A Pound of Flesh

Weighty feature: Engaging story of corruption ["Screwed!" by Wendy Grossman, June 5]. Perhaps the waffling, prevaricating D.A.'s will lose as many pounds as the story's victims. And Wendy will be there to document each beshrivelment of adipose tissue, so as to prove that they, too, suffered mightily.

Incidentally, rumor has it that Andrew Fastow is a mere shadow of himself these days, trudging the Rice U oval in ill- fitting gym baggies, grinning oddly and speaking to himself of lost riches and family mistrust. He's 42 pounds down to the devil -- and counting.

Joey Espel Santiago

The Lone Star

Texas loves artists: As a young screenwriter, I have thought many times of leaving Texas and traveling to California in order to pursue my writing career ["Film Buff," by George Flynn, May 29]. After meeting many people and reading plenty of articles, I have come to realize that leaving Texas would be my biggest mistake.

Texas is a gold mine for artists like myself. I really enjoyed your article. I also would like to know about good workshops or anything similar for screenwriters in Houston, since the only workshop I know of is in Austin. Thank you for your inspiration in continuing my career in screenwriting.

Joe Theo Acosta

Livid over Live Oaks

Diversify the trees: For a number of years I have wondered just who has been making the decisions regarding what gets planted and what does not ["Tree Cop," by Jennifer Mathieu, June 5].

This city has been dumped on with the live oak as the only species deemed worthy of being stuck in the ground everywhere. They are on every street corner. They are in every park, around every school; they claw at us from every government building and most corporate facilities.

Sadly, the natural environment that preexisted this human horde was a resplendent forest and prairie of 400 different species of tree and plant. Not one live oak grew in Houston unless it was planted by a human!

Some 15 years ago I tried to work through the Park People. The group was elitist. I pleaded with city department heads to amend their ways to consider respect for the native environment. One day I asked an assistant department head to simply see to it that Weed Eaters and chopping hoes stop stripping the bark, which kills them in a slow death. His response was "If we kill them we will replace them."

Were we, the people, ever invited to vote regarding such essential and vital matters as the continued existence of the natural environment and native seed stocks? Were we ever invited to vote on having this city rubber-stamped with the exact same look everywhere?

What we have here is corporate, government arrogance. Is it really any surprise that they have a tree cop to go with this hegemony? Homogenize those dreams and forget about character, individuality, identity!

Robert Gartner

Passing of Paige

Good move for HISD: Thank you for the equally hilarious and disturbing story about Rod Paige [The Insider, by Tim Fleck, April 17]. I just had a chance to read it, and it was refreshing to see in print the truth that most teachers in HISD know about Paige.

I agree with you: Promoting him to the presidential cabinet was the best thing that ever happened to HISD. Perhaps there he can do less damage.

Your friendly public school teacher,

Lydia Smith

Local Control

Houston firms come first: Houston city politicians may well have violated the law in not awarding CA One the airport catering contract [The Insider, by Tim Fleck, June 5]. But they shouldn't have to violate the law to pick local businesses over out-of-towners.

If a certain amount of business can be "set aside" for HUBs (MWBEs), then Houston should be able to "set aside" airport catering for businesses in the 770-- zip code. It's your airport.

Jay Bute
El Lago

Bend Over

Resorts and water: I am very disappointed that the June 9 Houston Chronicle article by Jim Henderson failed to mention the battle in south Brewster County regarding water rights and the Lajitas resort.

As Mr. Henderson probably knows, and as the Houston Press already pointed out, the Lajitas resort and its owner are diverting unprecedented amounts of water from the Rio Grande in order to supply it to his resort and the associated golf course ["End of the Bend?" by Allan C. Kimball, August 16, 2001]. This highly irresponsible and vainglorious behavior for the sake of creating a luxury resort in the desert is threatening not only the water flow but also the natural ecosystem in Big Bend.

It is ridiculous that Mr. Henderson does not mention this significant contributor to the water flow problem on the Rio Grande, and in particular south Brewster County, the alleged subject of his article.

Either way, it does not speak well to the journalistic ambitions of the Houston Chronicle.

Roger A. Rippy

Mock Meals

Don't believe this one: Wendy Grossman's otherwise fine article on the endangered Ridley sea turtle ["Ridley's Recruits," June 5] failed to mention the even rarer Mock turtle once common in Texas and Louisiana. A number of recipes for Mock turtle soup are available on the Internet as well as one for the Ridley sea turtle itself.

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