Duncan snuffs the pests; Road warrior; Wichita Falls murders; Corrections

Mr. Barnes may have been "pesky," but apparently not without cause; he was told that something was being done about a problem, and then nothing was done. And I don't think he can be written off as an irrational crank.

Unlike some folks who love to complain about government with nothing to back up their complaints and no solutions to offer, Mr. Barnes supplies credible evidence to support his complaint. His photographs and other documentation tell a tale that does not require a hydrological engineer to understand. Most commonsense jurors--and there are some of those in Texas--would get the picture without too much trouble.

James Ottinger
Waianae, Hawaii

Thank you, Jim Schutze, for the fine article "Tribal vengeance" regarding the plight of Cora and Melton Barnes and the inadequate way the city of Dallas and particularly Larry Duncan have handled their situation. Despite Mr. Duncan's perception that these people are pests, they are nevertheless defending their home, which has almost been destroyed by a poorly conceived city project. The honorable thing to do is fix it despite the politics and the my-feelings-are-hurt attitude, which is petty. Our Auntie C and Uncle Melton are the finest people we know. The city and Mr. Duncan should be ashamed of themselves for not overcoming their differences and doing the right thing.

Vicki Batman and Tony Batman

Road warrior

Thomas Korosec's hit piece on me demonstrates an intensity of slanting that calls into question the journalistic ethics of the Dallas Observer. He misrepresents my credentials and mischaracterizes my Atlanta transportation study ("Highwaymen," July 17). He quotes a critical Atlanta Constitution editorial, but fails to note that the Atlanta Journal (unlike Dallas, Atlanta has two daily newspapers) ran a full-length editorial in support of my study. He obtains quotations on my policy proposals from people who disagree with me, but specifically refused in our interview to discuss any issue of policy with me. Regrettably, it is nothing new for those unable to substantively dispute an analysis to seek personalization of the debate through ad hominem attacks.

As for my motivations, I would have told him if he had asked. Our corporate mission is "to facilitate the ideal of government as the servant of the people by identifying and implementing strategies to achieve public purposes at a cost that is no higher than necessary." (This has been on our Web site, at www.publicpurpose.com, for nearly five years.) Spending $3.1 billion extra in interest to advance light rail construction five years fails that test. That the light rail has had and will have virtually no impact on traffic congestion makes the unnecessary additional spending all the more unwise. But it's worse than that. Those who favor light rail have even more reason to oppose long-term debt for DART. The extra $3.1 billion in interest payments could be used instead to expand the light rail system. It is unfortunate that Mr. Korosec and the Dallas Observer are so threatened at there being too sides to an issue.

Wendell Cox
Principal, Wendell Cox Consultancy
St. Louis

Wichita Falls murders

Thank you, Carlton Stowers, for your well-written article "Burden of proof" (July 13). You convey the deep feeling of responsibility felt by many in law enforcement to the victims of violent crime. Recognizing the service rendered by investigator John Little, other officers, and district attorneys was very well done. Thank you.

Art H.

The story "Highwaymen" in the July 20 issue of the Dallas Observer incorrectly attributed a newspaper editorial critical of highway proponent Wendell Cox. The editorial in question appeared in the Atlanta Constitution. We regret the error.
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