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Letters

Chez canard
Mary Malouf's review of Chez Gerard ["French, seriously," June 27] is hard to take seriously: "You have to cultivate your relationship with this restaurant to truly enjoy it."

Let's see--they overlooked her reservation, she and her guests received inattentive service, and she had to track down her check. Sounds like lots of fun, especially at Chez Gerard prices.

I believe it is my responsibility to "cultivate a relationship" at McDonald's. At a Chez Gerard, the restaurant management and staff have the responsibility to please me!

I generally enjoy Malouf's reviews, but this one misses the mark by a mile.
G.L. Miller
Dallas

Where Kirk feeds
Congrats to Laura Miller for again telling Dallasites what's happening behind the scenes at City Hall and at the Dallas Independent School District ["Leave it to Keever," June 27]. It's a shame these details are omitted from reports in the Belo print and electronic media, but that's the beauty of a communications monopoly tied to the old oligarchy.

I thought it odd that Keever made a public apology for the disgusting situation at the school board. Of the major participants, he is the least responsible for the current turmoil. Now we know why!

As for our honorable mayor, his election at least shows Dallas is colorblind when it comes to picking smooth-talking lackeys to carry water for the downtown power brokers. Kirk has been figuratively eating off the Scovell/Hunt plate, so he might as well do it literally.

I hope Miller will continue to look closely at Kirk, City Manager John Ware, and our illustrious city council as the real push begins to build an arena and develop the river bottoms at taxpayer expense for the vested interests of the Crows, Perots, and Hunts of the Metroplex.

Thomas Sullivan
Dallas

Just some?
Just a reply to a letter in your current issue ["Adios, Rusty," June 27]. I don't know who Harry Preston is, nor do I have any idea what is going on in the Metroplex these days.

All I want to say is that the Observer is one of those few "rays of hope" in the area. I tend to become more cynical as time passes, but I always look for the voices of dissent.

I would like to join you in wishing Rusty adios. When I come to Dallas, I read through the Observer and always find at least some quality writing.

You know what granddaddy Voltaire said (or somebody I studied in high-school history class): Sir, I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to my own death your right to say it.

Ben Giles
Madison, Wisconsin

Firehouse pang
In response to Matt Weitz's article on the gallery now occupying the old Firehouse No. 16 in East Dallas ["Lost art," June 13], I would like to clarify an impression he left regarding the former use of the building.

The building was owned by, and housed, a nondenominational church called Redeemer's Fellowship that had an active ministry in the surrounding neighborhood for 15 years. Many of us lived in the neighborhood, and we provided programs for youth, meeting facilities for the Bois D'arc Patriots and other organizations, and the building often was a designated polling place on election days.

Weddings and other celebrations were held there; newborn babies were blessed and welcomed into an atmosphere of love and hope. Joys and sorrows were shared in word, dance, and song.

When our church split amicably in the late 1980s, a remnant of us continued to meet regularly in the firehouse, and we continued to offer its use to groups who had no other facilities available, such as the Hispanic Mennonite congregation mentioned in Weitz's article.

It was the remaining group of Redeemer's folks who did all the footwork, paperwork, and red tape necessary to gain historical designation for the building. We hosted quite a celebration when we achieved that goal. People from all over the neighborhood came out, including former members of the church. Mayor Annette Strauss spoke, as did Channel 8 news anchor Tracy Rowlett. A real fire engine gave rides to the children. It was a meaningful moment in time for us. We were honoring the life of the building that had been home to our group for so long.

We knew that we could not maintain the upkeep of the building indefinitely in a way that would do it justice, so we put the building up for sale, praying that it would find a use worthy of its history and all the love and life-sharing that had occurred within its walls. We were frankly delighted that it was purchased by [Kaleta] Doolin and [Alan] Govenar and put to its present use--a place that stimulates and challenges through art, a place of beauty and creativity.

I understand that Weitz's piece was most deservedly about the gallery and the folks who make it happen, not a history of the firehouse. Nevertheless, it was hurtful to have the history of the building dismissed in one inaccurate paragraph which ignored its most recent roots.

Nancy Ferguson
Dallas

Save grandma
As a resident of the M Streets, I empathize with the traffic plight of the residents of Monticello and McCommas ["M is for mad as hell," May 30]. However, the article leaves the impression that most of the opposition to the Neighborhood Protection Plan is from outside the area. This is not true.

Seventy percent of neighborhood-association members did not vote for this plan. Rather, it was 70 percent of the (mostly) Monticello and McCommas residents who were still present after a lengthy, contentious meeting.

After sitting through more than a few of these meetings, you would almost vote to have your grandmother used as a traffic hump on one of these streets if it would slow traffic and speed the meeting along with less antagonism.

At the time the first neighborhood meetings began in May 1995, it became immediately obvious that, despite the exhortations of the Greenland Hills Neighborhood Association officers, the issue would be Monticello and McCommas vs. the rest of the M Streets, NIMBY reconstituted as NOMS (Not on My Street).

There is a reason that commuters for decades have used Monticello and McCommas to head east and west between Central Expressway and Greenville Avenue. As the story states in its first paragraph, those two streets were decades ago designated as the through streets for the neighborhood. The concern of everyone not on Monticello and McCommas is the financial and fire-safety effects the potential diversion of a decades-old traffic pattern will have on all the other east-west streets.

We have real concerns regarding the diversion of traffic from Monticello and McCommas onto the other streets in the neighborhood. The houses on Monticello and McCommas have historically sold for less than those on the other streets by $10 $20 per square foot because they are on through streets. Most, if not all, of the residents on those streets benefited from that fact when they purchased their homes.

Many of the residents of the other streets are understandably concerned that a similar reduction in their property values would follow such a diversion. The traffic diverters mentioned in the article apparently would do more than "calm" traffic: The Dallas Fire Department expressed serious reservations about the plan, because it would not be able to maneuver fire trucks around them.

The plan as approved was characterized in the article as a compromise. It may be, but it is a bad one for anyone who does not live on Monticello and McCommas. Everyone else gains only probable lower property values, greatly increased traffic artificially diverted from decades-old through streets, and greater fire risk because of the diverters.

Sandy Pardue
Dallas


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