By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
Abuse of Authority
I just wanted to respond to your article in the April 2 issue about Madison High School's unruly principal ["Power to the Principal," by Shaila Dewan]. I think it is disgusting when people abuse the gift of authority that they were given. Mr. Ervin is the epitome of a man who is angry and dissatisfied with his own life, so he is constantly criticizing others, all the time believing that he is doing a good deed.
I did not go to Madison High School, but I assure you that there are many predominantly male teachers with the same kind of judgmental, holier-than-thou attitude that shames the entire teaching profession. His first job as principal should be educating those children, not reprimanding the teachers. Along with the stress of keeping a room full of teenagers focused and productive, the teachers have to worry themselves over a ridiculous dictator coming down on them.
I have taught classes myself, and would absolutely explode with fury if I did not believe I had the support of someone who is supposed to be on my side. I also think that if Mr. Ervin spent more time trying to improve the educational values of his school instead of writing up, transferring and firing teachers, he might have a fighting chance to compete academically with any other school in this city. I praise any and all teachers for doing what they do. It is a thankless job that Mr. Ervin has made impossible.
I also believe that the school district, along with his direct supervisors, should look at the big picture, instead of giving an across-the-board "acceptable" rating." If I mistreated any of my employees, by way of attitude or simply abusing my authority, I would be fired -- whether my production was up or not. School principals need to be the complete package of educator, disciplinarian, social worker and overall hero if they want well-balanced children to grow into well-adjusted adults. Mr. Ervin, you should be ashamed.
Take That, You Bandwagoners, You!
I just read the responses of the letters about your article ["Geezer Follies," by Richard Connelly, March 19] and they basically show what I have been saying about Rockets fans for years. They are nothing but ignorant, hypocritical bandwagoners who are unwilling to be honest about their team and lack any real basketball knowledge. You show more honesty than the so-called sportswriters in this town, who always have the propensity to kiss their asses.
Hey, Rocket fans, quit your moaning and whining and stop pointing fingers at people who tell the truth about your team. The season is over. Deal with it!
Councilmember Jew Don Boney Responds
One undertakes an interview with the Houston Press with much ambivalence, given the Houston Press's position in this news market as the slicer and dicer of elected officials. However, I felt that it was important to address the issues raised by the Houston Press. I am now compelled to respond to numerous implications created in the article "Situational Ethics" [by Brian Wallstin, March 26].
First, let me state for the record that my ethics are not "situational." I have a steadfast belief in right and wrong and have spent all of my adult life fighting for people who have been denied their civil and human rights.
My ethical commitments and principles have not changed; I am even more committed to public service. That commitment, while unswerving, is tempered by the reality of politics and economics. My commitment to serve the people and my God is absolute. I have given my life to public service, and those who know me best know that I have sacrificed much in order to serve.
I believe that "we the people" must challenge ourselves to constantly champion the causes of those who are least able to represent themselves. But, at the same time, we must move beyond mere symbolism to get something positive done, not just anything, but some meaningful, measurable progress on the agenda of the people. District D is one of the most diverse City Council districts in the city. It includes not just African-Americans and the poor, but also Hispanics, Anglos and Asians. I have a responsibility and a commitment to represent all of the constituents of District D equally and fairly.
Secondly, I neither solicited, received nor was offered payment from former councilmember Ben Reyes in exchange for a vote on any issue. It is quite apparent to me that by leading with the FBI sting, the Houston Press attempted to find complicity where there is none. It's absolutely ludicrous to suggest that I am so slick as to elude the snare of an FBI target.
Redevelopment in the Fourth Ward has been a tenuous issue for at least four decades. I am comfortable that the development plan now in place is one that will secure low-income and affordable housing. Unfortunately, I cannot change the fact that less than 1 percent of the land in the historical district of the Fourth Ward, known as Freedmen's Town, is owned by African-Americans. In previous plans "designed to help the residents," neither the residents nor the African-American community were included in those discussions, but rather the residents were discussed and told what would happen to them. In the current redevelopment plan, 255 units of affordable housing will be available to low-income residents, with deep subsidies for homebuyers; 50 units of historical houses (row houses) and 500 units of low-income rental units in Allen Parkway Village will be renovated. This plan was accepted and approved with the full participation of area residents through public hearings and by the Fourth Ward Community Coalition, who hired David Lee, a renowned city planner who happens to be African-American, to oversee and coordinate the development of the master plan.