The depressed duo

What a Circus!

Regarding Richard Connelly's piece on the Chronicle's lame coverage of the inaugural protests downtown [News Hostage, February 1]: We're two of hundreds of clowns who showed up to protest the recent joke of an election. The Chron did have a photographer down there; he even made sure to get the correct spelling of our names.

Unfortunately, some editor must have decided the paper's job was to shield the public from outrage. Best of luck to that bozo. If John Ashcroft is any example of "compassionate conservatism," at least two very pissed off clowns are going to be taking to the streets!

Krusty and Bronco
(real names withheld by request)

Border Nazis?

INS ire: Thank you for your enlightening article about the INS antics ["Rejection Slips," by Melissa Hung, January 25]. I, too, am very upset about how the INS can destroy the lives of hardworking immigrants. But what really blows my mind is how we can justify deporting someone like Fernando when his children are natural American-born citizens.

Why is it that no one has brought it to the attention of the Supreme Court that the basic constitutional rights of Fernando's children -- their right to "the pursuit of happiness" -- are being seized by a government bureaucracy? How can the government justify that these children will be happy in a life deprived of two parents and a higher standard of living? This government agency is way out of control and needs to be placed in check.

How much longer can we stand for border crossings and laws that look and sound like those of a post-World War II Nazi combat movie?

On a similar note, you need to do a story on all of the crooked attorneys taking advantage of people trying to immigrate. These people are too afraid to complain because they are scared that blowing the whistle will get them deported by the crooks who stole their money and never delivered on papers. I teach ESL here in Houston, and I could tell you stories that would make your head spin.

Name withheld by request

Maxine's Postmortem

Class act: Nice job on the Maxine story ["Goodnight, Miss Moonlight," by Lisa Gray, February 1].

I think she would have approved of the adopted style in your piece. Maxine Mesinger was a friend to us "little folk," too. When I was fired from KODA back in the '70s (the first time!), she wished me well as I left H-town for T-town, Tulsa, a move backward in market size. Didn't have to do that, but she did.

Why did people love Maxine? For the column, perhaps, but more than that, Maxine Mesinger had class. That's what Houstonians will miss most.

Brent Clanton

Dead issue: Lisa Gray should be ashamed of herself, and the Houston Press editors should be equally ashamed. If you want to criticize someone who is alive and able to defend themselves, that's fine. (In fact, often to be commended.) But to criticize someone newly dead who is no longer able to fight back is totally reprehensible!

Michael Walters
Missouri City

RIPped up: Insightful piece about Maxine. I'm a lawyer now but used to work for the Associated Press and The Houston Post. I have long thought what a great time I could have doing Maxine's job, but doing it right. By that I mean writing about who in high society is getting sued, and who's not paying his taxes, and who's screwing around on whom. The Houston Chronicle would never publish such a thing, of course, but as you hinted, even a fluff column about a more current cast of characters would be an improvement.

If ever there was a microcosm of what's wrong with the Chronicle, Maxine was it. For years the Chronicle paid someone representing herself as a journalist to look the other way. The Sarofim family mess eluded her attention, somehow, and for years. The paper tolerated someone who lived largely on the charity of her sources. How can a newspaper comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable if it is so deeply indebted to the comfortable?

Is anyone interested in getting up a pool on how many more times Maxine will be fondly mentioned in the Chronicle's pages throughout the rest of the year? I suspect the death of a U.S. president would not have generated as much ink as hers did.

Andy Williams

Carnal Conflicts

Screwed by attorneys: Your article does a good job of describing the problems associated with a lawyer having sex with a client ["Lawyerly Liaisons," by Lauren Kern, February 1]. Theoretically, the conflict rules should prevent these problems, but they do not.

The possibility that adverse personal interests may include relationships just does not occur to many lawyers. In addition, clients can consent to representation where there is a conflict, in most cases. The client must be informed of the nature of the conflict and that perhaps the client should consult another attorney.

In many states the waiver does not need to be in writing. So you can imagine the difficulties of proof where consent is oral. Pardon the expression, but oral consent is likely in the matters of sex. For these reasons, Oregon prohibits a lawyer from having sex with the client unless the sexual relationship preceded the professional relationship.

The Ethics 2000 Commission of the American Bar Association is likely to recommend that the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct impose similar restrictions. Unfortunately Ms. Beadle's experience is a too vivid reminder of why an explicit prohibition is needed.

Robert Pierce

NPC's Failure

What a waste: As a former MHMRA supervisor and currently practicing clinician, I can attest to the fact that the agency is adrift on matters such as NPC ["Upstairs Down -- and Out," by Brian Wallstin, February 1].

The NPC never should have been built; it wasted tax dollars, and I do not think it has done much to improve the lives of the indigent mentally ill. They're still under the bridges and on the medians, begging for change, endlessly accessing acute services and going in and out of treatment as if that were the norm.

If this were a private business, they'd be out of business. Sad.

Tyler W. Hartson


Building a case: What Toy Woods ["When Life Gives You Lemons…," by Brad Tyer, January 25] did not mention is that you can't sue most builders in Texas because of the hidden mandatory and binding arbitration clause. So what risk of litigation is she talking about?

The home-buyer lemon law would prevent litigation. The builder would have an opportunity to stand behind his product instead of standing behind his attorney in court, which a builder will never do because you can't sue your builder anyway!

The builder wants it all. No lemon law. No suits. No responsibility. No conscience.

John R. Cobarruvias

Mr. Ed Sequel?

Pony up for this play: While your reviews are usually poignant and fair, the review of "Alan" (Ben Nordstrom) of Equus is unfair ["Getting Hoarse," by Lee Williams, January 25]. Mr. Nordstrom was convincing in his madness as well as realistically being youthful. James Black was, well, James Black -- strong, forceful, maybe a bit too forceful, yet he still commanded all of our attention.

What was with the nurse remaining on the stage most of the time? I found it unnecessary and distracting. The horses' costume design and choreography deserve extra praise for their creativity and realism. I sat in the temporary seats behind the stage and found myself wanting to pet the horses as they paraded around the barn.

John Santasiero

Ignorance = Bliss

Twombly's terrific: What a joke! Cy Twombly's sculpture exhibition ["Cy for Him," by Kelly Klaasmeyer, December 14] was one of the most beautiful shows of the year.

Elitist? It was some of the funkiest and most soul-searching work ever presented in Houston. Your critic seems to embody the emblem of Houston: Ignorance is bliss.

Why learn about new poets of whom you've never heard; why think that there may be content beyond formal qualities about which one may be ignorant? I can only surmise that your critic is vying for the position of cultural czar in the "W" administration.

R. Mutt

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