Reyes War "Record?"
I want to congratulate the Houston Press on the recent update [by Tim Fleck, May 14] on the City Hall bribery scandal: specifically, for reporting the admission by former councilmember Ben Reyes that he was not wounded in Vietnam, as he has for years indicated.

As the daughter of a tried-and-true Vietnam veteran, I am appalled that Reyes would actually lie about his military record and state that he received not one, but two Purple Heart medals. His lie is shameful and makes light of the actions of those men who actually sacrificed their lives for this country while he recuperated in a hospital from black lung disease. He is not even worthy of the term "man."

To the Hispanic community, which for decades has upheld this individual as its patron saint, I would like to ask, "Would you have this dishonorable liar be your representative?"

On another note, I find it disturbing that this information has not been made more public by other news sources. Kudos to the Houston Press for its investigative work!

Guadalupe Cantu

Reptilian Ben Strikes Again
With regard to Ben Reyes et al. ["Embarrassing Little Secrets of Hotel Six, by Tim Fleck, May 14]: Kindly refrain from comparing our well-beloved horned lizard with that scummy Hotel Six bunch.

Linda Walden

Lost Frontier Revisited
In regard to John Palamidy's letter on Russell Contreras's article on the University of Houston's Frontier Fiesta ["Frontier Fiesta," April 30] calling it racist whining: Never underestimate the power of racist whining. That's the driving force behind the Hopwood case. For decades, fully qualified minorities were bumped from university and college enrollment rosters to make way for less qualified or even unqualified whites. Enter affirmative action (the Sherman Act of political fair play) to even the field. Now who's feeling discriminated against? Now who's whining? I feel your pain.

Alberto Diaz
via Internet

Tell It to the Bisque
You know, I used to think it was funny when the Houston Press would pick on local writers, say, Fran Blinebury, for his breathlessly written, over-the-top columns containing trite expressions and nonsensical phrases. Then I read Eric Lawlor's review ["Rao Now," May 14] of River Oaks Grill, which actually contains this description of bisque: "I felt I'd known it all my life. This was a bisque it was possible to trust. Tell it your deepest secret, and it wouldn't bat an eye." The rest of the review is equally ridiculous. Do you guys pay him by the adjective, or what?

Looking forward to more super-creative food anthropomorphism.
Joe Warmbrodt
via Internet

Too for the Road
I enjoyed the well-written article "Upping the Ante-Up" [May 7]. Your writer, Richard Connelly, brought out a number of salient points in his story. Kudos to Jim Murphy for wanting to build a toll road along the Westpark corridor.

Goodness knows we need to do something to take some of the burden off the Westheimer corridor. A previous plan to erect grade separations at some of the major Westheimer intersections (Hillcroft, Fondren, Gessner, etc.) has apparently died for lack of funding. (That might be worthy of a story in itself!) The Westpark toll road would greatly improve east-west mobility in west Houston. As mentioned in the story, the toll road would benefit everyone by removing much of the through traffic from the city streets.

Mark Setterberg
via Internet

Keep the Kid: Can the Parents
I would like to see real justice done for Brittany Corcoran ["Little Girl Lost," by Brian Wallstin, May 21] by seeing both parents lose custody. If the courts really want to act in her best interest, they should give her a second chance at life with a real family. It appears that a flea-ridden foster home would be better than what both parents have to offer.

Christine Hill
via Internet

Nikki-Marie Replies
I was quite surprised (not much shocks me anymore) to see the caption: "She resurfaced with a case of head lice, holes in her socks...." She [Brittany] did not have head lice when she was found. She had gotten those months earlier from children she played with (yes, she played with other children!) when I was first thrown in jail, but the lice were long gone. I truly wish I could say that the worst thing that's happened to my daughter in her life is that she had head lice (and, gasp, holes in her socks!). This is a child who has been used and abused by her father and by those people charged with administering "justice" and protecting children in the courts of Harris County ever since I went to court in 1992 to get child support. And yet the headline screams that the most important thing that has happened to her is that she was missing for seven months and she had head lice and holes in her socks.

Mr. Wallstin stated that "the story of Brittany Ann Corcoran is no more or less interesting than any other custody battle that's turned nasty," and cited several other custody cases. Nothing could be further from the truth. This was a paternity suit. This case has farther-reaching implications.

The only case I know of that could compare with mine is that of Jennifer Ireland, who almost lost custody of her daughter because she put her in daycare. The judges in Harris County are so arrogant they do not even feel a need to give a reason for taking a child away from the only parent she's known her whole life. The Ireland case, like mine, was that of a father who did not have much interest in his daughter until the mother went to court asking for child support. That story made national headlines, as mine would have if I lived somewhere like Ann Arbor, Michigan, instead of the home of the Houston Chronicle. That newspaper protects the criminals by refusing to report the incredible stories of the Harris County Family Law Center.

With regard to the substance of the story, there were two people in my home at the time Brittany was born -- me and my son. It was totally irresponsible for Mr. Wallstin to write about the event when he made no inquiry of us, but simply wrote Mr. Corcoran's version. Mr. Corcoran has never asked me about her birth. My son did not help with the umbilical cord or clean up the afterbirth or take care of me or Brittany after her birth. He was, in fact, in another room.

Mr. Wallstin also reported that when Mr. Corcoran took Brittany to his house, "She was given something she had never had before -- her own room." That is another work of fiction that I was not asked about. Brittany got her own room when we moved into a house when she was two years old. And yes, she also had clothes, shoes and toys at my house! Much more important, though, she had love!

Mr. Wallstin included four direct quotes that Mr. Corcoran alleges I stated in 1989 and 1990, but when Mr. Corcoran was asked about a document he signed in 1992 denying paternity, he said he didn't recall it. One of the quotes was Mr. Corcoran's accusation that I told him I was on birth control. Mr. Wallstin did ask me about that, and I emphatically denied it and told him that Mr. Corcoran was not in the least bit concerned about that issue, but my denial was not included.

None of the statements that Mr. Corcoran made to me and that I reported to Mr. Wallstin were printed, such as "I've never gotten as close to anyone as I've gotten to you" or, perhaps even more revealing of his character, "If you ever got your hair cut that short, you'd never see me again."

I also denied that my son and I moved in with Mr. Corcoran before I agreed to marry him. The only version reported of our early dating experience was that of Mr. Corcoran. He indicated that I was really no big deal to him even though I provided Mr. Wallstin with cards from Mr. Corcoran proving that his characterization of our relationship was simply not true. I also told Mr. Wallstin that Mr. Corcoran gave me a $1,700 bracelet for my birthday when we had been dating barely three months. Later on, he gave me his mother's wedding ring and her gold bracelet. Gee, I wonder what he does for his real girlfriends?

And it was not he who backed out of getting married two days before. It was I who would not marry a man who refused to stay out of topless bars; refused to grow up and take responsibility for his actions.

Neither was he "stunned" about the prospect of giving the baby up for adoption. The only reason I considered such a thing is because the child's father had absolutely no interest whatsoever in the child I was carrying.

I am not bitter toward Mr. Corcoran. I do not hate him. Yes, I am very weary of his games and his cruelty, and I am very concerned about my daughter, but I understand him better than he understands himself. I feel sorry for him.

Nikki-Marie Jones
via Internet

Missed a story? The editorial contents of the Houston Press, dating back to July 1, 1996, are available on-line at archive/index.html.

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