Caring couple: I am disappointed after reading your article about Michael and Nandy Berry ["Running Mates," by Tim Fleck, August 28]. I think you have totally misled your readers about them. Are they ambitious? Yes. They're a young, energetic couple, and there's nothing wrong with that. Are they unprincipled, unscrupulous, liars, cheats? No!
They care about this city and they care about people, no matter what their background or station in life. They treat everyone the same. I'm sure that you could find a few people who don't like me to say unflattering things about me, but that doesn't make them true. My family was excited to have Michael and Nandy at our barbecue on July Fourth, and we're convinced that Michael will be a great mayor for this city.
The best candidate: The entire time Michael Berry sat on a committee for the Downtown Houston Association, his focus was the association and its mission -- not Michael Berry's mission. He never once mentioned that he was running for City Council.
I believe Sylvester Turner and Councilmembers Parker and Alvarado would say almost anything to make Michael look bad. I would never take what they say as accurate. They all have their own agendas.
With regard to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce meeting, I was there and several people admitted they were impressed with Michael. In fact, several of them told me in confidence that they would jump ship (from Orlando) to Berry in the runoff. They know Orlando won't make it but do not want to come out publicly yet since they feel they have to endorse Orlando because he is Hispanic. There are individuals at the Hispanic chamber who receive all the city contracts and do not let any of the new businesses in.
I am always impressed with Michael. He knows the issues in the forums. Orlando has to bring his files of notes (so he can read the same speech he reads to groups daily); Bill White repeats the same story of coming to Houston with one bag; and Turner tells everyone his parents were poor with a large family but he still went to Harvard. People leave those forums and realize who has the real answers for Houston's future.
I am disappointed with your article. It seems like you are trying to trash Michael. I am not a political insider and I cannot open doors with a phone call, but I do know your article was neither fair nor objective.
Human blight: Berry is a born politician willing to do or say anything to get elected. He is as vacant as the decrepit buildings where his banners are posted and offers Houston just as little.
A history of harmony: As an American citizen of Turkish descent, I was shocked to see the title of Tim Fleck's recent column "Parks War: Turks Versus Christians" [The Insider, August 21]. My shock turned into confusion as I realized that the title had nothing to do with the content of the article, which was about two individuals, one of them of Turkish descent.
Anybody who follows recent developments in the Middle Eastern political scene would agree that the title is very misleading. There is no tension or hostility between the predominantly Muslim Turkey and the overwhelmingly Christian West. After all, Turkey, the only Muslim country in the region with a democratically elected government and secular legal code, has been a faithful (and the only Muslim) member of NATO since 1950, a staunch ally of the West and the only consistently reliable supporter of U.S. geopolitical strategies in the Middle East since the end of WWII.
The land currently occupied by Turks has been a stage, as is often the case with coexisting societies and cultures, where the naturally occurring forces of adaptation, assimilation and stabilization have forged an atmosphere of mutual benefit and tolerance toward survival for all.
Turkey is an invaluable historical and archeological source for innumerable religious sites, monasteries and monuments. In addition, there is the Suryani population, the world's last surviving colony of Christians (Monophysites) who still speak Aramaic, the language that Jesus spoke. The fact that the Suryanis today not only can practice their religion but also thrive economically and socially, is the living example of Turkey's tolerance toward the Christian minorities.
I find the title of this article most aggravating, considering the facts. I would like to thank the Houston Press for letting me express, on behalf of my 4,000 or so compatriots who live in the greater Houston metropolitan area, the facts in hopes of avoiding any future transgressions of this sort on sensitive cultural matters.
Serhan Secmen, president
American Turkish Association of Houston
No Ordinary Joe
Confession time: Joe Nixon, the attorney/ legislator who wrote Proposition 12 [The Insider, by Tim Fleck, August 21] purports to be a community leader and an "active" Catholic.
An understanding of basic economics should tell Nixon that capping damages injured Texans may recover against negligent health care providers will not work to make them more careful; it will have the opposite result of making it cost-effective for hospitals to continue to employ bad doctors who cannot earn as much as good ones.
An understanding of basic constitutional law should tell Nixon that one of the three co-equal branches of our government -- in the case of Proposition 12, the legislature -- may not infringe the power of any other. An understanding of fundamental Christian principles should tell Nixon that denying Texas citizens jury trials as Prop 12 will do, is an unrighteous swipe at those who can least afford to pay lawyers for representation.
So why is Joe Nixon leading this unholy charge?
The media reported that Mr. Nixon recently accepted two insurance payments totaling more than $300,000 for mold-related claims. An insurance company auditor asked why the claims were paid when they were not covered. The response was that they were paid because Mr. Nixon is a special friend of the insurance industry.
Obviously, money and power are more important to Nixon than either the welfare of Texans or the well-being of our constitutional legal system. Mr. Nixon, go to confession; your soul could use it.
Taking Dead Ames
No tears: Saw and enjoyed your 100 percent, spot-on, non-tribute to the disgusting Roy Ames [Racket, by John Nova Lomax, August 28]. All I can add personally is that I hope his death was a slow and painful one. He deserved nothing less.
However, I'd like to correct a mistake about Jimmy "T-99" Nelson's Ames-recorded material. Ace actually did not release any of the material that Ames cut on T-99 -- admittedly plans were afoot to release a vinyl collection, back in 1989, as a follow-up to our vinylization of the man's RPM/Kent masters. However, this did not happen, partly because the A&R department at the time decided that Ames's recordings did not really do this great artist full justice, and mostly because of a directorial decision that Ames was not really a man to do business with.
FYI: Ace is just about to give T-99's Olliet and RPM material its first ever legal CD release in a new package titled Cry Hard Luck, compiled and annotated by yours truly.
Again, everyone at Ace really enjoyed your piece. As far as Roy C. Ames is concerned, death couldn't have happened to a more deserving recipient.
Tony Rounce, Ace Records Ltd.
London, United Kingdom
Clip art: Thank you for your article on Roy Ames. A funny aside: You mentioned the fake Double Bayou Dance Hall posters. About a year ago, I bought one, and brought it to a Joe "Guitar" Hughes show at the Big Easy and asked Joe to sign it for me. He told me, "You know this is poster is a fake I never opened for T-Bone at Double Bayou and I didn't use 'Guitar' in my name back then."
I told him that I figured the poster was a fake but that I wanted him to sign it anyway, and he obliged. I still haven't framed it, but now I'm thinking about cutting the poster so that the "Joe 'Guitar' Hughes" part with his signature remains. Maybe I'll just frame that and throw the rest of it away! Keep up the good work.
On the Matt
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Straight reviews, please: I was shocked to read your "review" of Matt Brownlie in the August 14 issue ["Hothouse Flowers," by John Nova Lomax]. It's really clear that you have strong opinions regarding Matt's personality, appearance or whatever. What the hell does that have to do with his music?
I enjoy your writing, your acerbic wit, your slightly twisted angle. But what I don't need is your personal issues -- that's simple Journalism 101. Leave the personal stuff in your private journal, or at the bar, or wherever I don't have to read it.
And hey, for next year's Music Awards Showcase, how about having half of the venues start their bands on the half-hour, so we can see/hear more. Love that showcase!