It's Never Too Late to Grow Up...
Caps off to Bob Burtman ("Bonus Babies," Stadia Watch, October 3) as a lone media voice with the courage to define corporate philanthropy in the downtown stadium deal by his "radical coverage" of 1) who profits and 2) who pays.

Our mainstream news media have lost the moral courage to identify irony. How else to fathom the straight faces of the TV news team, rapt during animation of a retractable-roof dome, days after reporting the collapse of an actual roof over an HISD elementary school (where real children would have been sitting)? How else to explain the news media's unquestioning acceptance of Mayor Lanier's statement that the main benefits of a downtown dome are, quote, "the intangibles"?

Perhaps they're being fair -- after all, the Eighth Wonder guaranteed Judge Hofheinz immortality (odd that that structure lasted barely a generation before requiring replacement), so Judge Eckels deserves his chance at bat for his 21st-century blunder. And when Astros owner Drayton McLane touts the "teamwork" visible at his press conference, why expect the media in the nation's fourth largest city to mull the glaring absence of minimal multicultural representation. (And by the way, where are the women and children in this dome discussion?)

Before PC-speak, when persons of the kinder, gentler persuasion abandoned logic, Texas good ol' boys were notorious for alluding to fluctuating hormones. If we still lived in those days, perhaps someone would say what's on the minds of many Houstonians -- this appears to be a case of testosterone talking, corporate-speak for "the big boys want to come out and play." A TestosterDome by any other name is just as devoid of vision.

Houston's bridge into the next century will not be a photo-op sports edifice with natural grass turf. Real solutions will not be as machismo as professional sports. (Mr. McIngvale, sorry about the shutout with the champion steer, but you have more lasting legacies to leave than hosting the Astros or the Olympics.)

Real answers will require that the adults come out and play -- Houstonians with the vision and courage to look at consequences for seven generations down. And, yes, that vision must include women and children, and, gee, even immigrants.

Which leader has the courage to recruit Mr. Lay's apparently heretofore underutilized fundraising skills to adult efforts, so that not one more dedicated educator leaves HISD (as Space City refers more to the empty vistas between our children's ears), so that not one more student graduates from HISD as a functional illiterate, so that not one more ninth-grade dropout has a better chance at a prison cell overhead than an HISD classroom with a secure roof.

Webster's definitions of "stadium" include: "a stage in a life history, especially one between successive molts." Domed stadium? Been there, done that. Oh well, let's return to the parade, the emperor has new uniforms over there in the shadow of Allen Ballparkway Village ....

Cherie Colbert

...Or Acquire a Sense of Shame
Regarding "Drayton Steals Home" [Stadia Watch, by Bob Burtman, September 26] and anything else the County Fathers think the Astros owner should have: I sat in my office and watched as the Harris County Hospital District's fiscal year began without an approved budget in place and continued to go approximately five months without one. The problem? Commissioners Court thought discussions on keeping our professional sports teams happy were more important than maintaining quality medical care for those in need in our area. Though I am an avid sports fan, something is wrong with this picture!!

I have worked at Ben Taub for almost 13 years. During that time, I've seen bodies pieced back together when it seemed a hopeless cause. I've seen sweet families with no other place to go come for medical care for their babies and children. I've seen police officers and convenience store workers brought in because they crossed paths with the cruel bullets of criminals. I've also seen memoranda asking departments to cut costs without compromising patient care. I've seen nurses and ancillary personnel work long, hard, grueling hours in a place that is so busy it has waiting lists for months to come, with no pay increases for the past four years.

Several plans to improve patient care within the Hospital District had to be scrapped due to Commissioners Court's cutting the district's budget by $13 million. This eliminated a three-to-11 elective surgery schedule planned to help decrease a backlog. It has also curtailed plans to implement a chronic pain service in the district, services which are desperately needed since no one in the private sector will take these cases due to lack of insurance and/or money.

I simply wanted to express my frustration over the (lack of) priorities within our county government: SHAME ON YOU!!!

Name withheld by request

You Read It the Way You Want to Read It
Beautiful, sexy women are not necessarily lying bimbos. Megan Halverson's account of Vicki Weathersby's "alleged" brush with the Alley Theatre's casting couch ["Off-stage Drama," September 12] was, in my estimation, a classic example of victimization of the victim. I know Ms. Weathersby personally and professionally; she is held in high regard by many in Houston's theater community as an intelligent woman of courage and vision. There are probably a number of reasons, both legal and personal, for her unwillingness to be quoted directly in the article. It seems that Ms. Halverson, in her zeal to produce a steamy expose, has committed an act of sexploitation that is perhaps more shameful than the episode by which it was inspired.

Suzanne Savoy

I read your rag mainly to get the scoop on new movies and restaurants in Houston. Houston is a great restaurant city, but no one would know it from your recent reviews.

The last few months have been extremely focused on low-end dining, which is fine for occasional coverage, but what the heck are you doing reviewing grocery store dining ["Cafe? On Aisle One," by Brad Tyer, September 5]?

Who needs a review of this food? You can see all the "crested contents" for yourself. Mmmm ... Kroger, Fiesta, Rice Epicurean, Randall's? I'm sure the other great restaurant cities such as San Francisco and New York are just green (like some of the beef at these places) with envy at our sumptuous bounty.

Please get back to reviewing the restaurants that people will rave about and give some coverage to the professional restaurateurs of Houston. They've worked too hard for you to ignore them again like you have the last few months.

Hungry for your old reviews,
Keith L. Ligon


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