By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Cookie-cutter pol: Thank you, Mr. Schutze! Thank you for reminding me why I vote ("The Envelope, Please," February 7). I am in my mid-30s and am ashamed to say I just started voting with Clinton's last presidential race. Now, however, I make sure that my voice is heard by taking my lazy butt to the polls.
I have watched the Dallas mayoral race from the beginning, and from the beginning I was leaning toward Laura Miller. Most of the articles in your magazine have solidified that decision, even the ones that seemed to "attack" her, but especially this last one. Why on earth do we need any more older, wealthy, white businessmen in politics? Mr. Dunning is a cookie-cutter politician; he has no values that I can see that look beyond his own political agenda, just like the many who have come before him. Learning that he may have bought votes does not surprise me in the least. Even if it is ultimately deemed "legal," that does not make it right or ethical.
Laura Miller may be brash at times, and loud, but seeing someone be passionate about what she believes in is far more important than being politically correct or polite. I see in her potential to be a great mayor that will rival anything that Mr. Dunning or even Domingo Garcia could have done. I see a future mayor who truly hears the voices of the people. I made my voice heard at the last election with a vote for Laura Miller, and I will make that voice heard again in the runoff.
Matthew Drew Pierson
Doggone turncoat: I am looking for an e-mail for Tom Dunning. I want to advise him that Laura Miller was not the only one who voted for Al Gore (Buzz, January 31). As a matter of fact, most of the people in the United States who voted, voted for Al Gore.
Listening to Dunning speak is a tiring effort, with his stumbling over every third word out of his mouth and his not so brilliant statements such as trying to belittle a Democrat who voted for a Democrat. At least Laura Miller isn't a Democrat who voted for a doggone Republican.
Miss Perfect: Everyone knows about Laura Miller's propensity for grandstanding and contentiousness. Perhaps on a personal level among her friends and family she's a nice lady. She certainly is intelligent and articulate, and she can even be charming when it suits her purposes. However, her supporters have tried to counter any unfavorable perception by claiming that she has "absolute integrity" ("Woman in Gray," January 17). Anyone who would believe that claim by or about a politician should buy some Enron stock while it's hot.
Know-nothings: Are the Gramms ("Enron's End Run," February 7) being spared appearances before the Congressional committees for politics as usual? Good ol' boys almost always cover for good ol' boys. It seems like the press has been sent off on false trails, chasing auditors and minor players. We are seeing a procession of 5th Amendment-pleaders, or people like Bernadino, CEO of Andersen, who conjured up smoke and mirrors since "he personally didn't do the audit." Now, we'll get his on-site auditors who will also know nothing.
Wendy Gramm was chairman of the audit committee of the board at Enron and she had to know of the balance-sheet rape by these special off-books partnerships, which only led to enriching insiders while robbing the shareholders. Senator Phil Gramm must have known it was coming before it broke and bailed out of the Senate to protect his shot at the presidency of Texas A&M.
Get on it, guys! There's gold to be mined here.
How many more: Thank you! It finally took the Dallas Observer to explain in layman's terms what this Enron mess was all about. My question is how many more Enrons are out there?
Employees share blame: Good article, though a point or two needs clarification. You wrote, "Meanwhile, employees were locked out of liquidating pension shares as the price plummeted even faster." An article in The Wall Street Journal points out the following: "Contrary to the headlines, Enron employees were not forced to watch helplessly as the value of their stock cratered, trapped by a malicious 'lockdown.'
"A lockdown, more properly a 'transaction suspension period,' occurs when companies change record-keepers...Most important, Enron notified employees of the coming lockdown several times--first by mail and then by four separate e-mails. Enron shares were still trading in the $30 range at this time, when workers had ample opportunity to sell. The lockdown itself started October 26 and ended November 13, so workers were locked out for only 11 stock-trading days. And during that time Enron's stock fell from $15.40 to $9.30, a rather small decline for a stock that had already lost almost 70 percent of its value during 2001."
While what Lay and other execs did is really lousy, Enron employees should take responsibility also. Watching Congress and the press castigate the hierarchy, maybe somebody should point out that those employees had plenty of time to sell.
If they weren't paying attention while their stock dropped from $96 to $15, heck with 'em. They deserved to lose it.
I did enjoy reading this. What a bunch of greedy SOBs.
Serious stuff: I really enjoyed your Enron story. Thanks for serious info in a seriously well-written package.