City Hall is normal: In regard to the story by Jim Schutze titled "Laura and the Little People" (February 28): Oh, Jim, I think you are getting a little too paranoid. The way things work at City Hall is normal; Laura Miller does argue about a lot of issues, but she is mostly right. The city manager also handles things the correct way.
There are no "million tiny snares" at all. I have been to City Hall for many causes over the years (topless-bar laws, police and firefighter pay-raise issues, handicapped parking, dance hall permits and downtown revitalization) and have never seen any snares or other strange, behind-the-scenes deals taking place. All my issues were handled professionally and correctly by City Hall and its employees without a minute spent behind closed doors arguing or deal-making. I just don't see it, Jim.
Taking potshots: Superb! Excelente! Boss! Rad! Phat! I am really impressed with the way that Jim Schutze started out his article; I mean, he hit all the food groups on the food chain. And then he engineered an article of divisiveness designed to shake up the little people even more. And maybe even some of the big people might be a little shaken, but I doubt it; they are used to snipers in every walk of life taking potshots at them without ever really hitting the target. Little newspaper reporters really do what their publishers tell them to do--and that is to SELL newspapers.
So, my hat is off to Jim Schutze for selling a few more papers to the few people who might believe what he wrote. My hat's off to Laura Miller, who clearly has a task ahead of her, and I hope she is re-elected. My hat's off to the city council and to all their constituents, and I hope all of you work with Laura to accomplish the goals that are being set for the next 14 months. My hat is off to City Manager Benavides, who knows the true story behind every single episode in the city and who is well-equipped to handle all emergencies.
Charley G. Kidder Jr.
Black hole: OK, Jim, try to think back to a time when Dallas had a real first-class city manager who wasn't brought up from the ranks like all the rest of the department heads. Or, for that matter, a world-class city planner? When a job opening exists for top-level executives, the really big boys don't apply, because Dallas has the reputation as a "black hole" for independent-thinking professionals. In terms of sophistication, where besides Denton, Texas, has this city manager been?
Lambs to Slaughter
Licensed to maul: "Catch Those Tigers" (February 28) is the straw that broke the camel's back. The camel is my tolerance of self-righteous, ignorant and irresponsible "pet" owners, whether the "pet" is a large dog or a tiger. God forbid I ever let my love for an animal outweigh my common sense--that those animals were programmed to kill as a means of survival.
I firmly believe that people who own animals that kill or maim other human beings should be charged with a crime as if the act had been perpetrated with a loaded gun. Oh, sure, one can sympathize with the family members who unwittingly led the little lambs to slaughter, but what will bleeding hearts solve in the long run? Laws have got to be written, and they aren't going to make all the people happy all the time. We all heard about the couple in California whose dog mauled a neighbor to death. They are doing time, and the dog was destroyed.
I think that if that couple had known ahead of time that they could go to prison for years over that dog, they might have taken a different approach.
Broken Bow, Nebraska
A little worried: This is the first of Eric Celeste's columns that I have read (or noticed, anyway), and at first I was a little worried that he might ruin this story with silliness ("Urge to Merge," February 28). I was wrong. Kudos for an entertaining, lighthearted and honest look at a serious problem in the publishing community.
Eric Celeste responds: Note to self: Add more silliness.
War Is Hell
Soldiers' stories: In his review of We Were Soldiers ("Hell on Earth," February 28), Robert Wilonsky makes the following sweeping misstatement: "All films about war are anti-war." Though he doesn't directly argue this dubious claim anywhere in the article, the compliments that he offers to both We Were Soldiers and Black Hawk Down provide some tacit support.
Wilonsky argues that both films "make you feel, smell and taste the ravages of war, not merely witness them from a safe distance." Dude, the multiplex seems a pretty safe distance from Somalia and Vietnam to me. He later writes that Black Hawk Down made the audience "experience the horror." It follows, then, that the reason he believes all war movies are anti-war (including Missing in Action Part III, I suppose) is because they make you "suffer the dreadfulness of war."
This assumption is totally ridiculous. Battle sequences in war movies--especially good ones--are just kick-ass entertaining spectacle whether they be in Saving Private Ryan or Rambo--surely not an anti-war film. Even a great, politically aware anti-war pic like Three Kings will not convince any hawks currently experiencing blue balls over Iraq or North Korea to reconsider their position. No matter their political orientation--or the supposed lack thereof--war movies at their best offer us the adrenaline rush of paint ball and/or emotional identification with war's practitioners. That doesn't sound particularly anti-war to me.