Casey Breaux


From Mr. Tyer's article, it would seem that "the Lord" had very little indeed to do with the drill team tryouts at Cinco Ranch. Even the lessons of Columbine quickly get lost, or conveniently covered up. As always, lots of kids will hurt themselves and be hurt (and a few will die) for the "glory and recognition" of a school or related institution that doesn't care about the "losers," except to make damn sure they know that "God" is on the side of authority.

Hey, does Katie Betzler get to go to the library during PE class time to do her reports? That would seem fair. Bet the word "fair" could pinch a few toes in Katy.

Tom Paterson


I am an attorney and a 1987 graduate from Katy Independent School District. My drill team service, in part, did lead to a subsequent 12-year battle with anorexia and bulimia. I know the weekly weigh-ins contributed heavily to my constant awareness of -- and obsession with -- the state of my body. The eating disorders, along with low self-esteem, obsessive-compulsiveness and parental divorce, eventually led to a diagnosis of depression. I began psychiatric treatment in 1997.

Today I have a loving husband who has been very supportive. We have a beautiful daughter (whom we almost lost during pregnancy, because of my anorexia and bulimia). I'm not completely healed, but I'm well on my way.

I barely made the cut with my drill team, and to tell you the truth I wish I hadn't. Although I would not trade where I am in life now, I would love to have a different past to reflect on.

Name withheld by request


Rail Bugs

I read with much interest your feature on the upcoming light rail ["Train in Vain," by Richard Connelly, February 24] and have the ever-present question: Don't most world-class cities have some sort of zoning and sign restrictions? When will a light-rail line bring visitors past the neon cockroach on the Southwest Freeway?

Thanks a lot for the real reporting.

Paula Lott


I'm glad Houston is getting rail. And I hope we get more rail, in locations that actually offer a workable alternative to a large number of drivers.

In the meantime, what are you going to ride if our dirty air brings about driving restrictions? Buses, that's what. I commute by bus 32 miles to my job, all within Houston city limits, against traffic. In the early morning, it takes two hours (that's an average of 16 mph); in the evening, it takes two and a half hours. That's more than double my commute time when I drive the same distance in peak rush hour.

When it comes to mass transit, past officials really let us down. So I gleefully anticipate the day when more Houstonians are forced to experience Metro buses at their mediocre best and disdainful worst. When the collective roar of those reluctant riders fills the ears of elected officials and industrial recruiters and various chambers of commerce, perhaps then Houstonians will get the transportation system they're already underwriting.

Park your cars and let's boogie.

Joy Mullett


Billie Bob's Ventures

Your article on Mr. Harrell ["Billie Bob's (Mis)Fortune," by Steve McVicker, February 10] contains mischaracterizations of the truth, particularly about me.

Ms. Gerstner's allegation that I told her that I had finally hooked up Billie Bob with Stone Street is about as far from the truth as you can get. I had never heard of Stone Street until Mr. Harrell and Mr. Hulse introduced me to their representatives. When Mr. Harrell asked me to assist him, he had already made his deal with Stone Street, and the amount involved had already been negotiated. Attorney Mike Stocker can verify that the only reason I contacted Gerstner was to assist her in amending the trust agreement per Stone Street's requirements.

I vehemently deny that I ever contacted Barbara Jean about getting in on the deal. To the best of my recollection, Mr. Harrell attempted to contact Barbara Jean in an effort to get her to sign the amended trust document, pursuant to Gerstner's instructions. Gerstner didn't know the amount of the loan, and she didn't know the terms, because she was not privy to that information.

What Mr. Harrell did is called a downstream financial agreement, and for Gerstner to imply something was done to skirt the rules is implausible.

Norman Riedmueller knows how to contact me; I am never hard to find. I have spoken with him on numerous occasions.

When Stone Street representatives informed me that they were ready to fund Mr. Harrell's loan, I notified him and never heard from him again.

Vic Bonner


Editor's note: Bonner assured McVicker he would get back to him with answers to relevant questions in the preparation of the article. Instead, Bonner failed to return subsequent phone calls from the Press.

As for the contention that Gerstner doesn't know the terms of the loan, she was the one who provided the Press with a copy of those terms. Riedmueller, who is representing the Harrell children, said in an interview that he was unsuccessful in trying to gain access to Bonner's file on Harrell.

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