By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Voices From Hell
It's all true: I have lived at Waterview Park ("The Dorm From Hell," by an investigative reporting class at SMU, April 28) for about two years, and I am counting the days until my lease is up. The apartment is expensive, and it takes them sometimes months to fix reported problems. Also, I have a cousin who lives in the dorms. He had complained numerous times about a leak from the bathroom ceiling. He actually noticed mushrooms growing out of the floor next to his toilet. They came in and tore a hole in the wall and put plastic over it. Now, the hole has been left there with no signs of them coming to repair it. Everything written in that story was true. Finally people can see what we have been dealing with in these "Dorms From Hell."
The horror, the horror: Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for writing about the quality of life at Waterview and for reporting on the utterly pathetic attentiveness and service of FirstWorthing. As a resident of Waterview, I can vouch for the horror stories of your article. Thank you again for bringing widespread attention to this matter.
Too little too late: Since the article exposing Waterview Park's lack of concern for security and maintenance was published, officials from both UTD and FirstWorthing have stepped forward and are in the process of creating an investigative committee ("UTD Orders Investigation of Waterview," by Kelsey Guy, May 5). This is still too little too late: Those living on UTD's campus have been voicing these concerns for years without any result. Students from another school were needed to finally incite change. It's quite disheartening to realize just how little UTD cares about the well-being of its students outside the classroom when they're not under public scrutiny.
I would like to thank Mr. Utley for his apology to the university, but I have yet to read one from Mr. Lovitt. His attitudes of arrogance, greed and complete lack of concern for the student body of UTD are absolutely appalling. Making these comments immediately before retirement makes me wonder how many other "success stories" he has written at the expense of students. The university will be a better place without his presence tainting it.
Cash cow: The piece on the Waterview apartments at UTD is an excellent piece of reporting. However, it left me curious about the financial arrangement between Robert Utley and UT-Dallas.
From what I gathered, it sounds like this: UTD will be paying $112 million in bonds and interest for the first four phases of Waterview, which cost only $43.7 million to build. Who is collecting the principal and interest on those bonds? I'm guessing that the Utley family owns those bonds. So much for Mrs. Utley's altruistic "nonprofit" holding company.
UTD pays $112 million for the Waterview structures, which, after 25 years with the current rate of maintenance, will be worthless. I hope UTD already did the arithmetic to make sure the supposed $50 million profit is the true figure after paying for debts, interest, maintenance and reconstruction.
Perhaps Mr. Utley feels that the Waterview project would be too much trouble to keep in acceptable living condition, so he hands over the liabilities to UTD while he walks off with big bags of cash.
In a tizzy: I am a senior at Waterview, and I must say that this article has administrators in a bit of a tizzy. I have had two letters posted outside my apartment in the last week in response to this investigative report. I have lived in Waterview for the entire four years that I have attended UTD, and for the first three years I did not have any major problems. When a problem with the repairs at Waterview did arise, all attempts I made at trying to reach someone at FirstWorthing were stalled because the head person on site refused to provide a contact number, even when requested repeatedly. The problem here is lack of accountability. Nobody holds anyone responsible for the problems here.
Biting and thoughtful: I just wanted to let you know that I very much enjoy reading Robert Wilonsky's film reviews. I typically go to 200-plus movies each year and regularly read online film reviews. Let me tell you that his are some of the best, offering witty, clever, biting and thoughtful details about the film as well as excellent insight on what he liked/disliked. I have particularly enjoyed the recent reviews of Sahara("Fortunate Son," April 7) and Crash("We're No Angels," May 5). Keep up the excellent work!
Got the DOMA Blues
KNON is better than none: Your 2005 Dallas ObserverMusic Awards blurb on best blues band (May 5) begins by whining that there is "...no radio station to support the genre." Say what? The D.O.is based in Dallas, isn't it? Word may have not yet penetrated the vacuum of the D.O.ivory tower, but local station KNON 89.3 FM has heavily supported local blues bands for more than 20 years. I have hosted a program on Monday for more than 17 of those 20 and have seldom if ever done a show that did NOT include recordings by local blues artists. We broadcast live performances, too. If you bother to take a peek at www.TexasBluesRadio.com sometime, you will discover that KNON's Texas Blues Radio shows air every Monday through Friday at prime drive time from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. "No radio station"? Please! Turn the dial on your radio and you might learn something.