Rock bottom; It's the money, honey Network TV, RIP Lovely Havana Invisible man Bunch of blarney

Until city council members are paid enough so that poor and working-class people can run for office, win, and put bread on the table at home, independent hustlers or "in the pocket of big business" candidates are what we are going to get. I choose the hustler.

Kimberly Olsen
Via e-mail

Network TV, RIP

Thanks for a really wonderful article about canceled television shows ("Geek love," April 27). I have known for a long time that TV executives didn't put things on the air to make me happy, but to make the advertisers happy. I also seem to have bad luck, because this makes the third year in a row that some network has canceled my new "favorite" show of that season. I become more cynical about television every year, and find myself watching less and less programming on the big networks. I think these big networks need to be cautious, because more and more intelligent TV viewers who do want to be challenged and entertained by what they watch are going to go running to cable.

I would just absolutely love it if some network showed nothing but high-quality shows that have failed on the big networks. In this fantasy, all of them would become major hits, leaving those TV execs kicking themselves for ever letting them go in the first place.

Kristin Archambault
Via e-mail

Lovely Havana

In Lisa Singh's piece on Elián González ("Elián's choice," April 13), she seems not to realize that poor Elián's case is the opposite of her own: It was Elián's mother who abducted him away from his home, country, and native language, and it is his father who is desperately trying to bring him home to a comparatively normal life.

She also implies that Havana might be as underdeveloped and poor as rural India was in 1982, with houses made of cow dung, no plumbing or sanitation, and schools where children are beaten. Having been to Cuba, I can assure her that this is not the case. As a country, Cuba is poorer than the United States, but its people do not live in misery and squalor. In particular, Cuba has probably the best educational and health-care systems in all of Latin America and the Caribbean, despite the shortages of pencils, chalk, and other materials mentioned by Singh (shortages caused in part by the U.S. economic blockade of Cuba, which Singh does not mention).

Elián's family is apparently well-off by Cuban standards, and the suggestions that he would be subjected, if he returned, to either material deprivation or political persecution (as the latter term is defined in international and U.S. law) are preposterous.

Nor has anyone argued that Juan Miguel González is in any way an unfit parent. The sole objection to Mr. González's parental rights seems to be that he lives in an allegedly unfit country. While it is true that thousands of people have emigrated from Cuba, Juan Miguel González is one of 11 million who choose to stay there.

The picture released of Elián following his much-delayed reunion with his father and stepmother is the first I've seen in which the boy looks truly happy. I hope they can all go home to Cuba soon.

Gary Cooper

Invisible man

I have been African-American for 49 years. I was involved in the political struggle in Dallas from before the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. I have lived all over this country. But I haven't had the pleasure of meeting a "centrist black," as in Jim Schutze's comment that "reasonable, centrist people in the black community tend to call [federal Judge Joe] Kendall, who is white, a good guy" ("Rotten to the core," February 3).

Al Lipscomb was re-elected post-indictment with 79 percent of the vote. It's quite obvious that centrist blacks either did not live in his district or chose not to vote. The term is patronizing. It brings up memories of "good nigras," as in, "the good nigras ain't gonna let the bad nigras mess up this town." Where was your editor when you wrote that statement? Now you're probably wondering what my opinion is of the results of the Lipscomb trial. Not being a good nigra (mythical centrist black), I quite naturally am thoroughly convinced that this is a continuance of Cointelpro (I knew it -- a damn conspiracy theorist!). You get my drift.

I would really appreciate you having a centrist black to call me.

Akintunde A. Funso
Via e-mail

Bunch of blarney

Mark Stuertz's review of O'Dowd's Little Dublin was very accurate ("O'Dud's," April 20). The food blows, and the atmosphere is that of any meat-market pick-up joint in town. With regard to its authenticity, I've been to the Kansas City location, and it was exactly the same. The food was bland, the music too loud (Irish folk songs all sound the same), and it's infested with college grads who still wear baseball caps with khakis. I have been to the McKinney Avenue location two times and would agree with everything Mark Stuertz had to say. If you want Irish, go to the Tip or Old Monk, but beware of O'Dowd's. It's got no luck of the Irish.

Via e-mail

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