Just the ticket: Citizens of Houston, don't despair about HPD's estimated loss of $3.6 million from damage due to Tropical Storm Allison ["A Perp Named Allison," by Steve McVicker, July 5]. Officers are on the job working hard to get it back.
On June 9 my wife's car and about a dozen others were swamped by high water while legally parked in front of our apartment complex near Kirby and Westheimer. We filed an insurance claim and were told that the company would send a tow truck -- we were not to move the car. In the meantime, we were offered a rental vehicle, and we spent the evening helping the Red Cross at its headquarters down the street.
On June 15 the insurance company said its workers were overloaded and focusing on higher-priority claims (e.g., home damage). That seemed perfectly reasonable. Like other autos, our car was out of the way and parked legally.
But apparently HPD doesn't seem to think it's so reasonable. On the following Saturday morning, my wife's car had a ticket for being "parked for more than 24 hours." We found every car with visible signs of flood damage (like condensation on the inside of the windows) had been ticketed. No other vehicles (which may or may not have been parked in the same place for over 24 hours) had tickets.
We called the insurance company to ask employees to hurry up. They apologized and in a couple of days put a large orange towing sticker on the windshield. In the two days it took before the actual towing, HPD paid another visit and left another ticket, under the windshield wiper, about four inches below the bright orange sticker.
Maybe it was a small thing, a couple of $20 parking tickets, especially in light of the much more severe hardship experienced by our fellow Houstonians. But the message from HPD goes a long way.
Flooding out: I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your article about Allison ["Wading for Godot," by Richard Connelly, July 5]. It's the best, most poignant telling of the story I've read in the media. Before I read it, I just didn't get it; I live in southwest Houston, and we were high and dry (this time).
I thought the most touching part of the story was the part about your son's bedroom being trashed. I have a teenage son and have kept up with all of his baseball pictures, years of classwork, report cards, etc. You are right: Things can be replaced, but what a hassle! Why don't you write another story about the days and weeks getting things back to normal at your house? Hope things are better for you and your neighbors.
On the porch: Fitzgerald's on White Oak has been around for many years, and most people have had nothing but wonderful things to say about it. However, with the flood disaster, many Houstonians saw an ugly side to the club.
On the night of the flood on June 8, Fitzgerald's hosted a concert that attracted many people from all parts of the city. As the rain started flooding the streets, Fitzgerald's continued to serve until 3:30 a.m. in order to take advantage of the fact that most of the people could not go home; their cars were flooded up to their windshields. Once they let everyone know that it was time for them to leave, everyone was shocked, considering there was no way possible to go anywhere.
The owners let the bands who played that night and the club employees stay inside while kicking everybody else out to the porch, leaving them to either try to swim somewhere or fight the rising water and the ants on the porch. At 10:30 in the morning they finally decided to let them back in. With all of the wonderful stories I heard about people helping people during this time of crisis, it is disturbing that a story like this has to come out. I myself will never again give my money to people who are so undeserving.
Name withheld by request
Commie consumers: Our country for the last 40 years has gone so far to the ultraliberal, left-wing, Socialist Democrat side that any bend to the right is going to seem extreme. I'll use my rebate as my family needs ["Beating the Bush," by Brad Tyer, July 12]. I am always amazed at how good liberal Socialist Democrats are at spending other people's money.
Priorities: Great article about Tony Adams. I'm glad to hear that I and my other left-wing friends are not the only ones questioning the soundness of the tax rebates. Send the article to the Clear Lake local paper. The majority of the uninformed out here voted for Bush overwhelmingly. It will give them something to think about, especially in light of the recent battle over cutting funds to NASA and JSC!
Name withheld by request
Hitting On Hillary: I think a more realistic goal for Adams and his Web site would be $8 million, the amount that floated Hillary into the Senate. Also, wasn't the rebate idea pushed by the Democrats?
Care about the courts: As a criminal defense attorney in Houston, I just want to personally thank you for the recent focus on the criminal justice system ["Waivering Rights" and "Bargain Basement," by Lauren Kern, July 12 and June 21]. At least we can count on the Houston Press for a fair and accurate assessment of what goes on, since the "major" media outlets (Chronicle, news stations) don't seem to think these issues are worth reporting (they're only criminals after all, right? who cares if their rights are trampled!).
Daina M. O'Kane
Everybody's concern: I am a past president of the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association. I read "Waivering Rights" with much interest. Myself and all the criminal defense attorneys of Harris County appreciate your reporting of important issues that impact our clients and all citizens who someday may find themselves a "citizen accused."
Keep up the good work.
Mad about the group: As president of Mad Science of Houston, I wanted to write to you to clear up any confusion that may have surfaced after your recent article, "Science for Hire" [Night & Day, by Dylan Otto Krider, July 5].
Mad Science of Houston is a local franchise whose mission is to spark the imagination and curiosity of children everywhere by providing them with fun, entertaining and educational activities that instill a clearer understanding of what science is really about and how it affects the world around them.
One can find Mad Science working in every school district in and around the greater Houston area running after-school programs, in-class workshops, school assemblies, camps, scouts and yes, of course, our very popular slime-making birthday parties. We do all this to impart to children a greater love for science and learning.
I am proud to be part of the Mad Science group, whose aim is to reach children through family-style entertainment.
Shari Penner Riesenfeld, president
Mad Science of Houston
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