Games People Play
How ironic that the caught-on-tape but innocent-until-proven-guilty Hotel Six remain on the job and city webmaster Michael Dean Goldsberry ["Insider," by Tim Fleck, June 11] was arrested and locked out of his office pending trial on two felony counts of abuse of his official capacity as a city employee.
I submit that his alleged crime is not that he compromised the city's computer system by allowing citizens to play the computer game on the computer system paid for by the taxpayers, but that he compromised the city's politico policy against providing city benefits or business opportunity without first paying someone off.
It will be interesting to see how much the city legal department will cost us in prosecuting this 29-year-old computer systems support analyst and then paying the judgment when he sues the hell out of the city. Perhaps a caveat is in order to any city employee who may be using a city computer to visit the Houston Press web site. He may be committing a felony for benefiting from the use of city equipment for his private diversions.
Not only is Big Brother alive and well in Houston, but as usual, he is picking on the little guy. Keep it up; you make me so Houston Proud!
Ben W. Stluka
All in a Mind's Oink
In the June 4 issue, I had nearly finished reading your article ["Value Added," by Richard Connelly] when I realized that you had written "Port Park," not "Pork Park." Was this editorial projection a fault of my perception, or a missed opportunity of yours?
As someone who has been to Lhasa, Tibet's capital, I found several items in Shaila Dewan's excellently written article ["The A-List Buddhist," June 11] rather confusing.
Nothing in the article indicated whether or not those who wish to "Free Tibet" have ever walked through the country's streets and asked its citizens (some do speak English) how they feel about being "freed."
It would also be interesting to know if the Dalai Lama is interested in returning to Tibet. He not only lives very comfortably in Dharmsala, he gets to travel and hobnob with people in very high places.
I do, however, share Ms. Gross's interest in both alternative medicine and in yoga. I might, therefore, start exploring the intricacies of meditation and macrobiotic diets.
P.S. As a Jew who lived in New Jersey until her 18th year, I would appreciate hearing from Ms. Dewan on how a "pure Jewish New Jersey [accent]" sounds. Perhaps our advanced technology will permit the Houston Press to insert microscopic records into those articles in which a description of an accent appears.
Sara P. Simon
Bring on the Clowns
I saw Sheila Jackson Lee on C-SPAN one night, and she is a joke. It is people like her who make Houston government look like a carnival act. And I'm sure that she is a tyrant to her employees. People like her should never have any power.
Regarding the new stadium and the plum consulting job for Jimmie Schindewolf ["Passing the Bucks," by Margaret Downing, May 28], well, what did you expect? The new stadium is an insult to the taxpayers of Houston, ramrodded down our throats by Bob Lanier doing what he does best, spending other people's money. Ask Calvin Murphy. Remember the $650,000 for band uniforms and instruments? This is insulting to all city workers (I am one), when they deliver the pathetic raises to us and say that's all they can afford.
Of course, I can't sign my name. The city will hunt you down and rain feces upon you if you complain. Keep up the good work.
Name withheld by request
Paving the Way
As a longtime resident of the 500 block of Crestwood, I must take exception to your disparagement of Mr. Jack Rains in your article regarding the improvements to our street ["Pushing a Project," by Bob Burtman, May 28]. That you would endorse mere surmise and suspicion of improper influence by Mr. Rains without evidence is irresponsible.
In 1992, long before Mr. Rains or Mrs. Wiley became residents of our street, all four property owners facing Crestwood petitioned the city for curbs and gutters. Our block was the only block in Crestwood without these amenities.
In 1998, Brown & Root notified us that we would finally get the curbs and gutters that we had asked for six years ago, hardly preferential treatment.... The end result was that the 500 block of Crestwood got the curbs and gutters that were requested without Mr. Rains's input, let alone influence, and the street was not widened. Clearly, Mr. Rains can neither be credited nor blamed for the project.
As for Mr. Rains allegedly gesticulating wildly on the corner of Crestwood and the byway, I am certain that this statement is true. Mr. Rains is a known gesticulator, and, frankly, a master of the gesticulatory arts.
Frank N. Luccia
Editor's note: Crestwood received full concrete reconstruction, while residents of two nearby streets petitioning for the same work received lesser treatment. In addition, the confirmation of the information by two public works employees familiar with the project hardly constitutes "mere surmise."
Trial's a Travesty
I have followed the Hotel Five trial (originally Hotel Six) through the Houston Chronicle and Houston Press ["Going Through These Things Twice," by Tim Fleck, June 4] since it first became public about two years ago. I am always concerned when FBI and federal prosecutors decide that they are going to see if they can entice some unsuspecting target to take the bait in a sting operation.
This is why I have been so disappointed with Tim Fleck's coverage of the trial and the jury's deliberations in the last two issues of your paper. There is no doubt in my mind that Mr. Fleck decided before the trial even began that all of the defendants, except perhaps Ross Allyn, are guilty. The last two articles he wrote since the mistrial was declared seem to give the impression that there were only one or two holdout jurors who gummed up the works, and that he can't wait for the retrial to take place in September. The fact is that out of 11 counts, there was only one count against Ben Reyes where as many as ten jurors voted for conviction.
It's a travesty of justice that Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Attanasio is forcing a retrial of this case. The only reason this case was prosecuted is that Attanasio was sent here from Washington to try the case, as the U.S. attorney here in Houston at the time, Gaynelle Griffin Jones, refused to prosecute the case. Now we see the wisdom of her decision, which was overruled.
It is my understanding that the treatment of Mr. Frazee by the mayor and City Council during his recent appearance at the City Council meeting left a lot to be desired. It was, in my opinion, extremely discourteous, demeaning, nasty, undeserved and extremely suspicious.
Even if he brought up items they didn't want to hear, he deserved the courtesy of being heard on time and by all the councilmembers. He didn't deserve to be put off for over five hours.
His information has merit. It would be good for Council to listen and pay heed to his thoughts. If this administration is really "for all the people of Houston," then it better change its ways, as the information presented and the appearance of Mr. Frazee and the way he was treated certainly do not demonstrate that attitude.
I am thoroughly disappointed and embarrassed with/by this city administration.
Gordon L. Bisel
Peter Rainer's review of The Truman Show ["Tube Message," June 4] was way too long and complicated, and entirely missed the point anyway. This movie is not "all about the omnipotence of television and how our lives seem scripted by some unseen force...." This movie is all about selfishness, and our willingness to manipulate other people (or to let them be manipulated) when it will benefit us in some way. Granted, the example in the movie was an extreme case, but I'm sure that we can all think of many cases when we have manipulated or attempted to manipulate others.
Most people will leave this film with the slightly paranoid feeling that someone is watching them. Maybe that's not such a bad thing to imagine. If someone were watching, would we live our lives any differently?
Big Five Hog It
Out of curiosity, why do the Chronicle, Houston Press and Public News all review the same shows? It could just be my imagination, but I see three reviews of everything at the Alley, Stages, Main Street, Theatre LaB and Infernal Bridegroom Productions. In your theater listings, more than these five appear, yet other reviews are rare. Why?
The review of Hope Floats ["Irony Deficient," by Andy Klein, May 28] was probably the single most on-target review I have ever read. I painfully viewed this movie at its premiere and began giggling toward its end out of sheer boredom and disappointment. As my mother sobbed beside me, referring to me as her "heartless child," I couldn't understand how audiences could become emotionally attached to relationships based on nothing and a character even I would have hated in high school. I applaud Klein's honest approach and criticism.
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