By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Freakin' incredible: Incredible! Absolutely incredible! ("Chains of Evidence," by Glenna Whitley, August 2.) No wonder we are headed down a path of destruction. We will soon be a Third World country. If that makes you mad, GOOD! Because you might step up and do or say something to make a difference. So freakin' incredible! God, it makes me sad!
Extensive research: Excellent story ("Chains of Evidence," by Glenna Whitley, August 2). Glenna, your research is so extensive and time-consuming. You are the best! I am sure the wrongly convicted persons are grateful for this revealing article.
Jail to Inmate: F You
Worse? Heck yeah: In response to Buzz (by Patrick Williams, July 19), and Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez "making liars out of everyone who ever said things couldn't get worse at the jail," well, they ARE worse. As a first-time offender in my 45 years here in Dallas County, I walked into the Lew Sterrett Justice Center to clear up a 3-year-old misdemeanor ticket. I was handcuffed and booked into their system. Then I was placed in a holding tank with 22 other males, although the door said "MAX 8 PERSONS," and was told I would be out shortly after processing my misdemeanor violation. With no room to even walk around, I just stood and sat there in a 10-by-20-foot tank. While in there, I found a fellow inmate in a bad medical condition, foaming at the mouth and shaking. Trying to alert jail staff, we banged on all the cell doors for 15 minutes with NO reply by anyone there. They were swamped with bookings. Finally, after 20 minutes, the inmate was seen by a sheriff's deputy who said they would be back. By this time the man was unresponsive and not breathing. Help arrived 38 minutes later after many a "fuck you" by jail staff. (By the way, that expletive is used 24 hours a day by the paid jail staff.) I voluntarily entered their system on a misdemeanor charge with no previous anything on my record in Dallas County. The jail was very overcrowded; I got one green bologna sandwich every 18 hours with tap water and only a cold tile floor to sleep on, no blankets, no nothing. I was finally processed out three days later. All on a first-time misdemeanor charge. Overcrowded, heck yes! What a mess the Dallas County jail system is today.
Outsource the levees: I see that you are a stenographer for Karl Rove, getting a head start on his Katrina talking points for the upcoming anniversary ("Go With Your Gut," by Jim Schutze, July 6). The Corps needs to get out of domestic construction. The Corps is military—they can only follow orders. The Corps cannot innovate, create or deviate from a defined mission. It is time to outsource our protection to whatever international country or business that can get the work done.
Cathy Cole Hightower
Spot on: Although I don't always agree with everything you write, Jim Schutze, on this you are spot on.
The [Trinity River] levees are already failing. Sail down 114 toward Texas Stadium and look to either side. You'll notice giant sinkholes/mud slides on the top and interior sides of the levees. These areas are 30 feet above the river and untouched by it. Now imagine what is occurring beneath the river's edge.
The toll the city of Dallas will pay for building this road is infinitely greater than any the road will ever collect. Keep up the good work. Dallas needs you.
Reinforcing myths: With the anniversary of the worst engineering disaster in U.S. history just around corner, Jim Schutze is reinforcing myths about the drowning of New Orleans.
Specifically, Mr. Schutze says, "...by statute and by political reality, the [U.S. Army] Corps can't come into New Orleans or Dallas and build what it wants to build."
But it can in New Orleans. It has and still is, because by federal mandate in the Flood Control Act of 1965, the responsibility for the design and construction of New Orleans' flood protection belongs to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The local interests' role is maintenance and visual inspections once the flood protection is complete.
This is public record, is not disputed, and you can read it yourself in the Government Accountability Offices testimony before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on September 29, 2005.
If a building full of people crashed to the ground, you wouldn't blame the janitor, and you certainly wouldn't blame the survivors. You would grab the torches and go looking for the architect, the contractor and the engineer. In the case of New Orleans and the levees, the Army Corps is all three.
Executive Director, Levees.org