Naughty Ron
That was one hilarious exchange between Ron Kirk and his aide ["Mayor Potty Mouth," July 2]. Too bad you people didn't have the common sense to enjoy the moment and keep it to your damn selves. We all talk bad at times, don't we? At least he wasn't spouting some racist shit or putting anyone down.

Ruth Sherman
Via e-mail

Don't drink the water
The article on cryptosporidium ["Death on tap," July 2] could not have come at a better time. I am a dialysis patient who, while not on the transplant list yet, has several friends and acquaintances on it. This information is of vital importance to them and others who are immuno-suppressed or compromised.

One of my friends (who is waiting for a kidney transplant) and I had talked about this very subject. He asked his nephrologist and transplant team about it, and all they said was, "Just don't drink any untreated water, like from a well." This article shows that the entire Dallas (and probably surrounding suburbs') water supply is suspect.

Thank you for this timely, informative, and vital article. This, and the spotlight you throw on other Dallas politics and policies, shows that the city of Dallas has not the slightest concern for its citizens. You could be sure, however, that if Mr. Hicks or Mr. Perot had an interest in the companies making, supplying, or installing the filters necessary to correct this problem, the city leaders would not hesitate to throw money at them as fast as it could be shoveled into their accounts.

Jerry Warren
Via e-mail

Plenty of conflict
In many instances, when I have read a newspaper article written about an event or person of which I had first-hand, detailed knowledge, the article was filled with inaccuracies and misinformation. In most previous cases, the flaws could be attributed to a complex subject that the journalist did not quite grasp, or too little space to clearly describe the material.

In the recent story "Conflict? What conflict?" [July 2] Ann Zimmerman showed me a new low in journalistic incompetency. At this point I should state that Marilou Martinez Stevens is my wife. She has no need of my help in these matters; she is completely capable of defending herself, but I have a need, for my own gratification, to clarify some misinformation contained in this article. The article is misleading in a way that is malicious and slanderous. Some facts are twisted, and others are left out altogether. The purpose seems to be to create a yellow-tinted slant to the story, to twist it to meet some need for Ms. Zimmerman to create an inflammatory article. This is not reporting, but story-writing.

For example: Stevens is ridiculed as a CPA for saying 10 percent of $95,000 is $8,000. The intervening fact that Ms. Zimmerman was provided with, but failed to report, was that the $8,000 is 10 percent minus the overhead fees extracted by KPMG Peat Marwick. A lie of omission is still a lie. While we're at it, let's correct Ms. Zimmerman's math. You reported that Ms. Stevens received 10 percent of the contract. You also reported that 25 percent was given to minority firms, half of which you said went to Stevens. Got a calculator? Even with your slanted numbers, Ms. Stevens' math is still better than Ms. Zimmerman's. Better not let a journalist do your taxes.

Another misrepresentation you made is the statement about incorporating as a sole proprietorship, which, of course, is impossible. The fact is that Ms. Stevens incorporated her company from a sole proprietorship. I could go on, but I think the point is made. The bottom line is that there are rules and guidelines defining conflict of interest. Yes, there is an association between Fernandez and Stevens, but the business Marilou Martinez Stevens, CPA, was performing services as an auditor well before this partnership (FSA) was formed, and it is a separate entity from FSA. Lawyers, whose job it is to review such issues, cleared Ms. Stevens to be included in the bidding for this contract. Absolutely nothing was concealed or misrepresented to the Airport Board. If they had said no, then that would have been it, end of story.

It seems, looking at the manner in which this article is presented to the public, that if Ms. Zimmerman is worrying about anyone's ethics, it should be her own. If the Dallas Observer cares to challenge the character, honesty, or integrity of Marilou Martinez Stevens or Robert Fernandez, it had better find someone with character and integrity to do the reporting--someone who has the honesty to report fact over fiction, even if it is not what they wanted to find.

Daniel Robert Stevens
Via e-mail

Ann Zimmerman responds: 1. Mr. Stevens' wife didn't provide me with any information about overhead fees.

2. I did misunderstand Ms. Stevens when she said she incorporated her business from a sole proprietorship. I apologize for this error. But the point remains: The secretary of state's office has no record of her incorporating a separate company.

3. I neither stated nor implied that Ms. Stevens or Mr. Fernandez concealed anything from the Airport Board and its attorneys. In fact, the story noted that the lawyers cleared the way for the board to award a contract to a partner of one of its board members without checking whether she had a separate company.

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