Gangstas, yours and mine: First off, thank you, Jeff Liles, for telling me what I, as an African-American, thought of N.W.A. ("Straight Outta Left Field," September 12). I know you guys at the Dallas Observer don't like The Dallas Morning News, but don't use one of their articles as an excuse to call every black person who likes N.W.A. a foolish, unintelligent, downtrodden, gun-toting, riot-starting sellout.

I have news for you: Not all gangsta rap is fiction, and most black people know how to enjoy a good song whether they agree with the lyrics or not. We know that not every rapper sold drugs and shot six people before they went platinum. Give us more credit. Gangsta rap didn't set race relations back 10 years; white people have always been afraid of black people, and it's thinking like yours that continues to push race relations back. Implying that gangsta rap, or the gangsta stereotype, is the reason there are so few African-Americans in leadership positions or that there has never been a black president...did that sound stupid when you wrote it? If it didn't, it should have.

Unfortunately, I can't put everything in this letter. Why else would you leave out references to everyone's favorite mobster-backed artist, Frank Sinatra? I know he was no gangsta rapper, but he did benefit from ill-gotten gains just like Eazy-E, N.W.A. and a lot of rappers today.

Thanks again, and be sure to let me know if I, as an African-American, am allowed to like DMX...hmmm. He hasn't killed anyone or sold any drugs to my knowledge, and he does have prayers on his CDs, but he does own some bad dogs.

Todd Wright
Via e-mail

On Top of the World

A real talent: Hey, thanks for the promotion on Evamore (Sack of Kittens, September 19). The story was so well-written, just like all your other pieces. What's amazing to me is how completely predictable and generic all your writing has become. It takes great talent to be that focused and not leave your little cubicle until the piece is perfect.

Nice research, too. Hmmm. Must have listened to one song and looked at the Web site. Wow, you didn't even have to get out of your chair. You're a real talent. You must be on top of the world. I used to think you were right in line to be as sarcastic as Robert, but you're really not even close to being that good.

Can't you at least get some funding from petty cash to go buy the album and review it so I can fatten up my pockets some more? Damn, dude.

Via e-mail

True Colors

Racist and classist: The article by Cheryl Smith regarding clubs 2001 and 2009 was well-written and showed no signs of racism, as her critics suggest ("Blue-Collar Nights," August 15). Ms. Smith's story was a nice blend of well-conceived descriptive language and journalistic facts from a variety of sources, compelling me to continue reading to find out more about the clubs. Her story neither suggested that only blue-collar illegal immigrants went to the club nor that this club was unique in its problems. Ms. Smith merely did what her job entails: report the facts as they are presented. And to this end I believe she did an excellent job. Her critics' letters show their true colors, though--their own racism and classism. Had this article had a Hispanic name attached to it, I do not think the criticism of this "WASP," as one critic called her, would have been as great. In my opinion, this story was a well-authored work, and the Dallas Observer would do well assigning Ms. Smith more meaty articles such as this one.


Miller on a Mission

Destroyer: I want to thank you for being the only "Dallas" paper and for the most part the only Dallas news media outlet that is not afraid to report on what is happening at City Hall ("Civil Disservice," September 12). Although I am not a resident of Dallas, I have worked for the city for 25 years, and what happens there is extremely important to me. The coverage of the city budget is always slim, but this year with all the issues and bad feelings inside City Hall you would think the real media would cover it a little better. Anyway, thanks for pointing out the possible downfall of removing so many inspectors from the protection of civil service rules. Believe me, they will cave, and the inspections will not meet the standards they are meeting now because the people will be protecting their ability to make a living instead of making sure buildings are meeting the guideline of their current jobs.

Just one question for you to consider. Have you wondered why it is that Ms. Miller has rushed the city charter hearings so much? I mean, right in the middle of what they describe as the worst budget period in history, they are forcing the city charter thing, too. There is no way that both issues will be covered or investigated fully.

I was very much for Ms. Miller, and had I lived in Dallas I would have voted for her. Thank God I did not make that mistake. She has not lived up to her reputation and appears to be trying to destroy the city. It wasn't many years ago when you could not find a frontline employee to answer questions, because they were all new and had not learned the answers that the citizens were asking. That will come to pass again if Ms. Miller is successful in the changes to the city charter that she is trying to sneak past the employees and citizens, and the changes that are being considered in the charter review.

This council has already made liars of every council before them.

Linda Perez