By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Asbestos I can recall
I'm very impressed with the reporting in your Fred Baron article ["Toxic justice," August 13]. It is a pleasure to read an article that uses no-nonsense words to tell it like it is. The amount of effort put into the article comes through loud and clear as well.
Great work. And courageous.
I worked as a lawyer at Baron & Budd from 1985 through 1991. During that time I defended scores of plaintiffs' depositions in asbestos cases around the country. Not once--ever--was I instructed, prodded, or encouraged in any way to have a client lie about product identification, nor was I aware that paralegals were being pressured in this manner. There was certainly no hint of any firm-wide, institutionalized practice of fabricating evidence.
It is not surprising that the asbestos companies, having concealed the hazards of their products for decades in the name of profit and thereby killing tens of thousands of workers, would like to turn the spotlight away from their own actions. What is telling to me is that the one lawyer who criticized the firm in the story refused to let you identify her. And what is most telling, of course, is that the clients themselves say their testimony was their own.
One subcurrent to your Baron & Budd article was that the firm was originally inspired with a certain zeal for justice. While I am, certainly, not competent to address the fine legal distinction between appropriate counsel of a client's testimony and inappropriate coaching, I did want to address the continuing involvement of the firm and partner Russell Budd in our ministry to provide decent, safe, and affordable home ownership to hard-working families in need.
As a firm, Baron & Budd has been a consistent financial partner in the annual Dallas Bar Association Habitat home. The Bar Association is one of our longest-standing sponsors and volunteer groups. Beyond that, Russell Budd and his family have been extremely generous with their time, talents, and financial support. Certainly, he continues in his zeal to better the lives of those striving to provide their family with a decent, safe home. Incidentally, this letter was completely unsolicited and is written simply to provide an additional viewpoint.
Thank you for your continuing dedication to investigative reporting.
Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity
About Richard C. Evans and Se-Gwen Tyler: Your story on the clashes of the two in the upcoming race exemplifies no class at all ["He said, she said," August 20]. I find only statements of the various exploits of Richard Evans--[alleged] crotch-grabbing and price-switching--but nothing about the other candidate. May I ask, will crotch-feeling or price-switching be a part of the job description? I see no lives lost here, I see no money being misappropriated, only petty nonsense that a cheap column writer writes to get read. Somehow, all of the funny innuendos you write to sway people's convictions limit you. Why not accentuate the positive and discontinue the concept of Dallas degrading the abilities of black people?
Re: Robert Wilonsky's piece on Galloway/Dave Smith ["Paper cut," August 6]: Way to nail those low-rent, bean-countin', initiative-stifling, mediocrity-wallowing corporate-droning wannabes. And the kind words regarding Frank Luksa made good icing on a great cake.
For whatever it is worth--your Observer coverage [of the Trinity River plan] is being watched carefully in Columbus, Ohio--and discussed at every opportunity during our city council encounters. We have a similar problem here, and the people are being ignored.
Wish we could get some national press! Don't give up--keep the issue before the people.
Gina Arnold has some gall! I wish she had more sense. I can't fathom why Sarah McLachlan or any of the other Lilith Fair talent ["Fair game," July 30] should be vilified for the success of their festival tour. I applaud them. Many of the artists relay tales of how promoters once refused to bill two female acts together in concert. OK, so they had a chance at the Michigan Womyn's Festival, but I see one major problem with that. It was in Michigan.
Thanks to the Lilith Fair, fans in Dallas and cities around the country can enjoy a number of their fem favorites' live performances--all for the the price of just one ticket. To me that's a clear advantage for fans.
Arnold takes exception to some of the merchandising at the shows. So what? If you don't like the T-shirt, McLachlan jewelry, tie-dye underwear, or whatever, don't buy it. End of argument.
Financial profit isn't the only sign of success for the Lilith Fair, but it's nothing participants should be ashamed of!
At the top of Arnold's attack on the Lilith Fair, she chastises Jewel for walking out of a Joni Mitchell performance. Then, only a few paragraphs later, Arnold herself characterizes a tested talent like Bonnie Raitt as a "token fogey." Perhaps Raitt in Arnold's mind has also committed the "sin" of success.
All I can say is--you go girls. And for Arnold, get used to it.
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