I applaud you for your investigative enthusiasm ["Risky Business," by Brad Tyer, November 26]. You seem to have related a fair and objective story. It appears that the Norrises have been (and I hope still are) working well within the constraints of their permits.
It is amazingly convenient of Afis Olajuwon to be unable to recall anything accurate about his dealings with the Norrises. Do the Norrises affect Mr. Olajuwon's business in any way? Perhaps now that this story has been brought to light, will Olajuwon see a diminished clientele? I, for one, will not be patronizing this car wash anytime soon.
It is also amazing that Representative Ron Wilson has coincidentally decided he can't live with the Norrises working with proper permits while he doesn't mind the vendors selling roses without permits. If Wilson is genuinely concerned, why doesn't he work to ensure all street vendors maintain the proper permits? Does Wilson have nothing better to do than solicit harassment for the Norrises? Wilson's involvement begs the question, Will we see him courtside if the NBA season ever gets under way?
Thank you, Mr. Tyer, for your enlightening article.
Ernest W. Ladkani
It is sad to hear that even Hakeem's brother is crooked. Nothing would have happened if he had not gotten greedy. Can you give me an update on where the glass repair men are working now? I want to show them my support.
Quite interesting. Afis needs to leave others alone and show some class like his brother Hakeem, who is probably the "bank" who got Afis started anyway.
John T. Auriemma
Hopes for the Worst
The Norrises will get the last laugh. Hope the IRS gets your report and that people refuse to go to Afis Olajuwon's business.
Abuses Moved Him
Great article. I lived in Houston for years and regularly saw similar political and police abuses. I moved away from the city for exactly that reason, after experiencing a couple of incredibly corrupt police officers.
I was quite taken by the events that have transpired and by the far reaches of the Olajuwons' so-called power.
Trying to defraud the U.S. government by not paying one's taxes is a felony and could mean the loss of all his businesses. And anything that Ron Wilson does that could be construed as help for a friend is abuse of power.
Keep up the good work. I enjoy the hell out of your paper. Look what else we got -- the Houston Chronicle, the pits.
This was a fine story. My wife's vehicle just suffered a chip, and a gravel truck caused a stone to create a star on my windshield. By gosh, by golly, we'll just have to find the new Norris location to have them fixed.
Operating In a Vacuum
Fascinating story on the Norris family and their problems with Dream's car wash. Bob and Clint may have the last laugh yet, as their business may outlive the car wash. I have come to it twice since it opened. Each time I chose to leave rather than wait for one vacuuming employee who was expected to take care of four cars while two supervisors stood by and visited with one another.
Apparently, vacuuming wasn't in their "supervisor" job description. Waiting for one guy to do the work of three isn't in my "client" job description. I wonder how many others have had the same experience? Be sure to let us know where Chips & Cracks relocates. I expect to patronize their business.
Editor's note: At press time, the Norrises were still in business near the corner of Bancroft and San Felipe. They are waiting for formal notification from the Houston Police Department about the legality of continued operations at that location.
Is it a crime that John Goodman is wealthy, generous, modest and possesses a great passion for a grand and very challenging sport ["The Patron," by Randall Patterson, November 19]? Is it so bad to be unassuming in regards to the vast and diverse knowledge that is second nature when part of a family business for 15 years?
John started the International Division of Goodman Manufacturing and helped his father achieve the very successful transition into a world market supplier from the simpler national business -- it is only fitting that he was made head of the division!
Goodman insists on playing a defensive position in polo, and he has never tried to pass himself off as more of a player than he is. He is developing into a damn good player; he is already a beautiful sportsman and role model for all.
Next time you mock a good man, I hope you make the extra effort to delve more deeply, get your facts straight, and not be so eager to conjure up the disappointing misrepresentations you seem to thrive on. Get it right lest you become yet another unreliable news source.
Margaret Wilson Reckling
Armour, Not Amour
It never ceases to amaze me how one jealous man with lies, innuendo and misrepresentations can subvert a great sport, so falsely portray a fine gentleman, and do his best to alienate a city against an otherwise charitable and well-meaning group of people. I am referring to Randall Patterson's piece on John Goodman.
This character assassination was hardly the topic on which Patterson led the members to believe that he was writing when he interviewed us. Ever the optimist, I was hoping that we might get a fair article on the sport and the Houston Polo Club. Patterson could have included some of the positive contributions that the club and the sport have made to this community and the public in general. For instance, the funds raised by the club through charity matches for many nonprofit organizations.
Patterson had the opportunity to take the high road; sadly, he chose not to. Unfortunately, I should have known, being the Houston Press, that it would be just another of your whining, hack, tabloid efforts.
Steven S. Armour
Director, Houston Polo Club
Grapes to Champagne
A good journalist uses intelligence and objectivity and checks his facts. I think Randall Patterson's article is greatly lacking in all these areas. His obvious sour grapes bias against anyone more fortunate and talented than he is in poor taste, especially since he is supposed be a professional writer.
I hope someday Randall owns some property large enough to park his car where he wishes.
Yvonne R. Victery
Breathless Over Venom
I have known meanness for its own sake, but your article about John Goodman left me breathless.
I hope that your effort brings profit or joy to someone, because it is so seething with hatred for a man who is nothing if not unfailingly kind, overwhelmingly decent and almost painfully shy. The spoiled, imperial image you seek to create doesn't fit even remotely. In all the years that I have known John Goodman, I have never seen him be abusive or overbearing with anyone ever -- not the Queen of England, not a rookie stable hand. He was born into good fortune, appreciates it and has pursued his personal goals successfully.
Class satire is fair enough, but the repeated use of a person's physical description in an attempt to humiliate is hard for me to fathom. I don't understand what John did to deserve your venom, and I never will. This letter may make me the next target, but so be it.
Paul William Hobby
Randall Patterson replies: The writer is president of the Houston Polo Club. "The Patron" was not intended as satire but as a forthright look at a sport and at the owner of the sport's top-ranked team. Since the owner in this case chooses to play on his own team, his physical condition was relevant to the story, as it would be in any story about any athlete.
Congratulations on a fine article about Houston polo. It is not entirely true about no HPC players being members of the Bayou Club. The portrait of Goodman as a good guy is dead on. Total Ralph-bashing. All the best.
Below the Belt
What the hell has Goodman done to incite the vitriolic wrath of writer Randall Patterson?
The guy obviously has a lot of dough, which Patterson may be understandably jealous of, but what is the harm in this guy spending his money the way he wants? I found Patterson's article to be a really cruel expose for reasons I can't understand. If the article's theme was to be the lawsuit with Ralph Lauren, that's fair game, and however he chose to slant that information I would understand.
The elder Goodman had four children, not five as stated.
Goodman is simply a really nice guy who happens to have a fat wallet. He has done no harm to anyone. The guy didn't deserve the personal attacks. They really were below the belt and served the article no purpose. I hope Patterson is laughing all the way to his office in his Chevy, wearing his $120 suit to pick up his $400-a-week paycheck so he can go put $2 to show on some nag out at Sam Houston Park.
Randall Patterson replies: Harold Goodman's children were listed incorrectly in his Chronicle obituary. I regret repeating that error.
Former Mayor Speaks
I want to thank Shaila Dewan for her extraordinary story about the city of South Houston ["Under Siege," November 12]. I know that it was the result of her conscientious effort to get the whole story and examine all sides. It is an unsettling feeling to see all of these things in print, compiled and verified by a independent third party. It is an accurate description of what I faced during my tenure as mayor of South Houston.
If anything positive came from the injustice of overturning a democratic and free mayoral election, it must be the realization that attention must be paid to what the "fight at city hall" is really about.
I want to give credit to Shaila for her fortitude and for writing an objective story that will hopefully help us in the coming months to stop the "siege" on ethics, the laws and good, honest government. Thanks to the editors of the Press for their courage and determination in producing a hard-hitting expose.
Former mayor of South Houston
It is totally mind-boggling that the residents of South Houston haven't marched on city hall! The mayor has pointed out to the public how they have been ripped off for years by the city's Ron Patrick and Family (blood-related or not). Whether they decide to do anything about it is up to them. Right now, the people look like bumpkins being controlled.
Tale of the Tapes
I demand that the Houston Press run a correction in light of a demonstrably false claim made in Tim Fleck's Insider column ["Vested Interests," November 19]. Fleck wrote that the number listed for the Houston Review had a taped message from Edward Blum. In fact, the voice mail message is and always has been from me.
Although I am proud to be associated with Blum in my work with him on the Campaign for a Colorblind America, he is not even a staff member of the Houston Review. Fleck's misstatement left a misleading impression with Houston Press readers.
Publisher & Editor, Houston Review
Tim Fleck replies: If Mr. Levin contends it was his voice on the machine rather than that of campaign founder Blum, fine. It only reinforces the point of our commentary. Rather than being an objective, community newspaper that exists for the purpose of training young journalists, as the Review claims, it is a promotional brochure for the campaign and its anti-affirmative action attacks.
Closing the Door
In July of last year, Steve McVicker and I were introduced by an attorney for him to "help" me expose the medical examiner's office and the Houston Police Department for their mistakes in the investigation of the death of my father, Don Chaline ["Death of an Informant," July 24, 1997].
McVicker fooled me into believing that he was actually helping me. Instead, for over a year, I have read him call my father a "drug smuggler," "dope dealer" and "hit man" for hire. He has totally humiliated my family.
My father was not a perfect man. I don't know every single thing of his 50 years on this earth, and there were minor charges such as public intoxication, hot checks and things like that.
I challenge McVicker to show some proof of the allegations he has made against my dead father. It is amazing how no one seemed to accuse him of being any of these things until he was dead and no longer able to defend himself. Yes, my father was a gambler. And yes, he enjoyed living lavishly at times. But Don Chaline was a goodhearted family man.
McVicker made it look like my father just "happened" into my life when it was convenient. As time went on and my father began realizing the importance of life, he was a permanent fixture in my life and my family's lives. When I was pregnant, he called to check on me daily and patiently awaited the birth of his first grandson.
McVicker twisted my words and those of others into saying what he thought the readers of this paper would want to read. McVicker repeatedly referred back to that article.
I have laid low for quite some time now, watching and listening, but don't think I have forgotten about my father's death or the lack of help I was given by the city and county agencies involved. I have and will continue to work on this case until I bring enough evidence that my father didn't just "fall" for any reason and crash his skull in. He was murdered.
I know you won't lose any sleep over this, McVicker, but I want you and your readers to know that you have caused my entire family to lose many precious hours of it.
I don't want to be you when you see your maker and get what you deserve -- the same thing you gave my family -- a door closed in your face!
Steve McVicker replies: Rogers sought his help in her efforts to exhume the body of her father -- and it was exhumed. As for the negative descriptions of her father that Rogers says humiliated her family, it was her own brother who provided much of that information for the article.
On Her Toes
Just a quick note to congratulate Cynthia Greenwood on her recent articles covering the "classical" arts scene in Houston.
I have found her articles to be well written and enjoyable reading. One suggestion: Would it be possible to request a sidebar giving definitions and/or descriptions of the more technical terms used in ballet? It would be helpful, I think, as well as educational.
Good job and please keep it up!
Kernels of Truth
The article about the rock group Korn was excellent ["Kontroversy," by David Simutis, November 19]. Korn is by far my favorite group that is out there, for one simple reason: Their music is 100 percent honesty.
For once it is nice to see a paper that gives the facts and doesn't take sides on the whole "is Korn good for our youth?" debate that everyone seems to be having. If people took the time to step out of themselves for a few minutes and try and understand exactly what Jonathan Davis is writing about, they would be able to understand it more.
Korn Is King
As soon as I heard Korn in 1994, I went and bought their CD. The whole fucking CD rocked, and I could really feel where they were coming from. At first everybody made fun of me for listening to them, but now I have everybody hooked. For the people out there who think their music is too vulgar -- bullshit.
Bring in the Clowns
I just read the Bozo Porno Circus article ["Smut Circus," by David Simutis, October 29], and it was just great.
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Actually, I attended the Vampire Ball at Numbers. The show was awesome, even though I just went without knowing that a concert of three bands was going to take place. It wasn't until the second band finished playing when I actually knew that Bozo Porno Circus was about to play.
The movie Velvet Goldmine was terrific ["Glam-rock Goldmine," by Keven McAlester, November 5]. I totally disagree with you that there was too much music. For one thing, the music on the soundtrack is actually recorded by various members of musicians influenced by this era in music. For example, the soundtrack's musicians include members/ex-members of Stooges, Sonic Youth, Radiohead, Suede, Roxy Music, Mudhoney, Firehose, etc. These musicians performed many covers from that era. Makes perfect sense!