I am very concerned about inaccuracies reported in the "Just Plane Angry" article ["Naked City," Vol.17, No.49]. Although I repeatedly answered the reporter's [Kevin Fullerton] questions, he failed to include those answers and instead chose to report whatever he found more "interesting."
I would like to address two statements, in particular, that were made in that article:
1) "Tim Warren ... [is] said to have instigated the petition movement ... [to have Leonard Lyons removed from the Airport Advisory Board]."
I have not in any way instigated or signed any petition to remove Leonard Lyons from the Airport Advisory board. I have never seen such a petition nor have I created one.
2) "Lyons says Warren's claims that he impugned the character of DBEs through his comments is ... meant to distract attention from a `setup.'"
I have never claimed that Leonard Lyons impugned the character of the DBEs through any comments he may have made.
I also respectfully request a retraction stipulating these facts.
Should you have any questions or need more information regarding this request, please contact me at 499-7607.
Tim Warren, Director
Small and Minority Business Resources Department
[Kevin Fullerton responds: The article never stated that a petition materialized, only that sources cited Warren and others as having discussed an attempt to launch a petition drive. More than one source confirmed this was the case. Further, Mr. Warren refused to answer repeated questions as to whether he had talked to anyone about removing Leonard Lyons from the Airport Advisory Board. Warren also refused to say whether he believed that Lyons had made any comments that were unfairly disparaging to DBEs.]
Speak if You DARE
It's been a number of years since the Chronicle has seriously examined drug war issues (c.1994?), but like rain this summer, any sprinkle is relief from the drought.
I was struck by Erica Barnett's remark: "The [DARE] program ... has proven virtually resistant to criticism, at least on a national scale" ["The DARE Debate," Vol. 17, No. 49]. It was perplexing to the few critics in this area to see a "progressive" City Council pump hundreds of thousands into DARE propaganda while local media maintained silence.
Silence is what discredits opposition to both the war in general and investigative journalists like Gary Webb ("Dark Alliance") in specific. It is a silence cultivated as policy by the powerful DEA. Isn't it time the silence ended? In that way we can really see if DARE is "virtually resistant."
Stephen W. McGuire
P.S. Nice ad juxtaposition!
More Digital Reporting!
Just a quick note to say how much I enjoyed John Avignone's article "Out With the Old" [Vol.17, No.49]. Very informative and entertaining. Glad to see you're doing a two-part series on this.
I'd love to see reporting on digital culture in the Chronicle on a regular basis. This is one of the most wired cities in the country. The Statesman's reporting on digital culture, especially in XL, is pretty lame. There's a great need and opportunity for good reporting on tech issues and cyber-culture. Y'all do a great job whenever you do get around to it (I still remember the excellent articles on Bruce Sterling and Mike Godwin). I would just love to see more.
Mistakes Were Made
My name is Ricardo Guerrero. It's not Richard (as in Lee Nichol's "Media Clips" from July 17) [Vol.17, No.45]. And it's not Guerro (as in C. Carltone's letter from last week ["Postmarks," Vol.17, No.49]).
I am also a real person working for real democracy and cooperative structure within KOOP Radio. This is opposed to "C. Carltone" who does not exist ... at least not by that name.
Thank you for continuing to cover the KOOP story.
Ricardo Guerrero, KOOP Programmer,
former programming committee co-chair,
member, Friends of KOOP Steering Committee
[Lee Nichols responds: I was fully aware that Mr. Guerrero's name is Ricardo, not Richard, and can offer no good reason why I got it wrong. Oh, by the way: My last name is Nichols, not Nichol.]
Thanks to Lee Nichols for pointing out that the Paramount Theatre didn't give their permission for their name to be on the letter that Paul Odekirk sent out in support of KOOP's board of trustees ["Naked City," Vol.17, No.49]. But why stop there? You let Paul get away with claiming that "I sent the letter out and when it came back, it came back with a bunch of signatures, and then I sent it out to the press." Why not ask Paul what the e-mail address is of the person who signed the Paramount's name? Has Paul tried contacting that person? It's also worth pointing out that over a third of the "supporting organizations" listed in Paul's letter are groups that he or others on KOOP's boards either control or are significantly involved in.
But in any event, which is worse: that the letter contains bogus signatures, or that it's riddled with falsehoods and no supporting evidence? (A fact not mentioned in the article.)
I realize that Chronicle readers may have a hard time trying to follow the KOOP story from short letters to the editor and from newsbites in "Naked City," so I encourage interested readers to check out the Save KOOP Radio Web site for the full story: http://pobox.com/bluejay/savekoop.
Host of The Bicycle Lane on KOOP
Thanks for Lacresha Coverage
The article your paper printed about Lacresha ["Justice Denied?" Vol.17, No.48] was very articulate. I thank you all for your boldness in printing the article. Now more people will know what really went on behind closed doors.
Hopefully this will bring more people out to stand up for justice in our criminal system. This has not only been the first incident, but it has been going on for too long.
I once again thank you all for the hard work you all put into the article, getting the story correct from each individual and bringing out the facts. I know it took time collecting this information and it was presented beautifully. The picture on the front page carried the message very well.
Thank you, again, and keep up the good work.
A concerned citizen and member of People of the Heart
This message is in part to thank Jordan Smith for covering Lacresha Murray ["Justice Denied?" Vol.17, No.48]. The article was very informative and benefical in giving more insight on how she was induced into the conflict surrounding her life today. As I read the story it brought tears to my eyes because, judging from information I'd received when she was first charged with the murder of Jayla Belton and how the Statesman and police department had her convicted before the trial, I said that even if she did do it she's too young to know better, being a child herself. Now that I have read Jordan's story and received more information regarding how the case evolved, I feel that she was railroaded by a justice system that had gone too far to turn back, publicly saying that they were wrong.
To the Chronicle, I want to congratulate you on your return back to issues in East Austin. When I first moved here in 1990, each week I'd run to the newstand to get my copy of your paper because you covered things more diversely back then. There was coverage that included all races and areas in Austin. For some reason, maybe due to economics, or Austin's' racial hostility, you moved away from that area to where I rarely find articles that represent all of Austin. I hope the Lacresha Murray issue is the road back to diversity coverage.
Harrell D. Williams
Guard Your Speech
Dear Mr. Black:
In his yet again eloquent piece, "The Keepers of Your Silence II" ["Letters at 3AM," Vol.17, No.48], Michael Ventura makes the salient point that the First Amendment of the U.S. constitution has been instrumental in busting the taboos of incest, child abuse, wife beating, racism, sexism, and homophobia; that all other freedoms hinge on verbal freedom.
In the light of this proclamation, it is pertinent to note that the enactment of hate crimes, which punish more harshly crimes connected with prejudiced or noxious language, actually has the effect of weakening the First Amendment.
There is a very fine line between criminalizing language used in the commission of a violent crime and making illegal language which is deemed to be psychologically damaging or slanderous; this line has already been crossed in Canada and Europe.
Designation of hate crimes is inherently inequitable. There will always be groups not protected within the sphere of hate crime legislation. This disparity has the effect of society silently condoning the assault of members of groups not protected.
Furthermore, many acts that have been used in protest of certain injustices could themselves be deemed hate crimes against the powers that be, which are the target of said protest.
Rather than arm the state with a motive to punish speech, we should insist that laws which are already on the books prohibiting assault, arson, robbery, and murder are equitably enforced among all groups of perpetrators, regardless of associated speech.
Let us guard the most important of freedoms, that of speech, and abolish the well-intentioned but ultimately dangerous enforcement of hate crimes.
A Bitter Bill To Swallow
A tragedy quietly manifested itself last week when the courts ruled that the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) could not regulate nicotine. This came as a consequence of the inaction by Congress to act on a comprehensive tobacco settlement. If Congress had adopted the McCain bill, the issue of the FDA's regulatory ability over nicotine would never have been challenged in the court system because the ethically challenged tobacco companies would have been bound by the settlement.
The McCain bill did not address all of the issues that public advocacy groups insisted on, but it was fundamentally a solid effort to address the issue of allocating health care costs and for curbing new smokers through education. In my opinion, the Republican leadership in the Senate did not make reasonable effort to try to come to a compromise on this bill.
Senators Gramm (R-Texas) and Lott (R-Miss.) led the charge to successfully block the bill through "poison pill" amendments through inaction even though it was written and championed by a fellow Republican. Gramm's ludicrous amendment had no relevance to the subject of smoking at all. Let's hold elected officials accountable from both parties to address smoking issues and make the resurrection of this effort a priority during the next legislative sessions.
Hello, Mary Lou
Has anyone noticed how, when dealing with city departments, that the employees usually snuggle up to you on a first-name basis? If you call the Public Works Department at 440-8444, for example, a "Mary Lou" or a "Sherry" answers. If you call 476-7721 at City Utilities/Service Inquiries, a "Peggy" answers. But if you have need to follow up your call, city employees refuse to give their last names or employee numbers. "We're the only ones named Mary Lou, Sherry, or Peggy," they say.
But this isn't because the 10,000 or so city employees want to exude a "down-home" friendliness. Rather, as Peggy says: "City policy does not require employees to identify themselves." Sherry adds: "For security reasons, we do not give our last names." Mr. Andrew Saldana at Solid Waste Services (499-1990) confirms this policy, but does not know who originated it. An August 4 inquiry to Councilmember Jackie Goodman about the policy received no response.
The problem is that hiding behind the anonymity of first names removes any incentive for a city employee to perform well. The refusal to give a last name indicates the absence of any feeling of obligation by a civil servant to help Austin citizens. Is it a wonder that city employee accountability and supervision are in such a woeful state?
Yet you and I cannot hide behind such anonymity when we approach a city agency. In fact, many cases require us to produce not one, but two forms of I.D. That often means going to the Texas Department of Public Safety which fingerprints, photographs, and matches citizens with social security numbers - a process akin to tagging sheep. So when did we agree to an anonymous city government? Please sign me as
[Editor's note: The author's full name is available upon request.]
I want to personally thank everyone who participated in this year's seventh annual Buck Owens Birthday Bash at the Continental Club. To all the wonderfully talented singers and musicians, Steven Werthheimer and the staff of the Continental Club, the Children's Advocacy Center, Tom Lewis, Kevin Owens, David Carroll, Tom Clifford, Dianne Scott, Jim Stringer, Sarah Pierce, Merel Bregante, Bryan Beck, American Airlines, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, The Austin Motel, Terra Nova Digital Audio, Danny Young's Texicalli Grill, The Austin Chronicle, friends, fans, and supporters from as far away as England and Australia - thank you for making this the biggest and best show ever. Extra special thanks to original Buckaroo Doyle Holly for coming to visit with us. See you all next year!
Where Were You?
I am utterly amazed at the lack of interest the Austin media has shown to the 15th Annual Austin Songwriters Conference this year! Could it be that our crack news staffs in Austin are not utilizing their "not so new"
form of communication: e-mail! With the apparent push our local government is making toward promoting the Austin music scene as a primary tourism attraction, you would think that the press would be in synchronous orbit around the idea of promoting all serious elements of the Austin music scene.
Having been heavily involved in the "Austin music scene" since the creation of http://www.Capitol-City.Com in 1996, I have floated through every scene in town and have yet to see any group other than SXSW that is more devoted to the art of music than the Austin Songwriters Group. They are devoted to Austin's creative artists, the ones who write the songs. The Austin Songwriter Group is one of the most formidable organizations dedicated to one single artistic endeavor, to create quality songs. I have never run into so many artistic talents through any other group or scene in Austin!
I was the only form of media to show up to the Conference Opening Show at Antone's, at least as far as I could see. No articles in the paper about the Grammy Award-winning songwriters who performed Friday night. No 30-second spots on the 10:00 news reporting on the huge audience. The Conference had about 100 paid attendees which raises enough money to support the Austin Songwriters Group's year-long array of showcases, pitch sessions, newsletters, and opportunities for Austin's songwriters.
Doug La Rue
Bikes and Bands
I can't sit back a minute longer and read the idiotic and unrealistic suggestions of some Thundercloud-working, vegetarian, non-shaving drag worm. I'm speaking of Amy Babich. Yeah, I'm gonna not drive my car for a day so I can rollerskate to work. Give me a break. I get to see plenty of Austin and I don't think it would make it look any better on rollerskates or a tricycle. Move to France with the Euros if that's how you want to live, and stop telling me how bad I am for driving a car and having a decent job with some sort of future in it. My second gripe is about A.J. Vallejo's idiotic commentary ["Postmarks," Vol.17, No.47], or should I say threats. If A.J. Vallejo is pissed about bad reviews here in Austin, I can only imagine how pissed he would be when people outside of Austin tell him how bad his band sucks and that all his songs sound the same. Austin can't seem to let go of this outdated music scene. Nobody outside of Austin wants to hear Storyville, Steamroller, Breedlove, Vallejo, Jumptrain, Soulhat, the Scabs, or any of those Sextons. The Austin sound had its run with Stevie Ray Vaughan and the Arc Angels, but ya gotta let it go. It's a dead music and nobody but Austin wants to hear it. Oh yeah, last week somebody said if A.J. Vallejo wanted to be in Oasis he had to use the word "cunt." I'm sorry, but A.J. Vallejo doesn't even sound good enough to be in the lowly Oasis.
Bikes, Not Bullies
The meanness and anger, as well as the content, of Karl Lieck's recent letter to the Chronicle ["Postmarks," Vol.17, No.49] reminds me of my eight-month sojourn in Riverside, California. Riverside is the result of Los Angeles' policy of expansion as a solution to its transportation problems. Riverside is a city in which bicyclists are few and fearful. It's a place where car drivers routinely express their (usually negative) emotions by honking their horns. It's a place where people who don't conform to strict norms are jeered at and honked at by car drivers. For me, it was like a return to junior high school. Riverside is full of freeways, parking lots, and mean people who are always angry. I think that Mr. Lieck would feel right at home there. It's very absurd for car drivers to call bicyclists Nazis. Bicyclists go unarmed among the armed. That's not Nazi behavior. The Nazis were very violent people who bullied, beat up, and killed people. Nonviolent people aren't Nazis. The Nazis preferred cars to bicycles. They gave us the Volkswagen. The car, not the bicycle, is the bully's choice.
I think that one of the best ways to control population growth in Austin would be to vote in some really car-unfriendly measures. Some people would still want to move here if you couldn't drive cars much in Austin, but lots of people wouldn't. In particular, the bullies, the people who have a good time by honking their horns and jeering at people, wouldn't want to move here. To most people, it wouldn't make much difference if it was no longer customary to drive cars everywhere. Most people just use whatever form of transportation is customary.
Car-unfriendly policies might significantly reduce the number of mean people who want to move to Austin.
You're Too Krazy, Karl
Settle down, Karl ["Postmarks," Vol.17, No.49]. Sounds like you need to spend a little less time in your car. If the worst thing that happens to you because of a bicyclist is that you have to slow down, then I feel no sympathy for you. What are you in such a hurry for anyway? Where are you going - really? You can actually kill someone with that car you are so lucky to be able to afford. I hope you show more maturation behind the wheel than you do with your pen. "This is America, darling! And goddammit we love our cars," says everything about you, Karl. I guess I shouldn't even bother ... but maybe you should try rolling down your hermetically sealed automatic tinted window and get back in touch with the outside world. You're not the only one in it.
Wishing people like you would move,
This Lane Is Your Lane, This Lane Is My Lane...
I want to thank Mr. Karl J. Lieck for his recent letter to the editor of the Chronicle "Bike Back to China, You Skanky, Retarded Nazis!" ["Postmarks," Vol.17, No.49]. Letters like his are the clearest signpost a community like Austin can have concerning the basic problems we all face. His anger speaks louder than anything Ms. Babich could possibly say.
He does make two valuable points that cyclists in Austin need to consider. First, if we as cyclists want our rights to the road respected, we need to respect the traffic laws. (I am sure that Mr. Lieck is an excellent driver, who never speeds, always signals, never tailgates, never rolls through stop signs in quiet neighborhoods and, in fact, obeys to the letter all traffic laws of the state.) Second, bike lanes give automobilists the wrong impression and are therefore unsafe. Too many automobilists feel that cyclists belong only in bike lanes. Even if every road in town had a bike lane, there are too many traffic situations where an effective cyclist should take the entire traffic lane for safety. Yes, sometimes the Mr. Liecks of the city are inconvenienced for several seconds by these maneuvers and that's unfortunate. Unless, however, this city is ready to concede that Mr. Lieck's ideas about growth and traffic are indeed correct and are prepared to deny cyclists their rights, such inconveniences must probably be tolerated.
Thank you again, Mr. Lieck, and Happy Motoring!
James E. Burnside
Listen to Your Mother
To Anyone of Whom It Might Concern,
What's really wrong with us? Are we (actually they, the government, elite, vile, disgusting, life-sucking descendents of plantation-owning slavedrivers, if you will, who run the country) so egotistical to think that the earth is our toy for manipulation? At what point did they decide they had a god-given right to exploit our mother nature to this extent? Enough has now become enough. Why does no one care?
We have recently heard of small children committing deadly acts of violence resulting in many lives lost. Though they cannot explain it, these instances are a result of a country built upon slavery, greed, genocide, and total lack of respect for what some might call god and what I would call mother nature. 'Tis sad to say, but a country built upon these things shall fall just as sinfully as it has risen. I know that some white-bread, money-driven, redneck American politicians might disagree, but the facts are all here. We cannot help these diseased creatures. Those who care need to help themselves and the community around them.
A revolution is at hand, whether physical or mental. We can no longer live by this repulsive mode by which we live. Americans and humans alike live every day by killing every bit of life around them that offers and end when we need not. Pictures of our planet reveal that the bulk of the human race acts like a virus in a host body by leaving a path of death (cities) in their wake. We have a beautiful earth which offers life and love along with death and beauty. Our souls have become numb to the spirits around us. There is so much to be said and stopped but I am afraid my fellow humans have not the ear nor third eye with which to respond to these sad circumstances.
Slavery was and still is a reality. Genocide was and still is a reality. The death of our beloved mother earth is now more than ever a reality. She will fight back. Will we decide to join her or fight her? It is our decision to free ourselves from this slavery called corporate America. I denounce any relation to the evil men who uphold this government built upon such disgrace. Would you do the same? Are we afraid of an African American president or American Indian president? Woman? Maybe it is too late. Does anyone know?
Christopher Paul Head
We'll Title This One Later
The Procrastinators Club of America was formed in 1956 and boasts 16,000 members (source: World Almanac). I've been meaning to inform you of this for quite sometime and no, I am not a member. Yet, that is.
W. Brent Malkus
WOt Are You Talking About?
To the Editor:
To all the WOmen that helped the WOman on the Box attempt to create more communication in the WOmen's community, thank you! To the WOmen who attended the first WOman on a box ... event. I had a blast!
To the rest ... sorry you missed it.
We jumped on the box ... (about you) ... we beat the drum! Released our energies into the air through communication. Through music and dance! Which I want to especially thank the Exotic Dancers. I also want to apologize to the three WOmen that left because they felt these WOmen were being exploited. Before the dancers went on to show us their art, a beautiful lip-ringed blonde jumped on the box to tell you what exotic dancing meant to the dancers.
Cara G. is doing a documentary on exotic dancing from a dancer's point of view. Look for it.
(A product of the real W.A.T.E.R.!) WOmen's Access to Electronic Resources one WOman's dream made into reality, until ...
((((Hear the beating of the drums.(((((
Question: Can a WOman who knows why and what she is doing be exploited if she has a choice?
Choice, you know, whether to run into a burning building to save a life or be a bystander hoping someone will. Peace. Let's talk.
Our voices and words actually had visual receivers. Not words going across the air waves then back into your own ears. (((hear 'em(((((the drums!!!!((( How can we keep the tribe alive if we don't communicate with each other? ((((((
Last but not least my very Bestfriend with love!
P.S. If you didn't hear anything about the "WOman's Fest" on 08/02/98, ask yourself. Why?
The Early Bird Gets Lee
I'd like to thank that worm Lee Nichols for his article "Libertarians on T.V." ["Media Clips," Vol.17, No.48]. Insomuch as to toss my sacred name in there and cast a label before it. I guess you're telling the people Alex shut me down; I think you should have listened more clearly. I fear one thing and one thing only; I have seen death too many times to be afraid of much. No queer terrifies me. I fear only god's judgment. Surely most of you all missed the point. I guess I fell way short in my letter and my second one, well, was a lot madder we'll say. Yes, I said I wanted to jab this guy in the eye, not because he's a homo, but because he openly mocks god, the son of god, and god's true word. Yeah, in the edited, cut-up version of the bible we all have, you can find it in there. Homosexuality is wrong. I guess that is why god had Mac McKaskle's fag Jesus put to death?! I didn't say go out and drag people from the back of your truck. And surely that Jasper line was as weak as the individual who wrote it. And yes, I spent a lot of time on that letter, I could have spent more. I'm not like all these other people talking out my ass. I'm not hiding either behind a bible, simply saying you're wrong, pal. You think god is OK with it? You think the son of god is a queer? Boy are you in for a reality bitch slap. I live in a nice house with a nice family and an overabundance of friends. And most if not all have similar thoughts.
Jack Mack, you're so hip on god's word, pal, you know your lifestyle is wrong. John Rendon, I don't hate no one, but I'd step up like your daddy should have and beat your stupid ass. I see a father with his baby and the love and smiles, it almost gives me hope. Then I look around elsewhere and I see not so loving sights. Mr. Rendon you're a pinhead; I guess you pray to "fag Jesus" too. You'll have to answer too, pal, and although it isn't to me, I'd like to be the go-between.
Bollocks to you all, A.M.F.