boy" Jennings ["Tolerating the Intolerant," Letters, October 24] that it was actually British broadcaster Malcolm Muggeridge -- not G.K. Chesterton -- who noted, "It has been said that when human beings stop believing in God they believe in nothing. The truth is worse: They believe in anything."
And to his quote collection he might want to add the following comment about his much-revered "tolerance":
"Tolerance is only another name for indifference" (W. Somerset Maugham).
The use of the term "bottom feeders" for some of Houston's sexually oriented businesses is sanctimonious ["Mr. S.O.B.," by Mary Flood, October 24]. The acrimony against SOBs stems from religion's hatred of sexuality. SOBs can't be built near churches, yet the latter are a more serious threat to society. Let's face it, the belief that ethics is handed down to us by some Mysterious Spook is psychotic. Sex is good; religion is not. Let's prosecute the churches for fraud, or at least keep religion away from innocent children.
Why did you have to mention La Iglesia Misionera Pentecostes Central in such an article ["Mr. S.O.B."]? I think Robert Watters has nothing to do with our church. As far as I know, Mr. Watters paid the rent for just one year, which was very long ago, and is not related to this church, for it bears another name now and is directed by different people. The writer went even further by showing a picture of the church and including a comment of one elder of the church who is not an elder anymore.
Mr. Watters is, from the things you said about him, an evildoer. Surely God will crush him if he used Christians to do his evil plans. He seems to me like a Satan son who will get his reward later. He will not only be punished for what he did by using the church to get a competitor out of the way, but also because he is corrupting millions of men and women who are eager for sexual desires and the vanity of money. God will not forgive him if he does not repent himself of all his sins; in Hell he will get his reward.
Narcisco J. Pavon
The Best Starchy, God-fearing Grocery in the Western Hemisphere
Just a short note to let you know how pleased I was to see the article written in your paper recently on "Best Grocery Store" describing our "starchy, God-fearing" store [Best of Houston, September 19]. I enjoyed the article immensely.