All Aboard
[Re: Letters, June 18]: I'm jumping on William Machmer's bandwagon, since I, too, want to reward your paper for the only real reporting in town. I never believed the purpose of a newspaper was to defend and maintain the status quo, and I have always puzzled over the other paper's absolute refusal to investigate or report conflicts of interest, official misconduct, corruption and political double-dealing at the local level. It is funny to see how, just now, that paper is nibbling at the edges of the gross mismanagement and probable fraud at Parks and Recreation, while the Houston Press long ago exposed that particular end product of Bob Lanier's cronyism.

Houston tends to be a complacent city, one that believes any occasional unpleasantness will go away if ignored. We reject the self-aware laissez faire of a more sophisticated metropolis. Witness the all-too-frequent grand jury no-bills of police officers -- all shootings are justified and there is no such thing as excessive use of force in the Bayou City. Observe how the masses (well, the few who voted, anyway) flocked to the polls in support of a new sports stadium, in defiance of all common sense and logic. Does anyone still believe that no private interests or benefits are involved? Hear the outcry as yet another Lanier myrmidon reaps his reward of an overpaid sinecure, ultimately funded by taxpayers. Is this in our best interest?

The Houston Press is a sanity saver for reality buffs -- someone has to tell the emperor his ass is showing.

Shawna L. Reagin

First Birds, Now Us
Please come back to 3601 Allen Parkway [Allen House Apartments]. There's some other paper (The Paper) that can't hold a candle to you.... I don't know what prompted the change, but please know that you are missed!

C. Reese
via Internet

Editor's note: We'd love to be back at Allen House Apartments. The racks were pulled at the orders of apartment management after the Press published an article ["Poop Happens," by Margaret Downing, April 16] in which some residents criticized the Allen House manager's placement of a net across the top of one unit of the complex to keep out birds.

Round 'n' Round
You might add the name Frank Gonzales Jr. to Governor Bush's stunning prison score ["The Special Needs of Frank Gonzales Jr.," by Steve McVicker, June 11].

What goes around, comes around.
William Buie
via Internet

Witness to Horror
I was at Westley's execution and witnessed the horror and anger of Westley's family when they learned that the governor was not going to intervene ["Capital Irony," by Steve McVicker, June 25]. An execution always creates another set of victims.

Dave Atwood, President
Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

A Mother's Scream
The latest edition of the Houston Press brought back an all-too-frequent nightmare.

I stood outside the death house in Huntsville, Texas, the night Anthony Westley was put to death.

I held his mother when she fell, screaming, to the street, although we had never met. At that time we were just two women, two mothers united in grief. I have never heard such pain issuing from the throat of a human being as I did from that mother as her child was being killed and she could not protect him.

At the time, I was unaware of many of the facts in the case. Now, after reading the article, it is all too clear what his mother meant when she screamed over and over, "They said we had to get proof; we got proof, you can't kill him...."

Yes, Virginia, in Texas, "they" can....
Marta Glass

Holy Topeka
Very interesting piece on Trinity Church ["Psalms of Silence," by Bob Burtman, June 18]. There was a very similar situation at Grace Episcopal Cathedral in Topeka, Kansas, involving a vacillating bishop and a childish dean (rector of the cathedral) who decimated the congregation in the mid-1990s. Resignation of their outstanding music director was the straw that broke the camel's back and led the vestry to move to oust the dean a year or so ago.

Fred Sellers
via Internet

Swan Song
Thank you, Bob, for finally having the guts to speak the truth about what has been happening at Trinity Church. For well over a year, I have seen the parish knee deep in secrecy. Funny, I thought Christians kinda went in for that "truth and honesty" thing?! Instead, many members and vestry members keep sticking their heads in the sand, or feel that "these issues should not be made public." Even this week, one of Trinity's elected vestry members continued the attack on Ed Franklin by claiming that he instigated this "investigative report" and has shamed Trinity by airing dirty laundry.

Where does that leave us? Praying that, yes, "The truth shall set us free," and that Ed Franklin and those like him who share their faith and talent and don't settle for the mediocre will actually be thanked and honored, not attacked and destroyed.

The Trinity Choir will have its final Choral Evensong on Sunday, July 12, at 5:30 p.m. (1015 Holman at Main). After that, according to Bishop Payne's "godly judgment," Mr. Franklin and the Trinity Choir are no more.

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