Hello, Mayor Brown?
The continuing saga of the Houston Renaissance housing (or non-housing) scandal, more than ably covered by Brian Wallstin ["On Borrowed Time," September 10], leaves me wondering what it might take to make some city agency or the citizenry respond to what clearly represents blatant fraud. Not only are public dollars being shamefully siphoned off for private gain, the promise to increase much needed low-income and subsidized housing is being cynically subverted.

I can only suspect that the impending failure of Houston Renaissance was, from the point of view of its sponsors, a brilliant success; that is, if the true purpose was to use public dollars and public powers to totally clear the Fourth Ward for very profitable, upscale construction.

Another indication is having Michael Stevens, the guiding genius of Houston Renaissance, move on to becoming chairperson of the finance committee of the Sports Authority -- Houston's newest and largest cash cow.

I am more puzzled by the participation of Houston's African-American political elite in this rape of one nation's outstanding triumphs of community-building under very trying circumstances, which was accomplished by their grandparents and great-grandparents: an accomplishment that cannot be packaged and moved elsewhere nor merely memorialized by a mute plaque.

Bill Simon
Department of Sociology
University of Houston

Fail Safe
Kudos again to the Press and reporter Brian Wallstin for exposing every wrong with Houston Renaissance and Fourth Ward redevelopment. You have renewed my hope that the free press serves as an effective check on government when all else fails.

Name withheld by request

Editor's note: The writer went on to enclose verse to the tune of "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown." It concludes: "Yeah, it's a land grab in Freedmen's Town / Passed on down to Mayor Brown / Who sits around City Hall / While developers take it all."

Wetlands Warriors
After reading the article "Wetlands Maul?" [by John Carroll, August 27] I did not come away with questions about how the deal was handled, but rather with gratitude that there's someone out there fighting the fight necessary to preserve the rapidly disappearing prairie. We should all be doing whatever we can to help the Sierra Club and the Katy Prairie Conservancy in their efforts to save this habitat.

Cindy Bartos
via Internet

Dismissed with Prejudice
The cover story "Falling in Love" [by Randall Patterson, August 27] was interesting. I have one beef, though. The portion of the article stating that Niecee did things that "signified her claim on a man" was offensive. To imply that a woman would need to perform domestic tasks like ironing and mending his clothing for a man in order to "stake her claim" to him is disgustingly insulting. Past articles have led me to believe this paper is for intelligent readers. I hope this assumption is correct and that others will also recognize and dismiss this misogyny.

Dawn Nichols
via Internet

Will Swill with Bill
Robert Bryce's paean to Bill Hobby ["Do Not Go Gentle," September 10] is an interesting and satisfying read, exactly the kind of intellectual fare I'm used to from the Houston Press. I'm glad to know that a fine Southern gentleman and savvy progressive is still working for the betterment of society. It gives me warm fuzzies and reminds me that individuals, even rich ones, can make a difference in our world. However, there is a theme in this piece that stuck in my craw.

Bryce implies several times that Hobby's lack of attention to clothing and office decor constitutes some sort of virtue. He wears wrinkled, stained clothes. (Come to think of it, so do I.) His office lacks ostentation. (So does mine! I got a lack of ostentation in spades!) The difference, it seems, between the former lieutenant governor and me is that he can afford lavish trappings and impeccable couture, and I cannot.

Reality check: Rich and powerful people who don't dress the part are, in fact, quite common, and don't deserve accolades. He sounds to me like the least noxious kind of rich person and politico, so I wouldn't mind sharing a beer or a booth with the man. However, on that basis alone, I do not intend to name a child after him.

Chidsey Dickson
via Internet

Nurses and Narcotics
Brad Tyer's article ["Heal Thyself," September 3] inadvertently leaves out facts that give his story a different slant.

If a nurse is addicted, she has an ethical and legal responsibility to surrender her license and not wait until she is "caught." Because of the legal liability, no hospital will employ a nurse who hasn't gone through TPAPN, the Texas Peer Assistance Program for Nurses.

Moreover, if a physician is treating a nurse, physician or pharmacist, there is a legal obligation to see that the individual comes to the notice of the licensing board and hospital administration.

It may come as some surprise to your readers that a substantial portion of their tax dollars is used to buy drugs for addicts. In the current era of welfare reform, it would seem wise to examine the proposition that addicts are "disabled" because they are possessed by a Freudian devil. I compliment Mr. Tyer for giving this concept a short leash.

John D. Griffith, M.D.

Spud Dud
Quite a review ["Setting a New Standard," by Eric Lawlor, August 20], I'm ready to run to Tasca. But the dish you said we call a frittata and that Spaniards call a potato omelet is actually called a tortilla by Spaniards. Yes, it is kinda like a potato omelet -- I think that's a good description. But there is always confusion among us Texans, who think of a tortilla as what we get in our favorite taqueria -- flour or corn. Thanks for the article.

Stasa Longoria
via Internet

Corrections and Clarifications
In some parts of our September 24 Best of Houston issue, we misstated the winners of two Readers' Choice categories. So let us be perfectly clear: Our voters chose Pignetti's as the Best New Restaurant, and ruled that The Cheesecake Factory produces the Best Dessert.

In one place, we transposed the digits of the station where our readers believe Houston's Best Radio Personality can be found. Lisa Dent works at 95.7 FM/KIKK.

We also wrongly stated that the Best Budding Philanthropists, a group of students at Holub Middle School, attend HISD. In fact, they're part of AISD -- Alief Independent School District.

Last, we deeply regret that the Heart and Soul Cafe, which we said made the Best Meat Loaf, went out of business after our deadline. We hope we didn't inconvenience any of you readers. And we mourn the loss of that meat loaf.


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