Get at the truth: I have long since come to regret the significant role that I played in helping Community Education Partners ["Learning Curve," by Wendy Grossman, October 5] gain its first contract with Houston Independent School District and Harris County [see the Houston Chronicle Outlook section, March 9, 1997]. The road to hell, it has been said, is paved with good intentions. Whether all of the allegations contained in the story are true, I offer three conclusions for readers:
" All local, state and federal agencies that have the authority to investigate this situation using the power of depositions or testimony under oath should proceed immediately, whether civil action is ongoing or not. The public interest demands that the truth emerge.
" Whether the allegations in this particular story are true in total, citizens need to know exactly how the relationship between CEP and HISD developed and was nurtured. From lobbyists employed to help develop the business to people of goodwill who were motivated for the right reasons to the political influences that were brought to bear, all should be interviewed. Why?
There's a great movement for privatization in public education. The CEP/ HISD relationship should be a "poster child" for analysis.
" The Houston Press's coverage of education news in this community and state sharply contrasts with the Chronicle's.
That I helped CEP in the early days (for all the right reasons, I think) has become one of my greatest professional regrets. Wendy Grossman has done an outstanding job. I just hope that your paper won't stop here.
Santa Fe's Shame
Religious terrorism reigns: If any person or court needed proof that Santa Fe ISD's sole purpose of having prayer before football games was the promotion of a single religion, the case of the incredible lack of action by the district to protect the young man from religious terrorism should be enough ["Breaking Bigotry," by Margaret Downing, September 28]. No person of goodwill can claim anything else. It's clear that the leaders in Santa Fe want their brand of religion to be followed by all, and they aren't afraid to lie or to tacitly endorse terrorism to support it.
SFISD should make all Texans ashamed, and the state government should take over operations at once, and the FBI should investigate whether the district's lack of action is a crime under the Civil Rights Act.
Black eye of bigotry: Ignorance leads to fear, which leads to anger, which in turn leads to hate, which is evil regardless of whether it manifests in violence. The inaction of Kenneth Storm, Richard Ownby and those like them in Santa Fe serves only to perpetuate the very mistaken image of Texans as a mob of ignorant, hateful, drag-'em-behind-a-pickup rednecks.
I'm a native Houstonian, and most Texans I know are far more tolerant and decent than that, yet all of Texas suffers because of the apathy of the "Christians" of Santa Fe. The real enemy is ignorance and apathy. Thank you for writing such a relevant article.
Don't prejudge: Margaret Downing's article made for ironic reading. In denouncing ignorance and bigotry, the author regrettably shows bigotry toward Christians. She states the belief of some unnamed persons that the featured victims should have known better than to move into areas infested with "good Christians." She then recounts a series of decidedly non-Christian acts perpetrated against them.
However, Ms. Downing provides no evidence as to who committed the acts. She expects us to presume, without reason, that the assailants in each case were the aforementioned "good Christians." We are expected to prejudge. After all, everyone knows who those people are like.
News of note: Regarding the Downing column, well done indeed. You're giving journalism a good name.
Return of intolerance: I want to commend you on the very thoughtful and insightful article you wrote for the Press. As a Jew, I have never really been subjected to overt anti-Semitism, even though I was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, at a time when bigotry was in full bloom. However, it is most disheartening in this age of so-called enlightenment that bigotry still exists even among "good Christian folk." Most of the good Christians seem to forget or do not want to believe that Jesus was born a Jew and remained a Jew until he died.
What scares me so much about the fundamentalist Christians is their feeling that if you do not believe as they do, then you can and will go to hell. They are totally intolerant of anyone who does not act and believe as they do. I do not believe that is what Jesus taught.
I hope that good people like yourself will continue to expose people like those in Santa Fe. Maybe I'm naive, but I choose to believe that more people are like the people in the CCISD than those in the SFISD. I'm sure when the Nevelows move away, most of their good Christian neighbors will be thrilled to see them go, so that Santa Fe can be totally of one intolerant mind again.
Keep up the good work. I can guarantee an article like yours would never have been published in the Chronicle.
Name withheld by request
Condoning hate is criminal: I am appalled by the indifference of the Santa Fe school officials who refused to stand up for a child under their supervision. For a district to let even one child -- any child -- go through any kind of harassment day after day is a disgrace and should not be tolerated. It should be considered criminal for school district officials to coddle a student who physically attacks and threatens another.
Hats off to the Nevelows for filing suit against the district. Maybe the district will learn that all children deserve to live free of hate and intolerance, though somehow I doubt it.
Politics Makes Strange...
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Marriage Councillor: Todd's affection toward Bert Keller's wife is just a prime Bush example of being an overly compassionate conservative [Insider, by Tim Fleck, September 28]. Todd and family values? What a major-league *&^hole!
John R. Cobarruvias
Words and deeds: What an idiot! "For him to call and tell me he's dating my wife saddens me," says Keller. "Of the things I've heard, I hope they aren't true. Susan's denied a lot of it, and I take her for her word. Of the things they've both admitted to me, it saddens me." He takes her at her word? No wonder she is seeing someone else. This guy has problems.