Down-Bight Flattering

Hooray for Gray: Loved this piece ["Houston, Once Removed," by Josh Harkinson, November 20]. I've long thought Regimanuel Gray deserved more press coverage -- I've been to Accra a couple of times and thought it really was the Houston of the Bight of Benin.

I even met Mr. Ohrt at his Sugar Land-like estate. Now that American cities have been cleaned up, it's easy to diss suburbia, but in Accra you really come to appreciate it. I've sent this on to a bunch of friends in Ghana. They will be wowed by the international coverage. Congratulations.

Ben Moser
Utrecht, Netherlands

She's Positive

Support the educators: I really enjoyed the article about Lee High School ["Tee Time," by Wendy Grossman, November 13]. It's great to read about some positive students and educators from the Houston Independent School District, especially when the odds are stacked against them. Please print more positive stories like these.

Hilary Robinson

Grim Game

Real environmentalists: I wish to express my disappointment with the "Shooting Bambi's Mom" cover story [by Robb Walsh, November 6]. Not only does this article encourage violence, but the so-called environmentalist approach it preaches is misleading.

Real environmentalists don't eat meat. Nor do they hunt animals for sport or trophy. It is hypocritical to suggest that someone is an environmentalist while demonstrating that they take such pleasure in exerting force and brutality over nature and other living beings. Sport hunting is a far cry from a sense of "stewardship" with the land and environmental responsibility.

One can only wonder if Mr. Walsh critiques his meals based on the violence and brutality with which the animal was killed (e.g., sport hunting, slaughter on a factory farm, etc.). Maybe someday Mr. Walsh can greet a spicy Thai vegetarian dish or gourmet vegan sandwich with the same enthusiasm, but from the article, I'm guessing that would never be the case. I can only hope that a future issue of the Houston Press would give equal coverage to cruelty-free living and healthy, vegetarian meals.

As a vegan, I choose not to eat dead animal flesh, and my "Thanksgiving" meal will be compassionate and cruelty-free. True environmentalism should encourage a reverence and respect for all life. True environmentalism means doing the least amount of harm possible.

Kristen L. Ohanyan

The Green Party

Sour grapes: Ronald Green is a Democrat [The Insider, by Tim Fleck, November 20]. He appeared at the recent Howard Dean rally at Miller Outdoor Theatre. Just because someone is angry because they did not make the run-off is no reason to be a sore loser. Don't blame some straw man (conservative) backing Ronald Green for your failures as a candidate.

I voted for Sue Lovell, but have gotten over it (losing). I am going forward and supporting a candidate with whom I may agree only 90 percent of the time. But that is better than seeing the other guy win, who I am sure I will agree with only 10 to 20 percent of the time.

Edward Ybarra

On the fence: Knowing that Ronald Green can't decide what political ground he's on was very interesting and insightful. I would love to see an African-American male win, but if he can't take a true stand, then something is very wrong.

Don't get me wrong; many Republicans voted for Clinton during the 1990 election. So, if it has happened on the national front, it will happen on the local level as well.

Keep in mind that Ronald Green isn't the only politician who lives on both sides of the fence. I guess he's the one who is more obvious in attending Democratic and Republican functions. Mr. Green needs to decide who he is and then his platform will become more effective.

Arnetta Murray

Remember December 6: I wanted to say that your recent Insider columns have been spectacular. You give the kind of information that is nonexistent elsewhere. (I would have liked to have seen more before the election.) You are the only high-quality political commentator in town, in my opinion.

But, that aside, I have one big request: Say the words "Election Day is December 6" in your column. Why is this date so hard to find in newspapers? You should find a way to inform your readers of all upcoming election dates. It's newsworthy, I promise!

Daniel Chaikin

An Inmate Responds

Victimizing everyone: By the (lack of) facts from the letter writer ["Pity Them Not," Letters, November 13], I can only conclude that you believe that because we are criminals, whatever treatment -- even daily lashings and starvation -- we receive is not inhumane. What does that person really know about life in TDCJ?

The writer's view fails to grasp the fact that the majority of TDCJ inmates are here for minor drug offenses, with no direct victims involved in our "crimes." So the argument about our victims living in lesser conditions than our own doesn't always hold water. Sure, you could argue that drugs victimize the whole of society, which may be true to an extent, but our government's war on its own people -- a.k.a. the war on drugs -- does far more damage to the fabric of society than the drugs themselves.

The claim of being an indirect crime victim because your tax dollars are used to care for inmates doesn't make you a victim of inmates. This makes you a victim of the biggest crime ring in the world: the U.S. government!

Inmates are human, and just like officers, there are good ones and bad ones. We are not all murderers and rapists. Blanket statements such as those by the writer are commonly employed by hate groups. So what do you propose? Roadside executions of DWI and drug possession suspects? That would save your precious tax dollars.

Or better yet, why not withhold payment of your taxes? Then, when the government imprisons you for nonpayment, I'd like to hear your comments on the treatment of inmates.

(I'd welcome discussion on the subject; my full address is Shannon Parker No. 1159797, 1100 FM 655, Rosharon, Texas 77583.)

Shannon Parker

Chew on This

Trapper John's response: While it is true Mr. Lynch did in fact hire Trapper John, Inc. to address his rodent problem, it seems that this is where the facts in "Of Mice and Men" end [Hair Balls, by George Flynn, October 16].

Trapper John, Inc. has attempted numerous times to return to the residence to address the complaints of Mr. Lynch but has not been allowed access. As of July 2003, it has been the position of Trapper John, Inc. to refund $495 for the initial treatment cost to Mr. Lynch.

Several months ago, Mr. Lynch filed a complaint against Trapper John, Inc. with the Better Business Bureau. After investigating, the BBB responded to Trapper John, Inc. and stated, "Your report will reflect your company made every reasonable effort to resolve this case." It stands to reason the BBB found no evidence of wrongdoing by Trapper John, Inc., as it closed the case on August 2.

It continues to be the aim of Trapper John, Inc. to make every reasonable effort to resolve this issue. Unfortunately, Mr. Lynch has seen fit to make unfounded accusations of attempted insurance fraud. Trapper John, Inc. does not and will not conduct business in any manner other than strictly professional.

Trapper John, Inc. remains confident that any litigation matter will be proved baseless. Trapper John, Inc. will gladly submit all relevant documents at the appropriate time.

Rudy Wattiez, attorney at law
San Antonio

Out of Townes

Shameful problems: A close friend of mine who is a music supervisor (a person who places songs in films and TV shows) wanted to use several Townes songs for an upcoming film ["Dead, Not Buried," by Robert Wilonsky, November 20]. She told me that it was such a nightmare dealing with all these knuckleheads in the article that she eventually vowed to never license another Townes song again.

Being a huge Townes fan (I used to sneak into Anderson Fair to see him before I was 21 and legal), I was crushed! There's an old music business joke that really applies here: Ya know the difference between a hooker and the music business? A hooker will stop screwing you after you're dead. Maybe Wilonsky's controversial reporting style will help raise these people's consciousness. I'd love to hear any Townes song (example: Tom Waits or Leonard Cohen) in a big ol' studio feature film. Thanks!

Jesse Dayton

Missing in Action

Where's Murrah? I was just wondering why the Houston Press has not printed anything Tim Murrah has said lately [Racket, by John Nova Lomax, October 2]. Seems like every time he opens his mouth, someone from the Press is there to take notes.

I really miss his delightful comments. Doesn't everybody?

Wes Wallace

Full Monty Thanks

A religious calling: I would like to thank the Houston Press for selecting me to attend the Broadway show The Full Monty. I enjoyed it immensely. I never thought, based on my income, that I would ever have the chance to go to the Hobby Center. I know it was a blessing from God. Go ahead and laugh, but I am so serious.

I was so excited that I was able to tell one of the faculty members what a success this show is. I have received several movie passes from the Press giveaways. However, this grand opportunity tops them all. Please keep up the wonderful work. May God bless each and every one of you.

Ossie Riley


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