Letters 08-31-2000

Spaced Out, We Were So Wrong, Woe to the 'Stros

Apparently someone at TDCJ read your piece as well and became concerned that other slick publications might find their way into the penal population and, somehow, foment even more discord among the unwashed. On August 7 I mailed a magazine to an inmate locked up in a facility on Ransom Road in Richmond. It was returned to me August 14 with "REFUSED" and "CONTRABAND" boldly stamped all over the envelope.

On its face, the magazine appears innocuous enough: Texas Highways. The masthead proudly proclaims it is published by the Texas Department of Transportation Commission, Governor George W. Bush and Transportation Commissioner John W. Johnson. Contraband? I suppose the Sunday Magazine from last week's New York Times will be returned later in the week. I do hope it's the thought that counts. It appears that will have to suffice for now.

Don Hendrix
Houston

Bayousphere: The driver takes a break as kids on their way to summer camp say good-bye to their parents.
Deron Neblett
Bayousphere: The driver takes a break as kids on their way to summer camp say good-bye to their parents.

Conned by cons: I am at least partially responsible for the Texas Monthly ban on prison subscriptions. We are a small company whose roots began with advertising in TM in 1986.

I have a file that we built titled Jail Mail, all attributable to TM. For years I just opened the letters, read them for their humor and discarded them. Then a few years ago an inmate accused my company of keeping money he had sent me, saying he had never received what he ordered.

This elaborate hoax was a nightmare for my company; he pursued a letter-writing campaign to the BBB, the mayor of Austin and others. Days were spent trying to straighten this out with the BBB, and I believe this complaint still shows on my BBB record. This is one story of many.

Being in the jewelry business, I consider all correspondence with inmates a security risk. I also take every letter we receive much more seriously. Since TM stopped the prison subscriptions, our inmate requests have gone to almost zero. The very few I receive come from their family members. I obviously applaud Mike Levy's ban and consider my store safer because of it.

C. Kirk Root
Austin

Trick or Teat?

The scarlet letter: John Suval's recent article regarding tax abatements by the City of Houston and Harris County was well researched and right on the money ["Tax Lean," August 3].

It is appalling that a small handful of corporate leeches will stoop to political blackmail when they have no intention of moving elsewhere and the tax abatements they are to receive are but a pittance compared to their total costs of operation.

In the meantime, the vast majority of area companies go on about their good-citizen ways of furnishing jobs and other stimuli to the local economy, without sucking at the public teat. The abatement leeches and the politicians who support them should all be required to wear a big red Hester Prynne "A." You can draw your own conclusion as to what the letter stands for.

Bob Lemer
Houston

Shammy Tammy

A different perspective: I too remember Tammy Faye -- a nut, a crook, a phony, a liar and a thief. I suffer not from the nostalgia you seem to glorify ["Makeup Remover," by Luke Y. Thompson, August 10].

Susan Craig
Houston

Dishing Up Decibels

Ear me out: George Alexander's article ["Oh, the Noise, Noise, Noise," August 10] suggests that the Houston Press could perform a public service by further rating restaurants by noise level as it does for location, price and food. Readers could then vote with their money whether they want to enjoy a meal with their sweetie in a quiet location or try to lip-read a woman with blood coming out of her ears.

John D. Griffith
Houston

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