Hacks and Tracks
Your article on the Main Street light rail ["Train in Vain," by Richard Connelly, February 3] was quite well balanced. Just reading it without any other knowledge, I might be cautiously optimistic about the building of the system, which will probably take place.
There is a good question that should be addressed by Metro: why an updated express bus system would not offer more advantages at much less cost.
Metro is really, really misleading us, and your article (I am sorry to say) does not improve the situation. Monorail is the technology needed for this route. A good elevated rail system is attractive and rides smoothly, safely, swiftly and conveniently above all the traffic.
If someone of your reporting skill would do an article on monorail, with the thoroughness you devoted to the light-rail proposition, it would greatly help to dispel the veil of silence surrounding this modern elevated transportation system.
Robert B. Hurlbert, Ph. D.
After reading this article, I must say I have not seen so much yellow journalism since I quit reading the Houston Chronicle.
Connelly makes no bones about the fact that he thinks a train in Houston is a bad idea. The only person he seems to be able to quote in favor of the train is Metro chief Shirley DeLibero. The people voted for rail 13 years ago.
People will ride a train who won't ride a bus. Bus routes can change overnight. Train routes are fixed. Trains also tend to be faster and easier to deal with than buses.
If Metro had spent former mayor Lanier's tenure building rail, instead of tearing it up (along the Southwest Freeway to Westpark and mostly recently along I10), just think of the first-class city we could already be.
"Train in Vain" was a great article. Metro continues to ignore honest discussion of the light-rail line. From the beginning I saw that the only reason they chose this particular location to start is that they don't have to ask for a vote!
Society, over the past years, has slowly removed most railroad lines, and now Metro, in one bold move, is about to put railroads in an urban location! This latest tactic can be related to a sexual experience, a macho "I did it!" attitude.
Monorail is the safest transportation. It's elevated, so it can travel at far higher speeds and is the only method that can be automated. It's architecturally pleasing, the ride is smooth, and it eliminates conflict with pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
How would the choo-choo train solve the problems on Westheimer, Richmond, FM 1960, etc., etc.? With an elevated system, Metro could be placed above the roadways and utilize a dedicated right-of-way.
There are solutions, but this train is a loser that will be hyped and falsely portrayed as a winner. Thank you for presenting the truth rather than illusions.
I was inclined at first to believe this piece was just another example of a news story in the Houston Press that did its best to remain neutral, but still slid toward the left (not to be critical of that, though, since I am very liberal and dislike the Chronicle for its right slant). I felt almost angered at the usage of quotations from Metro officials to make them seem uninformed and overly optimistic, and then only strengthening this portrayal with a critical university professor's comments.
I was originally going to write this letter to protest this unjust portrayal of the men and women who keep our quaint little transportation system running. But as I read further into the article, I was surprised to find the application of the opposite opinions. I won't get into my personal feelings on this issue; this letter was just my way of saying job well done.
Stories like this show me that the Houston Press is in some ways a better newspaper than the Houston Chronicle, and that makes me proud to be a Press reader.
Two Bits, Four Bits...
I really appreciated reading your article on the bizarre scene that took place in Huntsville on January 24 ["Stand Up and Holler," by Lauren Kern, February 3]. I could just see the whole thing in my mind's eye as I was reading your description of it, and I sure was surprised (and pleased) at the end to find out who was behind the stunt. I only wish it could air sooner. Desperate times call for desperate measures, indeed.
Thanks again for covering the story, with style.
Bravo! (No pun intended). Leave it to Michael Moore to make the point quickly and with hilarity. Can't wait for the episode!
Mary Elynne Tappero
Loved your Huntsville article. Thanks for the insight; my non-Texan friends may now finally begin to understand our unique mind-set. After all, a gun rack in the rear window is part of our heritage!
Running Against the Wind
How ironic that in the midst of your article on pediatric asthma ["Drowning on Dry Land," by Wendy Grossman, February 3] you would place a full-page ad for one of the leading environmental triggers for asthma in children: tobacco smoke. Well, at least it wasn't that dastardly libertine nicotine addict and seducer of children, Joe Camel (his hump was banished into the dustbin of marketing history last year). Maybe you should have placed a beer ad in that spot instead, since beer farts haven't been shown to trigger asthma attacks.
Cornelio C. Nouel
Maybe Mr. Rodriguez needs to accurately remember why he has arrived on death row ["Death Row on a Hunger Strike," by Randall Patterson, January 27]. In his way of seeing it, he was just reckless and wild. And now he just wants to "enjoy the time he has left." Did he let his victim know she should "enjoy her remaining time"? I seriously doubt it. I also seriously doubt there are "a lot of good people on death row."
My question is this: As a society, when are we going to quit tolerating this whiny-ass crybaby crap from these folk? Mr. Rodriguez is lucky to have a system that allows him to stay alive as long as he may (while waiting) and to live in as good of conditions as he does. If given a choice, I wonder if he would prefer to trade places with his victim. Let him starve himself to death and save us taxpayers some money.
Lionell Rodriguez kills a woman and takes her car because the car he was joyriding in "was low on gas." "His pants soaked with blood, her brain tissue in his hair," and he says of this, he was "just young and wild" and "did something reckless." Reckless? Reckless is knocking over someone's mailbox. This was cold-blooded murder.
Two things are certain: No killer that has ever been executed has ever killed again. And many killers that have been released, have.
Well, thanks, Kevin Dorsey. Now everyone thinks that the people in favor of continuing the Westheimer Street Fest are homophobic ranters ["Poison Arrow," by Tim Fleck, February 3]. Attacking Annise Parker is okay, but only for her embrace of yuppie drone-ism.
Killing a 20-odd-year-old Houston institution in the name of property values is rather sickening. What is more sickening is that the complaints being used to attack the street fest don't add up to much. Urination in neighborhood yards? I wouldn't be surprised. I counted one porta-can at the festival in October. But if this was happening, where were the cops? In fact, where was the city? Why did it allow a festival that attracts hundreds of thousands people, and where a good helping of alcohol is consumed, to open with only one porta-can? Is this incompetence, or a setup? That is what Annise Parker should be questioning.