Vocational Students, Truck Drivers and Grateful Artists
A Different Course
Kudos: Thank you so much for your article "College Immaterial" [by Todd Spivak, May 15]. I am a product of HISD and attended Houston Technical Institute, which is now called Barbara Jordan High School for Careers. I had dropped out of another school during my ninth-grade year when I enrolled in HTI. I believe attending this type of school saved my life and got me focused on my education. I went on to finish college, and I have completed most of my course work for a masters-level certification program. My son is a student at Wunsche High School in Spring ISD. He has never been more motivated about school than he has this school year. In addition, the instructors and staff have been some of the best he's had attending Spring schools. I am a big believer in these types of academic settings. So I say kudos for bringing these programs to light.
Watch for trucks: Thank you for the article about corporate, greed-exploiting, owner-operator truck drivers. I work at the Port of Houston, and I deal with drivers on a daily basis. Safety on our roads and highways is compromised as drivers cut corners on truck maintenance to compensate for low-paying loads. Since they are paid per trip, they often exceed safe driving limits and take chances to make an extra trip.
Experienced drivers often switch careers and find better-paying, less stressful jobs. But the industry has a steady flow of new, inexperienced drivers to exploit in the form of immigrants, both legal and illegal. I have dealt with Asian and Hispanic drivers who do not speak or read English, but are pulling 70,000 pounds of truck, trailer and cargo. The immigrant drivers net enough money after expenses to live in poverty with no medical insurance, which is an improvement over conditions in their native countries. This is also what experienced, professional drivers compete with in addition to the skyrocketing cost of fuel.
The public alarm over Mexican trucks competing in the U.S. is misguided, as Mexican owner-operators have been here in large numbers for years, driving old, beat-up trucks purchased right here in Houston. I am not knocking all immigrant drivers, as some are a credit to their profession. Inexperience and low pay contribute to the terrible accidents in our city involving large trucks. I could go on about debris from trailers and unsecured loads. Be careful driving around trucks, especially in east Harris County.
Eyes on the Prize
Have fun: In reference to Kelly Klaasmeyer's piece on the Hunting Art Prize ["Hunting for Legitimacy," May 15], I'm sorry that she didn't have a more enjoyable evening. It seems that she was so overwhelmed with the "unintentional surrealism," she missed the whole point of the show, which was, I believe, to display paintings from a varied group of artists from across Texas. I'll admit that very soon after we arrived, my husband and I were wondering about the gold guys and the toga people, but after that surprise subsided, we both began to see it as simply amusing and had a great time.
Could it be possible that "Caesar," a.k.a. Mr. Hunting, was having some British tongue-in-cheek fun with the Houston art world? Maybe the organizers wanted to combine art with fun, just to see if it was possible. While there were probably some guests who may have been more comfortable in a more...sophisticated and highbrow setting, there seemed to be many others who were actually enjoying themselves.
I find it hard to knock an institution that every year gives away $50,000 to an artist, spends "at least $300,000" to provide its guests with good food and drink, and displays...mostly paintings. I felt honored to be one of this year's finalists and still do. Very much so.
I suggest to Klaasmeyer that if she is invited to next year's gala, she either politely decline, or go and remember that it's Hunting PLC's party — their prize, their money and their event. And try to have fun.
Mary K. Baxter
A May 22 Dish item by Paul Galvani stated that the chef at Jabour's is Jason Jones. Jones left the restaurant in late January. In addition, the article stated that owner Jody Jabour most recently worked for casinos in Mississippi. In fact, he has had several positions in Houston hotels and restaurants since then.
The Houston Press regrets the errors.
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