My job as a homeless project coordinator has put me on the campus of the Barbara Jordan Recovery Center many times in the past three years. There are some important programs there, and I have watched them improve over time, with the exception of the Golden Eagle Leadership Academy [News, "The Johnson Treatment," by Brian Wallstin, December 4].
Granted, it has been a while since I've been there. But once was enough! I saw in my visit, to what was then the "Institute of Healthy Families and Community," a place of fear and public humiliation. Even now, when I visit the campus, I cringe as the elevator opens to the floor where those young men in the Golden Eagle program are housed.
Maybe it's because I have a son myself that I was brought to tears after a one-hour visit there. I had come to observe a class my organization sponsored. When I went to talk to the director at the time, he couldn't understand my tearful response. He asked me if I were "in recovery." We stopped services to the program. Hopefully, your article will be a wake-up call to the funders that take my tax money and reward a place that stirs up anger, hate, fear and bigotry.
via Internet, Houston
Hobart Rowland, Deaf Toad
If Hobart Rowland doesn't want to listen to a local group's new CD, I would suggest that next time he simply decline rather than abusing them publicly in his column. Either he didn't oblige Madman Justice by listening to their music [Static, November 27] or he has the musical tastes of a deaf toad.
Since there is no local music scene to speak of in Houston (and your column may be one of the reasons), it seems to me that local groups shouldn't have to "beg" him to listen to their efforts. However, this seems to be the case. I've listened to Madman Justice's CD myself, and, although it isn't the group's best work to date, it has a lot of merit as a first release.
This CD is available (and well worth having) at Cactus Records (who have "hidden" it in the local music section) and at Blockbuster Music, both of which you failed to mention in your highly prejudiced column.
No, It's Because He's a Deaf Toad
I read your review of Madman Justice's CD, Beautifully Drowned, and I came to the conclusion that someone in the band or related to the band must have really pissed you off. Your tirade of words lashing out at the group seems to be a writer's form of a temper tantrum more than a review. You went out of your way to make some nasty remarks. I listened to the CD without a preconceived attitude -- unlike you -- and I enjoyed it. I hope rock and roll fans will see through your words and give this CD a try.
Hands Off That Woman!
Your constant vitriol against Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee [The Insider, "Brown and Black and Green All Over," by Tim Fleck, November 13, among other stories] is becoming somewhat tired. Why Sheila?
The 18th District has had a brilliant orator who made great speeches in Congress but was rarely heard in the 18th.
The district once had a great humanitarian who fed the hungry in Africa while the poor in the 18th starved.
Another representative of the district was a great lawyer who represented his clients well in court but failed to convince them that he should represent them in Congress.
Sheila is competent, tireless, ever-present and, if nothing else, proof positive that black people will not allow their leaders to be dictated to them by the white press.
Volly C. Bastine Jr.
Secrets of Chumbawamba
Regarding Hobart Rowland's comment about the name of Chumbawamba: It's the Nepali or Tibetan name for Mt. Everest, or one of the Himalayan peaks. Just like Denali is the Inuit name for Mt. McKinley.
Editor's note: Hobart Rowland reports that band members have indicated that the group's name is meaningless.
Thank you for Bob Burtman's excellent articles on mismanagement in the city's public works department ["Easy Street," October 30, November 13 and November 27]. He deserves a raise!
It is incredible to me that the membership of the Houston Contractors Association and the Association of Consulting Municipal Engineers would accept as members those who lack integrity, are ethically challenged and are otherwise so unprofessional. These few bad apples have apparently created such a corrupt environment with the city that constant supervision is required in order to curb their cheating.
The reality is that these are the good people who offer unmarked envelopes, stuffed with cash, to appreciative incumbents before each election cycle. So unfortunately, nothing will change. In addition, after passage of the latest bond election, even in the face of Burtman's excellent research, I conclude that this is the method the minority of our voters wishes to continue to finance future political campaigns.
Relocated to the Galleria
If Bryan K. Gammon [Letters, "Down a Hole in Montrose," December 18] thinks that Richmond/Dunlavy is a mess, he should drive down West Gray between Waugh and Shepherd. For most of the summer, West Gray was down to two to three lanes total. Then the street work was completed. Now, in the last couple of weeks, the same streets have been torn up in the same places, and we are once again down to two to three lanes total. With all the new development along this portion of West Gray, I feel like I live in the Galleria area due to the traffic.
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Your Check's in the Mail, Mark
Thank you for providing an alternative to the other newspaper in town. You say the things that need to be said to open the minds of readers and get people thinking about their city. Sanitized reporting may get the other guys ads, but thinking reports get you our minds!
Department of Self Promotion
Press staff writer Steve McVicker has been named a winner in the State Bar of Texas's 1996 Gavel Awards, it was announced last week. McVicker's entry, "Autopsy," a story detailing problems in the Harris County Medical Examiner's Office, won the award for an individual article/editorial in newspapers with circulations of more than 150,000. The San Antonio Express-News also received an award in that category.