Station in Life
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the colorful characterization of Montrose Radio, including the historic one-paragraph resume on Kevin Jackson ["Silence on the Dial," by Shaila Dewan, May 13]. As one of the most prolific workhorses behind the scenes of Houston's underground art world, Jackson certainly deserves a little credit for a change without blowing his cover too much.
I have long suspected that his whimsical behavior is but a cheap ploy to ward off the endless demands on him. He is truly one of Houston's unsung heroes. Kevin began the research for the alternative station years before the group at Allen Parkway Village ever met.
Full credit for the anarchy and insanity involved in this project should also be extended to the federal government for contradicting its own laws on free speech, and to law enforcement. If even half the budget spent on policing citizens were spent on artistic programming to deter criminal violence, we would solve problems with overcrowded prisons and underfunded arts. I will gladly join with the chief of police in recommending these as community projects to be considered by the Anti-Gang Task Force.
Emily T. Nghiem
Community Coalition for
Criminal Justice Reform
Congrats to Shaila Dewan for making readable the convoluted story of Montrose Radio. I would like to say the e-mail message purportedly sent by Lenwood Johnson -- as well as Harry Skelter's response -- occurred before the inaugural meeting of the interim board.
Johnson demanded Skelter's expulsion, the first evidence of an irrational and vindictive nature to which Shaila's article does insufficient justice. For many months, Johnson has viciously and unnecessarily attacked people I love and respect.
Montrose Radio is in the process of reorganizing as an Internet-based radio station. We lose the allure of being pirates, but we won't have to replace equipment as frequently. Our non-audio-equipped Web site is at www.montroseradio.org. Stay tuned for further developments.
Member, Montrose Radio
Move 'Em Out
Let's see -- public intoxication, knife fights, urinating and defecating on the street, prostitution. And we're the bad guys for wanting them gone ["Hire Calling," by Kimberly Reeves, May 13]? I am an 18-year resident of Magnolia Grove who rehabbed a house but never solicited the "immigrant labor." I challenge anyone to say we're anti-immigrant.
We are anticrime and anti things any neighborhood would object to. I invite the diversity we enjoy, having moved here from West University because Magnolia Grove displayed a certain energy not offered there. The workers gather in this neighborhood, but they go where the work is: Montrose, the Memorial Park area, River Oaks. If we're such bad guys and the laborers are all saints, there should be no objection to relocating the labor hall to the corner of, say, Inwood and Lazy Lane.
Central Houston Cleansing
Who will be next to be pushed off their home turf? First it was downtown/Neartown, then Montrose, now the Heights. As the plastic people move in droves to be "close to downtown," the real people who have been calling these areas home for years (property owners, tenants and street dwellers alike) are being pressured out quietly but firmly, by means both economic and political.
Police presence and traffic stops in Montrose have increased dramatically, but not to protect gay citizens. Now the police are targeting the Heights, so that all the doctors and lawyers and judges and secretaries moving into their new deco lofts will not have to wade through the "trash."
Most of the paying johns who patronized the Montrose male hustlers were decent suburbanite yuppie types, anyway.
As to the illegality of flagging down traffic for the purpose of doing business, the next time I see one of those stupid kids standing on the median -- waving and screaming for me to buy their $5 car wash so they can attend My Bod for God Squad camp -- I'm callin' the fuzz. And I'll do the same for paper sellers, flower sellers and the Houston Fire Department when they commit said heinous crime.
In regard to the letter from Julie A. Young [Letters, May 13], she laments that Pastor Meeker-Williams uses her own agenda and doesn't answer to outside pressure ["Left Standing at the Church Door," by Margaret Downing, April 29]. When one's "silence" is criticized, it just confirms what has been since the beginning of time -- you can't please everyone. Should Meeker-Williams decide to start performing gay weddings, the criticism will just start coming from a different direction.
About the growing impact of current social issues on the traditional church, Ms. Young says in her letter to the editor, "You can't pick and choose and bend the rules to suit your whims." I suggest that hundreds of millions of people pick and choose everyday.
And I would say that a large portion of these same people bend the rules to suit their whims as a way of life. People are discriminating, people are prejudiced, people run red lights.
Rubber Ducks and a Real Goose
I am distraught that Lisa Gray ["Some Things Never Die," May 6] does not consider the "real estate guy" who co-founded and single-handedly financed the Houston Press important enough to mention by name (or that of Chris Hearne or John Wilburn, whose concept and creation it was).
She is correct that the paper never broke even during my ownership. But where did she get the idea that "the start-up money ran out?" If that were true, the Press would have folded long before New Times came along. In that case, the images of hardship available to her might have been more poignant than the forced performance of alternative journalism without adequate air-conditioning.
If our business plan was so flawed, why do you think New Times paid me several million dollars for the Press? The new management obviously knows their stuff, and I wish them continued success. I am sure they are earning a nice profit. If they were not, however, and thought it would help, Lisa would be doing a personal profile on the winning rubber duck.
I do agree with her that Tim Fleck is nowhere near macho enough to send on a trail ride.
With all good wishes (honest),
Canvas of Caffeine
Thank you for the wonderful article "La Dolce Vita" [by Brad Tyer, May 6]. It brought back lot of good memories. Ah! The countless hours of playing chess, drinking coffee and checking out women. Ah! So many beautiful women, speaking so many beautiful languages!
I would bring my mother's Indian cooking to my friends working there, and in return they would give me free coffee and ice cream. For students making a few bucks an hour, such a barter system was perfect!
Somehow it's not the same there today. The coffee doesn't have the aroma that it once had. The pedestal cups are gone. The friend I spent so much time with playing chess is now dying of MS.
I always said to myself that one day I would like to make a painting of this place, like Renoir or Cezanne or Van Gogh would have painted one their favorite places in Paris. Perhaps I will.
If Tim Fleck wants the real story on Model-Netics and DMP [Insider, April 22], he should inquire about its current use at American General, the company from which Harold Hook retired as chairman.
The current CEO of American General is Robert Devlin, Hook's successor and a charter student of Model-Netics. Guess what? American General has said good-bye not only to Hook but also to his beloved Model-Netics. Maybe it's time to cast Rod Paige into the "cruel sea" and name a new captain to the USS HISD!
Decade of Raves
Bravo for Ms. Briggs's refreshing critique on Jalapenos restaurant ["Beating the Rep," May 13]. As a loyal customer for ten years, it is exciting that this "Cheers kind of place with a Latin twist" is receiving the kudos it so deserves.
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Great article on a great restaurant. Here's something not many people know: The only fajitas ever served in the former USSR were from Jalapenos on Kirby.
Shortly before traveling to speak at a seminar in Soviet Latvia in 1990, I decided it would be great to introduce Mexican fajitas to that part of the world. The restaurant packed a huge container with flash-frozen fajitas, chips, tortillas, guacamole, jalapenos and lots of dry ice.
Just as the last of the dry ice evaporated, we had a real fajita cookout in a little town south of Riga, Latvia. Judging by the comments I heard, if Jalapenos ever wants to open a franchise on the Tallinn-Riga highway, it'll get a lot of customers.
Richard L. Miller