Michael Berryhill's excellent story on the Katy Prairie ["The Fight to Save the Katy Prairie, January 20] omits one significant question: why should public money be spent to spawn more real estate development when our real estate market is already so dreadfully overbuilt?
Expensive infrastructure projects like the Grand Parkway and the West Side airport may drive up the value of adjacent land, but they do so at an enormous cost to the existing urban area. While the vacancy rate for downtown office space hovers near 25 percent (with the rest of the metropolitan area about the same), we should spend public funds to help the central city and our existing urban area, rather than on creating disincentives for redevelopment.
Mary A. Van Kerrebrook
Thank you for your fine piece on the Katy Prairie. I would add only that without the Houston Sierra Club's wetlands chairman, Bill Stransky, the prairie would be destroyed already. When Mr. Stransky first began working to bring public attention to the ill-conceived West Side airport in 1987, the project was considered an accomplished fact. But Mr. Stransky refused to give up. He has talked to innumerable politicians and business leaders, waded through thousands of documents and worked tirelessly to educate the public on the value of this critically threatened resource. His work is proof that our system can be made to function for more than just the special interests -- but only if we all actively participate in it.
I would like to compliment you on Michael Berryhill's article. However, I do have one suggestion that might help make the Houston Press a more effective tool for positive change. At the end of articles such as Mr. Berryhill's, it might be very useful to mention specific information with which a reader could get started in taking action to help the situation.
Michael Berryhill replies:
To help save the Katy Prairie, write to:
Katy Prairie Land Conservancy
First City National Bank Building
Houston, Texas 77002
Or phone these organizations:
Houston Sierra Club, 895-9309
Houston Audubon Society, 932-1639
Won't Get Fooled Again
I still don't get it. Does it really matter who sent the information about chlorine products, as long as the information is factual? [Press Briefs, "Fool Us Once...," January 20, by Josh Daniel] The article was about dueling sources when it should have been about Press reporters checking the facts of the women's claims.
Why should I take Greenpeace at face value when that organization has just as much to gain by bad environmental news as a chemical company does by good? I am willing to listen to any factual argument. I was given none by the Press.
Josh Daniel replies: Mr. Branson misses the point. The important question in "Fool Us Once" wasn't about Jim Hightower or Greenpeace or even organochlorines. The question was whether people who have personal interests in an industry -- say, if that industry pays their salaries -- should promote it publicly without first disclosing those interests.
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