Back to Jail
Concerned: Concerning "Jail Misery" [by Randall Patterson, November 18], our hearts go out to Monte Killian. We read that before he was jailed this fall, he had HIV, hepatitis C, a rock of crack in his mouth and a private physician who apparently missed signs of cancer and lymphoma. Some of these problems obviously were not of his making — or the government's. In jail, before he pleaded guilty to assaulting a peace officer, he refused food, antibiotics and other medications, no doubt complicating his ongoing recovery.
The article attempts to take on several complicated issues. Unfortunately, they confused the reporter as he tried to interpret medical records, unsupported allegations and misimpressions. The piece teems with errors of commission and omission, with facts and quotes taken out of context, with false assumptions and misguided leaps of logic, all of which we would be glad to enumerate. I know how to spot those noxious elements because 1) I was a newspaper reporter and editor for 33 years and 2) I accompanied the writer on a midnight visit to the jail's intake center. It's not a perfect environment. But the writer never saw evidence of the capacity problems Killian complained about. I fear the writer disregarded his first-person observation because it would have gotten in the way of the third-person account he was marketing.
I'm also concerned by the fact that after a professional woman on the sheriff's staff provided the writer with further refutations of his misbegotten conclusions about the quality of care in the jail, he wrote that she is "hard-boiled."
Director of Public Affairs
Harris County Sheriff's Office
Editor's Note: The Houston Press stands behind Patterson's story, while remaining willing to correct any errors Alan Bernstein cares to enumerate and that we can substantiate.
Online readers weigh in:
Moral of the story: Don't go to jail. What is someone with HIV doing with crack? He was not taking care of himself when he was wasn't in jail...
Moral of the story: The police and the jails lie. If we can't believe them about how they treat the prisoners, why should we believe them in the charges they make against citizens?
The message was pretty clear. Cop a plea,or die. Your rights as a citizen have novalue here.
The Meat Matter
Online readers comment on "Looking for a Bull Market," by Robb Walsh, November 5:
Similar tale: I have eaten at Killen's exactly once. I ordered the 16-ounce dry-aged strip, medium rare, and got served a piece of raw, un-aged meat that seemed to have been freshly removed from a downer cow. It smelled bad, it tasted bad and I'll never visit there again.
Inexcusable: I have not dined at Killen's, but I applaud Robb Walsh's honesty. In spite of the fact that he went there with a desire for a great meal, he was able to objectively report on his experience.
I am troubled by the notion that the economy somehow was responsible for the spoiled meat being served. Do a poor economy and light business justify serving spoiled food to a customer? I imagine all restaurants are experiencing the same economy, and I doubt that they are serving spoiled food. This is inexcusable, and frankly, I would think a visit by a health inspector is in order. I think I shall avoid Killen's at all costs.
A fluke: I visited Killen's Steakhouse two months ago and had a fantastic experience, as well as one of the best steaks I've ever had. I was crazy about all of the sides, and the bread pudding was amazing. I left Killen's a happy man.
That being said, I highly respect Robb Walsh's obligation to objectively report on his dining experience.
I'm betting that the bad bite of steak was an absolute fluke, and I trust that Killen's will learn from the experience and reinforce itself as a stellar Texas steakhouse.
Me too: This reminds me of the Akaushi beef we got at Bolner's Grocery in San Antonio last year. We bought two strips after a nice sales pitch from the butcher, and got home and fixed them that night. We didn't bother to smell them, but after grilling, my wife's strip had that same pungent, putrid, rancid smell. She couldn't eat it. My strip, on the other hand, was perfect.
Walsh unmasked: I am so disappointed that Walsh has revealed his identity. If the waiter/kitchen had recognized him, do you think he would have gotten the bad meat?
Killen's fan: I have visited the steakhouse twice. Other than the blond hostess who appeared to be young, inexperienced and rude, our experience was great. The steaks on both trips were exceptional. The bread pudding was to die for. Because it is rather pricey, we will probably frequent again on special occasions.
Comp it: Yeah, my wife and I have been once, also. I thought the food was great and the service, well, adequate. We had to sit a long time before being asked if we wanted dessert; when the manager came by, we thought he was going to ask us if everything was okay. Nope. He asked if we were ready for the check. That was the only real downside of the evening.
This service sounds unacceptable even before the spoiled meat. After that happened, Ron Killen himself should have come out, immediately comped the whole meal, dessert and wine, and given a coupon for the same value. Period. That's the only way you handle that kind of thing if you have any upscale aspirations at all. Besides, it's probably what Taco Bell would do if you got spoiled meat there.
This has got to be a fake review! I eat at Killen's at least three times a month and have never, and I mean never, been dissatisfied with any of the things mentioned in this review. Cordon Bleu-trained chef Killen would never serve, store or keep putrid meat, serve floating spinach in cream or sell rancid wine.
I have patronized Killen's since day one, when they served lunch also. I have been vocal about what to put on the menu (creamed corn) and when a dish was not the same from one visit to the next. Chef Killen is well respected in the culinary world, and anyone who has eaten at Killen's will never believe these things occurred. The manager, Jonathan Robert, knows his function and runs that restaurant like a well-oiled machine. And it is not oiled with margarine! He would have never allowed a bus boy to come to the table to serve or explain anything. Furthermore, he knows about wine — its care and history. He would not have allowed a compromised bottle to reach your table.
We are grateful that we have Killen's in Pearland and consider it one of our best-kept secrets — we only invite people who know and can truly appreciate the extraordinary food Chef Killen produces.
You, sir, may stay home next time. We will take Killen's just like it is!
No more: I have about given up on "upscale" dining in Houston. We had a miserable meal at the new Fleming's steakhouse in Town & Country. We ordered the small filet cooked medium-rare, and it was overcooked and too tough to eat. I got no questions about it when they took the nearly complete steak to the kitchen. It was clear they put the whole plate into a salamander after cooking, and for too long, à la Tex-Mex. The plate was too hot to touch, the sides were broiled dry and the steak was ruined. I've also been served rotten fish in the past year at two very respected restaurants and haven't had the stomach to go back, despite their sincere apologies and genuine efforts to replace the meal with another. Chefs should give food the smell test before cooking. This is inexcusable.
Online readers comment on "Metro Rolls Out Facebook and Twitter Accounts to Zero Fanfare," Hair Balls blog, by Fayza Elmostehi, November 17:
Who cares? If it doesn't matter, and nobody cares that METRO is on Facebook and Twitter, why bother to write about it? Seriously, there's more interesting news going on around the world than this.
Also, your writing kind of makes me feel sick.
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Haha: This is so hilarious you have people in an uproar about poking fun at the lame Metro. Lighten up, people, when did Texans lose their sense of humor?
Personally, I was laughing my you-know-what off all the way in Louisiana (we still have a sense of humor here).