The accusatory demeanor and coercive tactics of Calvina Fay, executive director of Houston's Drug-Free Business Initiative, are reminiscent of Joseph McCarthy ["Just Say No (to Open Debate)," by Bob Burtman, November 7]. Ironically, her efforts to intimidate those participating in free and open debate are frighteningly similar to those of her adversaries in the South American drug cartels. With little basis in fact, Fay recklessly disparages her ideological opponents and insists on linking the Drug Policy Forum of Texas to a "legalization conspiracy."
Houstonians should closely scrutinize the motives behind Fay's agenda in light of her former proprietorship of a drug testing facility, part of an industry inextricably associated with false accusations and demeaning intrusions into the privacy of American workers.
Bravo for your November 7 expose on the dangers drug warriors face in open debate. In 1917, former California Governor Hiram Johnson echoed, "The first casualty when war comes is truth." Those words ring as true today as they did when they were first spoken.
John M. Koons
Sayreville, New Jersey
Dead Solid Shelia
Tim Fleck is dead solid perfect in his reporting on the administrative nightmare created by U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee [The Insider, "Help Wanted (Always)," October 10]. It shows a lack of leadership to have the highest employee turnover in Congress. The remarks from her existing staff members were somewhat irreverent, showing less than devotion to the representative. Not only does she make her staff do her personal chores, but she treats them horribly, with a lack of common civility. (I saw her summarily ream a staff member outside an event recently that almost drew a crowd.) It is no wonder that assistance from her office is about customer "circus" rather than customer service.
JaLinda H. Cobb
I read the article "Holy Warrior" by Randall Patterson [November 7] about Evander Holyfield, with the caption over his head, "God loves Evander Holyfield. Everyone else is betting on Tyson." I guess we now know: Always bet on God. Holyfield knew all along. It does seem like a message. Just listen. As printed on his robe: We can do all things through Christ which strengthens us.
Steadfast in the Ring
I thoroughly enjoyed "Holy Warrior." It was interesting to read about a man who is often recognized for his profession discuss his true convictions. It is reassuring to know that in a sport where social and monetary gains are limitless, an individual can still be grounded in his religious beliefs, and boast about things that matter -- rather than things that are insignificant.
Mr. Holyfield's motto, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13), shows determination in a fighter who is steadfast in various circles (or rings). This type of unyielding faith is indeed an admirable quality that seemingly transcends beyond the boxing canvas to "the earth's canvas." By spreading his uncompromising message he is victorious, and has the "upper hand."
It was interesting reading about a fighter who uses a type of "hope of hope" style on his opponents. Often we look for a boxer to have the killer instinct of a lion, but it is good to know that at least one boxer has the heart of one as well. Mr. Holyfield is indisputably a champion, unshaken in his beliefs. For that I commend him.
Van G. Garrett
Good Boone, Bad Boone
In regard to your article about Boone Pickens ["Don't Cry for Me, Amarillo," by Miriam Rozen, November 7]: Yes, he is the good and bad of the "bigger than life '80s." Corporate raider or not, he deserves recognition for his countless unnoticed good deeds. I grew up in Amarillo and experienced Boone's kindness, generosity and compassion on numerous occasions. The article should also mention Boone made many of his Mesa critics wealthy beyond their wildest dreams ... how soon one forgets!
Nancy Scott Beck
All Praise to Gregory Boyd
You guys do it to me every time. Once I start to really like your theater stories, you make me ask: Why did I even read it? Megan Halverson obviously saw the Alley's production of Inherit the Wind and paid attention, but I must ask myself, did she understand what was actually going on? [Theater, "No Contest," October 31]. I was lucky enough to be on the jury for all the shows, and I witnessed the great performances that the entire company gave every night. She criticizes Gregory Boyd's choice to have the townspeople's voices recorded. There is an obvious reason for that -- there was a different set of townspeople every night! Mr. Boyd should not be criticized; he should be praised. He has taken the Houston community, whether they are local actors or just regular theatergoers, and put them on the stage with his company. Look at it from his point of view: He had 30 different people each night not sure of what they were doing. Wouldn't that be just a little scary? Granted, townspeople weren't the biggest part of the play, but they were vital to giving the show a realistic feel. He could have auditioned for the roles of townspeople, but instead he gave them to the community, because he felt that we, the community, gave the Alley so much support over the years.
Gregory Boyd has fulfilled a four-year dream of mine. I have been doing community shows in some theaters I wouldn't put on my resume just so I could work on my craft. Mr. Boyd allowed me to walk on that stage every night to see how the other half lives. Who knows, I may not be the most gifted actor in the world (but better than Keanu Reeves), but I will always have this fond memory, thanks to Gregory Boyd and his staff and company.
In other words, get off the man's ass!
Another Satisfied Kingwood Customer
I am outraged and insulted by the Insider item in the October 17 issue, "Strange Bedfellows, Strange Sheets?" This business about Kingwood citizens in white hooded sheets is wrong. I am not paying these "consultants" anything. They don't represent me or anyone else I know.
What is the real concern? Why is Kingwood so opposed to being annexed? Because our community, as well as others, will suffer. I can barely pay the bills now. Last year my house payment went up almost $100. Now, what will it go up with additional city of Houston taxes tacked on? Recently, the utility districts sent out sample water bills. My sample bill went from $28 (my usual water bill) to $98 (under city rates). I thought that sounded a little ridiculous, so I used a friend's Houston water rate to figure my bill, which went from $28 to $68. Why is it that my utility district can give me water at such a lower rate? What does the city of Houston do with all that money? I think our utility district is doing a great job. Since I have lived in Kingwood there have been no water problems.
Kingwood doesn't take anything from Houston. Anything we do in Houston costs money. If we commute to work in Houston, we do one of two things. We take Metro and pay one of the highest rates, or we drive in and pay the extremely high price to park our vehicles on the city streets. If we work in Houston, we spend money on food and shopping. If we go to the zoo, we pay just like everyone else. The truth is, we support the Houston community by coming to Houston.
Houston, get off your high horse. We only want what is right for us. Stop acting as if you would die without Kingwood in your grip. You can't keep up with what you have now. Why not clean up your own yard and stop trying to get others to do it for you. We will not be your serfs.
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Editor's reply: Not that I want to argue the merits of annexing Kingwood, but one thing the city is doing is funding a billion-dollar upgrade of its wastewater system, a crucial part of the infrastructure that contributes to the economic vitality of the entire Houston area, Kingwood included. In lieu of joining the city, perhaps Kingwoodolians would like to leave a few quarters behind every time they flush when they're in town on the Park-and-Ride for their jobs.
Rumble on Colquitt
I take a few exceptions to Shaila Dewan's assessment of the "strip mall known as Colquitt" [Art, "Street Walking," November 7]. First, "reading Colquitt from left to right," one does not begin with the Barbara Davis Gallery. That may be where Dewan started, but the first gallery is Artables, long an art and artisan standard. Next is Barbara Davis ... with the witty and whimsical (second exception) work of Sharon Kopriva.