Going for the (Fool's) Gold
Kudos to the Press for an informative and enlightening article concerning Houston and its possible Olympic bid ["Let the Games Begin," by Bob Burtman, May 27]. As a lifelong Houstonian, I would be the first to admit that the city has a chip -- er, boulder -- on its shoulder when it comes to self-esteem.

Let's acknowledge the obvious: We are somewhat of a mutt. With a climate like Calcutta, L.A.-like pollution, a transportation system that would make Mexico City proud and a dearth of hotel rooms, Houston could possibly be the worst place in North America to host the Summer Games.

Memo to Councilman Robinson: Central Florida has just a few more "attractions" than the Texas Gulf Coast, and the Bay Area might be just a shade more esthetically charming than the vistas to the north, south, east and west of Loop 610.

In all seriousness, hosting the Olympics for a few weeks in an effort to be seen as a world-class city will not erase decades of poor planning, overdevelopment and billboard insanity that have marked our city as the world's largest flea market.

If we do somehow get the games in 2012, all the city's warts -- and we do have more than a few, Mr. DeMontrond -- will be there for all the world to see. Getting the Olympics here may serve at least one purpose: Maybe we can finally get rid of all the orange barrels that plague our freeways like so many mosquitoes.

David Funderburk
via Internet

It is interesting that the state comptroller will base Olympic-related revenues on a comparison of actual tax revenues versus estimated revenues had the games not come here. A recent National Public Radio report on sales tax receipts for Dade County showed that they actually decreased during years that Miami hosted a Super Bowl. I'm sure some politician could have estimated that they would have decreased more without this "sure thing" for bringing money into the area.

Dennis Dillow
via Internet

I enjoyed reading Bob Burtman's article about the efforts to bring the 2012 Olympics to Houston. It was another example of the kind of informative, investigative journalism that is so hard to find elsewhere in Houston.

However, Atlanta does not have a light rail system, which typically runs at street level and goes no more than 30 or 40 mph. That city has a commuter rail system, which uses heavier track and equipment, and may travel as fast as 70 mph.

Hopefully, one of these days Houston may have one or the other, or perhaps even a combination of the two.

William S. Wilson
via Internet

Deena's Demise
The article about my aunt, Deena Nichols, hit the nail on the head ["Exit Strategy," by Wendy Grossman, May 27]. In an age when the media is often accused of misquoting, blowing stories out of proportion and spinning the truth beyond the point of recognition, the Houston Press hit a journalistic home run and got this story right.

Wendy Grossman obviously did her homework, as there were a few parts of the story that even I didn't know until I read her article. (For example, I thought Deena's dog really did run away.) After speaking to about two dozen people close to my aunt, the general consensus is that the story was accurate, balanced and told in a way that would have made even Deena proud.

I would like to thank you also for linking your Web site, houstonpress.com, to my personal Web site, SliceOfParadise.com. The response has been overwhelming. (The company that manages my Web site actually had its server crash over the weekend due to the Web traffic on Deena's site!)

I extend my thanks and congratulations on your sensitive treatment of this lovely lady's demise.

Tirey B. Counts

I think you did a great job in your article. I believe you captured Deena as if you knew her personally. I think Deena would approve.

Ann Heilman
via Internet

It's no wonder no self-respecting publisher has offered to print Tirey Count's Mercy for Deena. Mercy is reserved for people who live the very best they know how, and when you can't do that you get help. Deena's death was the same as her life: a waste. A spoiled brat who didn't get her way!

I also am battling a neurological condition that might leave me completely dependent on others for simplistic needs. My husband also left me when the going got tough, and it certainly wasn't with an expensive house and $5,000 a month. John is the one who gets my sympathy for putting up with Deena's shit for as long as he did.

Name withheld by request
via Internet

What a wonderful piece! I am amazed at how sorry I feel for Deena while the very same time admiring her strength of conviction. Keep up the good work!

Mellissa Wright
via Internet

What a heartwarming and totally moving story. Thank you for your compassionate writings and for sharing this magnificent life with so many others.

Larry McMillan
Memphis, Tennessee

Animal House
Regarding the article "Sick and Fired" [by Brad Tyer, May 20], how do I redirect my tax dollars from the support of the Houston Zoo to a more humane city service?

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