Many thanks for Michael Berryhill's tribute to Robert Campbell ["A Matter of Faith," April 13]. It was moving and much deserved, but Mr. Berryhill neglects to mention one of Robert's most amiable characteristics: he was a keen gardener and made his house on Bayland Avenue the prettiest garden in the area. We used to talk over the fence, being very knowledgeable about our roses. You may not know that the Woodland Heights Civic Association dedicated the Historical Homes Tour in April to his memory.
Otherwise, He's a Great Man
Mayor Bob Lanier needs to stop taking credit for the lower crime rate. He's had nothing to do with it. [News, "Spare the Mayor, Kill the Story," by Tim Fleck, March 30.] Crime rises when there is no opportunity for decent employment, and it has been demonstrated in countless studies that punishment incentives do not affect crime statistics in any way. If the mayor were better educated, he would already know this.
Also, I am continually offended by the mayor's lack of foresight. The Lanier administration has cost Houston a 21st-century transportation system. Furthermore, he has condemned us to a future of high bond payments, made several fraudulent attempts to impose zoning, created a costly, out-of-control police department, inflicted a primitive high-speed police chase policy, successfully censored Cable Access Television and the Houston Chronicle, neutered Metro, misdirected road repair and transportation money, sold us out to neighborhood associations and transformed the City Hall building into some kind of white trash Christmas hoedown. The list keeps getting longer.
Furthermore the City Council needs to stop politicizing Selena's death! When the Council was interviewed by Brad Tyer of the Houston Press two years ago, they gave no indication that they knew anything about popular music. They each told some unlikely story that they only listen to gospel music. This leads me to the unmistakable conclusion that before March 31, 1995, City Council had never heard of Selena! Their attempt to censor Howard Stern by forcing Warner Cable to cancel the E! television channel is just as unfair as me trying to get FOX 26 canceled because they air Rush Limbaugh. City Council should stop their attempts to further censor cable television.
They need to remember that Houstonians have long memories. Lanier's administration shall be remembered for looking backward and never looking forward. When his term limit finally puts him out of a job, maybe then Houston can get back to building a future. Bob Lanier's ill-fated political career will be long remembered as an embarrassing mistake.
Szatmary, Call Your Secretary
Peter Szatmary's review of Keyboard Skills [Theater, "Less Than Skillfull," April 13] at Houston's Stages Repertory Theater is aptly titled -- if you understand the title to be a reflection of the reviewer's skills, rather than the playwright's. Szatmary just doesn't get it -- he's definitely "less than skillful" when it comes to understanding good drama.
He says the play wants to be "a biting thriller" and that it "goes on and on about nothing." Was he asleep? It's a fine piece of work about men's and women's roles in a generation just ahead of most baby boomers -- where women were trained to be secretaries and wives and to pretend to believe their husbands' lies when they knew better. Wake up, Peter, this is not an "insignificant comedy" as you call it; rather, it's a well-deserved winner of the Blackburn Prize. You said you didn't understand why it was chosen -- but who made you an expert on drama about compelling women's issues?
If you had a fine secretary from Miss Gainsborough's school, she would never let you look so incompetent!
The Divine Mrs. G.
I suspect that Wendy Gramm's views regarding the efficacy of the economic free market ["Heeere's Wendy," by David Pasztor, April 6] and reluctance to have the government monitor companies for possible health threats to the general public, are more extreme than my own. The Republicans are essentially going in the correct direction on many issues, but we should be careful in preventing them from going off the deep end. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Wendy Gramm are both strong and intelligent females. We respect such women only when we fairly evaluate both the strengths and weaknesses of their views and actions.
Does anybody really believe that Wendy Gramm would tolerate her husband allegedly pushing her into the background to avoid offending racist Texas voters? These murmurs are disgusting and insulting and ignore the reality that successful women have their own lives and careers to worry about. Only stay-at-home wives would always be able to "stand by their man" in the dedicated and fawning manner demanded by these vicious rumor mongers! Common sense dictates that this married couple probably made a mutual decision to give her a higher profile because of the importance of Senator Phil Gramm's hope for the most important job in the United States. It's likely that he would do the same if their roles were reversed.
Editor's note: We suspect that if the Gramms' roles were reversed, Phil would still already have the higher profile.
White Folks Making Sense
I guess you people want Dole to win! Don't fine, upstanding citizens have a hard enough time? Now you've played the race card on Phil Gramm!
An Oriental best friend told me that Gramm has no chance because his wife is Oriental.
If a sleaze bag like Clinton can win why couldn't Gramm overcome prejudice against his wife?
Gramm needs to run for president and Dole should stay in the senate. Dole is a Bush clone in that he will cave in on critical issues and give a kissing-up impression. Gramm is tough enough to veto when he should.
If Republicans want to win, they need to flush their "business-as-usual" attitude of seniority and get the best candidate -- unless they still want to punish Texas for voting Republican, which only makes sense to white people!
Bonnie Zee Zanderer
Those Sweetheart Wreckers
I just read the letter "Protect and Serve" by Heather Davis [April 6]. It may not be just the HPD having "sweetheart" relationships with wrecker drivers. About 1977, my son's car stalled at I-49 and Grant Road. He called some friends to tow the car home (about a mile up Grant Road). But before they came a sheriff's deputy stopped. My son said everything was okay and help was on the way. But the deputy called a wrecker and stayed to make sure the car wasn't towed before the wrecker arrived.
Perhaps I was lucky on two other occasions. Once, I was able to rent a tow bar and bring a car to its home from where it was stalled near Hempstead and Jones Road. I was told the Jersey Village police were very strict at that time. Also in the 1970s, the accelerator cable on my Volkswagen Squareback broke on a Houston street. I was able to bring back a new cable from a dealer and fix the problem.
Sometimes there are simple solutions that are efficient for both police and car owners. If you run out of gas I hope you can get some. On the other side of it, I can remember our ride pool driving past a car by Highway 6 every day while it was gradually stripped until it was a shell sitting on its frame. Now, I wonder if it just didn't look like there was money in it.
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Famous Last Words
Hey, Press! Since the Chronicle and Hearst completely shut down the Post without the decency of a proper burial (i.e., a final edition), how about giving some of the staff at the Post such as Lynn Ashby, Paul Harasim, Juan Palomo and Ken Hoffman (just to name a few) the opportunity to say good-bye in the Houston Press? They certainly aren't going to get it from the Chronicle....
Editor's note: As you may have noticed, we provided Palomo with an opportunity for a parting shot (and paid him handsomely, we might add). Somehow, though, we never figured Ashby for a Press sort of guy. And Hoffman was on TV saying he wasn't angry about being unable to put out a good-bye edition, since that just meant one less column he had to write.