Breaking the Mold

Plus: Bias -- By Whom?, No Alternative, South Park Fallout

Breaking the Mold

Lemon aid:Texas should have a lemon law for homes ["Buyers' Remorse," by Wendy Grossman, June 20]. A home is a huge long-term investment (more so than a car), and it only makes sense that the builders should have to stand behind their work.

With a lemon law, the crooked builders would have to go rip people off in another state.

Robert Walters
Baytown

Housework: Thank you for Wendy Grossman's article about the moldy home.

Many new homes in all price ranges have builder errors, some that lead to mold, and builders are not being held legally accountable. Approximately half of our states don't license contractors. In some states, the homeowner as plaintiff cannot recover legal, expert or other related fees in a lawsuit, let alone any kind of compensation for the strain the case puts a family through.

Because of weak consumer protection and low payout, it's a challenge just to find a lawyer who has handled such cases and is willing to take them on contingency. Homeowners are told essentially that even if they win, they lose.

Arbitration clauses further take away a homeowner's right to sue, even if they can afford to pursue it just on principle. As a volunteer for the national nonprofit advocacy organization Homeowners Against Deficient Dwellings (and president of the Oklahoma chapter), I see increasing numbers of educated, careful people getting burned by unscrupulous builders. What I don't see are people filing frivolous lawsuits against builders. They can't even file serious, valid cases, in many instances. Home builders use excuses like "too many houseplants" to explain away mold growing inside walls, and refuse to take responsibility for roof leaks, plumbing defects, etc.

Home buyers need to be cautious and really do their homework before buying. The old methods of checking with the Better Business Bureau, etc., are insufficient. The information on HADD's site (www.hadd.com) will help buyers avoid becoming the owner of a nightmare house.

Cindy Schnackel
Edmond, Oklahoma

Bias -- By Whom?

Blame Macario: It really saddens me that Macario Ramirez thinks he is the subject of discrimination ["Poodle Pact," by Dylan Otto Krider, June 27]. Of course, the Press should have gotten more of the facts before painting such a negative picture.

Did Mr. Ramirez fail to mention that over the years he has been asked to attend the 19th Street Association meetings and failed to attend, or that he refused to commit monies for activities/events/advertising for all of us? After all, you can beat a dead horse only so many times.

How can he accuse all of the merchants of discrimination when he does not know many of us or care to know us? Shame on you, sir!

Whether there was a "gay theme" intended, this event was for everyone, not a select few. This is a gathering of our friends and customers to show our appreciation for their support and patronage.

Mr. Ramirez, if you choose to be an independent merchant, that is your business. But don't run the rest of us into the ground with your agenda of discrimination and bigotry! Imagine: a Hispanic band on one side and drag queens on the other -- what a treat!

Scott King
Houston

Open season on Hispanics? It saddens me to see this again. There is open prejudice against Hispanics displayed by fellow Texans, Houstonians in particular. The sad fact is that it still seems acceptable.

I guess that for as long as I live, this will be the minority that it seems okay to knock openly, since we do not have a proactive equivalent of the NAACP or civil rights group that will cry foul and sue and intimidate other people into not being their prejudiced little selves.

Irma Metherd
Houston

Poodle prejudice:Discrimination? On 19th Street in the Heights? Impossible!

How do I know? I am the general manager of a brand-new store on 19th, Kasbah Import. We are thrilled to have an event that will attract thousands of people to our new location. With Jubilee and Zocalo as our neighbors, we have something for all.

Gay or straight? Just bring your checkbook! The Heights is exploding with new families, and we welcome all of them.

Pink Poodle (no matter how tragically named -- a Woodland Heights resident actually feared for his white poodle on their Web site!) is a family-friendly event open to all.

Stop by the Kasbah and see me.

Johnny Hooks
Houston

In toto pinkus:When will we get it? Learning to share and play nice is not just for the playground, but obviously most adults have forgotten. I think all the intolerance begins with the "me first" attitude. I would love to see a community be communal.

Let's donate a set of dictionaries to the 19th Street Association so they can understand the meaning of "festival," "tolerance," "equality" and "community." Who knows? Maybe Toto was a pink poodle before they left Kansas!

Claudia Sydney
Houston

No Alternative

Expedient educators: We have seen where the schools get tired of dealing with their children ["Million-Dollar Babies," by Margaret Downing, June 27]. I have seen and even heard assistant principals threaten the children with CEP. There have been several times when the principals would rather send children to alternative schools than listen to their problems.

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