A vote for Paul
I am still shaking my head as I re-read the lead article about the Honorable Paul Fielding ["Should Paul Fielding go to jail?" December 26]. You should be pleased to know your publication is so carefully read; I've been over this copy six or seven times.

In modern American culture, where everything is couched in sound bites, it seems slanted to say "Everyone...hates [Fielding]." That would be irresponsible hyperbole in any case. Remember first impressions? Your job is to report, not to make, the news.

It appears to me that Laura Miller is disappointed that Fielding was accused of something, which in our modern society happens a lot. Miller has been accused of a number of things herself. However, these charges often come from unreliable sources and are often said for spite or shock value.

There aren't very many people on the city council who haven't been accused of all sorts of malfeasance, whether by disappointed business partners, unsuccessful political competitors, or whatever. As we all know, it takes an especially tough hide to be in politics in Dallas.

I am quite cross with the Dallas Observer and the editors who pulled out so many drop quotes which appear to damn, ram, or spam Fielding. What about other quotes that appear only after the average reader is fighting falling asleep and starts reading faster and faster?

After discussing this article with dozens of locals, with dozens of different takes, I am still confused. Some say this article was supportive, and I say what about all the negative, sniping comments? I would like to see more about the FBI's waste of taxpayer dollars. How about mentioning that the U.S. Attorney here in Dallas declared the government had no case? Why did they run off to Sherman to file the case?

There are always detractors waiting for something to drag down. I am disappointed that Miller wants to be in that claque. Assertions that Fielding is friendless are wrong: despite his failing to heed my advice that he is too young to be a curmudgeon, he is still a valuable voice of fiscal conservatism and reason that we too desperately need on the council.

Without him, Lord knows if they will build a sky-dome over downtown. Miller needs to concentrate on this and leave Fielding to his day in court. And plan a follow-up on how silly the Feds look afterward.

P.D. Sterling

Benji's fan club
In regard to the article about Benji Bollox, or whatever the hell his name is ["The little punk that could," January 2]. I think the column should have been entitled "The little punk that can not, will not, and is mentally and physically incapable of performing any task over a third-grade level."

This low-quality piece is the most self-righteous, name-dropping, I'm-the-punk-icon-of-Dallas piece of crap I've ever read in your publication. Most of the time I enjoy the articles that are written by ya'll, but I don't understand why this was written! It's as if this guy Benji had his mother write this. I looked to see if this is one of your staff writers, and I didn't see his name. Well, I hope it wasn't one of your people, because he did not research his info very well.

If Bollox is playing with the Subs, why is he here in America playing with Fallout? Word on the street is that Mr. Benji Icon played with the Subs once and that they blew him off after that. I've been in the Dallas punk scene for 12 years, and the only thing I've heard about him is that he couldn't play his way out of a wet paper sack. Personally, I think this guy wants some recognition and applause. Again I ask, why the hell the article?

Steve Anderson

I wanted to issue a complaint against the article entitled "The little punk that could." I think it is absolutely ridiculous that your magazine would publish a story that is so untrue. Do you research what you print at all? I know this is not true because I'm friends with the person who went to England with Benji Bollox. He is a liar and a complete fool who is trying to prove to the world that he's not just a loser who lives in Richardson with his mommy. He obviously doesn't support local music.

Riot Squad is one of my favorite local bands, and I know they play much better without him. He's not a musician, he just wants to be a rock star really bad! It's people like this clown Bollox who ruin the music scene. I believe that you should find out who wrote this article and make damn sure he has his facts straight, because he might just have a lawsuit on his hands if the UK Subs management finds out about this little brat claiming that he's the new drummer. Can I pretend to be the new singer for the Cranberries and have an article written about me?  

Erica Yates

Cats first
I am filled with great disappointment and disgust after reading Ann Zimmerman's article ["Cat fight," January 2]. I learned of the Texas Exotic Feline Foundation from my personal physician after we talked of our mutual affection for cats. Other commitments have delayed my plans to visit the sanctuary. According to the article, at least for now, I won't be able to. I "thank" mankind for screwing up again.

I don't know either David Cook or Louis Dorfman personally. From the article and photo(s), I agree with Zimmerman's Tarzan assessment of Dorfman. These egomaniacs are no better than the ignorant, inept individuals who acquired and then dumped their trophy pets in the first place. To hell with their need to return to some primordial state.

My opinion of these men, or Gene Reitnauer for that matter, does not matter. What is important here is the cats' welfare. The fact that these helpless animals may suffer further because of man's vanity is totally unacceptable. As in any custody situation, it is the dependents who suffer. However, unlike children who can grow up and become self-reliant, these poor creatures will never be able to care for themselves in their natural state. Thanks again to man's stupidity for taking that away in the first place. Leaving them in the hands of an expensive, bureaucratically appointed receiver and a welder-caretaker is definitely not the answer. The animals need the money more than these two.

I am not sure what I can do, but I am going to try to keep these beautiful animals from waiting for their justice until April 27.

James F. Harvey

Thank you for demonstrating the courage to write the truth about the events occurring at the Texas Exotic Feline Foundation in Boyd, Texas. Clearly, in today's society, money and politics cannot only influence "justice," but disguise "truth". My wife and I have been friends with Gene and Robert Reitnauer for almost nine years and have seen the sanctuary evolve from seven cats to more than 60.

We are absolutely appalled to see how the allegations have been handled by our illustrious attorney general's office. David Cook, Louis Dorfman, and the attorney general's office are not simply indicting Mrs. Reitnauer, but they are accusing each and every volunteer and friend of TEFF of said deeds. How dare these three parties in their almighty arrogance criticize us and suggest that we are "cult members," questioning our value to the pre-November 21, '96, Texas Exotic Feline Foundation?

Certainly everyone has the right to levy such charges, but to remove Mrs. Reitnauer from the fragile felines and put a welder/cowboy "in charge" is incredulous.

Let us not forget that the allegations brought forth by the two donors were financial in nature. At no time was there ever concern for the well-being of the exotic felines. However, since November 21, when TEFF was assigned a new overseer, the cats began to show signs of problems. Why? Because the trustee that was designated by the court knows little about exotic cats. He lives in Houston and is at the sanctuary only a few hours a week. In his absence, he hired a welder who does not have the proper training, experience, or aptitude for such a position.

Will we never learn? This litigation is costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, and God only knows how much time the Texas Attorney General's Office is spending. For what? Certainly not the treatment of the cats. Every animal rights group that knows TEFF and Gene Reitnauer will attest to that. Once again, this unnecessary spectacle shows that Texas politics and big money make strange and powerful bedfellows, while the welder watches the deteriorating health of the 60 fragile exotic felines.

How unfortunate that the Texas Attorney General's Office does not have the same courage that Zimmerman had to address the truth.

Felix & Debbie Laughlin

Settle down there, M.H.
If you are responsible for that photo with the accompanying jingle of Michael Bolton ["Jingle bells," December 5], you are in my opinion a very sick person! Too many people spend too much, no, waste too much time minding other people's business and making judgments on others' looks. If you don't weigh 110 pounds you're considered fat! If you weigh less than 110 pounds you're anorexic! Not everyone can look like a Baywatch beach resident.

Perhaps Bolton is balding. So what! Many men lose their hair, women too, and that does not make them freaks to be ostracized by the likes of you. What if you were balding, short, obese, too thin, or handicapped? Would you want so-called critics taking pot shots at you because of your differences?  

Albeit, Bolton is only losing a little hair, but thank goodness that's all he's losing. I'd be sad to hear he'd lost his wonderful talents. His style may not appeal to everyone, and even I must admit that I don't care for every song he sings, but as for his Christmas album, it is OK by me. Certainly he can't do any more harm to our Christmas carols than has been done by other recording artists. I cringe when I hear some of that twaddling. And to show you I am not like you, I will not mention those artists I feel should only sing Christmas carols in the shower! I just won't buy their recordings.

M.H. Morris

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