That was one hilarious exchange between Ron Kirk and his aide ["Mayor Potty Mouth," July 2]. Too bad you people didn't have the common sense to enjoy the moment and keep it to your damn selves. We all talk bad at times, don't we? At least he wasn't spouting some racist shit or putting anyone down.
Don't drink the water
The article on cryptosporidium ["Death on tap," July 2] could not have come at a better time. I am a dialysis patient who, while not on the transplant list yet, has several friends and acquaintances on it. This information is of vital importance to them and others who are immuno-suppressed or compromised.
One of my friends (who is waiting for a kidney transplant) and I had talked about this very subject. He asked his nephrologist and transplant team about it, and all they said was, "Just don't drink any untreated water, like from a well." This article shows that the entire Dallas (and probably surrounding suburbs') water supply is suspect.
Thank you for this timely, informative, and vital article. This, and the spotlight you throw on other Dallas politics and policies, shows that the city of Dallas has not the slightest concern for its citizens. You could be sure, however, that if Mr. Hicks or Mr. Perot had an interest in the companies making, supplying, or installing the filters necessary to correct this problem, the city leaders would not hesitate to throw money at them as fast as it could be shoveled into their accounts.
Plenty of conflict
In many instances, when I have read a newspaper article written about an event or person of which I had first-hand, detailed knowledge, the article was filled with inaccuracies and misinformation. In most previous cases, the flaws could be attributed to a complex subject that the journalist did not quite grasp, or too little space to clearly describe the material.
In the recent story "Conflict? What conflict?" [July 2] Ann Zimmerman showed me a new low in journalistic incompetency. At this point I should state that Marilou Martinez Stevens is my wife. She has no need of my help in these matters; she is completely capable of defending herself, but I have a need, for my own gratification, to clarify some misinformation contained in this article. The article is misleading in a way that is malicious and slanderous. Some facts are twisted, and others are left out altogether. The purpose seems to be to create a yellow-tinted slant to the story, to twist it to meet some need for Ms. Zimmerman to create an inflammatory article. This is not reporting, but story-writing.
For example: Stevens is ridiculed as a CPA for saying 10 percent of $95,000 is $8,000. The intervening fact that Ms. Zimmerman was provided with, but failed to report, was that the $8,000 is 10 percent minus the overhead fees extracted by KPMG Peat Marwick. A lie of omission is still a lie. While we're at it, let's correct Ms. Zimmerman's math. You reported that Ms. Stevens received 10 percent of the contract. You also reported that 25 percent was given to minority firms, half of which you said went to Stevens. Got a calculator? Even with your slanted numbers, Ms. Stevens' math is still better than Ms. Zimmerman's. Better not let a journalist do your taxes.
Another misrepresentation you made is the statement about incorporating as a sole proprietorship, which, of course, is impossible. The fact is that Ms. Stevens incorporated her company from a sole proprietorship. I could go on, but I think the point is made. The bottom line is that there are rules and guidelines defining conflict of interest. Yes, there is an association between Fernandez and Stevens, but the business Marilou Martinez Stevens, CPA, was performing services as an auditor well before this partnership (FSA) was formed, and it is a separate entity from FSA. Lawyers, whose job it is to review such issues, cleared Ms. Stevens to be included in the bidding for this contract. Absolutely nothing was concealed or misrepresented to the Airport Board. If they had said no, then that would have been it, end of story.
It seems, looking at the manner in which this article is presented to the public, that if Ms. Zimmerman is worrying about anyone's ethics, it should be her own. If the Dallas Observer cares to challenge the character, honesty, or integrity of Marilou Martinez Stevens or Robert Fernandez, it had better find someone with character and integrity to do the reporting--someone who has the honesty to report fact over fiction, even if it is not what they wanted to find.
Daniel Robert Stevens
Ann Zimmerman responds: 1. Mr. Stevens' wife didn't provide me with any information about overhead fees.
2. I did misunderstand Ms. Stevens when she said she incorporated her business from a sole proprietorship. I apologize for this error. But the point remains: The secretary of state's office has no record of her incorporating a separate company.
3. I neither stated nor implied that Ms. Stevens or Mr. Fernandez concealed anything from the Airport Board and its attorneys. In fact, the story noted that the lawyers cleared the way for the board to award a contract to a partner of one of its board members without checking whether she had a separate company.
I just read your article on Belo's intention to destroy 21 mature live oak trees [Buzz, June 25]. Here is a perfect example of the Homo sapiens' rise above and beyond the id. It seems the species still does not get it that without the natural environment, we will soon cease to exist. It would seem that the very heat wave we are experiencing this summer would encourage one to pause and think of all the trees that have been destroyed and replaced with heat-inducing concrete. A whole thesis could be written on this very subject.
I hope that the public will arise in a rage at this travesty, and if any help is needed in that area--picketing, writing letters, making telephone calls, or anything I've left out--please do not hesitate to call upon me. Tree-killing should be viewed as just that. I hope Kassandra McLaughlin sticks to her guns. As for the coalition member's quote, this person should be left out in the desert to disintegrate.
Your article on Curtis Cokes ["The good fight," June 25] was terrific reading. However, the real sports fans, not just boxing fans, remember Mr. Cokes fondly for his skill, grace, and heart. He labored during the days of Emile Griffith, Dick Tiger, and Benny "Kid" Paret when a boxing match was a real test of skill and will. Mr. Cokes was one of the all-time greats and has never been forgotten by those who really care about sports in general and the sport of boxing specifically.
Mr. Cokes has made the transition from sports great to great sportsman. He and David Wells are making a real contribution to the Dallas sports community and the community at large. Their Home of Champions is rapidly becoming a part of the sports landscape here; their boxing cards at the Bronco Bowl and elsewhere are some of the best entertainment--not just sports entertainment--available for a very reasonable price. Dallas should get behind them and support their efforts so it does not lose one of the last real affordable entertainment values.
Our compliments to the Dallas Observer for its recognition of Mr. Cokes on his recent induction into the Boxing hall of fame, and congratulations to Mr. Cokes, Mr. Wells, and the Home of Champions for their efforts.
Mark and Andrew Cohn
End of an Empire
I am so disappointed that Course of Empire is breaking up ["Run its course," July 9]! I have loved them ever since I moved here in 1990. And to add insult to injury, I will not be in town next weekend when they play. I sincerely hope they will play again, even if it's just periodically. I think they put on one of the best live shows I have ever seen in a club. I wish them the best of luck.
Our little soapbox
Zac [Crain], it must be a tough job for you to shred a band's new album. Almost every article I have read of yours within the past six months has been written atop your little soapbox. In your article on Rancid's latest album [Out There, July 9], it sounds like you are praising them, yet you put them down as well. Do everyone a favor: Make up your mind whether you like it or not!
You talk as if Rancid deliberately ripped off the Clash and the Specials on earlier recordings, and as if they now have something to call their own. Isn't it true that every band, to some degree, has ripped off another? There are only so many different ways of playing chords, you know? It's not like someone these days can whip out some new chord progression. Come on.
There's not one band that I can think of that doesn't sound like somebody else. Certain styles of punk sound the same. The same goes for experimental, jazz, blues, pop, etc. Pick a side and go with it.
According to my calculations, there are three reasons why most people riffle through the Dallas Observer: 1. hee-haw personal adds; 2. reading that jackass Wilonsky; 3. reading the letters of those jackasses who take Wilonsky's opinions personally.
Would anyone know the name Wilonsky if he didn't piss off the peasants every once in a while? Nosireerob. I do, however, think the five articles and blurbs penned by Wilonsky in your last issue are a little much. Why don't you let some of the other blowhards have a turn?
You know, this Bobby Wilonsky guy seems to draw the rage of every music fan who reads this rag. Why don't you help us out and publish his picture, so we know who to thank in public? He is definitely in the Marty Griffin chair--a man whose readers would beat him to a bloody pulp if they found him out at night, especially if they spotted him at a concert. In the meantime, I refuse to read the Observer anymore--instead I reach for The Met. Hey, you sign Wilonsky's checks, you reap the benefits.
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From your Smoke Signals review ["Smoke gets in your eyes," July 9]: "References to 'Custard' and The Last of the Mohicans--or the last of just about any tribe--and Pocahontas' 'big ol' Technicolor Disney boobs' abound."
Would that be General George Custard? Or maybe George Armstrong Custer?
Spellcheck will be the death of our society.
Editor's note: We goofed. You're right.