The Mayoral Vote
The Brown principle: I am sending a copy of this article ["Parting Shots," by Tim Fleck, May 15] to my son in New York who, upon learning that Brown had been elected mayor, smirked, "Houston will get what it deserves with Out-of-Town Brown." The Peter Principle states that one is promoted to his or her level of incompetence. Brown has managed to do that as chief of police in Houston, drug czar, chief of police in New York (before they got wise and ran him off) and now as mayor of Houston. Surely it's some sort of record, however ignominious.
Off-base: Tim Fleck's piece on Brown's tenure as mayor is generally excellent, but he is off-base about Roksan Okan-Vick. She may be the most professional director of the city Parks and Recreation Department we've ever had. Her vision for the future is clear, and her understanding of the needs of our parks department is well researched and well presented.
Moreover, her success with the Hermann Park renovation was extraordinary and certainly not a garden party.
Mavis P. Kelsey Jr.
Don't pick: Sorry, Tim. Don't pick on Roksan Okan-Vick. I've attended two meetings she chaired, a GHP breakfast at 7 a.m. and a Memorial Park Master Plan event at 7 p.m., so my take is she's 24/7. Plus, she's been responsive and cares about our parks, recreation and quality of life. Lay off and pick on somebody else.
P.S. to Margaret Downing: Pull some strings and return the cultural arts/theater listings to your printed version. Do you want us to boycott your advertisers?
Next stop, county commissioners: Enjoyed your excellent articles on Mayor Brown and Joe Allen ["MUD-Slinging Breakaway," by Tim Fleck, May 15]. We really need a series covering all of the county commissioners court. They have so much money and power and are virtually unknown to the voters.
Support from the Heights
Wine, not whine: Thank goodness for Gary Mosely. When we were on the fence about buying in the Heights, it was the site of Onion Creek ["Onion Tears," by Jennifer Mathieu, May 15] that pushed us over the edge, thinking that the Heights might be coming into this century. We've always wondered why there were so many things missing in the Heights -- yes, a Starbucks, maybe a gym, more restaurants -- well, now we know. And you can bet that we'll be at Onion Creek at midnight with a glass of wine in hand.
A good-neighbor policy: Near the end of Jennifer Mathieu's article about the Onion Creek cafe, Houston Heights Association president Byron Pettit posed this question: If a bar that's going to stay open until 2 a.m. was going to open right next to your house, how would you feel? Having lived in the house directly across the street from that building from 1994 till February of this year, I guess I would be the one to answer that question. I think it's interesting that he never bothered to call me and ask, though.
From the time Gary Mosely bought the property at 3106 White Oak Drive, he promised to be a good and respectful neighbor. The previous owner never spoke to us, and never gave a crap about his property or what went on there. If Gary was willing to put his money into turning our neighborhood "Starbucks for winos, crack addicts and prostitutes" into an attractive, pleasant establishment, I was all for it.
I always enjoyed living at 541 Frasier and appreciated the interesting diversity of the neighborhood, but that building across White Oak was awful, and some of the shenanigans that played out as a result of Fitzgerald's weren't pleasant either. There were often up to five or six neighborhood derelicts hanging out drinking from their brown paper bags at any time of the day or night (often past 2 a.m.), and sleeping on the front slab or out in the weeds behind the building. One morning a few years ago, a dead body was found in the yard behind the liquor store next door to Onion Creek. I had to sweep up the broken window glass from dozens of parked cars owned by the Fitzgerald patrons who routinely parked along the side of my house on White Oak. We figured at least the lights and activity at Onion Creek would put an end to the car vandalism.
What about the noise? My wife has chronic fatigue syndrome, and sleep is the most important of her daily health regimens. She routinely goes to bed around 9:30 or 10 p.m. and never once was robbed of a moment's sleep. I walked my dogs down the block of White Oak every night about 10, and could barely hear anything from there unless the weather was nice and people were out on the patio. Even then it was just a pleasant buzz of activity. My wife and I enjoyed going over there occasionally, and it was great not having to get in the car and drive out of the neighborhood to have a nice time. It was also convenient that if she wanted to go home early, as was usually the case, it was no hassle to do so.
We sold our house on Frasier at the end of January for reasons that were totally unrelated to the Onion Creek cafe. We were sad to leave our quaint little neighborhood of almost ten years anyway, but knowing we were missing out on the added fun of the Onion Creek cafe in our neighborhood was an extra loss.
Good coffee: I enjoyed this story and found it really informative. I am a resident of the Heights, and from the moment I saw the Onion Creek sign go up I was overjoyed. Before, I had to go all the way to Montrose for a decent cup of coffee! I had no idea the owner was getting so much resistance. I will definitely continue to support Onion Creek. To the owner: Thanks for making a stand and bringing good coffee and a nice place to chill to the Heights.
Just a little change: I am a resident in the Heights area. I have visited Onion Creek and I really enjoyed myself, and it was so close to home. I support Mosely in his attempts to bring life to the area because there is nothing there. I also get a feeling that people do not want change in the area, and I don't like it. I was shocked to see the new Subway and T-Mobile store. The Heights needs places like Onion Creek. Thank you, Mr. Mosely, for thinking of the Heights community and fighting for your rights as a business owner.
Iris M. Braggs
Low Rent All Around
No tears: Wow! A drug-using, arrogant, self-pitying high school dropout, day laborer and convicted felon ["Reality Bytes," by Craig Malisow, May 8]. What a catch this guy would be! He wants to play "poor little victim me" for his troubles, but he readily summed up the problem: "I really don't care about people around me " He thinks that because he didn't get into honors classes he became a vandal. He cannot blame his school for "not letting me expand my knowledge." He could have visited a library, but that wouldn't have been cool.
If a nonminority made the same blanket statement about blacks and Hispanics causing trouble, he would rapidly be labeled a racist, but this guy uses it, with impunity, as his excuse. It was blatant racial stereotyping, and it's not anyone's fault he's a punk, except his own.
If instead of phone services he were stealing cars from a junior college, would the Houston Press still consider him a great antihero? I don't think so, but the two crimes are the same: theft. The Press likes to consider itself a broad-minded, intellectual alternative to the bucolic Houston Chronicle. However, take a quick look at the low grade of advertisers, and the truth is stated loud and clear. The real purpose of the Houston Press is to attempt to give legitimacy to lower-grade lifestyles, all the way from computer thieves to prostitutes thinly veiled as "hostesses."
Name withheld by request
Barbecuing You In
Good group effort: I wanted to tell Robb Walsh ["Barbecue in Black and White," May 1] that in 1994 when the Skinner Lane Gang won the Houston cook-off they also had some whites and Hispanics. My husband was on the team and he cooked with them for many years, retiring in 1997. Gary died last year, but I know he would want you to know he was there with the gang. They may be all black now, but that was not the case in years past. And yes, they all got along and they cooked some outstanding barbecue. Thanks for the article.
Diss honor: All those people that were quoted were being very dishonest ["Stung" and "Teamwork," by Zoe Carmichael, April 24 and May 1]. Stingarettes are not known as racist. And no, Stingarettes don't want the "rich, skinny white girls," because one of my Mexican friends is one, and she's not rich or skinny. But I'm just thinking that all those words were said because they were mad that they didn't make it.
If you want to talk about racism, go to Santa Fe. If Roberson has raised his daughters to believe they can achieve anything, wouldn't he have also taught them that if they don't succeed they should try again?
I also don't know what you're trying to prove by mentioning that they're honor students. What difference does that make?
Beyond skin: I was on the Stingarette drill team for three years; my senior year I was a lieutenant. I was very interested in your article. I am a white female, I graduated in 1999, and I watched the tryouts for the 2000 year. I never once experienced racism or witnessed it.
All the ladies on the team are taught and expected to act as ladies at all times and to respect others. All three years that I was a Stingarette, the team was very diversified. The skill required to dance on a drill team is very different from regular dancing; there is a lot involved.
I do not believe that Traci or the judges are looking at skin when they judge. They are looking for the precision and talent that are necessary. I also work with a former Stingarette, and we are both just shocked by the things going on with our former drill team.
Sara Cucco Hayley
Roky way: Actually, Roky Erickson performed in Houston in the '80s at a club called the Island ["A Beautiful Mind," by William Michael Smith, May 8]. He sang "Two-Headed Dog" and other memorable tunes that will never make the Bend It Like Beckham soundtrack but were perfect for your Teen Angst soundtrack.
Z. Antonio Helm
Dim Sum Crabbing
Golden Palace pleasures: We've been eating dim sum around Houston for more than 20 years. In that time, we have seen places go in and out of favor, as it seems no dining group is as fickle as regular dim sum diners. If there has been one consistently fine place, it has been the Golden Palace ["Wednesday Brunch," by Robb Walsh, April 17].
I was surprised to learn that Mr. Walsh has had cold dumplings when the place is packed on the weekends. It has been my experience in over 100 visits to the Golden Palace that the food is rarely on the carts long enough to get cold.
One can count on the Golden Palace to serve hot food from the carts even on the weekend. I believe Mr. Walsh must have been looking for something to criticize the restaurant for, rather than going there with an open mind.
I also cannot imagine a serious food writer expecting to find crab in crab and asparagus soup. That's kind of like trying to find the lobster in that Cantonese old chestnut, shrimp in lobster sauce, or trying to find oysters in the oyster sauce. How silly of Mr. Walsh. As far as sea cucumber goes, I suggest that Mr. Walsh stick to food he knows about before he criticizes a dish for its odd texture and taste, which are simply inherent in the primary ingredient. I challenge Mr. Walsh to find a restaurant to make a sea cucumber dish that he will enjoy. It's just nasty stuff unless you were raised on it.
Robert M. Rosenberg
Listings Complaints, Part II
Big and small: Please reconsider your new format that does not list all theater events in Houston. Not every theater or company has a big budget for promoting events. Have a heart!
Hidden delights: Over the years I've come to depend on your publication for events and entertainment listings. I'm always looking for alternative shows that may not draw the largest crowds, but usually offer a lot of talent. I am writing because your new format is no longer listing all theater events.
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It seems that your writers or editors are making my decision on what to attend instead of allowing me to make my own choice. While I would agree with some of the selections listed, limited coverage of events is not something I'd like to associate with the Houston Press. Please reconsider your new format.
Inclusion: I respectfully request inclusion of all Houston-area theater events in your new format, rather than a select few. Thank you.