Mr. Lilly will no doubt be exonerated of all accusations (as he should be), and his practice will continue to thrive.

Name withheld by request

Labels Don't Stick
I too would venture to agree with a recent letter ["Smuck the Muck," July 30] from one of your readers, that your publication might want to consider a bit less "muck and ruck" and somewhat more "meat and potatoes" in the journalistic product you are offering to the people of the Houston area.

Your product must be presented as either the local tabloid or the local alternative newspaper, but not both, as the objectives are mutually exclusive, and you simply cannot give dual "service" in the area without causing considerable confusion among your readership.

Therefore, please clarify (once again?) for all of us out here: What is the purpose of (and the motive behind) your "paper"?

Given this understanding, we can all make a better, more informed "decision" on whether or not it is worth our time and effort to carry home your product each week.

Or, on second thought, maybe the "game" really is for us to "guess" from week to week where you really stand. Hmmm. Not a bad "marketing" strategy, if I say so myself -- touche!

B. Root
via Internet

Editor's note: The purpose of the Houston Press has been and will continue to be: to provide readers with a variety of in-depth news and feature stories as well as entertainment news, food and culture critiques and extensive listings. If you check the content of recent issues, you'll find cover stories included a look at the proposed nuclear dump for Texas, the shooting death of a Bellaire teenager on LSD and a homicide in Montgomery County that is not being investigated by authorities there. We are equally proud of stories like "Courtship, River Oaks Style" [July 16], which is fully in keeping with the Press philosophy in that it is brightly written and on top of the local scene. We stand where we have always stood -- committed to bringing you in-depth, compelling stories that other area media often don't cover.

Smoke Signals
My name is Tommy Edwards. I am a marijuana activist, just like many Americans who believe that using marijuana is a personal choice. I like how you said the short-term effects of DARE work ["Reefer Madness," by T.R. Coleman, July 9]. I wouldn't use marijuana until I was in high school, but then I made up my own mind that I wanted to try it. DARE does not have long-term impact.

I know, because I have been through it. Talking about drugs should start when parents think the time is right. Drugs shouldn't be talked about in school with kids. I didn't know what marijuana was until I heard about it in school when I was 15, even though my dad used marijuana a lot and smoked it with me when I was 17.

I think that the marijuana issue is a personal one that has a lot to do with family and nothing to do with the government. Thanks for the interesting article and I hope you get some intellect from my information.

Tommy Edwards
via Internet

Canadian Cop
I read your story on DARE, which buttresses so many other investigative pieces and scholarly analyses of the program. DARE is a multimillion-dollar failure by any rational standard except one: the police's need for positive PR and inroads into the school system.

As a police officer in Vancouver, Canada, and a parent who plays exhibition basketball games and coaches kids' teams, I also teach a course at a local community college.

Role models and public-safety expertise are essential elements of the police/school system partnership. Yet this is not what DARE does.

DARE presents an opinion -- held by many but far from universal -- that is eroded every day by medical and scientific research. The fundamental mistake is adults believing that kids can't see through it. As long as DARE is a sales pitch, the results won't change much.

The appropriate people to present drug information to children are a combination of educators and health-care professionals. Not only are the police not qualified, but our vested interest taints the process.

Don't be surprised, however, when police defend DARE against all reason, using smear tactics and conjecture. It's not because it does anything for the kids. It's because it does something for us.

Gil Puder
Vancouver, Canada
via Internet

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