Your Friendly Serial Murderer

Slay bells ring: I was absolutely shocked when I read your article with my coffee this morning ["The Killer Next Door," by Sarah Fenske, July 29]. I knew Tony Shore. He installed my phone line in my home in Montrose ten years ago. My blood ran cold as I read that he murdered the nine-year-old the very same month he installed my line.

We became friends as he worked in my home. He helped me get a job at Ernie's -- he even gave me concert tickets to Fleetwood Mac because he was spending the evening with his daughters. He was so nice. Aren't they always?

I was a year older than his wife -- they met a year after I became acquainted with him. I often wondered what happened to him as I would drive by his neighborhood. Now I know. I am suffering from the heebie-jeebies. Unfortunately, there's no known cure.

Stephanie Martens

Who was that masked man?: Fascinating story! Having lived just three houses down from Tony on the same side of East 18th Street for years, I knew him well. He really was a helpful guy. I can't imagine he was "not good at sports" because he had extremely quick reflexes. You didn't mention he was also a great artist as well as an incredible piano player.

However, your worst mistake was saying Pernell Roberts was on Gunsmoke (although he may have been a guest on it when he was younger!). He really was Adam Cartwright on Bonanza. By the way, I never suspected either, although there was this occasional darkness about him. Ironically, he could always detect the darkness around me whenever I was angry about something and tried to cheer me up.

Layne Gulledge

The Road to Hell is Paved...

Lanier knows best: Bravo to former mayor Bob Lanier for telling Houston not waste too much tax money on new freeways ["The Mixmaster," by Josh Harkinson, July 22]. Bravo to Lanier for listening to, learning from and joining the citizens who say building more freeways just encourages folks to move farther away from work. These folks moving to the outer suburbs will, after a while, clog the new freeway with traffic.

Lanier is a learner. Lanier is ahead of the paradigm shift.

We're shifting from the Petroleum Age. In the past, Texas had oceans of oil and the Houston area was small. So we built freeways and assumed everyone could afford a car.

Now, that's history. In 1972, Texas oil production peaked and dropped in half. Real after-tax wages have been falling, or we're working overtime to make ends meet. Folks making less than $12 an hour struggle to pay for both rent and auto.

Very soon global oil production will also peak. Alas, this probably means more rising gas prices and falling wages. Also, it probably means the government is short on money, too.

If Lanier were in charge, he would help us prepare. But Harris County Judge Eckels is in power, and he wants to spend tons of our money on new freeways. Eckels is responsible for deciding how to spend our tax money for transportation. To pay for all this concrete, his organization advocates a new county gasoline tax.

Is Eckels a learner who can help Houston stay ahead of the paradigm shift?

Nan Hildreth

Legalize the options: Thanks for the article about Robert Eckels' mania for highway construction. The fact is, there are alternatives to such grandiose schemes that would cost the taxpayers little or nothing.

Unfortunately, some of these alternatives are illegal (for-profit vanpooling and for-profit carpooling are still against city ordinance, I believe) or so highly regulated as to be de facto illegal. For example, jitneys: Houston City Council, when forced by the federal courts to allow them, assigned the "Monopoly Transit Authority" the power to set the rules. Do the words "fox" and "chicken coop" come to mind?

For more on these anti-congestion and pro-environment alternatives, I urge you to contact the Association for Rational Environmental Alternatives (AREA) and, locally, the Houston Property Rights Association.

Jeff Daiell, AREA
Valdosta, Georgia

Black Humor

He's still our favorite: In response to the "rating the actors" letter in the July 29 issue [Letters, "Not OK"]: I wanted to personally thank the letter writer for relieving me of the title "Alley Favorite."

Being a charismatically challenged actor has made the past 20 years of nonstop work in professional theaters around the world quite grueling. I thought I could handle the extra burden of "favorite." Obviously I was wrong.

Yours quietly,
James Black

Misled on Jed

A broad brush: I just wanted to let readers know I didn't paint the signs referred to in the Hair Balls column ["An' Git Away from My Still!", July 22]. The writer must have confused the work with "Calligraphy by Red." I think that is the company most crazed shut-ins turn to for signs.

Jed Shepler, owner
Calligraphy by Jed


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