Letters

Yikes! Shike!
I read your analysis of John Shike's abuse of the legal system ["One-Man Mob," by Steve McVicker, May 8] with admiration for your reporting skills, sympathy with his victims and applause for Judge John Montgomery and Stewart Gagnon. As a lawyer who on two occasions has been sued by my client's opponents in an effort to separate me from my clients, I was particularly impressed with your ability to summarize that portion of Mr. Shike's complicated litigation abuse. Although everyone knows Judge Montgo-mery's sanctions will never be collected, hooray to him for levying them, because it sends a message to others.

I was also impressed with Lieutenant V.H. Schultea's good police work. When financially successful legal terrorists ply their trade, monetary sanctions of the type imposed by Judge Montgomery can stop them. When indigent legal terrorists like Mr. Shike go to work, the combination of Lieutenant Schultea, Johnny Holmes and 12 jurors willing to convict people who commit crimes are the only defense society has to behavior of the type engaged in by Mr. Shike.

Harry Herzog
Houston

Tamarie Cooper Will Serve Refreshments Afterward
I used to do a lot of local theater, but it never got reviewed -- probably because it was outside the Loop, where no Houston theater critic dares to venture.

After much study of what works [Theater, "Down the Road," by Megan Halverson, May 8], I've decided to mount my own show. It will be called "Lutherlalia." Basically, what happens is that up to three people at a time can join me in my 1985 Subaru. We will drive around the Loop, get drunk, see some of my favorite places and throw beer bottles out on the freeway. One highlight is the motel where I first got laid.

After smoking pot in a field near the Ship Channel, we will do the "drunken idiot dance" and get back in the car. Later, we'll dig through grocery store Dumpsters in hopes of finding lunch. Patrons must bring their own booze and pay for any public intoxication citation themselves. Whiteface makeup and jerky movements are optional.

Luther Poach
Houston

Youth Must Be Heard
Whose idea was it to let some goofy kid who doesn't like blues music write a review of the Chess Records 50th anniversary sets? [Music, "Nails in the Coffin," by Michael Batty, May 15]

Lisa King
via Internet

Some Tribute
On May 10, my wife and I attended the "tribute to Townes Van Zandt" presented by Writers in the Round [Picks, May 8]. We didn't know many of the man's songs and saw a sendoff by his contemporaries as a good chance to learn more about this recently deceased songwriter.

So what did we get for our $20 ticket price? A rambling, disorganized show that started a half-hour late and performers who in some cases were simply pathetic.

Only two unifying themes ran through the night. One was the playing of buzzing, poorly tuned instruments and the other was mumbling, chuckling, stupid, adolescent references to past and present drug use. This was incredibly depressing due to the presence of Van Zandt's family at this fundraiser.

Eric Taylor and Bobby Bridges showed some class by performing short and clean sets and leaving the stage. Taylor made the needed comment, "I hope we forget the stories and remember the songs."

One long-winded, self-important performer refused to play any Van Zandt songs, and most of the others didn't bother to indicate whether songs were Van Zandt's or not. The program contained no listing of his songs. We didn't leave with any clear idea of the writer's legacy. We did leave, though. And we weren't the only ones bailing out early.

I know that this was a charity and it may seem mean to complain, but Writers in the Round needs to learn to price their tickets more rationally. This was a $2 show with a $20 admission.

Mark Commins
via Internet

If You Would Have Just Listened to Me ...
It was with great disappointment that I reviewed your April 24 article, "A Flaky Deal" [by Brian Wallstin]. It is discouraging for program personnel who work very hard to initiate new services in the city to receive such a biased review in the local media.

Allow me to respond to some of the specific factual errors in your article.
The house referred to in the opening paragraphs of your story is still in negotiation for lead hazard removal. Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control Program staff have yet to completely identify the source of lead dust in and on the home due to three factors: 1) the extensive exterior paint stripping in the neighborhood; 2) the lack of air conditioning in the home necessitating the opening of numerous windows; and 3) what is reported to be marginal housekeeping practices in the home. The parents have expressed an unwillingness to replace the 30-plus large wooden windows with aluminum and want identical replacement of the custom-built doors. In this situation, as in others encountered by the program, the LBPHCP has no authority to force a homeowner to participate in lead hazard reduction.

The LBPHCP provided lead hazard reduction services to 24 homes, as of the writing of your article. There were 33 poisoned children residing in the homes. No homes have received lead hazard reduction without a poisoned child in residence.

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