Tuned Up

Great awards talent: I would like to send a shout-out to the Houston Press, music editor John Nova Lomax and the fine crew y'all had working the Music Awards events ["Sound Off '04," August 5]. The crew from Rehab was especially sharp. For one week out of the year, our fellow H-towners get an opportunity to see the extent of great talent our city has to offer.

The rain kept some wary people away, but the ones who ventured out were rewarded. And the cherry on top is the awards ceremony. Of course, the winners smiled and some losers complained -- in my eyes, they were all winners.

I would like to thank the Tamale Kingpin Chingo Bling and his management for letting me accept one of his awards. Of course I said some crazy things; that's the way I am.

Bottom line: Thank you. All the bands got paid. A shout-out also to 90.1 KPFT and 104 KRBE. Without them, it would have not been possible. And the VIP room was off the hook!

Raul "Dj Woo" Rodriguez

Band widths: I've heard that when you're drunk, nothing tastes better than Mexican food. Perhaps this opinion would explain John Nova Lomax's editorial style.

This showcase was no more a representation of Houston's best and brightest than the music section of the paper itself. I mean, you really love these tangents. When I first moved to Houston, the Westbury Squares were the "brand new heavies" for Houston. Then they split. Next, Arthur Yoria and band could do no wrong. Then, his band splits and he's solo. Now Chingo Bling might as well be new Motown shit as far as you're concerned.

A simple question: Is that all Houston's got?

Kevin Verndon

Echoes of HCCS

Yolanda's character: I have known Houston Community College System Trustee Yolanda Navarro Flores for well over 15 years, both professionally and personally ["HCCS'S Gift Basket Bonanza," by Josh Harkinson, August 12]. I worked for her at the state capitol as her legislative assistant and on many community and business projects thereafter.

I take issue with the article alleging she cursed out an HCCS worker. In all the years I have been around Yolanda, both in social and professional environments, Yolanda has not cursed even once. She is a caring and church-going woman whose only concern is to help all HCCS students achieve their educational dream.

Anyone with a pea-sized brain can see through the politically motivated article. It is sad when "journalists," and I use that word loosely, are willing to go to bat for a few to hurt the masses.

Linda Morales

A man of his own: I am the son of Houston Community College System Trustee Yolanda Navarro Flores. For your information, I am a 31-year-old married man with two wonderful sons and do not have to consult with my mother on where I seek employment. For the record, I have never been employed at HCCS. Secondly, if the Houston Press would have done some research and not print just hearsay, you would find that I am financially capable of making contributions to my mother's campaign or any other campaign legitimately.

It is no secret that Mr. Marc Campos has a political vendetta against my mother because she ran for the Texas Senate against his client, Mario Gallegos, who at "50-plus something" still lives with his mother. I would think that as a political consultant, Mr. Campos would welcome the political competition. It seems, though, all these post-election workings by Mr. Campos are keeping him on the payroll.

Larry M. Flores

Beautiful Bricks

Paving the way: How a city/state/nation treats its community's lowest rung (that is, the lowest rung of the community ladder) speaks volumes about its civility ["Hitting the Bricks," by Josh Harkinson, August 12].

Freedmen's Town/Fourth Ward has been Houston's lowest rung since it was created after the Civil War. The mistreatment of it continues even today. One year ago, the neighborhood woke up to some of the streets being changed from the existing two-way to one-way. That was followed by the closing of the western end of Andrews Street.

There was no request from the community, no meetings with the community, no traffic-flow studies as required by law. Someone just altered the streets because they could.

The brick on Andrews Street is a testament to the mistreatment. In the late 1800s Freedmen's Town paid taxes but could not get the city to pave a single street. The buggies, surreys and wagons would bog down to the axles in the black gumbo clay during rainy seasons. The people of Freedmen's Town, under the direction of the Reverend Jeremiah Smith, organized a program to pave their own streets.

They had each family buy one brick. They furnished the labor and other supplies and paved the first street, Andrews, with bricks.

Now there are city officials talking about taking those bricks -- bought and paid for by freed slaves from the descendants of those enslaved people -- and putting them downtown.

The purpose of this, according to reports, is to beautify downtown. Well, they (the bricks) are beautiful where they are now.

Lenwood E. Johnson

Sex Abuse Sagas

Coping with predators: I am an 18-year-old who was leaving for college the day the front page of the Houston Press caught my attention ["The Killer Next Door," by Sarah Fenske, July 29]. I read the entire article nonstop. I kept thinking to myself, "I could have been one of his victims."

I never have had the innocence every little girl under the age of 13 should have. I experienced sexual harassment at a very young age. I never have told anyone, mainly because of fear. It is very sad that no one in this world can be trusted. These sexual predators are people no one ever would think of accusing as such.

I recall all those times that I had to walk to school or home. All those men offering me a ride, just like Tony. All those stalkers and psycho boyfriends I had to deal with. It sends shivers down my spine just thinking about it. The sadder thing is, there are hundreds of females going through the same thing.

Somehow I have managed to move on with life, building a wall ten feet high and five feet thick around myself. It is not easy. Once again, thank you for your story. I am so glad he is behind bars. I definitely agree with Rob Shore: "Fair is fair, and right is right."

Mirta Cruz

Annabelle's Angst

Here to stay: I wish I had the money to take out a full-page ad in your paper to let people know how wonderful Annabelle's is ["Catch of the Day," by Scott Nowell, July 29]. I am a regular there, and I send lots of friends there to eat as well.

Duwaji needs to get a life and move on with it. Just because he owns a building next door that has no parking is his problem; maybe he should have thought about that beforehand instead of giving into "how much money can I make on this piece of property?" Annabelle's is here to stay.

Nikki Watson

Check it out: Annabelle's Diner, you write, has beaten the odds for restaurant failures in spite of a stream of city inspectors. If, by ignoring the city code, I could increase my seating by 50 percent, while my competition obeyed the rules, I could beat the odds, too.

Did the owners submit their plans to the city? The planning review allows problems to be corrected before construction starts, avoiding red tags and rework expenses.

The owner's reluctance to pay the 50 cents to replace that burned-out bulb in a fire-exit sign makes one wonder about the safety of their wiring and gas lines, the reliability of the kitchen's fire-extinguishing system, the cleanliness of the customer and employee sanitary facilities and the temperature of food in the cooler. And the state of the ice machine.

Without inspectors, decks collapse and clubs catch fire. The inspectors are doing a necessary job, and Houston is better for it.

Richard Sohn

The Incredible Crunk

Combo meanings: I enjoyed your etymology of crunk [Racket, by John Nova Lomax, July 15]. I wanted to add what I feel is another key moment in the popularization of the word crunk. I spent 2000 in Dallas and heard the word crunk on an almost daily basis on the radio. The most egregious use of the word could be heard in the hit "Get Fucked Up" by Iconz. The clean version for the radio replaced fucked with crunked.

My feeling is the word serves two purposes. In addition to meaning "crazy-drunk," it also gets around radio censorship in a creative way by substituting crunk for fuck. Not coincidentally, the two words rhyme.

Raul Ramos


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