Jailhouse Blues

Provide due process: Thanks for the article on Mr. Briggs ["Total Contempt," by Sarah Fenske, April 22].

While the use, or the threat of the use, of contempt-of-court charges may be helpful in some circumstances, the fact remains that the individual so charged is simultaneously found guilty -- there is no due process. Plus, the judge citing someone for contempt is scarcely impartial in the matter.

Since I don't consider worthwhile ends to justify improper means, I favor requiring the same due process for contempt charges as for any others.

Jeff Daiell

Keep Briggs behind bars: As an African-American, I feel that Mr. Briggs deserves more time in prison. He continued to lie and purposely spent the family's money. He continues to have no remorse. More black-on-black crime.

I feel bad that he lost his spouse, but like the judge said, Mr. Briggs had the key! Mr. Briggs was not the victim; the family he stole from was the victim.

Gerald Bowie

Park Row

Support the Friends: If you love Hermann Park, I hope that you have visited recently to see the improvements that have been made by the Friends of Hermann Park working with the City of Houston ["Friends Like These," by Sarah Fenske, April 22]. There are thousands of new trees, hundreds of new picnic tables, benches and lights, more than 85 new restrooms to replace Port-a-Cans, a longer loop on the miniature train, a vastly expanded lake with island habitats for migrating birds, a fishing pier for young and old, new paths, wildflowers and lawns. The newest construction is the centerpiece: the beautiful Reflection Pool.

These improvements are free to the public, and serve more than six million park visitors every year. The Friends of Hermann Park is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the park's protection and improvement -- that is why the group was founded, and that is why it will continue. The city's park budget has been decimated over the past decade, so FHP has expanded its mission to embrace stewardship of the park. To this end, we are mobilizing an army of park volunteers and must continue to raise funds.

Because of FHP's city contract, five cents of every dollar spent in Hermann Park (excluding the zoo, golf course and Miller Outdoor Theatre) gets reinvested into the park and ten cents goes back to the parks department to care for other city parks. FHP has the responsibility to ensure full accountability for that income. I hope other readers will join our effort to improve this valuable and vulnerable civic asset, by volunteering time, joining the organization, participating in FHP events and helping to keep the park clean, green and safe. Find out more at www.hermannpark.org.

Jane Anderson Curtis, chair
Friends of Hermann Park

Don't vex the vendors: As a native Houstonian, I have gone to Hermann Park more times than I can count, each time begging my parents for a snow cone or a stuffed animal. I am a bit horrified that there is even a management presence over these vendors.

These individuals are out there earning an honest living and should not be told how run their business. If Lyle Lovett wants to be a friend, he should throw a fund-raising concert. Sharon Lay should return the money allegedly taken in the Enron scandal; I think that would be sufficient for the Friends of Hermann Park.

Kryshon Bratton

Blame Bush

Derf's real target: While Derf did use fallen soldiers as a satirical means to an end (and I can therefore understand why some may be upset), his cartoon did not "poke fun" at them [Letters, "Derf and Dumb," April 22].

Derf poked fun at the man who sent them to die in the first place, and at his apathy toward their deaths. The same man who has sent more than 700 (so far) of our troops to die under false pretenses.

The same man who has refused to attend any of their funerals and has even forbidden any ceremonies or press coverage when remains are returned to this country.

The same man who initially lied to our service members about the duration of their tour of duty.

The same man who was complicit (at least) in cutting the VA budget and reducing troop pay.

Yes, Derf's piece may be disturbing. But what's most disturbing about it is how accurately it captures the attitude of President Bush.

Paul Arp

Hale and Hearty

Leave Leon alone: I noticed you took a swipe at the Houston Chronicle and Leon Hale [Hair Balls, "This Modern World," April 22]. An occasional poke at the Chronicle is fine, but please lay off Leon Hale. I'm under 40 and work for one of the largest computer companies in the world, but I've enjoyed Mr. Hale's column for years.

He often writes about small-town Texas, although it could be any small town in America (like my small hometown in the Midwest). So he isn't the most technology-savvy guy on the planet. But his column often conjures up warm memories of a simpler time and stories I heard from my grandpa for the umpteenth time. So please cut Mr. Hale some slack. If you're looking for technology updates, maybe you could talk to the High-Tech Texan.

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