Brown Nosing
I greatly enjoyed Tim Fleck's analysis of outgoing drug czar Lee Brown's local political fortunes ["After Him, the Deluge," December 28]. But I am curious: did your reporter happen to notice if anyone at Brown's press conference asked a question along the lines of, "As a black man, Dr. Brown, why is it that only 13 percent of all monthly drug users are black, yet they serve 74 percent of all prison time for drug crimes?" (according to the New York Times of October 7). Could it be that no one among this august body of assembled media asked such a question? We are a one-and-a-quarter paper town, after all. The obvious answer: journalists who like to think of themselves as "hard-nosed" seem to run "brownnosed" (pun intended) when it comes to the drug war. I guess having the highest incarceration rate in the entire world (not just the "free" world) doesn't merit any tough questions in this "land of the free." And Texas' rate is double that of the United States. Go figure.

Ralph Hodges

Wild Card Scenario
Tim Fleck is brilliant, as usual. But the one scenario Mr. Fleck did not explore ["After Him, the Deluge," December 28] has Bob Lanier indicted with one of his cronies and leaving office before the end of his term. Combine an indictment with the fiscal legacy Lanier will leave the city, which is actually worse than George Greanias has predicted, and Bob Lanier's endorsement becomes a liability.

If Lee P. (carpetbagger/ineffectual itinerant bureaucrat) Brown decides to step outside the gates of his "ivory tower" at Rice and run for mayor, he won't even make the runoff, let alone be elected mayor.

The coalition of blacks and moderate-to-liberal whites who elected Fred Hofheinz and Kathy Whitmire will give way to a new coalition of Hispanics and moderate-to-conservative blacks and whites who will elect a "wild card."

David B. Wilson

What Goes On
Dear Tim, if you wear these Chanel sunglasses, you will find out how much really goes on behind them!

Elyse Lanier

Editor's note: Enclosed with the note from Elyse Lanier were the pair of fashionable (well, to somebody, anyway) red sunglasses that Tim Fleck sports in the above photo. Ms. Lanier sent them along in response to Fleck's observation on the likelihood of her running to succeed her term-limited husband: "At least we can be sure that whoever will be sworn in as mayor two years from now won't be wearing Chanel sunglasses." Purportedly, they are authentic Chanel sunglasses that have actually been worn by the mayor's wife, although we wouldn't be able to discern if the merchandise were bootleg.

Since Fleck couldn't in good conscience keep the gift, especially in light of the even infinitesimal possibility that Ms. Lanier might one day embark on a political career (and they're not his style, anyway), we have decided to offer them as a prize to the lucky reader who can tell us, in 35 words or less, "What really goes on behind those shades." The contest is closed to all relatives of Bob or Elyse Lanier; to all city employees; to any business associates of the mayor who've gotten lucrative contracts and/or appointments from the city; to any close, personal friends of the mayor who've recently been sued by either the RTC or the FDIC; and to David B. Wilson. The winner will be announced when we get around to it.

Fashionably Stoned
It is sad to see a reviewer of Joe Leydon's caliber fall hook, line and sinker for the paranoid revisionism of Oliver Stone's Nixon [Film, "Power Trip," December 21]. The detritus that Stone passes for cinematic enlightenment is only a mean-spirited attempt to belittle and humiliate the quintessential authoritarian figure during Stone's drug-addled days in the rear during the Vietnam War. The bizarre scenes of Nixon's aberrant behavior in the movie never happened, of course, but what should we expect from a man whose version of the Kennedy assassination arises from no known fungus or opiate? Tragically, it is fashionable to pay artistic homage to this ignorant hypocrite bloated with conceit.

Warren C. Brown

Bless that Bird
I was astonished to read of a Houston citizen's complaint about noise from a police helicopter [Letters, "Roost the Bird?" December 21]. The "minor, unarmed lowlife" that Terry Pendergast doesn't want the police spending much time risking their lives searching for may, in fact, be armed and may turn out to have a record of crimes against persons also.

Perhaps the neighborhood aroused from slumber by the commotion will become more vigilant that very night and monitor their own back yards for unwanted intrusion. And any other miscreants in the vicinity of Mr. Pendergast's home surely will take their activities elsewhere that night.

Irv Smith
Missouri City


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