I would like to take this opportunity to voice my disgust with Kirby Fry and Inger Myhre, the villains of the Permaculture article ["Hugging the tree gently," December 21, 1995]. I am outraged that any people could be so cruel and self-centered as to starve kittens to within a moment of their very valuable lives. "Let nature take its course"? Nature would have taken its course had a human not intervened and stolen those kittens from their mother. Humans were responsible for that disgrace. It only makes sense that humans should also correct that horrible action. Feeding the kittens would not have been "excessive intervention" with nature. It would have been the compassionate, decent thing to do from the beginning.
Fine, you eventually fed the kittens. Well, hooray. I guess there is a shred of humanity left in you somewhere. It only took torturing those defenseless creatures until your ego cracked. "Nature" is not solely about humans. We are merely nature's most tragic products. We have the ability and responsibility to help nurture the other creatures around us. The sooner you understand that, the sooner you can fill those empty, selfish lives of yours.
Laura Miller's reporting is at best sloppy, and at worst spiteful ["Bad planning," December 21, 1995].
I am glad that the Observer published the picture of former City Plan Commission chairman Ben Clark; otherwise I would never have known what he looked like. Contrary to Ms. Miller's column, I did not discuss any zoning case with Dr. Clark. I don't know him; I have never met him or ever talked with him.
Ms. Miller's flimsy reporting also maligned two of the hardest-working, most qualified public servants we have volunteering on city boards. I'd stack their qualifications up against someone who pulls ingrown toenails for a living any day.
Hector Garcia has been active in his neighborhood for years; he served on the Human Services Commission, and received accolades for his hard work and contributions to the Plan Commission during his first term.
Oscar Monsibais Jr. was president of his homeowners association and learned about zoning and land use issues by serving two years on the city's Board of Adjustment and two years on the Urban Rehabilitation Standards Board.
Laura Miller's errors of omission are as grotesque as her invented information.
Dallas City Councilmember
Laura Miller replies: It is refreshing to see a letter expressing a viewpoint from Craig McDaniel--the only member of the Dallas City Council, past or present, who has never once returned a phone call from me. I began trying to speak with McDaniel in October 1993--four months after he was first sworn into office--for a story about his attempts to convince the Plan Commission to change the zoning in his neighborhood (against the wishes of many of his neighbors) to save four low-rent apartment buildings he owned. He didn't return phone calls then--and hasn't returned calls since.
McDaniel's contention that he wouldn't be able to recognize the man who served the past four years as chairman of the city's most prestigious commission is amusing. As I reported in my December 21 column, Dr. Ben Clark specifically told me that McDaniel approached him at City Hall in the fall of 1993 to discuss his zoning problem on his apartments. Clark said he refused to speak to McDaniel, and the councilman retreated with apologies.
During my four years on the City Council, I have never read an article as inaccurate and vicious as Laura Miller's on the City Plan Commission ["Bad planning," December 21, 1995].
First, the Plan Commission did not and will not deal with the Cinemark issue or the adult cabaret issue. Both of these issues are being handled at the City Council level; the Plan Commission has no say.
Second, Hector Garcia was elected by the City Council to serve as vice-chair of the Human Services Commission (1991-93). He has also served on the Plan Commission since 1993. In both capacities, he has received praise and compliments from city staff and fellow commissioners. Since becoming Plan Commission chair, he re-appointed the committee chairs that allegedly were to be demoted.
Third, Oscar Monsibais Jr. knows about planning, city codes, and zoning variances through his service on the Urban Rehabilitation Standards Board (1991-93) and the Board of Adjustment (1993-95). He has more city board experience than most of his fellow plan commissioners. I appointed Oscar because of this experience and his superior qualifications.
Fourth, it is clear that Ms. Miller reviewed the commissioners' applications originally completed in 1991. She did not consider or report their experience acquired in the last four years. The relevance of not-for-profit board experience is that the individuals understand how boards operate and the importance of fiduciary duty.
I have always known that Ms. Miller is a journalistic prostitute, I just didn't know she could be had so cheaply.
Dallas City Councilman
P.S. The Mayor's car is a Continental, not a Town Car.
Public school scandal
Teachers spying on teachers, administrators plotting against principals, media people snooping in the halls--shades of double-o seven! ["School for scandal," December 7, 1995]. Having taught in DISD for 17 years (11 of them at Sunset High School, from 1971 to 1982), I feel I have some merit to comment on the inconsistencies of the educational policies in this school system.
Shortchange your students with poor facilities, float your teachers from room to room, crowd as many students as you can into small classrooms, "make every child a winner" since we don't acknowledge losers, structure your program to look great on paper, etc., and you have today's black eye--public education.
It is unfortunate that Sunset High School has to be the patsy for this scandal rap. Many schools in this town are just as guilty--they just happen to be on the other side of the river! The trouble is not with Sunset High School or its faculty and administrators, but with 3700 Ross Avenue [DISD headquarters] and beyond.
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The separate-but-equal edict of the U.S. Supreme Court's 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision is still a "farce" to be reckoned with in the '90s.
Critic or mimic?
So Michael Corcoran parrots everything Musea has been saying for over three years and pretends he just thought it up? Who's he trying to be--the Pat Boone of music criticism?