Don't Resurrect "Jesus"
I must complement your paper on this new web page design -- it is so ... conservative. Thank goodness you got rid of the "Gilstrap -- Jesus of the Week" articles which headlined your old web page. That column was one of the reasons that I quit accessing your web page.
Closed Minds, Closed Street
I do indeed appreciate the item on Councilman Joe Roach and the proposed sale of a city street to a private religious school ["Vested Interest," by Tim Fleck, November 19].
I sat right in front of Roach and Councilman Jew Don Boney at the meeting in Montrose Branch Library. I guess my big disappointment was that it was immediately apparent that both of them had already made up their minds on this issue. Nothing anyone in the neighborhood said or showed could change their position. And you heard a lot from many opponents.
Their real purpose at the meeting was to prepare the neighborhood for the bad news, sort of soften the blow. Go through the motions, have a process. Make us feel better. I felt like a chump.
What I wanted was some kind of just and democratic process where views and information are presented, and a decision or compromise is made. How naive! Boney said that even a compromise was not likely. Why not just close the street during school hours if safety is the issue? Annunciation Orthodox School does not care for this because it wants to own the land. The issue is power, not people.
Does Boney not represent us? Did we not vote for him? He was our only hope. Instead, he sides with what is essentially the big money and developers.
The Marshall Plan
I was struck by the complete lack of objectivity regarding Joe Roach's role in the Marshall Street closure. Your slant was completely one-sided. Where was the underlying concern for the safety of Annunciation Orthodox School children? What about the child that was hit by a car on Marshall a couple of months ago? How about a hint of objectivity?
I have enjoyed the Press for years. Part of your appeal is that you cut to the quick when it is due. You have done a tremendous job of exposing items the Chronicle wouldn't dare touch. I commend you for daring to be controversial, but I would hate for you to lose your credibility. (Houston needs a second opinion!)
Name withheld by request
Editor's note: The item focused on Roach's failure to disclose publicly that his own son attended the school, rather than any examination of the street closing or purchase issues.
Jogging the Feelings
I wanted to thank the Houston Press for organizing the Dome Run. This was the first time I ever attended a race, and I found the event memorable. Hundreds of people from all walks of life came out to run in this race.
As I watched them, I thought about how each had different interests, jobs and stresses, and that they would return to these after the event. But for a few hours, they shared the common goals to have fun, feel good and accomplish something. I was reminded that sometimes we get so caught up in our everyday lives that we forget there is more out there.
I saw people of all ages, races, religions, sexual orientations, etc. I saw single people, couples and entire families together. Everyone was sharing in this moment. It is the moments like these which rejuvenate the spirit.
Carrie Covington wrote that Rice should be about keeping athletes happy and that a coach's job is to "help his or her athletes continue to love their sport" [Letters, November 19, in response to "Bad Sports," by Bob Burtman, November 5].
That reminds me of when Jimmy Johnson took over coaching the Dallas Cowboys from Tom Landry. An insightful analysis was that Tom Landry was of an era when the athletes came motivated and with a love of the game. His job was to help them become the best players they could be. He could not succeed, however, in an age when athletes were better paid and better conditioned, but too spoiled to be motivated to actually play.
I long for a time when it was assumed that athletes were motivated by a love of their sport; and if they weren't, that they would pursue other opportunities and make room for those who had that motivation.
I see that Carrie Covington was entertained, but she missed the main point -- specifically what did coach Kris Wingenroth do, after ten years of coaching, to enrage the students?
I am sure Carrie is gainfully employed. Would she not want to know the specific reasons and complaints, if her boss calls her in and says she is fired because all her subordinates have a conflict with her?
I am sure Carrie would want to know if such conflict is justified, and exactly what those conflicts are that forced the students to act. Readers are awaiting your answer: Why did the students hate Wingenroth?
Goodman Good Man
I have always considered your publication to be a fun, informative periodical that presents its stories in a concise but impartial and balanced manner. But I was completely taken aback by "The Polo Wars," [by Randall Patterson, November 19].
Mr. Patterson's article was a poor, abject, worthless, nonsensical piece of garbage that should never have been published. It seems to many of us that his views, apart from being grossly distorted and flagrantly wrong, were presented in a way that seemed he was personally bitter with John Goodman, not to mention overly ardent towards Ralph Lauren.
It was Mr. Lauren who tried to buy the Polo name and image for his personal gain. Should you be sued because you have the word "Houston" in your paper's title, or because you most certainly share the same readers as, let's say, the Greensheet? No, I think not.
I do not socialize with members of the polo community. Mine is one of the later model Chevy trucks parked out in front of Goodman Manufacturing, yet I do not envy Goodman his good fortune as Mr. Patterson obviously does. In my two-year tenure with the company, I have come to view Goodman as a compassionate individual who is never too busy to stop in the hallway and offer a word of thanks or a kind hello.
Jaquie Carrol Shebellebon
Another Patrom Worker Reviles
Randall Patterson sounds more like a disgruntled employee than an objective reporter. This is the only reason I can think of for some of the outrageous and downright contemptible comments he made in his recent article. One gets the impression that Patterson has a personal grudge against John Goodman, not to mention yuppies in general. He sounds sad, envious, resentful and morose. Could it be that he was not hired to write for POLO Magazine?
I have known Goodman since he was ten years old, and I have been an employee at Goodman Manufacturing for more than eight years. In that time, Goodman has been an extremely kind and polite person who would never have a mean-spirited thing to say about anyone. What a shame Patterson clearly did not have the same type of upbringing.
Sally T. Pate
I am a regular reader of the Houston Press and enjoy the occasional political nugget you can find nowhere else. However, the November 19 Insider column by Tim Fleck was particularly odd and seemed to reflect an automatic tendency to question and undermine the motives of those individuals who over the years try to make a difference in Houston.
You go back to Jesse Jones, long deceased. Rather than praising the good works that he and his wife did by establishing Houston Endowment, Inc., you really reach by implying his generosity was simply an effort to "keep his name alive ..."
On Brother, Can You Spare a Billion, your reporter must have seen a different film. I found it highly informative about the most extraordinary citizens that Houston has produced. It appeared that you were hoping for a tabloid-type expose of Jones.
I would suggest that you just "chill out" and recognize there are some people who simply do good and support Houston because they are decent and caring individuals, without looking for ulterior motives.
Charles C. Foster
Why is Tim Fleck so upset about the life and times of Jesse Jones? I found the film very informative and enlightening.
As for the fact that there were "quirky moments" in this piece, such as Jones's late marriage and his reign from his Lamar Hotel digs, well surprise, surprise -- as though there has been anything like that in Houston before or since! Come on, Fleck, we have all been around the block a few times. I really don't want to know as much about Jones as I now do about President Clinton.
At least I now know who the man was, that he used his power and wealth (well, duh!) to do what he thought would be good for Houston and made a fortune along the way. We're all better off for the fact that the Houston Endowment was his last act of benevolence to Houston's future.
Kent L. Smith
Shivers to Go
I'm from San Francisco but was visiting my sister in Houston recently when I picked up the Houston Press and began to read the "Making a Killing" article [by Steve McVicker, October 22] while waiting for a pizza. We were so wrapped up in your article, my sister and I had to read sections to each other so we could eat.
Fantastic reporting. Gives me the shivers to think this guy is out walking around and still making a living off of death.
Levin Lashes Out
I am appalled by Tim Fleck's misleading and malicious tirade against both myself and the Houston Review ["Vested Interests," November 19]. In an unconscionable and patently false personal attack, Fleck implies that the paper and I have something against minorities. Let me point out that I have been invited in each of the past two years to speak at the NAACP state convention.I would request that Fleck read the first issue of the Review, in which I wrote an editorial denouncing the Houston Police Department's handling of the Pedro Oregon case.
I am shocked that Fleck seems to think that it is somehow racist to criticize the public actions and views of a minority elected official.
The fact that the Pacifica station runs commentaries by Mumia Abu-Jamal was cited in our story as just one example of their left-wing bias. In any case, my piece did not even mention that Abu-Jamal was African-American, since the point was that Pacifica was rewarding a convicted cop-killer. His race is irrelevant.
Finally, Fleck approaches logical absurdity when he accuses the Review of hypocrisy for criticizing the federal grants given to Pacifica because we are applying for nonprofit status. Obtaining nonprofit status is enormously different from receiving a $1 million subsidy from the federal government.
Publisher & Editor, Houston Review
Notes From a Native Son
Great article on South Houston's screwball politics ["Under Siege," by Shaila Dewan, November 12]. It's too bad more citizens in South Houston, the little town where I grew up, aren't informed and involved where city politics is concerned. Perhaps if they were more informed, they could support and defend people like Mayor Romero, who seems to have the best interests of the city at heart. Good luck to Mr. Romero. Politics needs more people like him.
Whipping Boy is right. Even the Press misspelled his name on the cover!
Sara J. Barnard
A Deep Pitt?
I have to disagree with your opinions on the movie Meet Joe Black ["Irregular Joe," by Jean Oppenheimer, November 12]. I think you failed to see the depth of feeling portrayed. I do agree that parts were slow, and Joe's knowledge of the present world was inconsistent. However, Hollywood usually works that way. I advise you to see the movie again, with an open mind, and to look deeper into the father/daughter relationship and the mystery and sensuality of the love that develops between Susan and Joe.
Roles and Parts
Whoever wrote the review for the movie Belly [Film Capsules, by Craig D. Lindsey, November 5] is a sexist pig. The reason why I say this is because when describing the movie he says "... a Jamaican druglord with an accent as thick as Jennifer Lopez's ass ...." This is sexist and demeaning and disrespectful to women. Where do you get off tearing women apart body part by body part and marginalizing them? It is so sad that in 1998 women are still reduced to body parts and deemed as sexual toys. As if they were not people but merely objects here for men's pleasure. You insensitive pig; next time think before you write, because women read the Houston Press, too.
The next time you review a night club ["Best of Houston," September 24], try sending someone who knows what he/she is talking about. In the best salsa/latin club category, your staff writes of Crystal Nite Club that "there are some nights, such as Friday, where the DJ needs to work on his clave -- his selection of salsa isn't too impressive." You write that "the place redeems itself" the next day.
I inform you that the selection of music played both nights is awesome and in fact, it is the same DJ (El Bacan) on both nights who is responsible. You cannot find a better DJ in Houston for salsa and merengue.
Name withheld by request
The problem has to do with your weekly capsule comments concerning area restaurants. Some of these reviews have not changed in years while chefs and styles have come and gone. It seems so rare to see a star indicating a new review. And please, please, retire the long worn-out and overused "see and be seen." See and be seen in New York or L.A., most definitely. See and be seen in Houston? I don't think so.
I find it a little hard to believe that Hobart Rowland could write 59 sentences about the Missiles and get it in print ["No Respect," September 24]. Can you even spell journalistic integrity?
For more than a decade, I've loved every second of every show the Missiles played. It was certainly a nice alternative to the rote lyrics of the bands that assumed they knew the plight of a twentysomething, college-graduate, career-oriented woman. Or maybe the Missiles were just cute.
God forbid I should hail from the suburbs and actually enjoy and perhaps thrive on the clever songwriting and hip-shaking groove tunes of this band! And if we all got drunk, had a blast and did things we possibly would live to regret, well, that's just the way it goes.
Personally, I feel cheated that this louse can publish this crap without even one opinion to the contrary. And frankly, "I wouldn't wipe my ass with this rag."
Suzanne Sutphin Stehr
Hi Hobart; great goodbye article. We're going to miss you. I want to thank you for the great article you wrote on me in 1995, when I released my debut CD.
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And Goodbye Kiss
Now that Hobart Rowland has left town for good, the Houston music scene should start to prosper again. Sunset Heights has been in business for almost ten years now, and we've toured Europe and sold over 10,000 albums in the process. All this was done without the help of Hobart Rowland. He has been the biggest "trash writer" in the city. He constantly wrote negative things about people who were becoming successful in their hometown.
When Brad Tyer was the music writer for Houston Press, I didn't always agree with his comments, but he did show a great sense of knowledge abut the music industry and should be commended for his efforts.
Sunset Heights will be showcasing at Tramps in New York City on December 11, and as we pass through Philadelphia, we will be sure to tell Hobart Rowland to kiss our ass!