A Lucky Joe

Plus: Smouldering Inside, Flunking English, Museum Stakes

A Lucky Joe

Fouled pollution priorities: While Friends of Bush dump millions of tons of toxic pollutants into our air on a daily basis, Harris County harasses a regular joe just trying to make a living ["Dumped On," by George Flynn, January 31]. It is hard to use the word "fortunate" with regard to the Bazarskys, but they actually were, in ways that many people similarly targeted never seem to be.

They managed to retain a capable lawyer who had the will and the ability to stand up to a bad judge, thus preserving grounds for the subsequent granting of a new trial. The first trial judge was willing to follow the law and grant the motion for a new trial, risking prosecutorial disfavor. They did get lucky enough to find six sufficiently intelligent jurors to win a misdemeanor acquittal, and their most recent trial case fell before a district judge with the cojones (and I mean this in the most unchauvinistic way) to stand up to his former office and with enough of a sense of fair play to refuse to tolerate the prosecution's shenanigans.

Of course, the state will likely get another indictment and continue the process; hell hath no fury like a prosecutor scorned. I'll probably get arrested for littering after writing this. Just remember the Bazarsky case the next time you hear someone say, "It is the prosecutor's function not to gain convictions but to see that justice is done."

Shawna Reagin
Houston

Deserving defendants: I think D.A. Chuck Rosenthal should charge the Neighborhood Protection Division of the Public Works and Engineering Department and prosecutors with criminal waste of the taxpayers' money.

P. Haley
Houston

Smouldering Inside

Beef up fire staffing: Thank you so much for having the courage to write the article about the Houston firefighters ["Riding Short," by John Suval, January 10]. As the wife of a Houston firefighter, I often get the brunt of the staffing situation in the stress level of my husband.

The public seems to be blind to the manpower shortages. They never care a thing about the fire department until they need them! So thank you for an informative and very well written article. We applaud you!

Susan Taylor
Houston

Flunking English

Appalled at the words: I am absolutely amazed that HISD ["Trip Out," by Wendy Grossman, January 17] would even think of hiring someone who states, "We let them know we were just not gonna be approving any trips, particularly if they were not turned in timely." I have never heard such horrible abuse of the English language (by an educator) as with Mr. Ervin. That just isn't right. And they say education in California is bad.

Emily Ash
Houston

Museum Stakes

Divvy it up, Marzio: As an ex-staffer of the MFA, I know that Dr. Marzio did not wave the magic wand and open the Beck building by himself ["What's Wrong with This Picture?" by Jennifer Mathieu, January 17]. The successful opening of the Beck was largely owed to the once devoted staff who shared his dream and worked endless hours to make it come true.

If Marzio were half the man he thinks he is, he would have shared that bonus with his staff. He was quoted in a Houston Chronicle article as saying, "I can live with the jealousy." But, Dr. Marzio, how do you live with yourself?

Name withheld by request
Houston

All for a paltry $1.7 million: What did Dr. Marzio accomplish to deserve a bonus?

He was the executive who oversaw fund-raising, design and construction of the Beck building. This building will be recognized as one of the great art museums.

He directed museum expansion of the education department, and expansion that allowed the Blaffer Collection to be displayed in the Beck building. The museum has also acquired significant works of art such as the painting Magnolia Blossoms. The Houston Press sadly missed this story, but it was written up in The New York Times.

He directed the museum during a tremendous expansion of membership. He facilitated diverse exhibits such as the paintings of Monet and Renoir, props and costumes from Star Wars, and the flags of Texas. He directed MFA- Houston from a small regional museum to a place for all people.

Could you successfully direct this expansion, could Dick Cheney, could Kenneth Lay? I know I couldn't.

H. Dickman Pfann, museum docent
Houston

Bitter on Bayport

Waiting on the Chron: I so enjoy reading Rich Connelly's News Hostage column. It's nice to know someone else out there "gets it." Over three years ago the Houston Chronicle was invited to the small community of El Jardin to hear the facts related to the port authority's proposed Bayport project. The paper declined.

After the Houston Press ran the whole story, the Chron finally decided to investigate.

I have marveled at the number of stories broken by the Press and later picked up by the Chron. I can imagine it to be a very laid-back job working for the only daily newspaper in such a large city -- just report what they damn well please, if at all. If not for the Press, it would be a stretch to see them reporting at all. Here in El Jardin we will just keep waiting to see our whole story come out in the Chron. It will be a long wait, we guess!

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