Sax sells
OK, two weeks. Two Buzz mentions [November 13 and 20]. It's time to set the record straight about how I am not John Tesh-like:

10. I'm not married to Connie Sellecca.
9. I've never been part of an infomercial and never will.
8. I would never use cheesy sex to sell a CD by calling it "Sax on the Beach."

7. John Tesh has sold 100 times more copies of his CDs than I have (see No. 8).

6. I would never be the commentator for gymnastics at the Olympics. Only luge.

5. Any given day at DISD is twice as exciting as anything you'd ever see on Entertainment Tonight.

4. He plays at Red Rocks. I play at Borders.
3. He makes money for KERA. I give money to KERA.
2. I've never sat next to Mary Hart or her million-dollar-insured legs.
1. He can afford a house on Swiss Avenue. I can't.

By the way, about that gathering you reported about on Swiss to which I was invited--yes, I was let in the front door, and yes, I met some good people and new friends. And, Buzz, I hold you and the Dallas Observer in the same high regard as other fine publications which are free for the taking.

Jon Dahlander
Via e-mail

Messy business
The Dallas Observer's impact on the city cannot be overstated. Your willingness to publish investigative reports on significant events occurring in the city is most heartening, especially when contrasted with the "daily disappointment."

Platitudes aside, I would like to take Ms. [Miriam] Rozen to task for some carelessness displayed in her story, "One fine mess" [November 20]. My election in 1990 was not dependent on Mr. Scovell or the Dallas Breakfast Group. My election train was pulling into the station when they hopped on board for the last few blocks. I did appreciate the help. It allowed me to repay a personal loan I had made to finance my campaign. Subsequent to my election, Mr. Scovell or the Breakfast Group never attempted to influence my vote in any way.

There were, however, several extremely intense conversations with Mr. Scovell in 1994 regarding the central theme of Ms. Rozen's story, "basic moral character." The subjects of those conversations were Mr. [Bill] Keever and Mr. [Sandy] Kress. Mr. Scovell was warned specifically that "Mr. Kress had no principles."

Needless to say, I am disappointed to learn from Ms. Rozen's story that Mr. Scovell obviously took these conversations as a personal affront. It is extremely disappointing to learn that he personally chose Ms. [Lynda] McDow to replace me as another "yes woman" for the DISD Board of Trustees.

As you and Ms. Rozen continue your investigation into DISD, I would appreciate not being thrown in the same barrel with Mr. Kress and Mr. Keever. Some of us did not sell out.

Ed Grant

Editor's note: Ed Grant, a former DISD trustee, is certainly entitled to hindsight. But we stand by our story.

Excellent story on the DISD mess by Miriam Rozen, and about who really should be blamed for this Yvonne Gonzalez travesty. The Dallas power elite still run this city behind the scenes, and things will only change when more of these backroom deals and power plays are exposed and cracks of democracy emerge.

As for the anonymous letter writer in the same issue about the arena deal, I agree with most points, except that Ross Sr. set a better example for Ross Jr. A quick check shows that Ross Sr. got rich primarily off of government contracts through EDS, and at one time was Washington's biggest lobbyist, making his remarks and campaign against lobbyists and getting big government out of our lives all the more hypocritical. Ross Jr. is only doing what his dad taught him to do.

Via e-mail

In your article on John Scovell and his influence on the DISD Board of Trustees, you state that Scovell "...starred as quarterback for Texas Tech, the university where he...helped take his team to the Cotton Bowl. "

Texas Tech has appeared in the Cotton Bowl only twice--in 1939 (seven years prior to Scovell's birth) and in 1995 (at age 48, he would have been the oldest member of the team).

While this fact does not change the thrust of your story, or my personal belief that there is indeed a group of powerful business leaders who influence both city and school politics in Dallas, it does call into question the ability of your reporter to verify the accuracy of even simple assertions in her story.

With that said, thank you for your continuing coverage of the shenanigans in both the DISD and the city. If we had to rely on the reporting of the other media outlets in town, Gonzalez would still be in power and pillaging the poor schoolchildren of Dallas.

Via e-mail

Editor's note: The author of this letter is correct. Texas Tech did not go to the Cotton Bowl when John Scovell was its quarterback. We regret the error.

Selling out
Laura Miller's article ["Flying blind," November 20] makes clear what many of us have long suspected: City Manager [John] Ware and Mayor [Ron] Kirk were never motivated to cut a fair deal with the team owners--they were just committed to negotiate away whatever it takes in order to secure this dubious "trophy" as one of downtown's attractions. The team owners knew this and took full advantage of the situation. The fact that it may be the worst deal a city has can avoid the wrath of the chamber of commerce and business community for "losing the Mavericks."

If Kirk can claim victory on January 17, it won't matter if the deal's books don't balance, or that the city will incur additional expenses condemning land for Perot's mega-nothing.

Despite his secrecy and posturing, John Ware has been reduced to nothing more than a water boy for Perot's every request. And the mayor has become the premier apologist for what's shaping up as a rip-off of truly historic proportions. Roger Staubach take note.

Without Bob Stimson's honest accounting of the deal's terms, Donna Blumer's standing up to the two millionaire welfare queens, and Al Lipscomb smelling a rat in the TU site, the city council would be a unanimous herd of rubber stampers. Thank God for the three of them. They give us hope for the vote in January.

David Judge

No love lost
If I wished to insult you as you have insulted me (and multitudes of my friends), I would ask if your article on "Mr. Passion" [October 23] was written on the "wrong day of the month."

It's amazing. I have seen many comments, articles, etc., bashing the romance genre--readers, writers, models, publishers, agents, even those poor misguided folks like me who sell the very "bodice-rippers" you castigated--but I don't think anyone has managed to be quite so insulting in quite so many inventive and irritating ways.

I would love to introduce you to the many facets of romance books--the ones not merely about sex, as you seem to think, but about dealing with breast cancer, spousal abuse, handicaps of various kinds, custody battles, murder, and suspense.

But there, I'm sure you wouldn't be interested in being educated--you already have an opinion, firmly formed and obviously immovable. So much for the open-minded press. But you might want to search through the Internet until you find The Literary Times bulletin board--you might be exposed to the minds of some very bright, articulate people who both read and write the very books you despise. You might even find your name being discussed! But you might not like what they're saying...

I realize that it's highly unlikely that you will change your opinion of romance books merely as a result of the responses you are receiving, have received, and will be receiving to your article. But I do recommend that you read a few of those despised books before you sharpen your claws for the next attack. The genre has some really staunch defenders!

Merry Cutler
Via e-mail

Editor's note: Yes it does. Ms. Cutler's letter--and those that follow--were among dozens received by the Observer about Christine Biederman's article, "Mr. Passion."

The article on Mr. [Evan] Fogelman, while somewhat entertaining, certainly does a disservice to the romance industry and the men and women who write the novels.

If you think romances are banal and dull, then you obviously have never read Jane Ann Krentz (aka Amanda Quick), DFW's very own Geralyn Dawson, Jennifer Cruisie, and countless others who pen an intriguing, heartwarming, humorous story. What's wrong with reading for pleasure? Or reading something that leaves you with a sense of satisfaction and completeness? (Yes, that's what a happy ending does--which is why we fans love our romances over any other genre.)

It must be a terrible burden to be such a supercilious snob. I truly feel sorry for you.

Carolee Jacobson
Via e-mail

This is in response to the article done on Mr. Evan Fogelman. I found it informative, honest, and shockingly hostile on the part of the interviewer.

Her brutal slap in the face to the romance industry was nasty and carried with it strong undertones of resentment and anger. Every person--especially a woman--should have the right to her own opinion, but I found this woman's words painful to read because it's apparent that she holds good writing and imagination when it's in the form of a romance novel in such low esteem. There are truly some great and inventive romance writers out there. Too bad this interviewer was so ignorant of that fact.

Valarie Prince
Via e-mail

I just read the Fogelman agency interview and am astonished that despite all the good things about the romance industry that Fogelman said, your reporter could not avoid sneering at all the women who read romances. Yes, not every romance is great literature, but if she is looking for wit and irony, she might try the Regency genre. Especially the woman who is considered the foundress of the genre: Georgette Heyer. I recommend reading Faro's Daughter if your reporter wants wit and irony. But then, the humor of a romance would probably not be understood by Christine Biederman.

Louise Bergin
Via e-mail

Why should Mr. Fogelman be embarrassed to represent romance novelists? Are you embarrassed to be involved in a romantic relationship? Or is your problem that you have never been in a happy romantic (or even heterosexual) relationship? Don't look down on the readers who like to read stories with a happy ending. Romance is alive and well, even if not in your own life.

Do you bash romance novels because you think that will score you some points with the "guys" in the competitive field of journalism?

Ms. Biederman, get a grip, and get an education where romance novels are concerned. You owe it to yourself, and to the people you have misinformed with your article.

Via e-mail

Christine Biederman responds: I'm not sure if it was the "wrong day of the month." I'll have to consult my calendar.

As for the questions about my sexual orientation and degree of romantic satisfaction, I have been happily married to a man for 10 years--not that it's anyone's business.

I do, however, plead guilty to being a supercilious snob.

Nice ballpark, bad ball
Although the Rangers have been a success at the gate ["Here's the pitch," November 6], they've been a flop on the baseball diamond. The challenge facing the Rangers is how to compete with the deeper pockets of the owners in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Miami. Many small businessmen today find themselves in the same predicament--how do they compete successfully with the Goliaths such as AT&T and Microsoft?

Well, here in the metroplex, Southwest Airlines showed that a small company with enlightened management can rise to the top of the heap. The same holds true for the Rangers.

Before TV and free agency, the New York Yankees were by far the most successful franchise. The Yankees bought Babe Ruth from the financially troubled Red Sox, starting a domination of baseball for decades by simply buying the best players. Their main competition was the financially strapped Brooklyn Dodgers. The Dodgers competed by using their brains, heart, and soul. First, they integrated baseball, tapping into a huge talent pool. Second, they had a hugely successful minor league system supplying even more talent. Again, enlightened management was the foundation for success.

Today, there are at least three successful teams without deep pockets. The Minnesota Twins have won a World Series this decade with a relatively small budget. The Pittsburgh Pirates and Montreal Expos have competed successfully this decade with a budget that is a tiny fraction of the Goliaths'.

The failure of the Rangers can be laid directly at the feet of management. The minor leagues have been unproductive. In addition, baseball starts with pitching and then defense up the middle. The Rangers have a great catcher who is overpaid and probably has peaked. The starting and middle relief pitching is weak. The middle infielders are inadequate. The center fielders either can't hit or can't play defense. In this year's World Series, look at the defense of both shortstops--have the Rangers ever had a shortstop even close in ability?

For the Rangers to compete, they have two options--either get deep pockets, or find some knowledgeable baseball people who know how to draft and a manager who knows how to motivate his players.

Jerry Frankel

A point about the so-called "Peavy Tapes" in our November 20 cover story, "One fine mess," requires clarification. Several versions of the obscenity-laden Dan Peavy tapes exist. The version sent to DISD trustees in September 1995, however, was not recorded by the Peavy neighbor who later pleaded guilty to illegally intercepting some of the former trustee's telephone conversations, according to the neighbor's lawyer, Frank Jackson.


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