Stones for the story: A standing ovation for Keith Plocek ["On Shaky Grounds," December 30]! His article comprehensively delivered all of the points we have been yelling about and HISD has been ignoring for four years.
I'm glad he had the stones to bring them to the mat in a most professional manner. Excellent job!
Spreading the word: Your article provided an interesting and insightful story, which captured well what's going on now in this community. Probably not many people knew about the fight between HISD and local residents before this article led us to the battle site.
So I am glad that more people will be informed of this and more of them hopefully will make their voices heard. Those people who were displaced from Freedmen's Town in the Fourth Ward surely deserve better than this mess. After all, what's wrong with going green?
Ulterior motives? Hats off to Press writer Keith Plocek for his story concerning HISD's boondoggle in my neighborhood. I'd like to clarify one point where HISD spokesman Terry Abbott was quoted: "Mr. Boney was recommended by the elected officials who had expressed an interest in this project He is an experienced group leader and has knowledge of the historical importance of the 4th Ward area."
While state Senator Rodney Ellis is quick to take credit for organizing the public forum on graves early this year, he is also responsible for appointing Jew Don Boney to the committee to sabotage it at every turn. Senator Ellis makes a living as a securities attorney, and part of his practice is devoted to public bond financing. He has a vested interest in staying in HISD's good graces in order to win future work. Ellis's firm has previously fed at the public trough as the lead underwriter for bonds the City of Austin issued in 1999.
Furthermore, Jew Don Boney's position as the head of the Mickey Leland Center at Texas Southern University is controversial since he lacks the education qualifications required in the posted job description. Maybe Boney got this $75,000-per-year position as a reward for "selling out the black community."
Timothy J. O'Brien
Public housing success: This was an excellent article. I must commend the boldness of the questions the article delved into.
However, there is one point that I believe is in error: "Johnson is best known for his prolonged -- and ultimately failed -- attempt to save Allen Parkway Village."
The developers who wanted the property would have a different opinion. The Allen Parkway Village public housing effort was the most successful one in the country. In no other major city, from the East Coast to the Pacific, has the Houston effort been duplicated.
The entire site remains as conventional public housing; none of the land went to the developers. Second, there was one-for-one replacement for every unit demolished at APV.
What ended up happening was that approximately 300 of the 1,000 historic units were saved and renovated. Another approximately 200 new units were built, for a total of 500 units on the site. The other 500 were built in other areas, including Freedmen's Town.
The APV rehabilitation plan that was approved and funded by HUD was developed by the residents -- not the city. Anytime a group of public housing residents can bring 124 million in federal dollars to a city, that can hardly be called a failure.
Lenwood E. Johnson
Guns and Gazoobs
Priorities, please: "Breasts, Books and Bullets" is what you should have called your story on the Bubbas of the rural reaches of Harris County [Hair Balls, Books and Bullets," December 30]. "Texas -- you never stop surprising us" is sounderstated!
Where else could you find a place where the thought of a naked breast being seen behind closed doors would bring out hordes of the Christian "wrong," yet a gun store next to a junior high doesn't even raise an eyebrow? We live in a truly sick society.
Dr. Leroy Osmon
Bear With Him
Honest film on gays: Thanks to Melissa Levine for her thoughtful review of the film Bear Cub ["Den of Iniquity," December 30]. Most papers wouldn't even review a small gay-themed film, much less a film about an odd subculture like bears. Well, being a bear myself, I've been waiting for this film for some time, and expected only bad words since it deals with sex -- especially the lead characters' trysts -- in an open, honest and frank way. In these times that's demonized, not for being risky or irresponsible, but just for the sex, especially gay sex.
Certainly a movie about big hairy gay men in love, or raising kids, isn't a big ticket-seller, but I thank you and the Press for your honest review and the publicity you bring to the film.
Great Asian food: Thanks for giving me the excuse I needed to go to China (and Vietnam) town ["Eat Mi," by Robb Walsh, December 2]. I have been wanting to go there but didn't want to go in blind.
My girlfriend and I went to Tan Tan to try the mi there. When we found predominantly Asians sitting at the tables, I knew it had been a good idea.
The mi was great, for a price that you can't beat. I look forward to trying some of the other restaurants mentioned in the review. Mi is a great cheap eat and, in my opinion, better than ramen. We used to go to a ramen cafe in Boston and had to pay 11 or 12 bucks for a bowl. At Tan Tan, we got two bowls and a soda for 12 bucks. I look forward to your next article. How about finding the best dim sum in Houston?
Drinkin' it down: I enjoyed Jordan Harper's "I'll Drink to That" [December 30], but I felt he missed some local classics. Carolyn Wonderland's "No, Really; I Can Drive" and Reckless Kelly's "Drink Your Whiskey Down" belong on any list of drinking songs.
For an easy sing-along chorus, it doesn't get any simpler than Bob Log III's "Boob Scotch." Finally, my favorite from the Pogues is "The Sick Bed of Cuchulainn," but it's hard to sing along with, and the whole of the Pogues' oeuvre is sort of one long drinking song, anyway.
More music: I've been a musician in Houston for about five years, and I've noticed that the Houston Press is seriously lacking in its coverage of local music and music in general. As the Press is the only paper most Houstonians look to for local music, many of us would like to see a little professionalism and seriousness when it comes to reporting on music.
Under Out & About, you have places listed that have nothing to do with music, but you don't even list some staples on the scene.
Your music section, I'm sorry to say, has become a joke. Everything from who shows up at a lame party to what baseball players listen to after a game is covered in your "music" section. Your articles tend to be about drinking and even karaoke. And what's with The Nightfly? How can Brian McManus keep coming up with retarded stories about himself getting drunk and being useless? Houston doesn't have a great unified music scene, but it doesn't help when our only half-decent paper neglects the subject. All I ever read about is one national act followed by stories about drinks and how the writer couldn't score with some chick (no kidding, huh?).
I look forward to seeing some quality work in your music section.
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