Quarterback controversy
Great article on Jason Garrett ["Passed up," October 30]! It's about time he got some recognition for all the outstanding work he does for this team!

I simply do not understand how such a successful franchise as the Dallas Cowboys can make the decisions it continues to make (e.g., Barry Switzer as head puppet, er, coach; Wade "the Spade" Wilson as second-string quarterback; the misuse of Herschel Walker).

I'm really enjoying the sports articles as a new addition to the Dallas Observer. Finally, someone putting in print what the fans in the Dallas area have been screaming about for a long time! And it is complete without the pompous grandstanding usually attributed to Galloway's or Hansen's commentary. Thanks again!

Via e-mail

No cover-up at TI
As a former TI employee, I read your October 16 feature article "Damage Control" with great interest. I seriously doubt that there is a corporate-mandated cover-up involved in the tragic incident that occurred in January 1997 at the argon gas pit at the North Central Expressway facility. I was a member of the safety staff for 21 years at that same facility. Never, I repeat never, was I asked to participate in or coerced into participating in any such illegal activity of that kind.

As is true in any organization involving thousands of people, mistakes are made. Sometimes, those mistakes can result in tragedies such as the argon pit incident. The aftermath of such tragedies usually involves litigation against the company.

In the current case mentioned in your article, the figure of $15 million is mentioned as the amount of damages the plaintiff's attorneys are seeking. Truly, that is a large amount of money to most people. But for a company with $12 billion in sales, it represents only a few hours of profit, as the plaintiff's attorneys are certain to point out for the jury.

It is inconceivable to think that TI corporate executives would focus on a single incident for damage control when they have about $5 billion worth of new chip fabrication facilities to get functioning profitably in a chaotic marketplace.

If there has been questionable activity as you allege, it most likely resulted from one or more individuals trying to conceal their own errors of omission (the old CYA syndrome). The work rules concerning entering a confined space are specific. They even can be resolved into a simple checklist. I always was told that TI would meet or exceed all occupational safety and health rules and regulations.

When TI began expanding into a global presence, the late Pat Haggerty established the ethical standard that TI would never be accused of exploiting workers in any area of operation. To my knowledge, Mr. Haggerty's standard still is in effect.

There was a time in the past when corporations, TI included, tried to suppress all unfavorable information from becoming known to the outside world. That time is long gone. It went out when radio scanners, cell phones, and other electronic wonders that TI helped develop became common tools of the investigative reporter's kit. Modern corporate management recognizes this and has developed procedures for releasing information, good or bad, in a timely fashion in adverse situations. Circling the wagons no longer works. A competent attorney using the legal discovery process can get around stonewalling very easily. Plaintiff's attorneys are very competent and very aggressive.

Within a week after the argon incident occurred, I was contacted by a plaintiff's attorney. By the end of the month, I was contacted by another plaintiff's attorney. A couple of months ago, I was contacted by a third set of plaintiff's attorneys. I declined to assist any of them. My refusal partly was due to loyalty to TI. Mainly, however, it was due to the fact that I have no direct knowledge of the argon gas pit operation. Also, I have been gone from TI for 12 years, and any information I have about the TI safety program would be out of date and not pertinent to the argon incident.

So, Ms. Editor, while you may be thinking of me as another TI corporate stooge, I assure you that is not true. When I left TI, I effectively cut the cord. I don't owe them a thing, nor do they owe me anything. Certainly, TI doesn't need me to defend them. As you pointed out, they have a very adequate legal staff to do that. I simply wanted to point out to you and your readers that there is another side to your article, and that things are not always what they seem. The argon incident was a dreadful tragedy that adversely affected many lives. It appears that mistakes were made. In such instances, there are legal remedies available, and apparently they are being applied.

Dr. Roy H. Kinslow
Via e-mail

Playing the race card
Frankly, it's getting very tiring that every time a black politico doesn't get what he wants, he accuses some white person of being a racist and a part of the Klan ["X marks the spot," October 16]. This is inflammatory language, and it wins no points with anyone, especially the people it is aimed at. It only engenders more hostility and chips away at any hope of racial harmony in the city of Dallas.

I can understand white businessmen not wanting Malcolm X's name on their street. Malcolm X had no great love for the white community and did not advocate peace and cooperation among the races.

Planning Commission member Mark Housewright's compromise (something this city needs to learn a lot about) was a good one. The excuse that "city rules" prevent dual names on one street is bogus. Rules are made and can be changed when appropriate. It seems to me if this compromise was used, no one would lose, and all would win. We can't have that, now can we?

Finally, will all our politicians--white, black, and Hispanic--please quit whining like little kids who don't get their way. I'm having more and more difficulty taking any of them seriously.

Sheila McKay

Personally, I'm tired of nothing being named for Native Americans, who were here first, after all. Besides, why should a street be named for a known racist?

Kathy Silver Eagle
Via e-mail

DISD's lost children
While it is worthy and even laudatory that the Dallas Observer has followed the downward spiral of Yvonne Gonzalez [Recent stories include "Hunter or prey?" and "City of ignorance," September 25], does anyone else out there not hear that properly indignant whisper, sotto voce, "Excuse me, but what about my children?"

Indeed. What about the kids, Dr. Gonzalez? Or you, the editorial watchdogs at the Observer? Or let's ask the tediously indignant members of the local New Black Panther Party. What about their kids? Do they really care about the abysmal test scores, or are they just jumping up and down on that rickety soapbox of theirs because they think that no one will listen to them any other way?

I took an unscientific, random sampling of parents around my office regarding their views on the Dallas public schools, and I'll tell you, folks, it wasn't encouraging. Most of the parents were keen on some sort of private schooling, if for no other reason than to shield their innocent darlings from the violence and poor education that they felt would result from slogging out a few years in the trenches of a Dallas public school education.

Wake up, people! While the shenanigans of Dr. Gonzalez and her ilk are as entertaining as anything that they ever filmed for a daytime soap, it must be viewed for what it really is: deceptive sleight-of-hand on a David Copperfield scale. It misdirects focus on the real problems at hand, which will take hard, hard work to correct--problems such as plummeting test scores, a too-high drop-out rate, and an overall education that pales in comparison to what bigger bucks can buy at Hockaday or Dallas Baptist.

If you want your children to profit from an education within the Dallas Independent School District, you'll have to turn off "As Yvonne Falls" and get back to your homework. Those assignments are checked every day--it's called "Being A Responsible Parent."

April G. Manning

Wright is Wright
What a great cover story on the Wright Amendment and all the politicking and posturing surrounding Love Field over the last several decades ["The (W)right to fly," October 16]. Things are happening at a pretty fast clip now. Maybe it is time to start a "LoveWatch" column to keep us abreast of the latest developments. I'll bet Robert Crandall and his SWAT team have been preparing for this for a long time and have a full bag of tricks.

Paul Heller
Via e-mail

Hispanic soul man
Thank you for your story on Tony Perez ["Crossing the color line," October 23]. I've been watching his career for a while now (he puts on a wonderful show), and it's great to see him get the recognition he deserves. And you're right, Matt [Weitz], his CD is great.

Via e-mail

Plano's fresh air
I am writing in response to your article about the proposed East Plano development ["Paving paradise," October 16]. I do not agree with the building of the shopping center in East Plano for the same reason that the residents there do not wish for it to be there. I agree with the little girl that wrote in when she said trees and animals are important to our life. It seems as though East Plano is one of the last places I feel I can relax in, and breathe some fresh air.

I agree with the residents in that if they want to go to a store, they don't mind driving the extra mile, because they live in beauty yet don't have to live out in the boonies in some 65-person town. I don't know if they're going to be successful in stopping the construction, but I hope for the sake of East Plano and its children that it can be made possible.

I remember as a child going to the balloon festival, and feeling like I was in a whole new state or country even, and developments like this would just ruin the outdoor atmosphere that I have grown to love.

Kelly Tyson
Via e-mail

A disgrace
That woman should go to prison for a long time--she is a disgrace to her profession ["Dr. Lucas' little shop of horrors," October 9]. By the way, my husband is a vet, and reputable veterinary programs are eight years--four years of college and four years of vet school.

Via e-mail


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