Long, Boring, Informative
Wow!! The article on Donna Ballard ["Basic Ballard," by Brian Wallstin, March 13] was too long and boring, but informative. We do need to know. Thanks, Press.

Bill Johnson
via Internet

The Child on the Street
After reading the article on Donna Ballard, I am reminded that there is a good chunk of people who believe that the cure-all for the world's ills is a return to good old-fashioned values. While I am all for that, I am smart enough to know that the teaching of values is Mom and Dad's responsibility first. But seeing as how not all of us can have the privilege of living in a household like the Ballards', can Ballard honestly say that if she were a teacher she would merely teach the basics, knowing she is in many children's lives the last safety net? Mrs. Ballard and all her conservative allies could do a world of good if, instead of jacking with the state, they went forth and picked one kid out of the multitudes each to help out. You can't get more grassroots than that.

I would like to give Ballard some food for thought: Next time you are raising hell in the state capital, send your mind drifting somewhere into south Austin and think of the child on the street whose name you will never know and what difference you could have made.

Robert Medina
via Internet

...But Ballard Has a Point
Mrs. Ballard, whatever her religious background or orientation, has a point: Schoolchildren should know how to read and write and know their multiplication tables, know sums, differences, multiplication and division and have a knowledge of where they come from and, relatively, where they are. Once they know these rudimentary facts, a whole new world of opportunity is opened to them, and one does not really need a teacher.

As a practical matter, HISD spends about $4,000 a year per child. This means that if the money were given to the parents, 30 of them could put together $120,000 to hire an Oxford-educated Ph.D. to "larn their boy arithmitic" or however it is spelled. Or to know that the Philippines are somewhere to the west and the Azores somewhere to the east, and that they come from diverse backgrounds to form a nation based on political democracy rather than political correctness.

John D. Griffith

Thank you, Mr. Wallstin. Your article showed a lot of legwork, and you did a good job. I am thrilled to know someone is not afraid of Donna Ballard.

Merry Bushong
via Internet

Editor's reply: Actually, we were worried that Ms. Ballard would be afraid of us, but she was cooperative in sitting for interviews and pictures for the Press.

Unpaid Political Pronouncement
I would like to clarify some misinformation in "Basic Ballard." First, I was neither endorsed nor recruited by Donna Ballard or the other conservative members of the State Board of Education. I am a highly awarded public school teacher and have seen firsthand how the policies of the state board affect both teachers and students. I ran that race at great personal and financial sacrifice, and I am willing to do it again for the sake of my children's futures and the future of the next generation of children.

Second, I do not live in The Woodlands. I reside in Spring, which is in State Board of Education District 6, the seat for which I ran.

Third, it is amazing to me that over a year after my primary race with Jack Christie, he is still whining with unsubstantiated allegations that I ran a nasty campaign. All of my literature and my speeches focused on the issues and were very positive concerning my vision for the direction of public education.

In your article, Mr. Christie once again seems baffled that the constituents of this district view him as a liberal. Maybe it was because his only endorsement from those on the State Board of Education was its most liberal member, a Democratic activist? Or maybe it's because Cecile Richards of the liberal Texas Freedom Network speaks so favorably of Mr. Christie? Or could it be because he received the endorsement of the liberal Texas affiliate of the National Education Association, whose agenda runs in direct opposition to conservative Republican ideals? Or perhaps because the majority of his campaign funds came from liberal PACs and those with liberal philosophies?

If Mr. Christie does not want to be labeled as a liberal, then he needs to stop behaving like one. The bottom line is that he needs to stop voting with the liberal members of the State Board of Education. As an elected official, Mr. Christie should be held accountable for his voting record. As the saying goes, if he "can't stand the heat," he needs to "get out of the kitchen!"

Terri Leo

Backbite This, Richard
Once again, the backbiting between print and electronic media surfaces. In his review of Howard Stern's new movie [Film, "Radio Daze," March 6], Robert Wilonsky can't help but inject another tired barb, referring to it as "the story of how a schlub chased his dream (getting on the radio, poor bastard)."

I resent your arrogance. Why do you think the written word is so much better than the spoken one? Radio is and always will be a viable pursuit for many people -- it's not just the bastard stepchild of other forms of broadcast. We, unlike you, have not been knighted with the "lofty" responsibility of print review of popular culture. Don't use your minuscule column space to comment on something of which you're apparently ignorant.

In closing, I suspect that this must be a case of professional jealousy. Money, perhaps? Stern's movie raked in $5 million-plus on its first weekend. Not bad, even for a DJ.

Richard Cabrera

Hobart Rowland's review of Veruca Salt's new album Eight Arms to Hold You [Rotation, March 20] contains what I, a fan of Veruca Salt, consider to be a major error. Mr. Rowland incorrectly lists the album's producer as Steve Albini, when the producer was, in fact, Bob Rock. (Steve Albini did produce last year's Veruca Salt EP, Blow It Out Your Ass, It's Veruca Salt.) One has to wonder just how much attention Rowland paid to this album before giving it the very negative review he did. The fact that Bob Rock produced this album was mentioned numerous times in every pre- and post-release article about this record. How it was missed by your reviewer is beyond me. I feel that a certain amount of attention ought to be paid to a work before ripping it to shreds.

Mike Legoudes Jr.
via Internet

Editor's reply: Hobart Rowland was indeed wrong. Bob Rock produced the new Veruca Salt album. It still sucks.


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