Talking Turkeys

No lame duck: Shelley Sekula-Gibbs has been known as a respected physician, loving wife and mother, dedicated city council member and tireless public servant ["Turkeys of the Year," by Richard Connelly, November 23]. Did the special election suddenly change her?

As one who has worked closely with her in city government, I think not.

Then why did the District 22 congressional staff ("Tom's terrors") jump ship faster than the rats on the Titanic?

Could it be that after a six-month "working vacation" with no boss they decided getting down to the people's business a little too taxing?

Could it be that their loyalty was not to the folks of District 22 but to a disgraced memory of power and prestige?

Could it be that the so-called "mean meeting" was nothing more than a new captain trying to enforce the rules of the sea but facing a mutinous crew?

Or could it be as banal as a group of political sycophants planning to serve another candidate and stacking the deck against Shelley with bad press heading toward 2008?

From my point of view, Dr. Sekula-Gibbs is no lame duck. She is trying to accomplish something with the few weeks she has in office. Others would sit back and enjoy having a title without responsibility. Not Shelley Sekula-Gibbs. She sees this as a time of opportunity to do important work for the citizens of District 22 and is dedicated to it.

She has been called many names in the past few weeks, but only one will be remembered; and if we are fortunate, it will be repeated in 2008: Congresswoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs.

Karen Gill

Skewed: Since early 2003, I have worked with Shelley Sekula-Gibbs to serve the people of Houston and then of the 22nd Congressional District of Texas. Congresswoman Sekula-Gibbs serves her constituents with the highest honor and integrity. As a fourth-generation Mexican-American, I am proud to work with such a leader, and also proud that because of Dr. Sekula-Gibbs's vigorous efforts to improve the lives of Mexican-Americans and all Americans, several members of my family have joined me in supporting Dr. Sekula-Gibbs in her efforts to serve the people of Houston and of the United States of America.

During the transition period from Dr. Sekula-Gibbs's service on Houston City Council to the United States Congress, I participated in a conference call with her and a staff member of CD22. The Congresswoman requested this individual invite several people to her open house, among them the President and Vice President of the United States of America. She followed this request with an acknowledgement that they, of course, could not possibly attend, but she would be remiss not to invite them, since their kind efforts had proven instrumental to her victory. She extended the invitation with courtesy and with high respect for the leaders of our nation.

It now saddens me to see skewed accounts of related events and alleged exchanges that occurred after this conference call. I know firsthand that Dr. Sekula-Gibbs always acts graciously and in a dignified manner, and much of what has been printed is simply false.

In the thousands of hours I have spent with Dr. Sekula-Gibbs, I have never witnessed an unkind act from her. Yes, she expects hard work from her employees. I hope my Congressperson expects the same from his staff. If Americans across the nation elected more officials who set high standards for their staff, we might have fewer complaints about our elected representation.

The Trojan Horse approach executed by a handful of people has not damaged Congresswoman Sekula-Gibbs's prospects for 2008. The citizens of CD22 are much too intelligent to allow gossip and speculation to cloud their view of reality. By now, it should be obvious that no amount of money can do that, as evidenced by Dr. Sekula-Gibbs's Special Election votes outweighing those of her Democrat opponent's in the General Election.

If Congresswoman Sekula-Gibbs chooses to run again in 2008, I look forward to being a part of her team then and for many future elections.

Andrea Ramirez Seagraves

Right number: I, too, have been curious about the actions of Shelley Sekula-Gibbs since the election. I'm not sure if her trip to Washington qualifies as comedy or tragedy, but it is definitely a piece of theater.

I am surprised, however, that you would even question the figure of 9,000 Americans lost at the hands of illegal immigrants every year. The numbers on intoxicated manslaughter alone would easily support that figure. Do the math -- 15 deaths per month in each of the 50 states. Harris County alone probably has at least ten deaths per month in this category. I bet even tiny Rhode Island meets the minimum daily requirement. Just this past weekend in Chicago, a van was involved in a serious accident. Not only did the pillar of the community jump out and run, he left two small children in the van!

Your disbelief of the number indicates just how narrow your parameters are.

Marilyn Karr

Back to realty: Although I got a kick out of seeing Drew Alexander's caricature stomping the River Oaks Theatre like a Japanese cinema monster, the article could not be more off-base. You are either very young or not from Houston.

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