Our readers talk back.

APD's Weaknesses

To the editor, and Ms. Smith:

Chief Knee has a lot of problems as manager, but I thought your article ["Weak at the Knee?" Oct. 25] confused some of them.

You are unhappy that the cops investigated in the Mala Sangre episode remain on the force, but criticize Knee for using the Internal Affairs Department to fire bad cops. You can't have it both ways. Personally, I want Knee to fire bad cops like Tim Enlow and think he deserves support when he does so.

I also wasn't real keen that you extensively voiced attacks on Knee by the men most responsible for APD's inability to fire bad cops -- APA's Tom Stribling and Mike Sheffield, and C.L.E.A.T.'s Charley Wilkinson -- without noting once how they'd fought like tigers in the corrupt civil service system to keep bad cops, including those fingered in the Mala Sangre investigation like Samuel Ramirez, from facing just repercussions from their actions. How about an article examining their share of the blame?

Finally, you failed to fully flesh out APA's allegation that the department disproportionately disciplines -- and the district attorney disproportionately prosecutes -- officers of lower seniority. Problem is, Stribling, et al., are arguing that because senior officers aren't disciplined for misconduct, no one should be. But most reasonable people would agree that everyone who engages in serious misconduct should face discipline. That's not the agenda of the men you quote attacking Knee.

For context, it's worth mentioning that local police unions statewide have launched campaigns to discredit and undermine their police chiefs -- ask the chiefs in Dallas, Galveston, Richardson, Arlington, or San Antonio for details. C.L.E.A.T.-backed unions publicly voice the view that this tactic gives them a stronger position in wage negotiations, which come up again in Austin next year. While I agree it's important to publicly air the department's internal divisions, it's equally important not to let your readers forget where the special interests lie behind APA's criticism of too much department discipline. All that said, thanks for tackling an important topic, and I hope there's more to come on the allegations about the "Family," which have never been fully aired -- at least not naming that astonishing list of names and considering the immense implications -- in Austin's press.


Scott Henson

ACLU of Texas Police Accountability Project

Knee Story Lacking


Your article on Stan Knee's performance ["Weak at the Knee?" Oct. 25] stayed on the toughy-suave middle class point of view, except for a couple of "revelations" about his ineptitude to reduce crime and traffic deaths. By carefully not going beyond the officers' daily actions, or above Knee's decisions, you just sunk people who read it into an ignorant state of mind again, just like when you write about Johnston High, regarding East Austin. You know that his sole presence holding a high-profile job (like those of Forgione and Yudof in education) makes the Austin natives incurably stupid. Community is a sense that he doesn't have, yet you stamped the word 23 times. Lie after lie, Toby Futrell went nuts about him but you didn't say anything about the economic raids that are conducted every year openly targeting low-income workers -- and immigrants in particular -- that raked in millions for the city this past August, of which the two main local religious heads, the Statesman, radio, and TV managers knew of in advance. (Suddenly, budgetary worries disappeared for the city.) There's corruption in the force, but you won't find it calling a couple of City Council members, or a civil rights organization that won't do a pinch to prevent sexual abuses on women, shootings of browns, or crowd control by officers utilizing New York tactics, so readily available for Mr. Knee. You also avoided to mention the powerful grip that district commanders and investigators keep on each East Austin neighborhood that has caused the loss of lives and money. A cop is more of a burden on all of us than it is of service, compared to a teacher, or a firefighter. And what exactly did Mr. Fealy accomplish as a commander in this barrio in the Nineties that warranted him a position as assistant to the chief of police?

Paul Aviña

Don't Support Major Parties


The major politicians from the old parties, in their mutually slandering speeches, debates, and advertisements, have made the eloquent case that none of them are fit for office. The Greens and Libertarians have had intelligent and respectful discussions of the issues. I will be voting for Libertarian candidates when possible. In a race where there is no Libertarian I will be voting for a Green. I hope my Green friends will do the same and vote for a Libertarian when there is no Green running for a particular office. It is time to withdraw our obedience to the artisans of death.

Bill Kelsey

Kitchen & Courage


I attended the 2002 Westbank Candidate Forum a few weeks ago and I was very disappointed that they did not allow John Courage to answer any questions during the forum. He came to the event because he thought he would be able to participate and it was not his fault that no one represented U.S. Congressman Lamar Smith. (I have known John Courage for well over a year now, and he is a good friend and he would be an excellent congressman.)

Also, I am in state Representative Ann Kitchen's district, and I thought Todd Baxter was foolish when he said that he was the only candidate who owned a house in District 48. As I recall, he did not live in the precinct when he ran for Travis County Commissioner several years ago! He was living with his girlfriend in her house. Representative Kitchen has been running her own business, so she has not had time to go house hunting.

The panelists appeared to favor Mr. Baxter over Rep. Ann Kitchen during the questioning. She worked hard for the citizens of Austin during the last Legislature, and we need her to continue doing a great job for us in Travis County.


Virginia Koch Schilz

The Libertarian Voice


Your endorsements will certainly elicit the usual claims of bias from Republicans and Libertarians [see p.6]. As a Libertarian candidate for County Commissioner, I obviously disagree with your endorsements. However, as a supporter of the free press, I respect your right to endorse whomever you want.

Additionally, I respect the fact that the Chronicle's editors admit to being biased towards liberal, progressive candidates. That's what the Chronicle is -- an alternative weekly for the liberal/progressive Democrats and Greens. Likewise, I expect the Austin Review to favor Republicans. In fact, I think neutrality and balance is inherently impossible, and I especially distrust those who make the neutrality claim.

What's missing is a local publication for the Libertarian point of view. I'd like to suggest you broaden your "alternative" base by including a column by a Libertarian writer. I could outdo Hightower's predictable rants any day. He's gotten so god-awful boring. How much y'all pay?

Wes Benedict

Take Greens Seriously

Dear Chronicle Team,

Thank you so much for endorsing my candidacy for State Board of Education, District 10. Running for office as a Green has been a challenge, but I wouldn't have it any other way! As one voter told me early in the race, I get to be everyone's favorite lost cause -- one truly progressive candidate people can feel good about supporting.

But I don't want to be a lost cause. The emergence and increasing strength of the progressive movement, the Green Party and Green candidates like me attest to the resilience of the progressive grassroots in a time of cynicism and electoral apathy. People are tired of their elections going to the highest contributors. They definitely won't have to worry about that in my race, or any other Green candidate.

So thank you for taking my candidacy seriously -- for it is so very important that we wake up to the power the extreme political right is exercising through the State Board of Education. I look forward to being their "worst nightmare!"


Lesley Nicole Ramsey

Green Party Candidate for State Board of Education, District 10

Smith's Questionable Record


Run! Don't walk to the nearest polling place -- lest those of us who live west of MoPac end up with a Neanderthal for our new congressman.

After redistricting, most people who live west of MoPac will no longer have Lloyd Doggett as our congressman. Look at the voting record of eight-term Republican incumbent Lamar Smith, and decide for yourself whether you want him representing you in Congress:

Planned Parenthood rated Smith with 0% in 1999 and only 9% in 2000 on reproductive choice issues. On the environment, he rated a mere 3% in 1999-2000 and 0% in 2001, according to the League of Conservation Voters, which represents the Sierra Club and 24 other environmental organizations.

Smith voted against requiring HMOs to pay for emergency care at the nearest ER, rather than a distant HMO-approved hospital ... and against grants to states to hire more teachers to reduce class sizes. He also voted to cut funds for Head Start, job training, and Pell grants for college.

Fortunately challenger John Courage -- a San Antonio middle school teacher -- has a long history of working in his community for better schools, for improved conditions in neighborhoods, and for broader access to health care.


Anne C. McAfee

Ed Ward's Real Story


Wow, the things you learn when you read the Chronicle! First, in the Oct. 11 issue, you learn that Marc Savlov thinks the Pyramids are in Gaza (Pokémon 4Ever review). That'd be Giza, Marc. A bit down the road.

But what really stopped me was this from Ken Lieck ["Dancing About Architecture"]: "Hard to believe it's been a quarter-century since Chronicle contributor Ed Ward split from Rolling Stone because of that magazine's indifference to a young rocker who called himself Elvis Costello."

I don't even know where to start with this one. Twenty-five years ago, I was in San Francisco and Rolling Stone was in New York. I'd been banned from the magazine since 1970, except for a brief moment when Abe Peck took over the music editorship in '75. I was of course aware of Elvis Costello because two friends of mine were involved with his career, but I wasn't writing for any rock magazine at the time (my name was still on the Creem masthead, but I had to sue them to take it off, since they weren't giving me any work), let alone Rolling Stone.

Ken, where on earth did you get this information? Not from me!

Ed Ward

Get the Facts


I have to wonder if anyone at the Chronicle has even bothered to talk to Mike Hanson? I have. I find the Chronicle's characterization of Mike Hanson as a "Republican wing nut" [Endorsements, Oct. 18] to be untrue and unworthy of a real journalist. An honest man with integrity like Mike Hanson is not often masochistic enough to put his name on a ballot. When such a man offers a choice from the "business as usual" professional politicians, we should at least give him our respect, as well as our votes. Since my gross annual income is less than $200,000, I'm not a big fan of voting Republican. Such labels have less meaning every day. Mike Hanson is a social liberal and a fiscal conservative. I seem to recall that the framers of the U.S. Constitution had similar beliefs. Personally, I like the idea of Mike Hanson voting his mind on the Commissioners Court, rather than just another rubber-stamp vote on spending our money.

More and more the two major parties sound alike, with even less difference between them to present the illusion of choice. It is no surprise that the majority of eligible voters don't even bother to vote. This election, a real choice for change is given to the voters by Place 4 county commissioner candidate Mike Hanson. I'm voting Libertarian for governor, and all other offices where I have little real choice between a Republicrat or a Democan. I'm voting for Mike Hanson for county commissioner because it is one of the few opportunities to actually have a real choice on the ballot and make a difference with my vote. I urge voters to check on the Internet to get facts rather than uninformed opinions from the Chronicle.

David Honish

Hospital to Serve All Children


I would like to comment on your piece about Children's Hospital ["Naked City: Seton Gives Up on Children's?" Oct. 25].

First, I want to say why you should pay some attention to my opinion. I served on the Brackenridge Hospital oversight council in 1998, 1999, and 2000. I have been the chief of staff at Children's for the past two years so I have some knowledge and experience with the city/Seton lease, as well as with the Children's Hospital.

We have a significant and ever-increasing capacity problem at Children's. The pediatric physician community is, of course, acutely aware of the problem and brought it to the attention of the Seton administration because we were worried about the present, short-term, and long-term future. To their credit, Seton has responded by looking at the problem, possible solutions, and interim plans. We acquired additional pediatric beds at Brackenridge last year and again this year; however, the needs keep growing. After looking at the options and knowing that the best care for all children is at a single site, the physicians have concluded that the best solution is a replacement facility with long-term growth potential. Seton, instead of "giving up on Children's," has committed to the future of our children by committing significant dollars to build a world-class replacement hospital. Children's Hospital is not "threatened" by this, but allowed to grow and prosper albeit under different ownership. But, what is more important, that the city own the hospital or that we have a hospital capable of caring for all children into the future?

Some people may not preclude having two children's hospitals, but those of us who directly care for the children know that the best care for all children in terms of quality, efficiency, and equality will be provided at a single site. Who should the community listen to in this regard, the politicians or the pediatric physician community? The only goal the physicians have is ensuring that we have the ability and facility to provide what is best for our patients, your children. The parents and community trust us to care for all of the children here; now trust our opinion and suggestions so we can all move forward together and continue to give the children the best care possible. We need to make plans now for the future; let's focus on the problem and solutions and avoid a crisis later.

Patrick K. Connolly, M.D.

Oxymoronic Planning


I was reminded today why the phrase "Austin Planning Vision" is an oxymoron. A local developer proposed a modestly scaled, mixed-use development which appears to fit our neighborhood "vision": "The North Loop Neighborhood Planning Area of the future is a vibrant mixed-use neighborhood, where commercial and residential uses are combined, and designed in a way that creates an interesting streetscape and built environment."

In a quintessential act of NIMBYism, a "neighbor" waged a solo campaign against the project based primarily on one of the favorite shills of the anti-growth faction, the "traffic effect." Whether it be the alleged congestion and safety-related issues associated with increased density or the specious assumption that more, bigger roads will reduce traffic, this issue appears to be one of the primary inhibitors of Austin's planning vision. While a consensus among planners as to the cause/effect nature of traffic is lacking, it seems logical to assume that if you provide amenity in a neighborhood one will not need to get in a vehicle to travel 10 blocks to the nearest restaurant.

51st Street is already problematic. A study done by the city indicated 11,000 daily trips made on this road. With maximum development on the site, increased burden would be 200 trips, a 1.8% increase. This development might conservatively reduce my car trips by two or three per week. But who's interested in a walking neighborhood?

Lacking the support of our neighborhood group, the NIMBY-evangelist solicited the assistance of Hyde Park Neighborhood Association President Bruce Nadik, who signed onto this fallacious campaign. Curious considering this individual represents Hyde Park and one of the most successful areas of Hyde Park is the confluence at Duval and 43rd Street, with a mix similar to the North Loop proposal.

In the words of eminent urbanist Jane Jacobs; "Societies and civilizations in which the cities stagnate don't develop and flourish. They deteriorate."


Chris Krager

Chomsky Lacks Substance

Why do certain people like Noam Chomsky ["'It's Extremely Easy to Frighten People,'" Oct. 18]? Why do they listen to him? Has he traveled around the world talking to various world leaders, discussing international issues? No. Has he worked in government, creating foreign policy, observing how our country interacts with others? No. Does he have doctorates in political science or diplomacy? No, he's a linguistics expert, which is the study of language -- words, words, words.

No, the reason certain people like Noam Chomsky is because he provides the feeling, the illusion, of respectability to their views. Noam Chomsky is the pied piper of liberals. He's the Rush Limbaugh of the left. He's Ann Coulter with leftist views and a dick. And he has as much substance as any of them -- which is to say ... none whatsoever. Shit, at least Gee Dubya has a father who was president and head of the CIA! Has Chomsky ever been to the Middle East?

So The New York Times calls Chomsky, "arguably the most important intellectual alive." Wow, well that and 25 cents might get him coffee in the real world.

Aaron Kapner

Bentzin Ad Should Backfire


Let's hope that voters realize that getting a DWI has absolutely nothing to do with a person's ability to serve as a Texas senator or in any other office ["Naked City: Low Road at High Speed," Oct. 25]. It makes one wonder what Mr. Bentzin thinks about President Bush's ability to serve our nation since he received a DUI in 1976 in Maine.

Hopefully Mr. Bentzin trying to score a political gain by showing an embarrassing tape of Mr. Barrientos' arrest will backfire on him. If anything, it does illustrate a lack of good judgment and a lapse of character on Mr. Bentzin's part.

Claude M. Gruener

A Robust Review


Thanks for the ink on my joint a couple of weeks back ["Texicalli Grille," Oct. 4]; sorry your writer, Rachel, didn't much care for our sorts, but I loved the "buxom, baroque" description of our food. Does that mean it's more that a mouthful?

South Austin Forever,

Danny Ray Young

@ the Texicalli

Hot Sauce Capital of the World?


So let me get this straight ...

In 1979, some mofo in Austin starts selling commercial salsa and Austin becomes "the hot sauce capital of the world"??? ["Famous Dates in Hot Sauce History," Aug. 23, 1996, ] On what world?

Gee ... I guess everyone thinks of Austin, Texas, when they think of hot sauce ... not!!! I guess there's more bull in Texas than first realized.

Loving the heat in New Orleans,

Chad J. Galiano

Question for the Comptroller


The Texas comptroller of public accounts, Carole Keeton Rylander, a few years ago made a statement in an article printed in the Polk County Enterprise that she was going to make sure that Texas taxpayers are not treated like second-rate citizens. We the people certainly would appreciate Ms. Rylander explaining what she meant. Especially to the individual property owners of this great state.

William L. Rozell

U.S. Army retired, and still serving


Stick to Linguistics, Chomsky


I have recently read several articles concerning linguistics professor Noam Chomsky, and was eager to read the interview with him by Michael King in the Oct. 18 Chronicle ["It's Extremely Easy to Frighten People"]. Needless to say, I came away with the same impression as before: Professor Chomsky should stick to linguistics, as it appears international politics and U.S. foreign policy are not his strong points (and kudos to Mr. King for the softball questions).

It is quite unbelievable that Chomsky fails to recognize the immense and catastrophic failures of the Clinton administration's foreign policy, which President Bush and his administration must now clean up. I should elaborate, but unfortunately the sheer volume of Clinton's ineptness, the totality of which we have not yet realized, makes it impractical in this forum. If any readers would like to delve further, simply look up anything from David Horowitz, TownHall, or National Review on the subject.

It appears to me that professor Chomsky is living in a fantasy world where evil people and their evil deeds do not exist. He certainly does not understand the reality of this world.

I regret not hearing his talk recently here in Austin, but am confident I did not miss much.


Thomas Klein

Amazing Errors


On a single page of the Oct. 11 issue, page 88, there are four rather grotesque errors that some editor or other should have caught.

(1.) Marc Savlov describes the animation and dubbing of Pokémon movies as "so patently annoying that an animated, all-singing, all-dancing, all-talking ducks version of The Sorrow and the Pity begins to seem strangely appealing." I attempted to derive the maximum comedic pay-off from this, but was conceptually stymied. While dancing throughout the conceived remake of this extremely long, difficult, and sad documentary, are these ducks also simultaneously singing and talking?

(2.) Later in the same review, Savlov opines that "why the Pokémon fad hasn't died off yet is one of the great mysteries of the universe, right up there with the Pyramids of Gaza [sic] and the white stuff in Twinkies." I believe I can explain one of these mysteries. Entrepreneurial citizens of Gaza built house-sized replicas of the Giza pyramids. They rent tiny figurines to be placed in the foreground so that, when viewed from a certain angle, the pyramid replicas give an appropriate impression of hugeness.

(3.) The first sentence of Marrit Ingman's review of The Transporter ends with the phrase "about as much plot to fill a thimble." I doubt that Bush, speaking extemporaneously (imagine the nail-biting in the White House whenever he does so), could manage to come up with such a grammatical head-scratcher.

(4.) Later in the paragraph she writes that one villain is "generically in cahoots with a nefarious Chinese businessman (Kwai, whose pancake seems to have been applied by a mortician)." Who's Kwai? His name is not mentioned in the list of actors that precedes the review. Is Kwai sort of like Cher with respect to name and name recognition?

Conceptual, factual, grammatical, and informational mangling such as is displayed on this one page leads me to ask an obvious question: Does anyone on your staff, many of whom are described as editors, actually edit this stuff before it's printed? (I'm available.)


Stephen Schulz

Qualified Democratic Candidates


President Bush has said in the past that it would be easier to run this country if he was a dictator. Well, if the Republicans have their way in this election, it could happen that he could almost become a dictator with a rubber stamp from the U.S. Senate and the U.S. Congress. The Democrats have some very strong and qualified candidates running for office. Ron Kirk, the ex-mayor of Dallas, is running for the U.S. Senate. David Bagley and Chet Edwards are running for the U.S. Congress. All three of these candidates will represent the low-income and middle class people of the great state of Texas. They will make sure that Social Security remains secure and not let it become privatized. They will support a decent income for our military personnel so that they don't have to be on welfare to be able to live a decent life. Most of all, they will not become a rubber stamp for George Bush and the rest of his administration. Remember the Democratic Party represents people, and respects and protects the environment, not big business and polluters.

Jim Stauber

Liberty Hill

Thanks Sew Much


We wanted to thank whoever was responsible for our being chosen as "The Best Sewing Store" in the critics picks, "Best Of Austin" 2002 [Sept. 27]. We really appreciate it, as well as the nicely written piece about our store.


Ron & Barbara Goldkorn


Sew Much More

Still Pissed About Coach


Bet you thought that the pissed off Coach fans were done writing letters. We're not. We're still pissed off. The Chronicle is continuing to be a part of the suckifying of Austin. Mazel tov. When future Austinites look back and wonder what went wrong, you can rest assured that you helped fuck things up just a little bit more. You may not realize how ditching the best column the Chronicle ever had affected the overall ambience of Austin. But it is all the little things that eventually add up to our constantly decreasing quality of life.


Stuart Reichler

Bankruptcy, Bradley-Style

Dear Mr. Black:

The latest legal gyrations by Mr. Gary Bradley, as outlined in your paper ["Can Lazarus Rise Again?," Oct. 11] would be amusing were they not so disgusting. So many questions arise. The ones implied by your reporter, such as how a "bankrupt" man affords $19,000 earrings, a $60,000 ring, and a fur coat for a female companion, are pretty good ones. Here's a few that came to my mind:

If Bradley's sister is as close to him as he says, and is wealthy enough to establish this trust for him, why doesn't she just pay all the money he owes, including the $70-plus million he owes me, you, and all the other U.S. taxpayers? Then he can continue on his merry path of paving the world one acre at a time, debt-free. It's probably just pocket change for her. Problem solved.

I loved Bradley's quote about Tony Sanchez, asking how the gubernatorial candidate's history of S&L defaults and current lavish spending is any different from his. It isn't! Was this a trick question? I have to admit that Mr. B's friend Rick Perry had it dead right when he suggested that Mr. Sanchez use the $50-plus million he is spending on his campaign to pay back what he owes me, you, and all other U.S. taxpayers.

You had a letter a week or so back from some clever fellow asking Green Party supporters if they knew the difference between Democrats and Republicans yet ["Postmarks," Oct. 4]. Well, pal, it's getting harder every day to tell the difference, ain't it?

To sum up all of the above: Make Bradley and Sanchez pay us back, and vote third party!


Guy LeBlanc

Snide Remarks Unnecessary

Dear Mr. Black:

Congratulations to Melissa Sattley for providing some long overdue exposure on the ever-fertile music scene in Monterrey ["Cumbia Sobre el Rio," Oct. 18]. But tell Sattley to cut her crappy, snide, offhand remarks about Greyhound bus staff and Mexican immigration officials.

I've done the bus trip to Monterrey and on to Mexico City a half-dozen times from Austin. The Greyhound staff in Austin has always been courteous and the Mexican immigration officials have never charged me more than the legally mandated visa fee. There's no point in The Austin Chronicle perpetuating naff stereotypes about Mexican officials and Greyhound bus staff, particularly if part of the article's laudable purpose was to convince ever-squeamish gringos to cross the border.

Perhaps Sattley's time would be better spent criticizing the overwhelming (and growing) presence of the U.S. border patrol -- who always make life hell and sometimes life-threatening (how many migrants have died in the desert this year?) for all those who head north from Mexico.


Patrick Timmons

King Bush


This is surely fantasy; only a dangerously deluded person could believe it's not fiction: Once upon a time, the priests, who owned people's souls, became more powerful than the kings, who owned people's bodies. In a spiritual doublecross, the priests manipulated the masses to revolt. The French and Russian monarchy were murdered and the British (German) monarchy was thrown off by the colonies. The faithful enriched the Vatican. The royal families were really pissed; they founded secret cults whose members amassed fantastic wealth and motionlessly waited while plotting their revenge. Of all human achievements, the U.S. Constitution and the Western outlawing of slavery have been the greatest thorns in their side. How could they reverse this humanistic tide and regain ultimate power? In the 20th century this was carried out by manipulating the puppets Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Mao Tse-Tung, Pol Pot, etc. Lady Liberty stood bravely against them. How to turn men back into slaves? Flood society with narcotics while banking trillions. Addict urban youth. Make laws with exorbitant punishments for feeding the addiction. Presto! Generations who have no vote or right to bear arms, who must work at slave wages. How to wrench liberty from the rest? Stage mass terrorist acts: Blow up buildings that appear to be their own; loose a team of snipers into a radius surrounding the seat of U.S. government. Declare martial law. Wage war on infidels, reaping the oily spoils. Silence the fourth estate and form a state media. Confiscate all guns; release plagues against which only the elite and the chosen are vaccinated. Perfect robotics and nanotechnology. Exterminate 90% of the world's population, leaving only the prime slave class, which through eugenics will be bred only to serve and entertain. The elite regenerate their bodies with the potential of endless perfect physical life, until the asteroid hits, obliterating all higher life forms. Then all hell breaks loose and the mighty are brought low before Real Power.

Footnote: Bush's apparent royal connections have been revealed before. According to Gary Boyd Roberts, a genealogist at the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston, Bush is descended from British royalty going as far back as 12th-century King Henry I, the son of William the Conqueror.


Kenney Kennedy

The Steering Committee Speaks


I response to "That Was Then, This Is Now," by Rebecca Beall ["Postmarks," Oct. 11].

This letter represents the formal response of the student members of the Griffin School Steering Committee. The Steering Committee is made up of three student representatives (elected by the student body), two teachers, and one administrator, and is responsible for the creation, alteration, and removal of all policies at the school. The committee makes decisions only by true consensus, with recommendations from students welcome at all steering committee meetings.

After reading Rebecca Beall's letter to the Chronicle last week, the members of the steering committee felt prompted to respond. We feel as though we speak not only for the Steering Committee, but also for all of the current students whom we represent, when we say that our school was misrepresented by a distraught, disgruntled, former student who unfairly painted an incomplete and inaccurate picture in her attempt to illustrate the current state of Griffin.

Over the last few years the school has grown, and accompanied by this growth certain changes inevitably took place. Some of these changes were put into motion as the school went through the process of accreditation that we are proud to have completed, and others were considered necessary in cultivating and preserving a positive learning environment while encouraging students to explore themselves and their own sense of self-expression.

The Griffin School is a creative, communal environment based on consensus among teachers, administrators, students, and parents. The opportunities available to students to change and improve the environment of the school are endless. The school has, and has had, a system of committees, all of which directly involve students, that make major decisions for the school. The committees all have representatives from the student body, and they all accept and consider views on any issues that an individual wishes to address or alter. This can be seen as a vital aspect of our school. All of the students we spoke to regarding Rebecca Beall's letter responded by saying, "You get out of Griffin exactly what you put into it." Maybe the question should be asked, what did she do to better her experience at the Griffin School?

As members of the Steering Committee we feel it is our responsibility to make it very clear to the Chronicle readership that the views expressed in Rebecca's letter are hers and hers alone. At least once a week former Griffin students drop by the school just to say "hello" to the teachers and administrators. Every student who has come through our school with a positive attitude has left feeling as though he/she was part of something positive and valuable. The fact they continue to stop by and take part should prove this point.

The students of the Griffin School Steering Committee

Geneva Martin

Danaan Thome

Shelley McKann

Ends That Justify the Means


"I'm here to tell ya now, each and every mothers son. You'd better learn it fast and you'd better learn it young; 'cause 'someday' never comes." -- C.C.R.

Well, it might be too late to "learn it young." Louis Black writes ... "the new Bentzin attack ad showing a drunk Barrientos being stopped by the police for a D.W.I. is one of the most despicable ads I've ever seen" ["Page Two," Oct. 25]. Sour grapes, Black.

It's common knowledge that any means justifies the liberal end, from murder in the White House to political signs illegally littering our city streets. No Mr. Black, the only thing that makes the D.W.I. ad "despicable" is that your left-wing ilk didn't think of it first. Only days after the D.W.I. ad came the Rick Perry footage of bantering with the D.P.S. for being pulled over.

Sour grapes and hypocrisy. Y'all must hate getting beat at your own game.

Kurt Standiford

Perioperative Nurse Week

Dear Editor:

Since most people have the opportunity to have surgery at least once in their life, I would like to let you know and ask that you please share with your readers that Nov. 10-16, 2002, is periOperative Nurse Week. Until a few years ago this was known as O.R. Nurse Week. Operating room nurses (perioperative nurses) work toward patient safety and improving the quality of care of patients receive before, during, and after their surgery, relying on skills, knowledge, and expertise. The perioperative nurse is highly skilled in providing nursing care and managing the environment that the patient undergoing surgery needs for care of the body, mind, and spirit. While surgery is a major event, the perioperative nurse is an expert in allying the patient's fears, providing family support, as well as preparing the patient for surgery, giving care during surgery in many capacities, and caring for the patient as they recover from the surgical intervention.

Thank you in advance for letting your readers know that, "Your safety is our job ... we take it seriously."


Loyce Jacobs McCullough, MS, RN, CNOR

Nothing Personal

Griffin people,

I quote you when I say, "Chill." When I wrote my letter to the editor I was not out to assassinate anyone's character and I wish my responders would have written articles with the same intent. What I wrote was my personal opinion and the impressions I received from a few past students. I was in no way trying to speak for the students continuing to go to Griffin. They have their own voices and can speak for themselves. I simply spoke for me.

Also I feel it's necessary that I share with everyone what Frog left out. For the past two years (the ones I was enrolled for), she spent the majority of the time in either China or Australia. She was hardly there my first year and was practically "nonexistent" my second year.

My letter was not meant to be this great attack, though it was perceived as one. Also, it has been brought to my attention that my mentioning of the article printed in the Chronicle ("Back 2 Cool"), was seen as though I was trying to implicate that that article was bad in some way or written by Adam Wilson. I know it wasn't and I was in no way trying to state that it was. I wrote that the "majority" of the articles were, not all of them. Second, I listed that article with the other articles so the readers would know what all had been published about Griffin. I was in no way trying to say anything bad about it. Most of the article was done by Iana Witham and she did a good job.

I agree I did have some bad experiences with the school; however, I also had many good ones. Opinions form how they form. As for everyone else, they are entitled to their opinions, just like I'm entitled to mine. And I'm sorry, but I'm not trying to "beat up" anything with my so-called "personal problems." I believe that out of all the ways I could have reacted (with Griffin and with my responders), I chose the most adult one I could.

I tried very hard to remain polite when expressing my opinions. I wish my responders had done the same. If more responses are made after this I will not be answering. I simply wanted to say my piece.

Goodbye Griffin,

Rebecca Beall

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