By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
Support the Rogerses: I would like to add a fact or two ["Fostering Abuse," by Margaret Downing, March 27] about the Rogers family and CPS in Brazoria County. I have personally been in the Rogerses' home a number of times, as they were the foster parents of a child who was in my CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) case.
He was a troubled child, but with structure in the foster home, a great school, caring and understanding teachers, counselors and a great principal, this young man became a terrific student. When I visited him in the home, he began to trust me. I also watched for all kinds of signs in the other children. What I saw were manners, not fear, a friendliness that was sincere.
I have been in the home by appointment and by just dropping in unexpectedly when we were in the process of setting up a community 4H club. Who in their right mind would start a 4H club in their home for their foster children and the children of the community if they were abusing children? They would hide; they would never take the kids to practice roping a dummy steer head at the Brazoria County Fairgrounds.
I have pictures showing the smiles on the faces of the children as they roped for the first time just weeks before all this came down.
If the other foster parents of Brazoria County do not come forward and support these fine folks, just remember: You may be next in line to suffer an investigation and you may be all alone. Certain groups will attack, but they seldom, if ever, attack a group; they search out and find individuals. They are easier prey!
Reforms are needed: The objective of Children's Protective Services is to protect the child from harm, and to maintain the child within the family unless the safety of the child requires placement outside the home. These are wholesome objectives, except when false accusations are made against the innocent and children are ripped apart from innocent families. That causes these children to be harmed in the worst way, with mental and emotional scars that take years to overcome.
All it takes is one phone call, anonymous or otherwise, from anyone with a grudge to bring CPS to your doorstep and remove the children from your home. It's not only adults who can be anonymously or falsely accused. The same can also happen to children, who can be subjected to abuse of power that is absolutely unimaginable.
The way the system is set up, CPS investigations are tantamount to modern witch-hunts, with the innocent being in the damnable position of jumping through many hoops in hopeless efforts to try to prove their innocence.
Now is the time for CPS to be reformed nationwide, to implement a system of checks and balances, just the same as any other institution.
We demand that the innocent be protected and that those who've harmed them be held accountable.
Kids don't lie: Your biased attempt at journalism is emblematic of a serious flaw in our world today: No one believes anything that children say. It seems much more likely to a rational person like myself that these foster parents really did abuse these children, and that they are manipulating you by playing the victim.
The idea that a teenager would mastermind some bizarre plan to get him and his siblings out of a warm and wonderful foster home like you describe is ludicrous. The bias you flaunt in this article is distasteful, not to mention poor journalism, and the thinly veiled insults you sling at the people at CPS who have a very difficult job are borderline sadistic.
I hope your article does not further harm any other abused children who were not believed when they had the courage to cry out. Thanks for nothing.
Abuse of power: I truly believe there are problems regarding CPS and the abuse they do to families. We had our children taken for two weeks, and they should never have been taken from us.
We were innocent and falsely accused. We had no idea this is happening in our country. It happened to us in Texas. We have been in contact with and writing letters to representatives, and we belong to groups that try to help the falsely accused.
It truly can happen to anyone, and it hurts each day to think they can do this to innocent families and children. How can we get this to stop?
It is a battle because they say, "It is all for the children." Well, we know from what happened to us they don't do it all for the children, and they are not thinking of the children. They hurt our children and family, and they should not have the power they have.
Children come last: Permit me, please, to extend my thanks to Margaret Downing for her brave article.
Natural families have long been abused by Children's Protective Services nationwide, with the courts and agencies engaging in the same corrupt practices as Ms. Downing so aptly describes, with no regard whatsoever for the well-being of the children concerned.
Now we know that CPS will also eat its own (the foster caregivers), without so much as the slightest nod to what ultimately happens to the children concerned.
Federal bonuses drive a national child abuse "industry" to the tune of untold billions of dollars annually, in case anyone mistakes government-sanctioned child abduction for serving the "child's best interests."
I grieve for all who become entangled in this star chamber for children.
The Beat Goes On
Symphony's sadness: I want to thank you for your thoughtful and in-depth piece on the Houston Symphony's situation ["Going Baroque," by Jennifer Mathieu, February 20]. We are deeply grateful that you had the interest and courage to bring aspects of this story to light that Houston Chronicle critic Charles Ward would never, ever consider. Your story brought a fresh perspective to the situation and helped inform the public that the symphony's problems go much deeper than a flood, Enron, 9/11 or "intransigent" musicians.
I think you will find much more to write about in the future, as I hardly believe this story is anywhere near finished.
I and other musicians of the Houston Symphony are sick with grief over this scene but find some consolation in courageous efforts such as yours to bring the truth to light, and the knowledge that opportunities will indeed come to find capably supported orchestra jobs elsewhere.
Name withheld by request
Put the vets elsewhere: Living in Midtown for three years now, I am strongly opposed to the proposed project by US Vets ["Home from the War," by Scott Nowell, March 20]. While I applaud the plan's purpose and vision, I don't see the common sense.
I'm not sure that it makes sense to house former drug users/abusers in an area that is known for its high-volume drug traffic. Additionally, the NIMBY philosophy is not an issue. Midtown already hosts a large number of social programs. Clearly our vets deserve these and other services, but it doesn't make sense to put them back into a high-risk environment.
Freak-quenting the Bar
Good Rhythm: In your article about a drink featured at the Rhythm Room [Stirred & Shaken, March 27], the writer J.W. Crooker said the place was creepy and it was like a nightmare.
I, for one, frequent the Rhythm Room, and I must ask: Were we at the same place? I really enjoy the Rhythm Room and all the people that are regulars there. They are all friendly and outgoing. He said it was like Twin Peaks, which was a great show. But I and my friends like to think of the Rhythm Room like Cheers -- but with a band.
Skillet spat-ula: Just a quick clarification. The dish used to cook the paella is called paella, not paellera, as indicated in your article [Hot Plate, by Paul Galvani, March 27]. In any case, the term paellera is used to describe women that cook paella in the Valencia region of Spain.
Voices of the War
Robison's right on: I've been a fan of Bruce Robison's since I first heard Kelly Willis's "Take It All Out On You" ["Hissin' Dixie," by John Nova Lomax, March 27]. I was curious about his thoughts concerning the comments by the daughter of Lloyd Maines, especially since her actions were directly affecting his family.
Just as he does in his songwriting, Bruce expressed perfectly -- and much more eloquently than I ever could -- my own torn feelings about this war.
Thanks for the well-written article about a truly gifted Texas songwriter.
Rock and Woe
A band's BS: God Speed You Black Emperor is the English title of a 1976 Japanese documentary about a biker gang ["Combat Rock," by Rob Harvilla, March 27]. The original title is Baraku Empororu.
A little diligence on behalf of your editors would serve your publication well. Someone might mistake such statements as factual, which is difficult enough as it is.