Paving The Way
It was amusing to note Bob Litke's comment that "commercial development mixed with residential development is good use of land" in Brian Wallstin's excellent article ["Looking for Answers Down Below," January 21]. That soon-to-be-developed toxic waste site is within pellet-rifle range of at least four of my friends' homes.

This is the same Bob Litke who campaigned arduously as a planning and zoning employee for passage of the proposed and defeated 1993 zoning ordinance.

That ordinance, if passed, would have destroyed businesses in previously mixed-use neighborhoods -- it would classify them as purely residential -- under the often-stated (by Litke and his subordinates) principle that residential and commercial developments were inherently incompatible.

The notion of running earthmovers through an environmentally suspect former oil field bordered by both a residential neighborhood and a locally significant waterway is as loopy as the suggestion of paving even one more square inch of watershed along the chronically flood-plagued bayous of Houston. What is truly amazing is that both ideas are touted simultaneously by someone who is both a perennial proponent of doomed, destructive, blatantly developer-driven proposals and a city employee who slurps from the public trough a salary that any honest worker would envy.

Jim Sherman

Bedding Down
I am well acquainted with the Rodgers family and several others who live in the affected area referred to in "Looking for Answers Down Below."

I and my friend walk her dogs through this area several times a week. It is a quiet, lovely area for families and pets.

The proposed development is not only totally unnecessary, it would be a travesty. A ballpark would be destroyed along with the peace and quiet of the neighborhood. I am certain Houston could live without another grocery store and apartment complex.

As a lifelong Houstonian I should be used to the smoke-and-mirrors dealings of developers, but this project is a true shame.

Obviously the only thing City Council is worried about is helping Mr. Baxter turn his $2.8 million into $38 million.

While we wait for stronger regulations to prevent something like this from happening again, perhaps Mr. Baxter could be required to lie in the bed he makes.

He should have to purchase the Rodgers house -- and I am certain it would decrease in value -- and live in it for the next five years. Then he can enjoy all the noise and traffic he has helped to create with his "development."

Jim Chambers
via Internet

Petty Betti
Russell Contreras is an intelligent writer with a passion for the truth, which is something Betti Maldonado apparently knows little about ["Don't Cry for Me, Houston," January 7].

Many of us in the Hispanic community do not feel sorry for her at all. She thought she was a player in the game, and she got busted. That's what she gets. It's just too bad that Art Contreras used bad judgment and showed up at such a pathetic function for a convicted felon. I sincerely hope he doesn't lose his credibility or his job because of it.

If people are pissed off at Russ for reporting the truth [Insider, by Tim Fleck, January 21], then that's just their damned problem. The younger generation of Hispanic Houstonians is sick and tired of having our so-called leaders brought down in shame and humiliation. It's time for a leadership of integrity, and we will accept nothing less.

Sandra Puente
via Internet

Thin Red Whine
I have seen The Thin Red Line twice ["Unconventional Conflict," by Andy Klein, January 14]. The film is a masterpiece. Have you seen so many mediocre films that your comprehension, esthetic sense and perceptive intelligence have become blunted?

Of all the negative things you said, two are absolutely false statements: "... a film that's incomprehensible on one cold viewing," and "If ever there was a work of art that justified the existence of critics, this is it."

I feel sorry for you, for you missed a truly stunning and rewarding experience.

Jim Swindell

It turns out that Bridget Schmal's letter, published as a letter to the editor in the January 28 issue of the Houston Press, in which she thanked the Press for running the story "IB or Not IB" [by Wendy Grossman, January 14], was not intended for publication. Schmal meant to send it just to Grossman, but since she e-mailed it to the address where readers mail letters to the editor and didn't write "not for publication" on it, we thought it was a letter to the editor. We are sorry.


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