Third World Ways
I read the article "Under Siege" by Shaila Dewan [November 12] with horror and outrage over the insanity of what passes for politics in the city of South Houston! Mayor Romero should be applauded and commended for all he's done and is trying to do for the people of South Houston.

I have never heard of such widespread nepotism, misuse of power and mismanagement in government in my life! I felt like I was reading a story about a third world country -- not a city in the United States! It was an excellent article and it should open some eyes and raise awareness as to what exactly is going on in our "backyard."

Name withheld by request
via Internet

Taking Advantage
I had heard about taxi dancing going on even before I read about it in the Houston Press ["Partners for Pay," by Russell Contreras, October 22]. I know some people who take these young girls to these clubs. They lure them with thoughts of easy money and no strings attached, just fun and drinks.

I feel for the girl in your story, because I believe "Jess" is a victim of her older friends. Not because they lure her there, but because when these men get drunk and the night is over they want something in exchange for their money, and that is when these "girls" get caught in a bad situation. In reality, who knows how many have been raped? Who is going to talk about this when these kids are minors? One could say that the operators of these clubs are contributing to the exploitation of children, because a middle school student can still be considered a child, right?

Lucia Mar
via Internet

Permanent Palabra
I am writing to thank the Houston Press for giving Nuestra Palabra the local attention it deserves ["Meet the Aztec Love God," by Shaila Dewan, October 1]. I would also like to personally thank Shaila Dewan for her interest.

Our organization is only six months old, but we will continue to bring our voice to the community. Maybe Houston does not know this, but this is something that Houston really needs. Love us or hate us, we are here to stay.

Alvaro Saar Rios
via Internet

Siege Mentality
The story is ludicrous on Waco reporter John McLemore and the attempt to paint him as a victim because his attempt to exploit the ATF/Branch Davidian tragedy didn't work and he wound up stuck in Waco making $20,000 ["In the Line of Fire," by Ann Zimmerman, November 12].

There are much bigger victims of the ATF's attempt to publicize a Nazi-style raid on a property where there were many women and children. Many less dramatic, but not as publicity opportunistic, methods were certainly available to get Koresh or to check for illegal weapons.

Some really deserving reporter might try reporting the truth about what happened at Waco and about those truly responsible. The real victims continue to suffer; the families of all the people burned to death, the Davidians serving Draconian sentences of up to 40 years for trumped-up charges. If reporters were to write about that they would be courageous and perhaps they might deserve an award, not someone whining because they consider themselves an incidental victim. The ATF managed to find plenty of scapegoats for the barbaric actions.

Jerry King

Brad Tyer is to be congratulated on his outstanding "Closing Costs" article [October 29]. I really like his writing style. I am a friend and neighbor of John Cobarruvias and can attest to his frustrations of dealing with these problems. I also give John and others credit for taking on the Goliath companies (and their lawyers).

Frank Brody
via Internet

Clean Up
Regarding the article in the Press about John Covarrubias and his headaches (and heartaches) with his Ryland home, I cleaned many of those homes around the time they were newly built and purchased. I noticed then that the workmanship was very shoddy.

I have never trusted any builder who would throw together a home, office or any other building in less than two months.

Maybe the unsuspecting prospective buyer should have looked more carefully into how quickly the house was put together. Still, the major fault lies with the builder who should be honest and sincere enough to make good on the principles on which his business started out. Keep on fooling people, and it will turn on you. And, caveat emptor.

Dolly Fischer
via Internet

Unhappy Homebuyers
I just finished reading your article on the problems some folks are having with their Ryland homes. There are currently 186 homeowners in Houston suing Kimball Hill homes for exactly the sorts of things that it appears Ryland is guilty of. We're also suing Houston Lighting & Power for certifying homes as "Good Cents" energy-efficient quality homes when they were not. The Houston Chronicle originally reported the suit around November 1 of last year, then, a few months later, incorrectly stated that it had been dismissed.

Valerie M. Yeary
via Internet

Lemon Houses
I just read the excellent article on defective construction and I am somewhat jealous. But I remember that they do this in a big way in Texas. I live in California and have been involved in construction defect/shoddy workmanship issues and litigation for almost 30 years.

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