Taking a Toll

Bypass the Heights: I am a longtime Houston Heights resident who is opposed to a toll road through the Houston Heights area, and I hope you are as well ["For Whom the Hell Tolls," by Josh Harkinson, November 25].

I live in the Houston Heights because I do not like to commute to work, I like the well-established neighborhood and I like the sense of community there. If people choose to live in Jersey Village and beyond, I'm okay with that. But when they ask me to help them with their commute time by putting a toll road through my backyard, I have to -- and I hope you do too -- say no!

Please help and please keep the Houston Heights up to date on this issue. I am willing and able to do my part to put a stop to any toll-road project in or through the Houston Heights. If there is anything I can do to help you get the no message out, please let me know.

Carl E. Penland, AIA

Mono magic: According to "For Whom the Hell Tolls," the current city scheme is to simply build a bike trail along the former MKT rail line. Few people really ride bikes other than for recreational reasons, but it is indeed an important option to improve the health of our community.

As for a Metro light rail line there, we already have seen a record-breaking accident rate with our Main Street line, and placing at-grade railroads in a residential setting like the Heights will create far more accidents.

A county toll road would be fine if it were not for all of the residential property in proximity and the limited space available. It would have less impact and cost to simply double-deck I-10 (since it is already below grade and prone to flooding).

There is indeed a viable solution for our overall transit needs, by using the entire right-of-way to downtown. Build an elevated transit line, a bike path and pedestrian trail, all with landscaping and a linear park design.

If we try to build an elevated light rail line, we end up with an eyesore and noisy, squealing, steel-wheeled trains. What can work is a monorail line. A monorail would have only two slender guideways with a narrow, open-grate emergency walkway. There would be no additional overhead power wires, and since there are rubber-tired monorails, the noise level at night would be less than the I-10 background noise.

The monorail would have the least impact on the area and would allow for pedestrian walkways and bike trails that are safe from mass transit. The line would run from the 610/I-10 Transit Center to UH-Downtown. Continuation could easily be done down the feeder of I-10 West and up Hempstead.

In the entire 104 years of monorail operations there have been zero accidents with autos or pedestrians. There is a viable solution for the Heights, there is an answer for Houston that would make us great again. Monorail can work.

Don Gallagher

Family Values

Responsible Rens: Who said those of us interviewed don't make a living at being a Rennie ["Ren-unciations," Letters, December 2]? I resent that remark. Some of the comments from the interviews never made it into the article ["Escape Artists," by Craig Malisow, November 11]. I design and make costumes, hand-embroider them and cross-stitch! I don't make a lot of money doing it, because I have other things in life that are more important: working a full-time job and going to school full time and managing a busy household and family. A couple of members in my group do work for the Faire. I know and love Lord Dragonhawke and the Celtic Rogues; I am proud to say I am one of them.

Some of us just don't choose to live the life. We have other callings that are more important than Ren. We go for the camaraderie and fun because everywhere else we are out of our element. We are a gentle group. And we are not all drunks; I resent that remark. As a matter of fact, I don't drink, and several other of my clanmates don't drink, either.

I found the letter writer's comments rude, unnecessary and outright inflammatory. I love my Ren family. We all do just fine without people calling us "playtrons." Besides, without people like me and my family, where would the Faire be?

Mistress Brohnwynn

Dishonorable Discharge

Heflin's folly: To Talmage Heflin: The people have spoken in favor of Hubert Vo [Hair Balls, "International Turkey," November 25]. It is time for you to move on. Do not dishonor the voters or the Republicans by trying to overturn the election results.

Your attempted grab of your housekeeper's baby was disgusting ["The Heflins: An Immigrant's Tale," by Josh Harkinson, October 21].

Jimmy Dunne

Cross Ways

In God's name -- and shame: I read the letter listing all the things wrong with Matt Groening's cartoon [Letters, "This Hare Bugs Him," November 25]. With due respect to the writer, I would like to say, yeah, Muslims may be flying planes into buildings and cutting off people's heads, but wasn't it Catholics who came up with the Inquisition? How about the practice of beating a woman as long as you used nothing wider than your thumb? How about Waco and Oklahoma City? The Salem witch trials? Abortion doctors being killed to stop "murder"?

And I highly doubt there are many Muslim or pagan KKK members. Not that they are all Christian, but many adhere to some form of Christianity. I do watch the local news; I do lock my door, but not because I'm afraid of heathens. Did you know that about 85 percent of inmates are Christians? Personally, I'm more afraid of a morally just, gay-bashing Christian than I am of a pagan or atheist.

You're just upset because you "had" to be exposed to someone's opinion that didn't exactly match yours. Well, welcome to real life.

I'm not saying all Christians are bad, but anyone who believes in something to the point of killing others (and there are some in every faith, idea or belief) are the bad ones who make the whole bushel seem bad.

Thanks for your time and the opportunity to share my view.

Name withheld by request

Out of This World

Rectal review: Mr. Brian McManus, it's not as if we should be hopeful enough to expect journalism from you, but if you must be an asshole, why on earth can't you be an entertaining asshole ["We're Not the World," October 28]?

Jeremy Tenenbaum

Lone Star sign: I know third-graders who can string sentences together better than this hack. His narrow-minded, redneck political orientation is painfully obvious. It speaks volumes about Texas and its redneck inhabitants.

Jim Wasilko
Washington, D.C.


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