Expose injustice: Thanks for your article on the ACLU and Will Harrell ["Left Return," by Steve McVicker, January 18]. I'm especially grateful for the inclusion of the Tulia story in the article. I'm one of several grassroots Tulians who have been trying to bring this matter to public attention for over a year.
Injustice thrives in darkness and hates the light. Thanks for shining a little light on the horrible injustice that occurred in Tulia.
The Reverend Charles Kiker
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Chicago takes a Paige: Thanks for the fine reporting on the Rod Paige "fraud" [The Insider, "Days of Paige," by Tim Fleck, January 11].
The same formulas you outline about Paige in Houston have been followed by Paul Vallas (a "Democrat") in Chicago. Our public relations department is much larger (14 full-time staff members, with a TV studio and a rehearsal stage for press events) and much, much more expensive.
But nobody gets information under the Freedom of Information Act, since all data has to be spun first. Even the venerable Chicago Tribune is being stiffed when facts are requested.
We call the $4 million-per-year "Office of Communications" the Chicago Ministry of Truth.
Bozo backer: I hated Bill Clinton and his pathological "say what they want to hear, do whatever we want" (can you say lying?) attitude toward the people. If I had known George Bush was going to hire Rod Paige, one of the biggest ringleaders of this type of spin, to do it for his education program, I would have cast a write-in vote for Bozo the Clown.
What I don't get is that not one of the media outlets, except for maybe the Houston Press, has realized that the only thing people like Paige are interested in is greed. Terry Abbott is the highest-paid yes-man I have ever heard about. Terry, admit it!
Give me a damn break. HISD sucks. That's why their kids don't go to schools in HISD. Everyone should know that the TAAS scandal was all about Paige getting bonuses (with others), based on improving the scores. He goes clean, but his helpers -- like the principal fired for getting caught, and then getting another HISD job until the Press exposed it -- take the hit.
Paige either will continue to be one of the highest-paid yes-men in the country or will get caught in a scandal.
Safety first: I taught in Houston, and in many cities. I know Gayle Fallon, and believe me, she is no fool. She knows what she is talking about. I don't care what legislators and Bush try to do. I don't care what Paige tries to do. I don't care how much they blame teachers, threaten teachers and try to force them to "raise" test scores -- there aren't enough people going into the teaching profession. The reason is not salary. It is that classrooms are unsafe for teachers. Kids are out of control; fewer and fewer people enter the profession or stay in it.
As parents realize they don't have any more free baby-sitting services for their K-12 youngsters, Bush and everyone else will have to stop scapegoating the teachers. It is impossible to teach in today's schools. If you don't believe me, just spend a day alone in a junior high classroom.
Top 40 (miles): As a 40-year-old father of two from The Woodlands, I doubt that I'm part of KTRU's target audience, but it breaks my heart to hear what is happening at the station ["Spin Control," by Lauren Kern, January 11].
Nothing makes a person appreciate good radio like a 40-mile commute. KTRU is the only thing that keeps me from installing a CD player. During afternoon drive-time when I'm skipping around the Whipping Boy and Outlaw Dave and Car Tunes and one more white-boy blues song on KPFT, KTRU is the only thing that keeps me from swerving into oncoming traffic.
I frequently drive through Dallas, Oklahoma City and Wichita, Kansas, visiting family. I'm always amazed that these cities have slightly more adventurous radio than Houston. We can't afford to lose the last good station.
Don't touch that dial: Lauren Kern's article on KTRU Rice radio was excellent. Instead of taking a one-dimensional glance at an isolated incident, Ms. Kern ably demonstrated that higher-learning institutions as a whole are suffering from their push for financial gain.
It's sad that a university like Rice, once famous for fostering creativity and individual thought, has fallen prey to the almighty dollar.
The professor quoted in the article was dead on when he said that wacky, fun and inspired kids are needed to make a university work. Let's stop changing the dial simply because what we are hearing isn't something that will lead to tremendous financial gain. Perhaps supporting diversity and freedom of speech will lead to something far better and profitable in its own right.
Not So Nice
Disco daddies: I am very grateful for the article about our new nightclub, Have a Nice Day Cafe [Nightfly, by Craig D. Lindsey, January 18]. However, I am a little disappointed about the quote in bold type, about feeling arrogant in thinking I can run a better nightclub than Polly Esther's.
I do tend to be a little overconfident at times, but I did not know at the time of the interview that a good friend, Greg Zona, will be running the new Polly Esther's unit downtown. I am certain that he is a very capable manager. I would like to apologize to Greg and hope that there are no hard feelings. I guess all of you disco lovers will just have to visit both and see which you like the best.
As for the competition between our cafe and Polly's, I tend to take Greg's view: There are over four million people in this area, and that should be plenty to fill two retro nightclubs. I can assure you that I will be one of the first people to visit the new Polly's.
Get ready to set your boogie shoes on fire and take a trip down memory lane to Have a Nice Day Cafe.
Have a nice day.
Bill Haecker, general manager
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