Only a Knothead Gives It Up
Jim Simmon did an amazing turnabout in his column ["Champions!"] for your November 14 issue: He owned right up to being a lame-brained knothead by voting for the stadium proposition. He then followed with all the reasons why a rational voter would vote no. I hate to think about all the voters who do this sort of voting in all our elections.
Jim is dead wrong about Barry Klein -- a genuine populist -- being against "everything." Barry is only against unfair, unwise or foolish expenditure of taxpayers' funds. He's also wrong about Dan Patrick, who had nothing to gain -- or lose -- by opposing this crack-brained stadium. Dan had a well-reasoned argument in opposition, but both he and Barry should have enlisted others to help sell the no position, much as the yes people used Nolan Ryan and George Bush.
As an early television sports guy, I heavily supported the Dome, and it did much to put Houston on the map by drawing professional sports, hundreds of attractions and thousands of tourists to our city. This little baseball field would do no such things. It took nearly a million dollars of promotion to squeak this scheme by the reasoning voters of this county.
Simmon says that experts advise "giving it up" when someone (like McLane) held a gun to our heads. Wrong again! Drayton pulled the Bud Adams blackmail ploy, and experts advise not giving into blackmail. Didn't Bud prove this out?
In sum, it's the wrong stadium. We already have a good baseball park (that needs a few adjustments). We really need a 30,000 seat arena downtown for our Champion Rockets. That would just as readily "make" downtown, at half the price, and is what made so many rational voters vote against the vague proposition.
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I agree with Jim Simmon and feel much better having voted against the downtown stadium. But the game is not over. It's like the Astros with a two-run lead in the sixth inning. Are you going to jump up and head home confident of a win? Believe me, there is a lot of game left, and even Barry may get a piece of the pie.
Politics and Justice
Brian Wallstin asks in his story about the murder of Paul Broussard whether race played a part in the 15-year sentence of a black male, Gayland Randle, who was merely present at the crime, and who apparently violated his special probation by failing to promptly return a probation officer's phone calls ["Gayland's Choice," November 14]. Such results are common in Harris County, where the system of criminal justice is administered by elected judges who, if they cross the wrong interest group, can be returned to private practice after the next election. Such groups attain their position of virtue by their constant courtship of a media all to ready to put their outrage on a TV screen. In this environment, it is easy to see how a City Hall lobbyist for victims, together with a grieving mother with the ear of the press, could persuade a hapless probation bureaucrat to file the necessary paperwork that would enable the timid officials of the courthouse to put Mr. Randle in prison. When the rule of law is displaced by a disinterested disposition to punish, and judges act as politicians rather than neutral magistrates, it is politics, not race, that is the enemy of justice.
John W. Mahoney