Bayou City Bulldozers

Plus: So Far Away, No Heart for Wal-Mart, Mental Health Mission

Bayou City Bulldozers

Keep the heritage: I read the article ["This Old House," by Jennifer Mathieu, July 25] with sadness but no surprise. Houston is one of the worst big cities as far as preservation is concerned.

I am a native Houstonian, and I live in the house my grandfather and great-uncle built. I bought it from the estate of my grandmother to keep and preserve the history of my family. I had hoped to live long enough to obtain some sort of historic status from the state for the old home. But now I know that this means nothing if the state or city wants to build anything on the land. I fear the future of my home is either a freeway or multistory yuppie town house.

Houston is a city full of new stuff. I've seen it over and over again -- knocking down historic homes and buildings, only to replace them with new cheap-looking structures that will appear dilapidated 20 years from now. There are a few exceptions: churches and rich peoples' big houses. They are the only things deemed "keepable." And now the Cohn House doesn't even fall into that category anymore. I am finding that I do not want to live in a new and sterile city with no history. It will not be long before all our old homes are gone and the way of life that was ours is long forgotten. It is shameful.

Celia A. Nettles

So Far Away

Expand the band venues: As always, I enjoyed the Houston Press Music Awards [by John Nova Lomax, August 1]. However, I have some comments:

• Though the venues were in clusters, they were too far apart. I was unable to see some of the bands I wanted to because they were too far from other bands scheduled at the same time.

• Some of the venues were way too small. During the Fondue Monks' gig at the Hub, it was miserably packed. Good thing the fire marshal wasn't around.

• The bar service for the VIP party at Spy was atrocious. The bartenders virtually ignored the whole area. I would have had someone's head on a platter. Next year the bar should provide a dedicated server for the VIP party.

Kristen Eschman

No Heart for Wal-Mart

Stop exploiting workers: This is a great article ["Pay Snubs," by Jennifer Mathieu, July 25]. I personally do not and will not shop at Wal-Mart because of this sort of stuff.

I am a middle-class working woman always looking to save a buck. However, I will not shop where merchants abuse their employees with these tactics. The former workers who still shop at Wal-Mart should think about taking their business elsewhere.

Susie Mimnaugh

Mental Health Mission

Use the bosses' pay: If they're so concerned, maybe the administrators of MHMRA could cut their salaries in half and use that money to fund additional beds ["Reality Check," by Margaret Downing, July 25].

I worked there as a supervisor for two years (and now work independently with the mentally ill) and saw the waste of tax dollars over and over again. It is a tragedy, the plight of the homeless and poor mentally ill, but that's what MHMRA is supposed to take care of.

Their mission, as stated in brochures and on their Web site, is to provide services regardless of ability to pay. Maybe it should state only if they have the ability to pay.

Tyler Hartson

Shortchanging the young: On behalf of hundreds, if not thousands, of families in Harris County, I applaud your article about funding for mental health. As the parent of a nonverbal mentally retarded autistic child, I am appalled at the lack of services for families in my situation.

What the state does not provide for now in funding it will have to pay for with greater funding in the future. There are roughly 7,000 families on waiting lists for services who have young children. If those children were getting the help they need now, they would not need residential placement later in life -- or perhaps for the rest of their lives. But that is not the case.

Texas seems to be fine with having the lowest ranking in funding. Texas seems to think it's okay for children to be on waiting lists. Most families I know put their children on all the waiting lists when they were three to five years old.

Now, most of those children are seven to 12 years old -- and missed critical years of intervention they needed. They say everything is bigger in Texas -- we have big stadiums, big ballparks, big everything. I just wish one of those big things were something that mattered -- like big help for those with disabilities!

Michelle Guppy

On the Falun Front

Reform the INS: Thank you for the extensive coverage of Jason Wang's story and Falun Gong ["The Gong Show," by Wendy Grossman, July 11]. I knew Jason to be a hardworking, diligent University of Houston student of physics.

I do not believe, however, as the feature implies, that he has given up a career in physics and research to devote himself full-time to this cause, to both his personal detriment and utmost detriment to his family.

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