Nanny Goat

Raise your own: Congratulations on a very well researched and written article ["A Killer Nanny," by Wendy Grossman, March 6].

While I can understand the Fosters' horror at having a convicted murderer in their home caring for their children, they should be thanking their lucky stars that nothing happened. Mr. Bieri/Davis was correct in saying that there was no way the agency could have known, since he had presented all the pertinent documentation. If somebody wants to change his identity badly enough, he can do it.

Perhaps the Fosters should have taken a moment after this incident to re-evaluate their situation. It appears that they are "people of means" and they could have easily rearranged their work and social schedules to take care of their own children without outside help.

Many of us are not in a position to quit jobs or reduce our work schedules, and we must rely upon outside help. If I had been able to care for my own children and still clothe and feed them and not work, I would have done it.

The Fosters should have taken the $12,000 they spent on the lawsuit and gone on a family vacation together to try to heal whatever "mental and emotional anguish" might have been perpetrated by virtue of Mr. Bieri/Davis's one-week stay at their home.

Sally Gracia

Be thankful: Though I can certainly understand Mr. and Mrs. Foster's alarm in finding out the nanny they hired had a criminal record dating back 20 years, I think the only danger those boys are in now is from their neurotic mother!

It seems she took a big chance inviting strangers into her home and leaving her children with them before all background checks had been completed. She should count her blessings and move on.

Linda Hoffman

Cracking Up

Good program: It seems like the critics of the CRACK program are unhappy because drug treatment and universal medical coverage are not being provided ["Deal of a Lifetime," by Craig Malisow, February 27]. I think CRACK is doing a good job with the limited funds it has as a private charity.

Matthew Tobin

Orchestral Pits

Look, no Hans! The Houston Symphony Orchestra is not going broke ["Going Baroque," by Jennifer Mathieu, February 20] -- it is already there.

HSO's financial problems did not begin with Tropical Storm Allison or Enron's demise or the recession. CEO Ann Kennedy's regime has done nothing to establish the financial viability of HSO. Kennedy has announced that HSO will not have a plan to increase its endowment until May. Ann, where have you been for the past two years?

The way HSO is run, it can't do anything but lose money -- buckets of it. The officers and board must challenge management to excel, and if board members cannot be major contributors or fund-raisers, they should step down.

Mathieu's article mentions Christoph Eschenbach nine times but Hans Graf (a.k.a. Hans Who?), the current music director, is mentioned only for his refusal to comment. His community presence is virtually nonexistent, and under his leadership, programs have been dull.

No one doubts Graf's musical abilities, but the hallmark of an orchestra is how well it integrates itself into the community.

We need a new music director at the expiration of Graf's contract.

Eli Bensky

Class Conflict

A mum Marshall: In my opinion, it is a sleazy practice for any member of the HISD Board of Education to be a paid lobbyist for a district vendor ["A Paige from the Past?" by Jennifer Mathieu, March 6].

Larry Marshall requested a campaign contribution from me when he last ran for office. I did not refuse but requested a meeting with him (at the Buffalo Grille!) to discuss some of my concerns about the district. I never heard from him again.

John King

Up Against the Wall

Water Marks: Thank you for your article on the ugly wall [The Insider, by Tim Fleck, February 27].

I am amazed by Councilman Bert Keller's lack of knowledge, since I discussed the wall with his aide on February 17. Neighbors had talked with the aide prior to that. He told us that he had taken Harris County Flood Control officials to the property to look at the way Mr. Marks has changed the flow of the water to help get their approval.

The wall is not for security. Anyone can walk around it, and in fact vagrants now can hide behind it. Anyone can walk along the edge of the water straight into Mr. Marks' backyard unless he barricades the water, too.

If he wanted real security, he'd put the fence where it belongs -- in his backyard -- not where it destroys the view for the rest of us. He cut down some beautiful trees to erect this monstrosity, with total disregard for the environment and his neighbors.

Sharon Blifford

Hounding Hostage

Aside from the promo: My thoughts rarely coincide with the News Hostage or its Chron-bashing. Sometimes research is vital for an article. Your continued bashing of local TV, particularly KPRC, took its toll in your recent criticism of KPRC's special feature "Petnapping" [News Hostage, by Richard Connelly, February 27].

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