I have been somewhat surprised by your paper's total lack of coverage of the indictment of Dallas City Councilman Paul Fielding. I hate to suggest that you may be guilty of biased coverage, but I feel certain that if it were any other city official, you would have had something to say about such a significant event. My question for Laura Miller: "Is your source showing?"

John Wimberley

Laura knows babes
At last, Laura Miller does some real investigative journalism ["Combat zoning," September 19]. "A casting call for Baywatch could not have brought out more babes." Hey, now! I'm going to have to go to one of them there city council hearings.

Tim Kohler

Brats need friends, too
I believe the Dallas Observer was being unfair to Highland Park ["The price of privilege," September 26]. I am outraged at the insensitivity of the article. The "little rich kids," as you put it, have a hard enough time making friends from other vicinities because of the "bubble" theory.

I would like to inform all of Dallas that just because you live in Highland Park doesn't mean you're a snob or brat, just as being a minority race doesn't mean you are bad or evil.

Name withheld

More static
In her article on WRR-FM ["Static quo," September 19], Holly Mullen referred more than once to [Sis] Carr as an octogenarian, and also as being in her eighth decade. This expression of ageism is surprising and disappointing. I can't think how it pertains to the issue of whether the city should sell WRR, can you?

Helen Halford

As a faithful yet cynical reader of the Observer, I have always taken for granted that there must be some truth to the allegations of careless or willfully inaccurate reporting that commonly appear in the letters section. Now I have the proof, in Holly Mullen's tacky article about WRR, Dallas' sole remaining classical music radio station.

It is obvious that Mullen is not a regular listener. I have been listening to WRR for more than 10 years and I can't remember the last time I heard a composer's name mispronounced; it simply doesn't happen. Nor is it true that "symphonies are often truncated in the interest of time." And I don't think WRR's promotions are any sillier than those of many other radio stations.

A far more serious journalistic flaw than these niggling inaccuracies, however, is Mullen's failure to come to grips with the essential issues of her topic. She claims that under independent management, WRR could be a gold mine. She then turns around and suggests that the city could sell the station with a requirement that the format remain classical. But she never seriously addresses the issue of whether the station could become that gold mine without changing formats!

Where are the real facts and figures to back up these claims? She cites one example, Seattle's KING, but provides no numbers indicating that station's profitability, nor of the profitability of classical stations in general. Instead, she wastes her time attacking the current station manager and the Friends of WRR (an organization to which, incidentally, I have never belonged), which may be good copy, but is irrelevant to the real issues.

I won't claim that I love everything about WRR. Personally, I dislike the morning and evening commuter formats, in place for the past several years, in which there is an attempt to provide "something for everyone" each hour: one overture, one waltz, one piece of movie music (which I detest), one Baroque piece--with nothing played that lasts more than 10 minutes or so. And yet, it is ironic that this change was made in an attempt to address the very issues for which Mullen tries to take the station to task!

Namely, to make the stations attractive to a wider range of listeners. But it is obvious that Mullen has never really listened to WRR; she's just out to do some typical journalistic muckraking. The bottom line--as the Friends of WRR recognize--is that any commercial sale will inevitably result in the loss of classical music radio programming in Dallas. And for me that would be one more nail in the coffin of cultural and political narrow-mindedness that make Dallas a less-than-ideal place to live.

Will Stuivenga

Best lauds, and gripes
In your "Best Of Dallas" edition [September 26], your choice of Best Coffee Beans was ignorant at best. I happen to be employed by a coffee roaster/retailer/wholesaler, and with objectivity in mind I would like to educate you on a few bean-related items.

While fresh coffee is obviously important to achieving a great cup, the quality of the beans in the first place is just as important. I'm sure you would agree that, like a fine winery won't use any old grape, a quality coffee roaster must select the best, too--Arabica beans hand-picked, grown at a high altitude under shade trees and under the proper climatic conditions. Most importantly, the roaster should taste the coffee crop before buying and not rely upon bean brokers to make selections.  

You should also be aware that Cafe Society is not "Dallas' only in-town roaster." Metro is local, as is La Creme.

Michael Shaw

I just can't stop laughing at your description of Dallas Morning News outdoors writer Ray Sasser ["Best of Dallas," Scariest Mug Shot]. It's so funny because it oh-so-true! I have faxed this clip to friends of mine all over the country. I'm a regular freelancer to The Globe tabloid, and I thought us tabloid writers wrote wild and crazy prose--until I read this one. You guys should give yourselves the Best Description of A Geeky Looking Guy award. And Ray should run, not walk, to the nearest Glamour Shots for a complete makeover photo shot. He can even use my coupons! What are you guys at the Observer trying to do, not get yourselves invited to the annual Morning News Christmas party again?

Janice Malone

While reading your "Best of Dallas" issue, I had an unusual experience! "Best of Dallas"--while nestled so cleverly in the advertisements--created a fleeting moment of thought that I was reading a Parade magazine! Of course, when I reached the center of the spread and there wasn't a furniture-store pullout, I realized it was only a hallucination.

Careful. You are very close to becoming what you mock. Twenty-five-percent content and 75-percent advertising does not an alternative paper make. You're starting to look really mainstream to me.

Debra Lloyd

It absolutely was not announced "seriously" or otherwise that neckties are forbidden at St. Mark's School of Texas, as a call to my office would have determined ["Best of Dallas," Best example of a ridiculous dress code]. Just to set the record straight, St. Mark's students for years have been allowed to wear a jacket and tie and slacks instead of the usual gray-flannel-pants-and-white-shirt combination. It is true that athletic teams, especially those traveling away to games, are expected to wear a jacket and tie on game days. The dress code states that "excesses of hair style/attire are out of place," and some students' ties have run afoul of this regulation (as do other items of apparel on occasion); perhaps this is the source of your confusion.

St. Mark's offers more diversity of students than many suburban high schools. The school strives to educate a broad cross-section of Dallas, not to distinguish "us" from "them," and our varied student body attests to that. The dress code has long served the dual purposes of providing a level social playing field and emphasizing that the strength of a person's character, not the price of his clothes, is what is truly important. Please feel free to visit the school some time to see the results for yourself.

Eric Benke
Head of Upper School,
St. Mark's School of Texas

Please understand that we are quite honored to have been named in your "Best of Dallas" feature [Best Bookstore for Used Books]. We only write this to you in the interest of accuracy, since three potentially erroneous impressions were in our writeup therein. So we would appreciate it if you could print this as a letter to the editor, not to slam you folks, but to correct the record.

First, to correct the impression that the Gaston location referred to was not our "original location" in Lakewood, we first opened in the neighborhood in 1976 at 2307 Abrams Road.

Next, we did not "emerge from the catastrophe with our...selection intact." We lost nearly everything in that 1993 fire. It has taken a lot of work on the part of everyone here, and the goodwill and encouragement of some of our most loyal patrons, to rebuild to what you see today. (Thanks for appreciating its diversity and quality.)

And this leads into the last and most important item. Lest some of our regular customers from the Lakewood neighborhood and beyond think that we told you that we are "in the business of buying books in bulk from strangers," let me say that we were not consulted for this writeup, nor shown the copy in advance to fact-check it. Although we have bought large quantities of books from strangers, we never treat them as "bulk books."

Except in the worst cases of degraded books or categories that we can't use at all, each book is looked at and evaluated individually, whether it is a single title coming in, one of 25 in a grocery bag, or one of 2,000-3,000 in 70 or 80 boxes. But more importantly, by far the greatest part of our book acquisitions are not from "strangers," but rather from regular customers, most of whom we know on sight; many of whom we know by name; and many of whom have traded with us in Dallas or Mesquite for 10-20 or more years and with whom we are on a first-name basis. And although we buy lots of books, audio and video tapes, and CDs, we take many more as "trade-ins" from folks who appreciate the better deal to be had that way.  

We think that we are "in the business of" running the "neighborhood book exchange" in a way that helps keep reading, listening, and viewing affordable; that is as user-friendly as we can manage; and that draws folks from all over to achieve the best selection in any category that its allotted space will permit.

Thanks again for the recognition. It helps soothe the psyche to feel the appreciation from your staff. In fact, it makes us feel foolish writing this, but we feel that it is best that misimpressions not be formed if they are avoidable. Our hardworking staff and concerned patrons deserve our attention to these details.

John Tilton
Paperbacks Plus

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