Same Business, Different Room
Jim Simmon's analysis of Houston's commercialized political culture represents the kind of excellence in journalism rarely seen in a town where gossip, TV tabloids and worn-out recitations of official spin pass for news. "Daddy Mosbucks" and Ben Reyes really are in the same business -- passing money around to protect the privileges of the deal crowd. In Houston the voters are constantly entertained by such sideshows, but as Simmon suggests (with a sense of political morality not often found in Houston reporting), None Dare Call It Democracy.

David A. Jones

Where's Jean-Claude?
In your coverage of the mayor's race, I haven't read anything regarding candidate Jean-Claude Lanau. He has received coverage by Channels 11, 13, 48, AM and FM talk stations and the Houston Chronicle. Is it propaganda by omission? Whether positive or negative, I would like to read something about Jean-Claude Lanau in the Houston Press.

Alex J. Chidichimo

Editor's reply: Jean-Claude Lanau has a delightful accent. Will that do?

Half the Story
"Helter Shelter" [by Bob Burtman, July 31] has a great lead-in and was on an important topic, but it's only half an article. For example, what happened to Jennifer Franklin? Where did she go after being kicked out of the busy Women Helping Women shelter? Does she now have a safe place to live? Look, if you're to begin Jennifer's story, please continue it. If it has a reasonably happy ending, tell us. And what happened to Lisa?

So much of the article was proving the case against Faye Turner. Fine, she did a lousy job. You overproved this about five times. Let's remember that a complex antagonist makes for a better story. So, did Turner initially try to do a good job and lack managerial skills? Did she receive praise and adulation too early, and then not want it to be found out that it was undeserved? To her credit, she did fire the threatening housemother and sent faxes to other shelters (presumably telling them not to hire her); but perhaps Turner did not fire her soon enough. How about a good follow-up in a couple of months? Has Turner turned the shelter over to a good manager? Has the Precinct 4 Constable's office developed better oversight of funded projects? And of course, how are Jennifer and Lisa doing now?

Doug King

Which Movie Critic Are You Referring To?
I think your movie critic could be a better one if he'd come down off his pompous high horse. It sounds like he hates everything, including himself.

Lisa Franzen
via Internet

Special Treatment
I'm getting really tired of hearing about how severely Kristen Pain was punished for possession of almost ten grams of cocaine ["Pain for the Prosecution," by Steve McVicker, June 26]. All the parties involved in Pain's case directed your attention to the "highly unusual" 45 days she had to serve as a condition of her deferred adjudication probation. The purpose of this misdirection was to disguise the fact that she did receive special handling of her case from the very beginning when, before the special prosecutor was appointed, Johnny Holmes approved the "highly unusual" charge of simple possession instead of possession with intent to deliver. I challenge anyone to find any other case where a person in possession of more than four grams of cocaine was initially charged with simple possession (a second-degree felony) and not possession with intent to deliver (a first-degree felony). In an exceptionally weak case, if a person in possession of almost ten grams of cocaine has good, retained counsel, the charge might be plea bargained down to simple possession, but the sentence will not be deferred adjudication probation, unless that person has some very good political connections.

So Pain's sentence was "highly unusual" only because the charge was lower and the sentence was less harsh than anyone else would have received. Save your sympathy for the uneducated, indigent people with court-appointed lawyers and no political connections who are now serving long sentences in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for possession of more than four grams of cocaine with intent to deliver.

Name withheld by request
via Internet

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