HISD never fails to amaze me with the total lack of common sense shown in the administration of student discipline ["Fighting the Power," by Wendy Grossman, January 28]. On a weekly basis, the Houston Federation of Teachers handles complaints from teachers regarding the fact that their administrators refuse to expel students who have directly threatened them or who have brought weapons to class.
We see principals routinely send these students back to class after they have been sent to the office for offenses that clearly present a danger to both students and staff members.
To send a model student to jail for forgetting that a toy dagger was locked in his car is ludicrous. I wish we saw the same fervor in dealing with students who place a knife to their teacher's throat or who issue terroristic threats or who openly vandalize personal property. HISD should be ashamed of this case. It is a clear abuse of the zero-tolerance statutes.
Houston Federation of Teachers
Words of a Prophet
I am appalled that your paper makes allusions that Hispanic leaders and Hispanic people in Houston support corrupt convicted criminals such as Ben Reyes and Betti Mal-Donated ["Don't Cry for Me, Houston," by Russell Contreras, February 4]. I can assure you there are some Hispanics who despise corrupt behavior.
At a 1995 human rights rally on Hillcroft, I told Betti she was going to get in trouble if she continued hanging around bad influences such as Ben Reyes. After I denounced some now-famous crooked Ben Reyes deals at City Hall in 1995, Reyes told me I was a pendejo. Who is the pendejo today?
My friends and I celebrated the indictment of low-life, purple-heart-recipient-fabricator Reyes and self-seeking Betti Mal-Donated, because it was finally going to put a stop to two rapacious politicians. There are some honest Hispanics who respect the law of our beloved American land more than their self-interests.
Taking all the rooms and garage of a typical suburban home and squishing them up into a vertical slab and plopping it all right next to another one doesn't make it an urban townhouse ["Inner-city Shootout," by Brian Wallstin, February 4].
The walkable and urban neighborhoods Houstonians like to visit, such as New Orleans's French Quarter, have a completely different approach. Walking is more important than driving in these places. Suburbanites here are buying up the Houston high-density homes not because they want to walk to the market, but because they don't want to have to drive very far to the market.
Nearly all these new Inner Loop townhouses are just ticky-tack boxes for ticky-tack people who should have the sense to stay in the suburbs with their Range Rovers and flavored cappuccinos.
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Let's face it, Houston will never be a must-see-before-you-die city like Rome or San Francisco. What's lovely about Houston is the quality of open space, the jungle of green vitality that surrounds us and the feeling of easy mobility -- both physical and social. All these are threatened by these mediocre townhouses infesting the Inner Loop. Where developers, architects and especially politicians have really flubbed is in their lack of a vision for what Houston could become. How about quality, for a change?
Great article on Terri Hendrix ["A Practical Angel," by Rob Patterson, December 17]. I have seen her several times, and she is a great performer. She is also a great friend! Please keep promoting Texas talent and Terri!