By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
"The Ozz-Man Cometh," by Pete Freedman, August 7
I've been to a number of Ozzfests in the past, and I can truly say that there is nothing better in the summer...if only we had air conditioning at the festival.
I am a former professional broadcaster and weekend personality for KEGL-97.1 FM, and that is how I went to my first Ozzfest in the summer of 1997. I love the whole experience, but more than that, I love Ozzy—and Sharon, as much if not more, for saving Ozzy's life so many years ago.
At the ripe old age of 52 this year, I never plan to stop being a metal head. I can understand Ozzy needing a bit of time off, and I say go for it. I've lost too many friends to one thing or another these last few years, and I'd be crushed if we lost John Osbourne.
I wholeheartedly support the destination festival. After all, Pink Floyd successfully toured this way with The Wall way back in 1980. I think Ozzy should do multiple dates in three cities next summer, much the same way the Floyd did so many years ago. Find a sizable outside venue on the East Coast, do Dallas again at Pizza Hut Park and do a West Coast show. I'd suggest five to seven consecutive nights in each venue to give people time to travel before each show. With this much time in each city, there would be ample time to do interviews. The recorded media business could be a boon as well. There could be concert DVD packages and DVD sets that chronicled each city of the show. The possibilities are endless.
I am staying home this summer, sadly, as I am recovering from foot surgery, but I am almost certain there will be a DVD package planned, so I can wait a year to see Ozzy again. I've met the Ozzman only once, and I didn't really get to talk to him because of the nature of these meet and greets, but I have watched him interact with his fans and have no doubt that he truly loves "the kids." I should know. I am one of them.
Ozzy, be well and bless you for your kindnesses through the years to all of us who love you and your music.
David Pitman, Longview
"Homeward Banned," by Jim Schutze, August 7
Thank you for commenting on the train wreck that is The Bridge. I applied there recently for a case manager position. By the way, I have a master's degree and an impeccable work history in the social services field working with the mentally ill, developmentally disabled welfare-to-work clients and the homeless in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley.
I was told to come in at 10 a.m. a few days later. The next day they changed the appointment for a few hours later.
I arrived that Thursday, and the only way to get in was through a long line of (I assume) homeless clients in 100-degree heat. Since I was there for an interview, I thought that it must be an oversight to have me stand in that line. I called with my cell phone to the front desk, and they said, "You have to go through security." It was a 20-minute wait.
During this time I saw several near-violent altercations of clients with the security guards. It seems that no one at The Bridge has any training with the discipline of "non-violent intervention," which states that certain areas are more conducive to the acute exacerbation of assaultive behavior—doorways that are blocked, checkpoints, or frustration-inducing or intrusive behavior by the staff security. I observed two times that security actually made the situation worse.
I finally got to the interviewing office and had to go through two more layers of protocol before I was ushered up to the second floor. These folks are really important! I was interviewed by two ladies who had obviously already picked their new case manager, and it wasn't me. The interview was shallow and cursory. I got very little eye contact with them, and they didn't want to know about my work history, my ability to do the job, my experience with mentally ill patients or anything about my field, vocational evaluation and how it could fit their needs.
I got the distinct impression at The Bridge that it was an organization designed for the staff and not the homeless. It seemed vastly understaffed, and the physical plant, although impressive in cost and appearance, was incredibly inadequate for what they are tasked with.
And it was clear that they didn't want anyone with any fresh or innovative ideas in solving a pervasive social problem.
Brady Jones, Dallas