The Insider

Among current users of the program listed in the Model-Netics literature are the Los Angeles County government, AT&T, IBM and Arthur Andersen. That claim, however, appears to be false -- or at least badly outdated. Lu Takeuchi, Los Angeles County's director of human resources, said Model-Netics was used briefly in the early eighties by the county and then discarded. Takeuchi couldn't recall any of the Model-Netics concepts. "I really can't comment on the quality of the program," she said, "other than we're not using it anymore." Corporate PR and marketing officers for regional offices of AT&T, IBM and Arthur Andersen say they've never heard of Model-Netics.

Hook concedes that the list of clients for Model-Netics is out of date. He then ticks off a list of current and satisfied customers that includes Southern Illinois University, Columbia HCA, Mutual of Omaha and the Air Force Reserve in Charleston, South Carolina.

The match between Model-Netics and HISD was made not in heaven but rather on a civic endeavor called the Business Advisory Group that he chaired several years back, Hook says. Al Haines, the former city finance director who migrated to the Greater Houston Partnership, was also a member of the council, which worked with the HISD board for three years. During that time both Hook and Haines became acquainted with Paige. Haines later joined American General, got hooked on Model-Netics and suggested to Paige he might be interested in it for the district.

So that's how all you HISD conscripts ended up being taught to speak Model-Netics. And you'd better learn to talk the talk, lest you wind up walking Captain Hook's plank straight into the Cruel Sea. A helpful Q&A for trainees includes Question Number 12: "Does management have any way of determining if participants are using Model-Netics?"

The answer: "Without a doubt. Model-Netics is a language, and it is pretty easy to tell who is using a language."

Yeah, But Watch Out for Those Peels!
Dominique Sachse was vibrating with good cheer as she promo'ed upcoming stories on Channel 2's daybreak newscast last week, including a feature on "one man [who] says the world's going bananas, and he's got the artwork to prove it."

"We've been accused of monkeying around here a little bit," Sachse quipped to co-anchor Bob Nicholas, who seemed to have a premonition something bad was about to happen. "A little bit," Nicholas repeated cautiously. "A little bit," echoed Sachse, who then proceeded to introduce "our resident monkey, Miss Orelon." That would be weathercaster Orelon Sidney, who, like Nicholas, is African-American. Sachse then let out a shrill laugh, while Sidney exclaimed, "Just you wait ...," before soldiering on into her weather forecast.

Sachse, whose news background prior to her employment at Channel 2 consisted of a stint at Metro Traffic announcing road conditions, explains she had no idea that her comment might be offensive to African-American viewers or co-workers.

"I was unaware of the association of the word 'monkey' with African-Americans, and did not know they had been called that in the past. Unfortunately, I said it, and the context was we clown around and have a good time," she says. When someone clued her in, Sachse adds, she personally apologized to Sidney "because I did not want her to take it in the wrong way."

The incident brought to mind Howard Cosell's infamous description of especially fleet (and black) Redskins receiver Alvin Garrett as "a little monkey" years ago on ABC's Monday Night Football. Both Cosell and his network publicly apologized for the remark. That apparently won't happen at KPRC, as general manager Steve Wasserman says he has apologized to callers but doesn't plan any public expression of regret for Sachse's stab at early-morning racial solidarity.

Viewers desiring a personal apology from Channel 2 can call Wasserman at 222-2222.

Sneaky Pete
The Dallas Morning News has vigorously denied that reporter Pete Slover broke into a defense team computer to acquire the alleged confession of Oklahoma City bombing suspect Timothy McVeigh. But if Slover didn't hack into the defense's electronic files, as McVeigh attorney Stephen Jones initially alleged, it's not for lack of ability. Former co-workers at the Houston Chronicle remember Slover as a hacker par excellence who could slip into management's computer files and extract information for his colleagues. A onetime Chronicle reporter who thought he was being shortchanged on his paycheck recalls asking Slover to access salary figures for other newsroom personnel -- a request that Slover dutifully fulfilled.

Contacted in Dallas, th reporter declined to discuss the details of how the acquired the McVeigh document and referred all questions to Morning News management.

Call The Insider at 624-1483 or 624-1496 (fax), or drop him a line at Insider@houston-press.com.

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