Run, Run, Run
I read your informative and "almost" amusing article regarding the Houston Police Department and their so-called "sting" at Lamar High School [News, "The Great Smokeout," by Brian Wallstin, May 11].
The reason I say "almost" amusing is my daughter was one of the juveniles included in the arrests. I just wanted to add my two cents worth, which I think the parents and citizens of Houston might find enlightening regarding our so called protectors (HPD) of the mean streets of Houston.
From what I understand your article was quite factual, except that my daughter is only 15, not 16. She is also a non-smoker, as well as a good student, and has always had respect for other people. She stands across the street after school until her driver's education class starts at 4 p.m.
Not only did the Houston police "set" this situation up with several expensive items in the back of their "undercover" car, nothing was taken but cigarettes, which one boy took and ran. The police did not chase the "cigarette thieves," they rounded up the kids that did not run, handcuffed them all together and proceeded to search them. Not only did my daughter not have a pack of cigarettes on her person, purse, body or pocket, she didn't even have a cigarette butt!
She was searched by the police, and when nothing was found on her or the boy standing with her, they were still cuffed and carted away to Harris County Jail, charged with theft and minor in possession of tobacco, searched again, and then transported to the Southeast Command Station "for her own safety." Once transported across town to a "safer" jail, she was then strip-searched and thrown into a holding tank with three other juveniles who had threatened to beat up a Metro bus driver. You can imagine my concern, since I was not called until 7 p.m. that evening. Not only did she miss her driver's ed class, I had no idea where she was.
When we were finally called we asked for the arresting officer, arrest report and evidence. Much to our amazement, none of the above could be produced. All charges were dropped two days before our court date.
I hate to think what my daughter learned from this entire incident, but if I were 15, unfortunately, I would probably never respect law enforcement for quite a while, and next time: Run, Run, Run, even if you aren't guilty.
He Sees a Different Lesson
I say kudos to the HPD for a job well done when they conducted the "Great Smokeout" sting on April 19.
It is unfortunate that Lamar High School students were involved in the action but, hey, that's life! You do not steal the contents of a parked, unlocked car just because you have an opportunity.
Hopefully, these young people learned their lesson and now they will grow up so that the taxpayers of Texas will not have to support them later in life.
No one ever said life was fair, so deal with it!
John L. Andes Jr.
My compliments to the Houston Press for its balanced view of Constable Trevino ["Lord of the Eastside," by Tim Fleck, May 4]. I have been through the open door of his Lockwood office and can attest to the constable's willingness to help Houstonians without regard to their relative power or status. If Trevino's detractors characterize him as a "lone wolf" when it comes to working with other officials, perhaps they are disenchanted by a constable who would rather serve his constituents than dole out favors to the usual suspects. In reality, there are those who will never forget his early endorsement of Carol Alvarado, Rick Noriega, W.R. Morris, myself and others in political campaigns and community projects. His tenacious personality (of which there is somewhat more myth than evidence) has resulted in more neighborhood patrolling, arrests of drug dealers, increased attention to gang activity and a reduction in truancy. The residents of the East Side could do a lot worse; they often have.
Don't Mess with a Good Thing
Michael Berryhill's article ["Class War," News, April 13] was well-written and did present some of the arguments of the anti-neighborhood-component parents of River Oaks Elementary students. But more of the anti-neighborhood-component parents should have been consulted and quoted.
We are told by a few residents of River Oaks that a widespread desire has sprung up in the neighborhood to attend River Oaks Elementary. We need to see concrete evidence that such a widespread desire exists, since it has been lacking for more than 25 years.
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And even if it does exist, is it really necessary to tamper with an excellent program? Some River Oaks residents have said that they do not wish to displace a single student in the Vanguard program. I guess they mean not displacing a single student who now attends. In the long run, there's no way to add a neighborhood component without either lowering the number of Vanguard students or building more temporary facilities.
Including two separate schools under the same roof -- a Vanguard program and a non-Vanguard program -- creates problems that many River Oaks parents have probably not considered. Such problems exist in other HISD schools that have attempted the "two-component" approach.
River Oaks residents -- well-meaning parents who want the best for their kids -- have not been fully informed of the complications caused by a separate neighborhood component at River Oaks Elementary. If they were fully aware, I feel they would agree that this separate component is not good for any of us.