Letters 06-22-2000

Nice Catch

I wanted you to know how much I enjoyed your article on the Palacios shrimpers ["The Long Haul," by Melissa Hung, June 8]. My parents grew up in that town, and my grandparents still live there. We live in Houston now, but visit often.

I have watched over the years the progress of the Vietnamese in that area. I've seen the trailers turn into mansions. I've watched the docks fill up with boats and wondered what their life is like. In a town that small it is impossible to miss when an entire neighborhood pops up. I wish them the best of luck. I hope that a reasonable and fair agreement is reached.

Once again, thanks for the interesting information. I'll be sure to grab a copy for my grandparents.

Tammy Morrison
Houston

I enjoyed your article, but would like to comment on a few aspects as one who is new to sport fishing.

I was a big fan of the Vietnamese when they were fighting their way out of the dictatorship, and they embody the American dream. I also am normally one who vigorously opposes government interference in anyone's ability to make a living. But Galveston Bay is full of shrimp boats. A smaller number of boats operated by Vietnamese, who are generally more motivated, most likely out-catch a larger number of less aggressively operated boats.

The boat traffic in the bay plus the reduced shrimp population has an adverse effect on flounder, speckled trout and redfish populations, the traditional targets of sport fishermen. They are not well-heeled -- most weekend bay fishermen are blue-collar types.

In the case of shrimpers, the goal is not elimination, but conservation and limiting access to certain parts of the bay system. If fewer shrimp are taken, do not automatically assume that means reduced income. Go to any restaurant and watch the law of supply and demand in action.

Your article made a number of good points and demonstrated that just about every issue has at least two sides. But it is unlikely that any industry can be depended on to police itself when the issue is as fundamental as productivity.

If the shrimpers do not show a willingness to compromise and persuade the state not to act -- and if the predictions by concerned folks begin to materialize -- look for far more drastic limitations on this beleaguered industry.

Andrew T. McKinney IV
Houston

Conversion Aversion

Have we learned nothing in the last millennium ["Calling Jews to Jesus," by Jonathan Fox, June 8]? About 1,000 years ago in Europe, a rallying cry rose to convert the Jews at the point of the sword, in order to hasten the day of the return of Christ. Those who would not convert were put to death at the hands of the crusaders, who, in their zeal, found it easier to simply kill than try to convert.

Those of us not raised in an evangelical faith usually don't warm up to in-your-face Christianity. Such "witnessing" is largely responsible for my absence from church for many years, as the messengers largely lack tact or sensitivity to others' feelings, and tend to dismiss any others' beliefs.

If these evangelists really respected others, they would not be seeking to change their faith. Luckily the founding fathers of this country had the wisdom to provide for a separation of church and state. Though that is threatened from time to time by those who do not tolerate diversity, still the principle stands firm, and still we are free to worship as we choose. So far.

I applaud those who seek a path of enlightenment, rejoice in their discoveries, and weep at their failures as if they were my own. But their paths are their own, as mine is my own, and I could only ask that we each be allowed to walk our own ways without judgment.

Russell Kyle
Houston

Mother Puckers

Thank you for your article on the Houston Harpies ice hockey team ["Hell Just Froze Over," by Lisa Gray, June 8]. As a member of Dick's Friends, I would like to encourage everyone, especially women, who is interested in learning more about ice hockey to get in touch with the Harpies. The Harpies are dedicated to giving women a supportive environment so they can learn to play at their own pace.

The Harpies Web site, www.wobbet.com/harpies, contains a brief history, a map to the Sharpstown Ice Arena, a schedule and contact information.

Once again, thanks for getting the word out.

Robert J. Sanford Jr.
Houston

A link to your story on the Houston Harpies was posted on the Aeros fan board. Partly because there is a definite lack of good hockey information this time of year, and partly because good hockey information is always welcome, I checked out your story. What a pleasant surprise! Not only did I learn new things about hockey in general, I learned that there is this whole other "female" hockey world out there. Thanks for a great story.

Luanne Prince
Houston

Conked Out

I was highly amused by your excellent exposé of America's Service Station ["Pain in the ASS," by Randall Patterson, June 1]. I worked for Todd Hayes in the early '90s when there were only three locations, just as Hayes discontinued his failed attempt to franchise the Mobile Car Care concept. I arrived a few weeks before the "restaurant boys" showed up. I found Hayes's claim that repairing automobiles and cooking burgers are the exact same service to customers particularly irksome, especially in light of the repair work.

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