Family man
I read with great interest your article titled "Rambo justice" [March 19].
Like dozens of other lawyers in this town, I, too, put in my time at Bickel & Brewer as an associate. During that time, I worked closely with Bill Brewer for nearly two years and got to know him pretty well. While I agreed with some of your observations, and disagreed with others, I found one to be particularly disturbing and inaccurate. Specifically, the suggestion that Brewer's affection and attention to his children was somehow an act couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, Brewer often put his children ahead of his law practice--sometimes to a fault.

On more than one occasion, while working late in the Bickel & Brewer tradition, I found myself in the kingdom waiting for a few minutes of Brewer's time to discuss a case we were working on, while he rolled around on the floor with his son Will in the gym adjacent to his office.

Similarly, there were times when Brewer would show up late for important meetings with Will in tow, because he had been catering to Will's needs, ahead of his clients' and employees' schedules.

There are a lot of things you can fairly say about Bill Brewer--some flattering, and some less so. He is an intense and extremely complex man, driven with such a passion for what he does that sometimes it seems to work against him. But whatever you might fairly list among his faults, inattention or lack of love and affection for his children are not among them.

Michael J. Betz
Via e-mail

Dr. No
In response to the article on Hollis Brashear ["Bored to cheers," March 12] I find Ms. [Julie] Lyons' choice of adjectives to describe Dr. Lois Parrott to be either poorly informed or totally naive. I have worked with Dr. Parrott, helped on her last two campaigns, and continue to support her tireless efforts to hold others accountable for that which they are elected or hired to do: to return public trust to our public school system. To educate our children.

As elected trustees to the board of the Dallas public schools, each of the nine trustees has been given the responsibility of overseeing the fiduciary expenditures of this city's public school system. She continues to base her affirmative vote on the presence of a checks-and-balances system that offers her constituents some assurance that the operations in DISD are not "business as usual." She continues to insist on putting an end to the siphoning of money from the education of our children. Perhaps her counterparts on the board are satisfied to pretend that all is well. It is this type of denial that has brought this school district to the point of discord that has been just below the surface for many years and does not serve any benefit at all.

Yes, Dr. Parrott is relentless in her pursuit of answers about where the moneys that are budgeted for the education of our children are spent. Her continued overtures for an outside investigation into allegations of fraud and corruption must be addressed. Simply pretending that there is no problem does not fix the underlying issues. This is why our district sent Lois Parrott to the school board.

I would call a person with those qualities someone with integrity; I would say that she is courageous, independent, and not easily fooled. If Ms. Lyons or the other members on the board are uncomfortable with her behavior, perhaps they should examine their own motives.

Jeannie M. May

Taking the race bait
Re: Buzz's "Run, Jesse, run?" [March 19]. What Dallas does not need now or in the year 2000 is another political candidate who will continue to play the race card. Jesse Diaz, an activist with LULAC, said it all when he said, "I think if a Hispanic like myself should run, I think I could pick up a lot of the Anglo and Hispanic vote." With comments like that, Mr. Diaz would do well to walk down that narrow plank already set out by himself leading to nowhere.

Let's hope that between now and the year 2000 the Latino community can produce a commissioner candidate who will not be described as the "Brown JWP" and field a candidate who will not cross out constituents based on the color of their skin.

Alas, it's times like this when even I want to say, "Yo quiero Taco Bell."
Pablo Hernandez

Win a date with Christina
Regarding the review of the Good/Bad show ["Honeymoon suite," March 12]--let's just say that your writer was just a little biased. Conduit Gallery has always been progressive as well as supportive of the UNT School of Visual Arts. I applaud Nancy for opening her space to these students. But let's not forget that that's what they are...students! Christina Rees gushed a bit too much. Which artist in the collective is she dating?  

Jennifer King
Via e-mail

Discrimination in the NFL
I personally believe that this is just another of Jerry Jones' blunders ["Black out," February 26]. I have been a great Cowboys fan for years, but I must admit that since Jones purchased the team I have become very uninterested. The thing that I feel is most important is getting the best people in organization. I think that George Seiffert or Sherman Lewis would have been a better choice than who was picked. I am seriously considering boycotting the Cowboys until Jones sells the team. First, we lose Jimmy Johnson, and now we get this new coach; what's next? I guess that the star is really tarnished for good.

Via e-mail

I agree totally with what your writer had to say. I, as a Dallas Cowboys fan, wondered if this interest in Sherman Lewis by Jerry Jones was just a smokescreen to get the press off of the NFL's back on the issue of the lax interest in blacks as head coaches. In my heart I had hoped that Jerry Jones could get beyond his own need to be the man and bring in a man like Sherman Lewis, who obviously knows what he is doing by the success that he has had in Green Bay.

Via e-mail

Robert Wilonsky must have been studying White House press releases the week he wrote "Black out": Only a Washington-trained mind could have strung together a mistruth, a miscalculation, a misconception, and a misunderstanding to get to an erroneous conclusion.

The mistruth: Blacks are unfairly discriminated against in the NFL. Wrong. Blacks are over-represented in the NFL while Asians, Hispanics, Jews, and Whites are under-represented. If Wilonsky was really concerned about fairness in the NFL, he should call for committees to study why other ethnic groups are under-represented and asked for quotas for these groups until their members have a fair share of these high-paying jobs.

The miscalculation: Blacks are woefully under-represented as head coaches. Wrong. Blacks represent about 15 percent of the population. In a fair world, they would have 5 of the 36 coaching jobs. Currently they have 3. Clearly, unfair. But not woefully unfair. However, there are no Asian, Hispanic, or Jewish coaches. That's woefully unfair. Why focus on more black coaches when there are no head coaches from other ethnic groups?

The misconception: "If a guy can play for your team, he can coach it." Wrong. The jobs are totally different: playing is mostly physical, coaching is mostly mental. Most players have trouble putting together a coherent sentence for a post-game interview. Imagine the kind of game plan they would develop. Also, character and integrity are much more important in a head coach than in a player, even a star player. Imagine Michael Irvin as head coach. (Makes Barry look good, doesn't he?) 'Nuff said about that topic.

(Interesting question: who on the current Cowboy team has enough character and integrity to be a head coach? Bill Bates? Maybe. Anyone else? Probably not.)

The misunderstanding: Jerry wanted an NFL-caliber head coach. Wrong. Jerry wanted a figurehead, someone who wanted to be head coach so badly that he would allow Jerry to continue to make all the key decisions. Jerry's list of potential coaches was a list of individuals he thought might be willing to be a ventriloquist's dummy. The men interviewed then rejected should be admired, not despised: They had more backbone and guts than Jerry thought they had.

The erroneous conclusion: Sherman Lewis was treated badly when Jones did not appoint him head coach. Wrong. No one in their right mind would want anyone but their mother-in-law or their worst enemy to be Jerry's "head coach." Lewis deserves a shot at a real head coach's job, not a fake job in Dallas.

John Hines
Via e-mail

Hammer time
Slow news week? I fail to see the significance of a story on Hammer dissin' some guy for several years ["Hammered," February 26]. I agree that what was done to Kevin was wrong. But this is the Dallas Observer. How can so many column inches be justified by this story? The music in question certainly does not have relevance today. Aren't there more important things to cover? I guess not, judging from the space given to [Robert] Wilonsky's piece on how Jerry Jones is going to single-handedly bring down the city if he doesn't choose the right coach ["Black out"]. What happened to the Dallas Observer?

Percival Rogers
Via e-mail  

One sick puppy
Just letting you know I thought this was one of the best articles the Observer has published ["Write or wrong?" March 12]. Although it gives Marilyn Manson more press, I believe this was a very informative article. I have a 16-year-old son who worships this character, and have made him read this article. Thank you for the great information. I read your magazine often, and this is the first time I felt compelled to write you a letter.

Shirley Olive
Via e-mail

Savage criticism
I agree with Sam Savage's letter on March 12 regarding Mark Stuertz's professionalism. The problem is that his reviews seem to be about Mark Stuertz and not the restaurant or the food under discussion.

It used to be that a critic was someone with enough knowledge about a field that he could educate his readers and his peers. Frankly, I don't get that impression in this case.

Paul Z. Griffin
Via e-mail

Gin rummy, you dummy
Concerning Mr. Rainer's review of the movie Twilight ["Fade away," March 5]: Perhaps he was too involved in thinking negative thoughts about the movie to be concerned with accuracy. The card game that Paul Newman and Gene Hackman play is gin rummy, not poker. I think it was mentioned at least twice by the actors.

Via e-mail

Kevin's bacon
Jimmy Fowler is wrong when he defines serious critics as those who don't review movies with their thumbs ["Camp confidential," March 19]. The general consensus is that serious critics are those who don't pontificate about the length of Kevin Bacon's slick willy.

Rhys Southan
Via e-mail

Thank heavens for Ross
Thank you for your courage in the feature article on Gulf War Syndrome ["The war over Gulf War Syndrome," March 5]. I am appalled that our vets and their doctors must be subjected to the shame of having their country accuse them of being crazy. Thank heaven for men like Ross Perot who still take a chance that l00,000 vets can't all be "crazy." Keep up the good work. I'm sorry I can't subscribe to your paper here in San Diego; we call the local paper the FishWrap. but I am glad to get it on the Net and will visit often.

M. Tighe
Via e-mail

Sweat-shop slaves
I read your article on the Marianas garment industry ["Our man in Saipan," February 19]. You could say that I am an interested party. I am currently living in Saipan; I spent the past seven years here. I am a U.S. citizen and my wife a Philippines national who was naturalized last year.

The article was quite accurate in its depiction of life here. Anybody who doesn't think there is ethnic discrimination here isn't dealing with reality. When the congressmen from the mainland come here, the local politicians give them their dog-and-pony show. They show them what they want them to see.

If they wanted to see abuses, they are there, out in the open. The congressmen are not here on fact-finding missions; they are on all-expenses-paid vacations.

I would like to correct a few items that appeared in your article. No, the Hyatt does not have a championship golf course. The Hyatt does not have any golf course. There are several on the island, but none within 10 miles of the Hyatt.

Yes, there are a few wealthy people on the island. Unfortunately, the money is in the hands of a select few. Do we have corrupt politicians? Yes. Are there any in the U.S. congress? Yes.

Many families hire live-in maids. These people make $200 to 250 per month. Yes, they get free room and board, or are supposed to. Some of their living quarters are not much better than what you would give you dog or cat in the U.S. Does that make everybody a bad employer? No. Should there be better laws to protect the workers? Yes. Everybody's argument is that the workers are better off here than in their home country. I say that doesn't matter. If the CNMI wants to be considered part of the U.S. family, then abide by all its laws.

Thomas McDonald
Via e-mail

In last week's Street Beat column, the name of Radish's Ben Kweller was misspelled. We regret the error.

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