This is in reference to Christine Biederman's article on the Michael Irvin-Erik Williams-Nina Shahravan-Marty Griffin imbroglio ["Payback time," August 21]. Excellent article, well-researched with solid background work. This is much better than anything from the fluffy one-size-fits-all approach of your crosstown behemoth rival, The Dallas Morning News.
The ugly, grainy underbelly of law practice is nauseating to read about, but is necessary at the same time to keep the warring parties in line. There are no winners and losers here, just armed camps with agendas that eventually boil down to the pursuit of fame and the almighty dollar.
Keep up the good work. I have been a fan of the Dallas Observer since it came out, and I like your aggressive style and journalistic integrity in disclosing your affiliations with subjects in your stories.
I know that Peter Rainer is only a syndicated movie critic, but it still sucks that his reviews get printed in the Observer. One of his complaints about She's So Lovely ["Women under the influence," August 28] was that Sean Penn's character "killed somebody, and he's STILL being propped up as a love-struck saint."
It's one thing to worry about important details that actually exist, but quite another to come down on a movie for something that doesn't happen. As one of the mental health attendants says, "He NEARLY killed one of our employees." Rainer is nearly a worthless critic.
Did you deliberately omit part of the last sentence at the very end of the story on Judge John Marshall ["Bad judgment," August 21]? The last sentence in which John Bickel, the "lawyer" who was granted a summary judgment of $875,000 by the judge is quoted as saying, "To be honest [sic], the good judges I want to keep. They sacrifice to be a judge. They can make a lot more money in private practice, but they give that up to be public servants. If you can do something small for them every once in a while [like sending one of his female paralegals to meet privately in the judge's chambers numerous times; tickets to the Cowboys games in his firm's luxury box complete with limousines to pick up the judge and drive him home or parking passes; having one of his paralegals deliver a $250 wristwatch to one of the judge's employees six days before the judge issued his summary judgment--and the same paralegal agrees to pay the judge $1,500 for a catamaran sailboat the judge had been trying for more than a year to sell], I don't see anything wrong with that, I don't see it as anything more than a favor for a hard-working public official." Are you SURE he didn't end it with "especially while he's the judge in an active case you have before him. All good lawyers do it."?
I just read your brief article with Jimmy Fowler's opinion on Howard Stern ["Love! Valor! Silence!" Street Beat, August 14]. Fowler is on the money. The Stern show recycled the same jokes for years. Admittedly, Howard is a quick-witted guy, but as far as creativity goes, his show was lame. I got bored really quickly when all they would cuss about was how bad everything sucks. Yeah, that's real clever.
It's so funny how Howard fans think there is some religious conspiracy going on. They never considered the idea that maybe the new owners of the Eagle thought the show was weak and lacked any class. There's more to life than money, and maybe they realized that. Who knows?
Jimmy Fowler is right on--Howard Stern is a moron, only he forgot to mention Stern's worst offense. He and his cast of idiots are boring as hell. The few times I accidentally happened upon his show, I felt about as entertained as a blind guy at a titty bar. He comes across as the kind of self-promoting scumbag who would sell jars of his own urine if he could just find someone to package, market, and distribute them.
Fowler is also right about another thing--The Simpsons and The Larry Sanders Show are the real gatekeepers of the '90s subversive pop culture slaughterhouse. (As far as the '80s went, all that registers are the novel Money by Martin Amis, and the album Tacky Souvenirs From Past Revolutionary America by the Houston band Culturcide--but that was a long time ago, and they obviously didn't do enough good. I mean, look--people still actually think Howard Stern is some kind of genius)
It amazes me that the Sanders show has been on the air for six years and so few people have seen it. (If anyone is wondering what in the hell I'm doing in Los Angeles, I'm dealing with people like the ones portrayed on The Larry Sanders Show on a daily basis--the show is the only respite). Even though I don't really spend that much time in Dallas anymore, I'm glad Howard Stern got the heave-ho. What ever happened to turning on your radio and actually hearing some music? Or is promoting boredom and stupidity the only thing worth fighting for anymore?
I recently read the article "Slip Sliding Away" [July 24]. Please permit me a brief response to a few of the comments reported therein about Melton Barnes and the Woody Branch Creek erosion control project.
Dallas City Councilman Larry Duncan--knowing "the engineers" made a mistake in assigning construction priorities for the project but still not publicly acknowledging and seeking to rectify the mistake--says Barnes' "annoying tactics" and "pounding on them" doesn't help. I've always known Barnes to be a well-mannered, neighborly sort of person. Maybe he's changed now that he's in the seventh decade of his life, but I just don't think he's the sort of person who would go around annoying or pounding on anyone without good reason.
If Barnes has changed into some sort of addled nuisance monger, as some city employees seem to suggest in the article, maybe it's because of a runaround-brush-off,say one thing today, another tomorrow routine seemingly practiced by some city employees, and the rather snide, ill-informed, or deliberately obfuscating statements by some such employees.
If city engineer Steve Parker truly contends that "the city was forced to put the Barneses and their mom's [Lillie Gallatin's] property at the bottom of the priority list," I would suggest that he revisit history. Councilman Duncan states, "the engineers mistakenly overlooked the properties." At least one employee in engineer Parker's department has said about the same thing, and my guess is that others making an honest assessment of the situation would agree.
City Engineer Lloyd Denman might also want to revisit history and peruse a short study on the incurring of legal obligations, and he might want to review the dynamics and ramifications of aiming a large drainage pipe at a hill of dirt, and he might want to relate how forcefully (if at all) he enunciated his self-responsibility principle to Councilman Don Hicks when the councilman had property, his own included, put on the priority list ahead of other, more deserving property.
Melton Barnes may not be a perfect person, but I know he's tried to be a good neighbor and do the right thing; something I wish could be said about everybody else mentioned in your article.
Meet the Simpson
In order to set the record straight, I want to confirm that Bill Simpson did, in fact, work for Globe Mortgage Company as indicated, but then questioned, in your article ["Mr. Nobody," August 14]. I managed the Dallas office of Globe Mortgage Company from late 1988 to early 1992. I brought Bill in as a commercial loan officer in the fall of 1990. He stayed with the company for approximately one year. At that time, Globe Mortgage was headquartered in Hackensack, New Jersey, and the Dallas office was a regional branch office. Globe is no longer in the commercial mortgage banking field and may no longer be in business at all. I have had no contact with Globe since 1992.
I knew Bill from Boy Scouting. I was the Scoutmaster for Troop 72 at University Park United Methodist Church from 1986 to 1991. Bill joined the troop as an assistant scoutmaster in 1986 and, to my knowledge, is still an assistant scoutmaster there. In 1990, as Southmark was winding down, Bill was seeking employment, and I was pleased to offer him a position at Globe.
I consider Bill to be a friend. Having moved away from Dallas, I do not know exactly what he is doing; however, your article paints a negative picture that does not match the Bill Simpson that I have known for 11 years.
James F. Rice
Bad owners, bad!
It is sad that Sammy the dog died by lethal injection, as do tens of thousands of other animals in North Texas each year. ["Four legs and a funeral," August 7].
I love dogs; I own three. However, my dogs stay in the house, are housebroken, are neutered, and do not leave our yard to roam the streets.
Look at the statements in the Observer's article. Sammy apparently had a habit of getting out of the back yard and lying on the front porch waiting for the family to return home.
Most dogs are territory-protective. That territory can span for blocks, if not for miles. What did Sammy do while he was waiting? Why did Sammy need leg surgery? Had he been hit by a car? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to look at a dog coming at you to realize that you may be attacked or bitten.
Where were Sammy's collar and tags? A common excuse for dogs not wearing collar and tags is, "We just took them off to give the dog a bath." The city of Mesquite must have the cleanest dogs in the state: 85-90 percent of impounded animals are not wearing collars or tags.
How many innocent people have to be attacked, bitten, or harassed by loose dogs? How many traffic accidents have to happen because of loose dogs? I've seen hundreds of children lying in emergency rooms getting stitched up after being mauled by loose dogs. How many meter readers, letter carriers, joggers, etc., need to be attacked, mauled, or seriously injured by loose dogs before pet owners get the message to control and contain their pets?
While it is sad that Sammy died, he should have had his collar and tags on and been securely contained in his back yard. That would have prevented this entire incident.
Do not condemn the public servants who perform a dirty, nasty, thankless job dictated by society's irresponsible behavior. Condemn instead the acts of irresponsible pet owners.
The day my life changed forever was February 29, 1996. That day I retired as the supervisor of the city of Mesquite animal control.
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