Kara Sweidel

Designing woman: I seriously doubt the $24,500 was for "just" a logo design. Did you attempt to inquire about the nature of all the charges included? Just like an architect or an accountant, quality graphic designers do not work for free. Your comment that the new design appears as "the sort of basic image that the artistically challenged might create using a cheap stencil" shows you have no understanding of good communications.

One of the best images in the world is the Nike swoosh. The simple elegance of that design is recognized all over the world as a powerful symbol. More "elaborate" images do not equal more value or cost; they usually equate to unskilled attempts to illustrate the message.

Susan Reeves, Prism Design, Inc.

Pros and Chron

Editorial shift: I appreciated the report on happenings at the Chron [Hair Balls, by Richard Connelly, June 26]. Personally, the business about performance evaluations and all the rest of that stuff isn't of much concern. It sounds like the new version of Management 101 used by most employers. But I do commend new Chron editor Jeff Cohen for one major accomplishment: The editorial page no longer blindly supports George W. Bush, whom the previous editor unabashedly endorsed.

I've lost count of the number of Chronicle editorials that have been critical of the implementation of the same policies Bush said he intended to follow when he was running for office. Hopefully, the Chron -- and the American people, for that matter -- won't make the same mistake next time around.

Dennis Oakes
League City

An ex's vex: You got it right with "Pimpin' Ain't Easy." At the Chronicle, the ever-corporatized daily is a joyless journal, with reporters viewed not as writers but as production units. Section and assignment editors have little authority; my old features department has no autonomy. Survey pushers and bean counters -- the latter because the place is so understaffed -- run amok. Decisions are compressed by the numbers/demographics, and there seems to be a limited exchange of ideas.

Ain't saying the Chronicle, my love of 22 years, didn't need a swift kick. But this is degrading. This is a dictatorship. The little big man -- whoever said it was his paper, did he buy it? -- has good people jumping at his shadow. Second-guessing is rampant. Proven performance and loyalty mean nothing.

I bailed because I rejected an ultimatum to move back to Hous-town full time, to be in the starting blocks downtown, Monday to Friday, primed to spin a feature off the news -- which is to say, take two aspirin, call a few experts and cobble together a quickie; reflective feature-craft is passé. Chronicle readers have no attention spans, we are told.

I am now a free agent, writing politics, sports and features for the Ruidoso News, whose main competition is the county's other newspaper, not TV (there's a concept), plus music for the local arts/entertainment monthly. It's back to the minors. The crowds are small, but the ticket prices are right.

Marty Racine
Capitan, New Mexico

Cat Roundup

Defending the feeders: Thank you for telling this story ["Catfight," by Wendy Grossman, June 19]. The Chronicle would never print this kind of story, and I feel it is an important animal rights/people rights issue that is ignored. It seems government and corporate entities would rather see animals destroyed and their heroes manhandled and discredited.

I applaud Dorothy and her son for their efforts to help these animals. It was man, after all, that domesticated cats and made them dependent in the first place, and it is an admirable thing to see people taking responsibility for cats that have gone feral.

Anyone who has ever tried to catch a feral cat (as I have) knows it is not easy, and for this older woman to catch one every Sunday and have it fixed is quite an accomplishment. Please do a follow-up; I would love to be in the courtroom supporting Dorothy if it comes to that.

Colleen Borum

A Dong Delight

Great discoveries: Best meal I have had in a long time ["Jammin' Jellyfish," by Robb Walsh, June 19]. A Dong's a great recommendation. I go to a lot of Vietnamese restaurants but stick to soup, spring rolls, and grilled meat and vermicelli. But this was a great switch.

This is why I pick up the Houston Press every Thursday. You can't get reviews like this in the Chronicle.

Larry Swonke
Missouri City

Keep the Cactus

Boycott threat: Regarding Weingarten Realty/Kaldis Properties' forcing Cactus Music and Video to take down its sign (and our local landmark) [Racket, by John Nova Lomax, June 19], the answer to me is very simple. If I see that sign has been removed, I will officially boycott PETsMART, Bookstop and the Royal Tokyo Steakhouse. It would be no problem for me to get my pet food, books and steaks from other establishments. In fact, it would be the least I could do to protest such insensitivity to our community.

James Rowland

More than memories: I have known the Alabama Theatre center area since Ye Health Seekers first occupied the corner. I recall when Whole Earth opened there, and I watched the first Star Wars on opening day at the Alabama. I enjoyed eating at Butera's, and I remember when Whole Foods eclipsed Seekers as Houston's health food store. The Alabama bookstore turned out to be the best bookstore in our town for browsing. Cactus was always there -- always, as I remember.

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