A fine whine
I read Rose Farley's article ["Whine capital of Texas," July 16] with great interest today. She did an excellent job capturing the Grapevine Heritage Foundation story. I hope any doubts the public had about the foundation's motives have been clarified. I always thought the combination of P.W.'s [McCallum's] vision, Ron Emrich's historic preservation integrity and reputation, and the board's dedication and credibility was perfect for Grapevine's historic preservation efforts.

One correction I want to make is about the reference made about Mark Maness' Palace Theater contribution of $4,000. Mark and I both requested that our contributions to the Palace Theater be returned to us as we were not comfortable with the foundation's accounting practices while under the control of P.W. McCallum. Mark donated $1,500 and I donated $3,000 for a total of $4,500.

Thank you, Rose, for telling the whole story.
Marian R. Carpentier
Via e-mail

It was with great interest that I read Rose Farley's article on the "Whine capital of Texas." As a former resident of Grapevine, I think a follow-up article on the financial dealings of the Heritage Foundation could provide us with some interesting revelations.

During the wine referendum in Grapevine, I did extensive research on the history of Grapevine. In all of the material I read and people I talked to, I discovered that wine making was not a part of the heritage of Grapevine. Grapevine at one time was famous for its Cantaloupe Festival and would even crown a queen during those festivities. Of course, people can't get drunk on cantaloupe juice, so the city fathers never looked into reviving that tradition.

It was during that time that I helped form a political action committee called P.U.S.H. (People United to Save our Heritage) consisting mainly of ministers and a few activists. We felt that Grapevine should build its reputation on its beautiful lake, its exemplary schools, and its small-town charm. We warned the people that the city leaders had bigger plans than just authorizing the sale of wine. We were very aggressive in our efforts, but we lost. The Golden Rule prevailed (he who has the gold rules). We were outspent by 20 to 1.

Now the city leaders are adamant about building an alcohol theme park in Grapevine. I have great respect for Marion Brekken. She is a full-time community volunteer who has worked so hard for the betterment of Grapevine. Maybe her concerns about the direction of Grapevine can inspire a grassroots effort to convince the city leaders that wanting to be the Wine Capital of Texas is an elusive dream and that the city should return to its true historical heritage.

Roland Johnson

Hooray for Cheryl
As a long-term fan of Jim Schutze, dating back to his Dallas Times Herald and Houston Chronicle days, I read with interest his "Raw deal" feature [July 23]. Given my lack of knowledge on the issues, I can't comment on the city of Dallas' annexation plans in Kaufman County, though Jim raises some legitimate questions. However, I can comment on another aspect of his article--the demeaning comments about Cheryl Peterman.

As one of Dallas' "new generation inner-city developers" (to use Jim's term), I have worked closely with Cheryl and her fine staff in the city's Planning Department for more than a decade. They are efficient, professional, and committed to helping anyone work through complex issues, including real estate development in Dallas' inner city.

An example is the renaissance of the State-Thomas and Uptown neighborhoods. These neighborhoods would not be the residential and retail success they are today without Cheryl's yeoman efforts to guide us through a myriad of complex issues.

As to Cheryl's dedication to City Manager John Ware--this is another quality of hers that I admire. John Ware is in fact her boss, and therefore, she should act on his direction. This does not warrant writing about her in a gratuitous manner.

Post Properties' commitment to ongoing redevelopment of Dallas' inner city--including the recently completed American Beauty Mill Lofts in South Dallas, the Wilson Building renovation in downtown Dallas, and more than 1,000 new apartment homes in Uptown over the past two years--is in large part due to the expertise of our Dallas public-sector partners, including John Ware and Cheryl Peterman.

Robert L. Shaw
Post Properties, president, Western Division

Fishy facts
"Fish Story" [July 9] contains important factual errors and omissions about our campaign, "Give Swordfish a Break."

First, the "Give Swordfish a Break" campaign is a one-year break, not a boycott. Its purpose is to enlist chefs and consumers as advocates for the adoption of long-overdue recovery measures for this severely depleted fish.

Second, we have never alleged that North Atlantic swordfish is on the endangered-species list. It isn't. But even the most vigorous defenders of the industry do not dispute that the population is in serious trouble. And the evidence is overwhelming: According to the federal government, the population is at the lowest level ever recorded; the value of East Coast swordfish landings has declined by one-half since 1989; the U.S. recreational fishery for swordfish in the Atlantic is largely extinct because of the depletion of big swordfish, and two out of every three North Atlantic swordfish caught by U.S. fishermen are juvenile fish that have not had the chance to reproduce. Fisheries management on both the domestic and international levels has utterly failed to reverse, or even arrest, any of these alarming trends. That is why we have enlisted chefs, consumers, and others in an effort to persuade the federal government to take effective action at the domestic and international levels to restore swordfish.  

Third, the fishing industry argues that the problem lies with foreign fishermen who don't obey existing conservation rules. While we agree that compliance is an issue and have supported proposals by the industry to improve enforcement, the fact remains that even with full adherence, the existing rules are not sufficient to restore North Atlantic swordfish to healthy levels within 10 years--the goal of our campaign.

Finally, the contention that the broader crisis in ocean fisheries exists only in the imagination of money-hungry environmentalists rings hollow in the face of the federal government's own assessments. Almost one-third of the nation's marine fish populations whose statuses are known are now considered overfished by the government, including many popular restaurant species such as sea scallops in the Atlantic, lobster in New England, red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico, and black sea bass in the northeast. The list of overfished populations goes on and on, numbering 86 and counting.

Restoring these fish populations to health could potentially contribute $3 billion annually and 300,000 jobs to the U.S. economy, according to the federal government. Similarly, restoring swordfish in the North Atlantic to health will benefit everyone--commercial fishermen, recreational fishermen, chefs, consumers, and the ocean environment. That's what Give Swordfish a Break is all about, and that's why, to their great credit, so many chefs, hotels, grocery stores, and others have taken North Atlantic swordfish off their menus and shelves.

Lisa Speer, National Resources Defense Council
Vikki Spruill, Seaweb

Editor's note: The difference between a "break" and a "boycott" is semantics. The Observer stands by its story.

The other Vaughan
The article on Jimmie Vaughan ["The mind's ear," July 9] inspires me to look up and listen to more of the great music he has been a part of. I had actually forgotten about the project he was working on with Stevie Ray just before the tragedy in 1990. (Was it really that long ago?) How you have inspired me to remember those days! Thanks for the great article.

Via e-mail

Couch critic
Is there anything else there that Mr. Wilonsky can do? His criticism of music shows very little range, understanding, or appreciation of such widely acclaimed musicians as the Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, and the Beastie Boys.

Opinions as close-minded as his should come from a couch at home. What a dweeb this fella must be. Give him a broom or let him sort the mail. Just keep him away from what he knows nothing about--music!

Richard Walters
Via e-mail

Bozo Buzz
You bozos. You can't call REO Speedwagon "hypocrites" for demanding that REO Speedealer stop using that name for their band on the premise that the Speedwagon was once the name of a car [Buzz, July 16]. Not even the biggest egghead is going to walk into a record store, mistakenly pick up an REO Speedwagon CD, and realize, upon listening, that they didn't just buy an old automobile. The point is not that you can't name your band after some existing object; you just can't make it that close to the name of another musical group. You can name your band the Edsels or the F-16s, if you like, but I wouldn't bet on being able to get away with Mariah Fairy or Run BMZ.

Galen Mosier
Via e-mail

Credibility gap
While I certainly approve of the Dallas Observer going online, I have been disappointed by one side effect. Namely, the proliferation of letters in the print edition that are signed "Anonymous, via e-mail." I had always believed that to have a reputable newspaper print a letter, you had to supply a verifiable name, address and/or phone number. "Name withheld by request," yes, "Anonymous," no. A person unwilling to claim ownership of an opinion should not be given the privilege of a voice in print. How can you even be sure that these are the real opinions of real people? A letter signed "Anonymous" has no credibility whatsoever.  

Will Stuivenga
Via e-mail

The July 16 edition of Buzz incorrectly stated that HBO & Co. was among the media companies invested in by the Texas Board of Education. Time Warner Inc. owns Home Box Office. As Buzz pointed out, the board also invested in Time Warner, but HBO & Co. is not Home Box Office. We apologize.

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