Come Off of It
Judge Jim Barr does not deserve the jabs [The Insider, "Try Another Come-On," February 8]. Jim Barr is fair, knowledgeable and conscientious. He has the best staff in the courthouse, prosecutors notwithstanding. There are many things going on in the judicial system that need to be changed -- ask Wayne Dolcefino -- but Judge Barr ain't one of them.
Volly C. Bastine Jr.
That Fabulous Menke Woman
Thanks for the update on Susan Menke ["Ascent of a Woman," by Bonnie Gangelhoff, February 8]. For years I had breakfast at the Post Oak Pharmacy in the presence of Susan Menke. I say "presence" rather than company, because we were never actually dining companions. We only shared counter space, and she certainly was a presence in her Blackgama full-length coat, come rain or come shine. We saw her through her frosted blond phase, her complete blond phase, her very dark auburn phase, her candy striper phase (immediately before the trial), her getting reacquainted with the parents phase (during the trial) and then we didn't see her for a while. I can testify if need be that Susan was reading the Bible before her conviction, because during the candy striper phase she was reading it while having her coffee and dry toast. I don't know if she was reading it before her indictment. If she was, she was not doing so at the Post Oak Pharmacy.
A year ago I was driving around the Beltway 8 area and saw her name on a sign and was wondering how she could have gotten her real estate license back after her conviction. Thanks for keeping those of us who always wondered up-to-date on what's doing with some of the beautiful people of a time that seems so long ago, when real estate and oil were king and there were so many more banks in town.
With regard to Susan's future, perhaps after Jon Lindsay is elected to whatever position he's running for, he and Susan will ride off into the sunset at the George Ranch. If Lindsay doesn't get elected, he can front for the group Mayor Bob is putting together to acquire a new football franchise and Susan can act as the city's broker to acquire property surrounding the Astrodome for parking to accommodate the new stadium that the city is going to build. And of course, somebody is going to have to negotiate for the city to acquire the downtown real estate for the new basketball stadium. Why not Susan?
A P.S. to Susan: before you take the David Webb jewelry out of the vault and go calling on Mayor Bob about those contracts, you might want to call Joe Allen and ask him to go with you.
Robert M. Rosenberg
Thank you for your efforts to keep the city clean and the politicians honest. I especially want to thank you for spearheading the effort to keep Brock Park and Sharpstown golf courses under city control ["Fore!" January 11, and "In the Rough," February 1, by Bob Burtman]. It looks like they will stay there for a while. Your reporting of what went on in the parks department finally got the visual media and the Houston Chronicle off their duffs. There is a lot that can be said about the need for two newspapers in this city, so keep up the good work.
Alex A. Jelson
I have a complaint. Your comics are, um, a bit obscure. Maybe these guys are friends of the family or lien holders, but they don't reflect the quality of your insightful rag. You know what I like about comics? Something called humor.
The Three Horsemen of Houston's Sports Apocalypse
Regarding "Forecast: Raining Stadiums" [by Bob Burtman, January 25], the issue is: should the city of Houston and Harris County be required to provide for stadiums and arenas from which major league sports franchises can enjoy the profits and benefits at small cost to themselves?
Local government agencies throughout the country are under pressure from major league sports franchises to provide real estate, public funding and tax exemptions to build new facilities. The argument is if the local authorities do not do so, the franchise holders will move their teams to another city where the authorities are more willing to be co-opted. The assumption is that a major American metropolis will not be able to survive without major league sports.
The assumption is false. A metropolis of the stature of Houston can and would survive if major league sports were to disappear from the local scene. Business and industry do not ask or expect local government to give or make benefits that serve their special interests in providing for a profit. Citizens do not expect or care to have their local government agencies placed under duress by an industry using blackmail threats.
Mayor Lanier's original stance in not bowing to Bud Adams' demand that the city help the Oilers construct a downtown domed stadium was correct. The mayor and County Judge Robert Eckels are under no obligation to make the franchise holders happy with new facilities. The Bud Adamses, Drayton McLanes and Les Alexanders of the American professional sports scene must answer the question of what have they done for the community besides run an entertainment industry for the benefit of individual profit.
Michael L. Fay
We Skirt No Issue Before Its Time
I found your reply to Cameron Kay's letter [Letters, "The Case for Judge Henderson," February 15] to be classic. While amusing, your retort never addressed Kay's accusation of shoddy research by Bonnie Gangelhoff ["In the Child's Best Interest," January 18]. If the story was bunk, let us know. With your ability to skirt an issue you should seriously consider running for office.
Editor's reply: I'll be announcing my candidacy shortly, and hope Cameron Kay will consent to be my finance chairman. As for Mr. Kay's letter, the issue he raised was fully addressed in Bonnie Gangelhoff's story. I'll leave it to someone who was in the courtroom to elaborate:
The Case Against
I read the article "In the Child's Best Interest," and I think you did an excellent job in giving the facts. However, I read a letter someone wrote to your publication saying that the adoption agency was the culprit, and the writer agreed with Judge Bill Henderson's decision to reinstate the biological father's rights.
First of all, the adoption agency is not the culprit! After sitting on that jury for more than two weeks, I, along with the other 11 jurors, found the adoption to be legal. Several attempts to contact Brendon Baker regarding the adoption were made, and Mr. Baker chose not to respond. Not until the children were adopted did Mr. Baker attempt to be a part of his children's lives. Mr. Baker had every chance to be a father to his babies, yet he neglected to do so. His irresponsibility in the past endangered the boys' lives. That was enough to terminate his parental rights, according to very specific definitions given to the jurors in the deliberation room. Mr. Baker had done nothing to prove that he was trying to improve his lifestyle at the time of the trial and today he has proven to be even more irresponsible. Wouldn't you think that he would try to prove that he was worthy of this reversal and take advantage of the chance to be with his children? Instead, he has continued to act irrationally and has been allowed to continue to disrupt the lives of two innocent babies.
How Much Does an Ontological Overhaul Run These Days?
Bonnie Gangelhoff did an outstanding job with her piece "In the Child's Best Interest." I find it most refreshing to read intelligently without having to go "between the lines" to get to THE TRUTH.
Knowing that "where there's smoke, there's fire," it is clear that Judge Bill Henderson not only could use an "examination of competency as a human being," as Mayor Wirz of Seymour so eloquently put it, but also a serious ontological overhaul as well.
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She's a He
I enjoyed your review of the "Skin Speak" show at DiverseWorks [Art, "Skin Deep," by Edith Sorenson, February 15]. Generally agreed with it. However, Jodi Griffin of Scream'n Demon is not a woman -- she is a he.
Nicki Thorne Thomsen
Editor's note: A post-publication investigation by Ms. Sorenson has revealed that you are indeed correct. Our apologies to Ms. Grif... er, Mr. Griffin.