Willie Sutton for Senator
A famous outlaw was once asked, "Why do you rob banks?" He responded, "Because that is where the money is!" He should have been a politician, because that's where the real money is. Alas, he was too honest, as he at least was willing to admit he was robbing us. He did not make excuses as our elected officials have done.

"Contributing Factors" [by Stuart Eskenazi, March 11] was a very interesting article on how some legislators want to keep their financial backers hidden. If one were to believe Danburg and Wolens, they would have us think that they personally type out those reports on old manual typewriters.

Come on, folks, these people are taking us, the voting public, for a ride. They are feeding us BS and telling us it is strawberry jam. All politicians use misinformation to confuse the voting public; it is up to us to make sure the facts are right. As for financing the cost of a database for electronic filing of election forms, they could sell all of those manual typewriters and pay someone to write it.

David A. Durkop

Hiding the Funds
The worry by politicians is that open information would tend "to make it look like we are all bought and paid for by outside interests."

The question is backward. Why would law firms, chemical companies or any other group give money except to influence the officeholders?

They want the information to be as difficult to get as possible. Otherwise, every child who can access the Web would know the process is crooked.

John P. Trotter
via Internet

Right About the Wages
I just love how you nail the "bad" guys. You are a genius. Whatever they pay you, it isn't enough!

Brenda Flores
Spring Branch

TSU Troubles
Excellent job of journalism ["Storming the Ramparts," by Richard Connelly, March 4]! You captured the essence of the plight of TSU. As a graduate, and someone who served in the SGA, I know too well the attitudes that grip the university. I found that the folks at TSU were indeed lifers. They never intended to pass on or retire; their goal was to leave their position with the aid of six men walking slow.

I know of times when students asked for money to fund a cultural event and they were flatly turned down, while the athletic department was given a blank check.

Mr. Jackson seems to have an understanding of what it takes to straighten out the age-old mess, but I am not certain the powers that be really want a fix.

Notwithstanding, I am certain we can fix it if we just understand we are as much the problem as they are.

Myron S. Green
via Internet

Flip to Letterman
If poorly educated inner-city students taking the TAAS ["The Fix Is In," "Adding It All Up," by Shaila Dewan, February 27, March 4] are given performance recognition status because some greedy school administrator penciled in the right answers, could this possibly lead one day to a chance meeting on the street with Jay Leno and his camera crew asking, "Which president was assassinated in a theater by John Wilkes Booth?"

Collective reply from our future graduates: "Kennedy?"
Bradford Wills

Goating Us On
Once again congratulations on front-running the local media (and the state Board of Education, apparently) with your expose on cheating in the TAAS testing. Now how about a follow-up on how they are scapegoating the individual instructors rather than including the administrators, where the fault at least partially (and in some cases wholly) lies.

Brian Brewer
via Internet

Hurling Fluff
Kudos on a great column [News Hostage, by Richard Connelly]. Long ago, the Houston Debacle, KPRC and the local Houston television stations alienated me with their "scoops" and "riveting" stories. One more herky-jerky camera shot and I will have to go to the chiropractor. One more "best dressed" or "startling revelation" and I will hurl. Not only is it fluff, but in many cases it is just plain wrong. Stories are poorly written, poorly researched and poorly executed. Thanks to you and the rest of the Press staff for (and I borrow from your eloquent words) "giving the impression" that "heads will roll." We cannot give up hope!

Shelley Oliver Littleton
via Internet

Christians and Tigers
What is the deal with this new column devoted solely to bashing the competition? Perhaps Houston Press editors aren't aware of how petty, small-minded and flat-out mean it makes you look. And intimidated.

If the Chronicle or the Houston Review is making grammatical errors, or said something stupid, or is biased or whatever, I'm smart enough to spot it on my own, without your ever-vigilant finger-pointers self-righteously splashing it across your pages. Please stick to professional quality reporting, and leave the pettiness to the minor leaguers. (Unless, of course, you intend to compete with the Christian Coalition for the Better-Than-Thou Schmo of the Year award!)

I loved this quote from the escaped tiger story ["Biggest Game in Town," by Brad Tyer, February 11] so much that I clipped and saved it. Read between the lines; it applies to much more than wild animals:

"And hidden still further are some basic facts: that human error is a reasonable expectation, that tigers are fearsome, that hunters will hunt, that parents will protect their children from perceived danger, and that crowds are hard to control."

Julie A. Young

Indies Forever
I read the article about the advance of megaplexes nationally ["Megascreen Cinemas March In," by Kimberly Reeves, March 4] and was a little disturbed to see that the death knell has sounded for the neighborhood theaters. I appreciate being interviewed, but a few things got left out, such as the fact that our Landmark Theatres in Houston have outsurvived the megaplex giants!

Our theaters always outgross the megaplexes whenever we share an art film; art-house chains such as Landmark know how to market smaller, independent films. It is also disturbing that consumers today are willing to bypass the small, independent, personalized operator for the large, faceless one.

At my theaters, we know many of our customers by name, and we do our best to offer great customer service, fun "extracurricular" events and attention to detail. I implore Houston Press readers to support "alternative" retailers. We lose the special aspects of our cities when we lose our unique retailers.

Megaplexes are certainly the wave of the future, but there will always need to be a home for films by independent, smaller filmmakers, and that home for over 20 years has been Landmark Theatres.

Sarah Gish
Houston Manager, Landmark Theatres

Hot Dogma
Oh my! It seems we've offended the sensibilities of (self-appointed?) New Orleans food policeman Dennis Abrams ["The Cajun Rages," March 4]. Treebeards has never claimed to be a Cajun restaurant. We prefer the moniker "southern cooking" to Cajun (as anyone who has noticed our ads in the Press would know).

Mr. Abrams should be aware that Cajun cooking is a blend of the many foods and cultural influences that have made their way to the Gulf Coast. That progression is still happening. Consequently there are as many versions of these dishes as there are bayous in the South. It's a shame Mr. Abrams has to be so narrow-minded as to discount all but his own.

In more than 20 successful years of business, the most important lesson we've learned is to give people what they want, not stand firm on dogma.

We suggest Mr. Abrams leave food writing to the experts. What's the cryptic "consider this a warning" business supposed to mean, anyway? Oh, you're being witty! So you gonna bust us?

[P.S. You got our phone number wrong: (713)228-2622.]
Your friends at Treebeards on Market Square


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