Unseen Hand
Great story on the "Sports Afield" [by Richard Connelly, November 20]. Ever get the impression that the Authority just moves around on preset strings pulled by the behind-the-scenes manipulators?

Jeff Lehmann
via Internet

Lest We Forget...
The citizens of Houston and Harris County need to be watchful of the Sports Authority because of their contracting procedures. We all need to remember that the selected "nonbid contractor" is Brown & Root ... the same contractor that designed, built and inspected the South Texas Nuclear Power Plant for Houston Looting & Plunder! We know how well that turned out.

The stadium being built in Phoenix is similar: It is currently costing $300 million-plus, and they had construction plans!

Given the choice of attending a game at the Ballpark at Union Station or watching it on TV, I'll opt for TV every time. The beer is colder, the restrooms cleaner and less crowded and the parking is free.

Name withheld by request

The Scrap-Iron Connection
Thanks for the excellent article on the Sports Authority. I have one more question. As noted in your article, Sports Authority board member Carol Garner is married to Phil "Scrap Iron" Garner, a former Astro. "Scrap Iron" is the manager of the Milwaukee Brewers, a team owned by acting-for-life Commissioner of Baseball Bud Selig. Thus, it is fair to say that Ms. Garner's family's continued prosperity depends on the goodwill of Mr. Selig. Am I the only person in town who thinks that common sense would counsel against appointing a person in Ms. Garner's situation to a board whose major responsibility is to represent the interests of Harris County taxpayers in negotiations with major-league baseball? Of course, as pointed out in your article, common sense is a rare commodity in the stadium business.

Bruce Griffiths
via Internet

Jack Rains, Don't Read This Letter
As someone who has known Jack Rains for years (and can't stand him), it doesn't come as any surprise to me to hear people characterize him as a "bull in a china shop," because it describes him perfectly. I have to admit I was surprised when he was appointed to head the Sports Authority, because it's a delicate position requiring tact, patience and the ability to listen as well as speak -- attributes Rains does not have. It's hard for Jack to be a team player, because he is only interested in doing things one way -- his way. It shouldn't surprise anyone that all of his "good-ol'-boyisms" involve bullfighting, football or the Army: Rains believes in winning, winning at all costs, and watch out if you get in his way! He's nasty, crude and he is known to hold a grudge.

I think most Houstonians would love to see Houston have a bustling downtown life, including a new stadium. We just don't like feeling as if it's being crammed down our throats. Jack's demeanor always implies that he knows what's best for us and that if we'll just follow his lead we'll be happy and grateful to him in the end. I, for one, am tired of his condescending, know-it-all attitude.

Name withheld by request
via Internet, Houston

My Dad the Genius
Never before has anyone truly captured the genius of my father so perfectly, nor his incredible ability to read 20,000 words per minute ["Pat Greene Has a Marvelous Scheme to Conquer the World," by Randall Patterson, November 20].

Your headline was absolutely right. Can the presidential campaign be far behind?

Chris Greene
via Internet

The LeAnn WeItanschauung
I was a little amazed that the only mention of the LeAnn Rimes concert was in the Roadshows section [November 20]. It's just that this young lady has not had a really good live show in Houston since the summer of 1996, at AstroWorld, and she has become a real recording and touring sensation in the last 18 months. In fact, she is arguably the hottest thing in American music right now.

You did a story at rodeo time, but it was obsessed with the "Lolita factor" ["The Reason of Rimes," by Matt Weitz, February 13]. I asked myself what was so different about LeAnn now that would make you want to totally ignore this enormous talent (I speak from experience, having seen her live and close-up at the Trail Dust Steak House last August). The answer I came up with is the same one I found when assessing the trashing of Miss Rimes's most recent album by Entertainment Weekly and People: The people in the "Coast" media and at the Houston Press share a common Weltanschauung, which views as abhorrent the mere mention of God or Jesus, and, of course, LeAnn's latest album has five really bedrock hymns.

I guess that your types would probably like LeAnn a lot more if she were a "young lesbian-in-training" or a 15-year-old boy!

A fan of the great LeAnn Rimes

Still Aiding and Comforting
I am writing in response to The Insider article "Aid and Comfort," by Tim Fleck, in the October 30 edition of the Houston Press. I would like to correct any misconception that may result from a statement made in the story. The United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast has no plans to withdraw funds from the American Red Cross-Houston Chapter.

Our local Red Cross has been a United Way agency for the past 75 years and has been approved by fund-distribution volunteers to continue receiving dollars through 1998, which is the end of the current funding cycle for all United Way-affiliated agencies. All United Way-affiliated agencies, including the Red Cross, are required to participate in a review process every two years in order to remain eligible for funding.

The Red Cross receives $4.5 million in United Way funds, which helps to provide many services in our community.

Judith Craven

Speed Kills
Your film reviews usually provide knowledgeable criticism, so I was surprised to read Andy Klein's piece on the Japanese film Maborosi ["Slow Death," November 13]. The very aspects that Klein criticizes -- the real-time tempo and the natural lighting -- give the film its poetic force. Far from being a "slow sumbitch" (Klein), I would agree with the New York Times' assessment: Maborosi was "exquisitely beautiful." Maybe Klein and the other "speed freaks" who attended the press screening have no business reviewing art with a capital "A." Keep up the good work, Peter Rainer!

Barbara Hales


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