Soft-Money Suffering
Reading about the Dems' (and GOP too, I'm sure) fundraising tactics is an enlightening experience ["The Party Boys," by John Carroll, July 9]. The numbers and gluttony are staggering. And to think I'm sitting here trying to figure out how to pay the A/C repairman. Once again the old saying comes back: "The problems millionaires have to put up with...."

I don't mind the high school band or the Little League kids riding around the neighborhood taking donations, but to jet around the country in a 747 doing the same thing doesn't look too good.

Charles Westmoreland
via Internet

Playing at the River Oaks?
Wow, great article ["Courtship, River Oaks Style," by George Flynn, July 16]! Mr. Gresham would be envious! Soon to be a major motion picture?

Joe Holzer
via Internet

Smuck the Muck
Alas! I have become one of those women I have sworn never to become. In the past, I have looked down my nose at those who would dare to pick up an Enquirer or a Sun in the supermarket aisle. "Trash!" I would mutter in my head. What type of person earns their jollies from poor Liz's bruised face and a tawdry little blurb about how she'll keep going back for more?

Me, apparently.
I'm afraid I've lost count of the number of these articles in the Press over the last several months. "Courtship, River Oaks Style," the front cover screams at my face. "Little Girl Lost?" [by Brian Wallstin, May 21]. Well, that's all fine and dandy, but I don't give a fuck. These events have no impact on anyone's life in Houston or the world except for those people directly involved and mentioned in said articles.

The amount of depth with which these articles is researched is marvelous -- please redirect this energy to something important. Stop muckraking and start investigative reporting.

Alexis Turner
via Internet

Priority Problem
What a bunch of lies. Linda's first priority is her case with Lilly, then, when she finds the time, maybe her children. How can any mother subject her children to this? I have known the woman since 1979. Will she never be happy? It just goes to show you -- money does not buy happiness.

Name withheld by request
via Internet

Think of the Kids
Some skeletons should stay in the closet where they belong. George Flynn's expose on the Lilly/Lowe affair revealed more than anyone needed to know about this family's troubles. Come on, guys. There are children involved here. Leave this family alone.

Margaret Miller
via Internet

Cheeky Quote
I have been a lifelong Democrat, and I just hope Whitmire's crack about voting for George W. "just to get him out of Texas" is tongue in cheek -- and I do mean "cheek" ["Insider," by Tim Fleck, July 16].

Bill Buie
via Internet

Housing Woes
I applaud Brian Wallstin for exposing the corruption behind Houston Renaissance and Fourth Ward demolition ["No Account," July 16]. In a single article, he revealed more information than I received from Al Calloway, who took offense that I would even question the city's decision to give money to outside developers instead of local residents and nonprofits seeking ownership.

Freedmen's Town is the only site of African-American heritage in Houston with national historic recognition. The good news is that perhaps now the city will get serious about protecting its history, and taxpayers will get angry enough to call the state to revoke the charter of nonprofit organizations illicitly used for political and private gain.

Emily T. Nghiem

Weed War
I found your recent article about the questions over the DARE program interesting ["Reefer Madness," by T.R. Coleman, July 9]. However, a more basic question comes to mind when the DARE program is brought up, and that is, "What is the proper role of government-sponsored persuasion in a free country?"

The DARE program consistently uses exaggeration and half-truths on kids to get them to view the world in a way that is not consistent with the truth. While it is true that marijuana does have negative health effects if used in excess, DARE demonizes marijuana, implying that the use of any recreational drug automatically leads to a crushing and deadly addiction.

Jonathan Host, Ph.D.
via Internet

How DARE They?
As a 19-year veteran of HPD, I have been teaching DARE for ten years. I found your article on the program to be very fair. It seems you reported it just as you got it. Trouble is, the info you received from the councilmembers is not accurate. DARE's effectiveness has been proven. Of course, when it comes to any prevention program (for drugs, gangs, starvation, teen pregnancy, HIV-AIDS, etc.) nothing less than 100 percent would ever be totally satisfying. Why doesn't anybody have a program in hand when they want to do away with DARE? If they did, would it have any kind of track record?

Keven Sayre
via Internet

Class Guy
As a former student of Dr. Castaneda ["Punches, Passion in Tenure War," by Russell Contreras, June 25], I feel it is a shame that a professor of Dr. Castaneda's caliber is being denied a permanent position at the University of Houston. After all, one value of a college education is the ability to realize and appreciate diverse subject matter. Of course, it is more "comfortable" to subscribe to the accepted point of view for most. Dr. Castaneda's courses were an enjoyable and stimulating way for me to spend my time and money.

Dagan Dudman
via Internet

Flick Frustrations
My friends and I are what might be considered real movie buffs, attending two or three movies a week. Continually, we are dismayed at the reviews contained in the Press. Almost always, the movies we enjoy the most are given bad reviews. The reviewers seem to be ignorant of the qualities that make movies good.

This week, I could not believe that Lethal Weapon 4 and Small Soldiers were recommended, while Something About Mary was absolutely murdered by your reviewers ["Film Capsules," July 16]. After having seen all these movies, I honestly cannot see how any person with any intelligence at all could rate the former two as better.

Michael Joyner
via Internet

Editor's note: Lethal and Soldiers got mixed reviews. As for Mary, the review said in part, "It's funny -- corrosively, virulently so.... You may not see a funnier movie this year...." That does not sound like a homicidal review.

Alley Cat Fight
So much of the story on the alleys of the Heights was omitted, I thought I had picked up Reader's Digest ["Alley Fighting," by T.R. Coleman, July 23]! For starters, why are alleys being opened after 60, 70 or more years? They are being opened because a few greed-driven, aesthetically bereft real estate developers want to be able to build lot-line to lot-line. There are houses being built now in the 400 block of Cortlandt that are 15 feet wide -- that is about the width of a driveway.

Your choice of photos shows your bias. I invite you to photograph my "alley," which is fenced, mowed and indistinguishable from the rest of my yard. Ms. Killian states that there are very few obstructions in the easements. Upon what study is this based?

My solution to the alley issue is to get the approval of 75 percent of the property owners of the affected block: a simple, fair and precedented solution.

The People Are The City, or so it says on the wall of our City Council chamber. I take that to mean that our input and involvement are valued and valued equally, as this is a democracy. But as George Orwell pointed out, some are more equal than others. And Houston has always been a place where real estate developers are far more equal.

Sheila Rushlo

Word Worry
So I was reading your review of The Spanish Prisoner ["Film Caps," July 16] and I came across a word I had never heard, "niggardly." As a black woman, I didn't know whether to be confused or offended, until I looked it up. Now I'm enlightened, and I've learned a new word (that I will never use). But to a layperson, I can see how someone might have been offended. As a wannabe journalist, I understand using a thesaurus to spice up an article, but just to be P.C., don't you think you could have just used a plain old word?

NaTasha Hall
via Internet

Jacor and the Buzz
I just got back from a one-month study trip to Mexico, and one of the things I missed most was my radio station (to which I only stop listening when I sleep). Too bad it's already gone. When I turned the radio on, the second I got back, I had to look and make sure I was on the right station: I was listening to a Natalie Imbruglia song.

My God, this must be a joke, Ithought. I listened for a couple of days. It wasn't. First I was mad. Was I the only one to notice? Looking for proof I wasn't insane, I ventured to the Press web site. Your article couldn't be any better ["Static," by Hobart Rowland, July 9]. Exactly what is happening, right there. Loved the article, hated the news.

I would ask what we could do, but there is no hope fighting a media giant like Jacor, is there? I guess I have to wait for the next modern-rock station, after the Buzz dies completely, if there can be another modern-rock station. That's depressing.

Good reporting work, dude. Bad, bad communications company.
Frank Bynum
via Internet


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