Bob the Needy
Thank you for an accurate article on Bob Lanier ["In Bob We Trust," by Brian Wallstin, June 1] and the do-nothing-except-say-yes City Council. I voted for Lanier and also for Councilman Joe Roach; needless to say I will not make the same mistake twice.
You correctly identified the problem -- Lanier's ego and the need to be surrounded by "yes-men." That is why he cannot get along with George Greanias, who calls it as it is -- whether the mayor likes it or not -- and should be applauded for doing so. I'd vote for Greanias as mayor.
One must also remember that Lanier was one of the main forces, if not the main force, behind not building a rail rapid transport system. All the Class One cities are either building, adding on or improving theirs -- Dallas, San Diego, San Francisco, New York, London, Tokyo, Los Angeles, to name a few. With the continuation of Metro's money being shoveled into roads, one becomes aware that neither Lanier nor his appointees on the Metro board have any concept, or may not wish to know, what is meant by an "integrated" public transportation system and how it works. Even Amori, Japan, has a transportation system which is more integrated than what exists here.
With the Houston Post gone, it is gratifying to see the Houston Press taking its place as the loyal opposition.
William L. West III
Correspondent Behind Bars
I'm writing concerning the article by Claudia Kolker ["Women Behind Bars," May 18]. I would like to address the mindset with which this article was written. While I have nothing against women becoming a part of the upper-level prison management, your article seems to be glorifying prisons and prison culture. Women becoming wardens doesn't change the fact that this state has hocked its children's education for the next 50 years to build more prisons, and now our legislators are going back and changing the law to ensure that all the prisons stay full of blacks and minorities. Texas courts lead the nation in their failure to address illegal convictions and in making excuses for the prosecutors and lawyers who fail to do their jobs properly, or overzealously. Making women prison wardens does not accomplish anything toward addressing the root problem: racism in the law enforcement, prosecutor and judicial ranks. Until we and, especially, the media address this problem, nothing written about prisons is worth glorifying.
Next, Kolker stated properly that women can perform strip searches in some instances; however, her information that the court in Aranda v. Lynaugh dismissed the lawsuit is incorrect. I was a party to that lawsuit and participated in the trial. We didn't lose, and the court didn't reject our argument; what happened was a compromise with the rules concerning strip searches being changed.
Also, I can't understand why Kolker would describe the prisoners who participated in the lawsuit as "100 angry prisoners." This makes us look as if we are some type of freak and fails to properly explain why we filed the lawsuit. It was filed because some of us possess devout religious beliefs which some of these ignorant rednecks do not understand or respect. They were forcing women to strip-search us as a means to deny us rights, privileges and immunities other inmates enjoyed. Also, there was a group of female officers using the strip-search procedure to harass, degrade and intimidate male inmates. I don't know why I should have expected different from your paper, considering the fact that you are seeking to boost your sales as are others in the media. I just hope you are fair enough to allow that part of the society you are trying to leave out to have his say. Thank you.
Mustafa Al-Amin Fedayeen-Fard
After reading your review of Crimson Tide starring Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington [Film, "War Games," by Joe Hon, May 18], I was a little concerned about it not being a good movie because of the bad review it got in your publication. I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was and how terribly off the mark your review was.
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Since the same director and producer also did Top Gun, I guess your movie critic went in the theater with the notion that Crimson Tide would just naturally be a super-action-packed, edge-of-your-seat, "Gee, golly, it has a submarine and Russians in it, it must be a Tom Clancy/Red October look-alike!" movie. If your critic had not gone in with such narrow-minded, preconceived notions, maybe his review would have been more accurate.
The screenplay for this movie wasn't written in the same manner as Top Gun or Hunt for Red October, nor should it have been. The quality of the story hinged on the different philosophies of the two main characters and how their different approaches to the dilemma at hand caused the fate of the world to swing in the balance. That swing alone created enough tension to keep one mentally on the edge of one's seat. That and the horrible contemplation that such a thing could really happen! This was a movie that demanded that you think about the situation, not just let the visuals and the action carry the movie. Top Gun was good because you didn't have to think.
By the way, I wonder if that movie critic of yours can even remember the story line of Top Gun? In Crimson Tide the story line was paramount. My hat's off to the makers of these two films to be able to make both types of movies so successfully.
Bryan K. Gammon