Letters

Brown Out
Richard Connelly's article was "right on" concerning the makeup of the Harris County Jail population ["Black and White Only," June 10]. I guess there are really no white people getting arrested in Harris County. Could there be a more sinister reason behind this practice of labeling Hispanics as white?

On the surface it appears that an equal number of blacks and whites are being arrested, while actually there is a huge discrepancy in those numbers. If any civil rights organization were to check the census of the inmate population by just looking at a computer printout, they would not be aware of the fact that it would be an erroneous report. It appears to be another example of racial bigotry and discrimination that still lingers in this country.

Name withheld by request
via Internet

It's very interesting that with all the biases that Hispanics/Latinos/Mexicans have to put up with, that this is the only article you could come up with. An article that deals with Hispanics being done an injustice by being categorized as white in the Harris County jail system. Give me a break! Yes, I think that something should be done about it. But rarely do I see articles on minorities. If you need ideas, I've got plenty that do not stereotype Hispanics as gangsters, thugs or illegals.

Eloisa A. Castillo
via Internet

I think the current jail system has it correct. Hispanic is not a race. These people are Caucasian. It would get extremely confusing if everyone put their ethnic background on the band. Where does it stop?

Hugh Holden
via Internet

Spooks and Kooks
Living on the edge -- and I don't mean "this edge of the paper," as our friend puts it [News Hostage, by Richard Connelly, May 27]. I'm talking 'bout having a tense standoff with the CIA operatives who read the Chronicle regularly. It's Mr. "Life in the Fast Lane" Thom Marshall versus the shadowy underworld asking the tuff questions that none of the rest of us would dare to. Providing us with a valuable source of information and risking it all in the process.

I agree that putting a column in by Mr. Flamboyant himself -- Lee Brown -- was a loser. It's like, "This letter was so long, stupid and boring that, well... just see for yourself." But hey, our prez and his number two yes-man are experts at long, boring, stupid speeches/letters, and look where it got them. So I think that you may be right, Rich. We don't know who we're messing with, man.

Charles Westmoreland
via Internet

International City Pity
Once again the city's wheeler-dealers and some of its politicos have teamed up to spend large amounts of money to cut another bidness deal ["Let the Games Begin," by Bob Burtman, May 27]. This time they will spend taxpayer money to attempt to bring the Olympics to Houston. This, they say, will earn us lots of cheap venues for bread and circuses (as if we do not have enough of that already). They further claim that having the Olympics here will raise our fair city into the pantheon of "International Cities."

What is an international city anyway? Do we really need to be an international city? Houston is a pretty nice place to live without such a designation. I doubt whether it would improve the quality of life for rank-and-file Houstonians.

Wouldn't all of that money be better spent on much-needed improvements which would without a doubt improve the quality of life? I believe it is time to stop going for the glitz, gusto and stadiums and focus on basic meat-and-potato issues that will have a real impact on real people, not just small sectors of the bidness community.

Mark C. Wilde
via Internet

Congratulations for the outstanding article about Houston's bid for the Olympics. For a city that has a history of barely supporting its sports team (unless they're on extended winning streaks, high school football notwithstanding), has no convenient method of transportation and has schools that are falling apart, what better way to spend a few million bucks? But shouldn't the rest of the world experience what they're missing in our summer paradise? After all, when it's 90 degrees with 90 percent humidity, you gotta ask yourself, "Now where else can you get a breath of fresh air like this at midnight?"

If we're going to buy respect, let's find a more logical way to spend our money than the Olympics.

Jeff Share
Houston

Truth Searchers
Congratulations to Brian Wallstin and the Houston Press for another well-researched and thorough article ["Immune to Reason," June 3], this time on the controversy surrounding the adverse reactions following immunization with the hepatitis B vaccine.

I must, however, correct an impression that may have been given by Dr. Blaine Hollinger's startling and completely incorrect assumption that Dr. Bonnie Dunbar's courageous stand on this matter stems from an interest in the damages that might be won by her brother (Dr. Bohn Dunbar) against the manufacturer.

I have known and worked with Bonnie Dunbar for over 16 years and was present in the laboratory when her staff took the vaccine. Dr. Dunbar is an internationally known and respected biomedical researcher and a person of the utmost integrity. Dr. Bohn Dunbar was vigorous and athletic, and is also a person of courage and honesty. I personally watched Bohn work until he could no longer hold a pipette or remain in an upright position because of the debilitated nervous system and inflammatory processes taking over his body. I also watched the fear take hold in a young student in the laboratory whose eyesight began to diminish after immunization. These people did not ask for such horrible consequences, nor did they position themselves to take unfair advantage of a blameless vaccine industry.

I am proud to be part of the massive effort now underway among basic scientists to uncover the molecular mechanisms responsible for such adverse vaccine reactions. The scientific community is adamant, and it is dedicated. We will get to the bottom of this. The truth will be found.

Sherri M. Skinner, Ph.D.
via Internet

As I am a mother of three, your story really caught my attention. Glenda Matheny was given the choice of accepting the vaccine or not; however, as stated in the article, newborns are given the hepatitis B vaccine, but parents are not given the choice. When I took my youngest child home from the hospital, the nurse handed me a card indicating she had received the first dose of hep B. The hospital staff never told me or asked me about giving my newborn the vaccine. I was horrified to learn they had done this without informing me. Fortunately she has no problems.

The nurse at my oldest daughter's school called me just before school was out and tried to bully me into having my seven-year-old vaccinated for hep B.

Thank you so much for stories like these. No one else will do it, and these articles have to be done.

Angela Alexander
Houston

Prison Perspective
This article ["Making a Point," by Wendy Grossman, June 3] touched me in a lot of ways. You never realize what actually goes on behind the doors in a place like this. This affects me because I have a special person in my life who is on the way to the penitentiary. Thanks for printing this article. It makes me look at things in a whole different light.

Jennifer Dixon
via Internet

It is true that medical care in prisons is not practiced as it is in the free world. A factor, as in the civilian population, is funding. The prison clinicians are as competent as the resources available to them.

Rodney Hulin's hanging himself is understandable if one has either worked in the prison system or been a convict. The prisoners are not held accountable for reporting impending problems.

My condolences to Mr. and Mrs. Hulin. It is unfortunate that Rodney was born so troubled and that Rodney's parents and teachers did not take his behavior more seriously. If one wants to find a scapegoat, look outside of the prison system, because it is not geared to rehabilitate criminals.

If the state of Texas has taken the role away from the parents in raising their children, then so be it. In 1999 I would feel that my hands would be tied to discipline my children as my father did us.

I feel that prayer should be allowed in schools and that the paddle should be returned to prudent use by teachers.

Erasmo Riojas, former prison guard
via Internet

Snaking Around
Karl was definitely in a supervisory capacity as senior keeper ["Sick and Fired," by Brad Tyer, May 20]. And most supervisory and curatorial positions at the Houston Zoo were filled by internal candidates. I was one.

I never considered Karl a threat but can easily understand how others could. Safety for Karl, his co-workers and the visiting public was a concern. After all, we are talking about a lot of poisonous reptiles. If there had been a problem, your article would have berated zoo management for allowing him to remain on staff.

The handling of his case is a sad testament to the historical capacity of the City of Houston to botch personnel management. This is one of the many reasons there are so many ex-employees.

Name withheld by request
via Internet

Powers That Be
I think you are a bit heavy-handed in your review of the new Austin Powers movie ["Shaggy Dog," by Patrick Williams, June 10]. If you saw the first one, you knew what you were going to get. Slapstick humor is not for everyone but should be acknowledged for those who appreciate it.

I found every minute entertaining and would go see a third movie, if one comes out. Simply loved the humor and the music. As far as comedic offering, it reminds me of the Dan Ackroyd film Dr. Detroit.

Robert Schaeffer
via Internet

Collision Course
Your article on The Brownstone ["Sex Among the Armoires," by Margaret L. Briggs, June 3; "Sex Among the Armoires, Part II," by Margaret L. Briggs, June 17] has so many avenues open for comment (haven't they heard that public indecency is illegal?). I will restrain myself to just one: The management's comment about the staff's lack of experience reminded me of my last (and final) visit there.

My family had brunch on Thanksgiving Day. The food and service were excellent. As we were leaving, one of the valets jumped into a car and floored it into reverse without looking, just as my brother was helping my elderly mother across the street.

Mother was more agile than we realized; she managed to jump out of the way and was only slightly grazed. No one came to our rescue, and no one apologized.

After getting Mother home and giving her a nitroglycerine tablet, I called the restaurant and spoke to the manager. It must have been the same one, because he told me, too, that the staff "lacked experience." He did apologize but did not offer to do anything to make us want to ever return.

Maybe some staff training could be put on their agenda before they go completely out of business.

Linda Sonier
via Internet

Personal Observations
Shaila Dewan is a talented writer who should know how to analyze without exposing her personal history. Her reviews are littered with irrelevancies like childhood memories, personal affiliations and references to her own bodily functions.

In her review of "Other Narratives" ["Too Much for Words," June 10] the word I appears 19 times. The words me and my appear a total of six times. A recent Artforum magazine contained none of these pronouns.

There are some astute observations in her review, but the quality and credibility of the writing is compromised by a self-obsessed point of view. Not one word is spent discussing the work of David McGee or Annette Lawrence, two artists from Houston included in this national survey.

Dewan is a keen writer, but it will be difficult to take her seriously unless she realizes that art exhibitions are not all about her, and the reviews need not be, either.

Esther Shane
Houston

IBP (I Be Peeved)
Having recently seen Tamalalia 4: The Camp-Out, I must agree with Lee Williams's assertion that it is a very entertaining show ["Out of the Woods," June 10]. And it's nice to see the Houston Press is reviewing every single show that Infernal Bridegroom produces, even if it means totally ignoring other productions of more interesting shows at other venues. But isn't there some way you could give your readers even more IBP coverage? Can't you drop some of your other features so we can have up-to-the-minute coverage of all things pretentious?

Karl McHale
Houston

Appreciate the Past
Reviews, including those of Lee Williams, are by their very nature subjective. The opinions of playgoers are, of course, also subjective. Though it's a good production, I agree with Williams that The Last Session ["Light but Likable," May 20] was "absolute fluff" (and I'm gay).

But Williams is apparently incapable of viewing an America gone by, judging from her reaction to The Moon Is Blue ["Mooning the '50s," May 20]. It was an evening of live theater I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated. Regardless, thank goodness for the Houston Press!

Jim Swindell
Houston

Hip-hopless in Houston
Good job on the "Rap Space" article [by Craig D. Lindsey, June 3]. Houston might improve the hip-hop scene if marketers, radio stations, DJs and businesses promoted an actual local scene that supports hip-hop music and culture, not just rap artists.

Where is Houston's hip-hop district? Which venues truly sell hip-hop to their patrons? Booking megastar artists at the Woodlands Pavilion or the Compaq Center does not make Houston a haven for a real hip-hop aficionados. So what if the bottom line is the buck? Paying attention to your audience brings the dollars.

Jill A. Rock
via Internet

Awash-out
Having just recently moved here from Boulder, Colorado, my husband and I decided to try the Ethiopian restaurant Awash, based on your glowing review ["Wot More Could You Ask?" by Dennis Abrams, April 22].

Awash had no diners other than us at our early dinner time. The waitress, though charming, had difficulty communicating and helping us make our selections. While we were more than glad to be guided by her suggestion of vegetarian Combo I and II, we were disappointed.

Injera is usually warm, moist and soft, but this was cold and dry. Even the vegetarian dishes were cold. No asked us about the meal, and no warm napkins were brought to us until after we had made a trip to the restroom to rinse our hands.

All in all, we were terribly disappointed. We understand that you cannot be held responsible for what goes on at restaurants that you review, but we thought you might be interested in knowing of our experience.

Mary J. McWilliams
Houston

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