Biting back
It was comforting to have "Buzz" confirm it was my fault that "It's A Bad Deal!" lost by 1,600+ votes ["Winners and whiners," January 22]. I thought it was a little arrogant of me to assume that responsibility since over 300 people worked in our campaign and over 400 individuals contributed financially. However, it is interesting that Buzz chose to attack [former] Mayor Strauss' hair color, the cut of Laura Miller's suit, and my "dour, bloodless" appearance. I guess you just look at women when they speak.

"It's a Bad Deal!" did something very significant against a $3.4 million "YES" campaign. We made them quadruple their original $1 million budget. Please don't reduce the efforts of a dedicated army of citizens to my appearance or my inability to move my lower jaw appropriately when I speak. 61,238 voters got past my impairments to say "No" to a bad deal.

The next time a mayor wants to build a monument to his ego at our expense, maybe someone cuter and more perky will step up to lead the fight. Without my deficiencies detracting from the effort, they might well succeed.

To those of us who occasionally push our limited talents to tilt at windmills, it's encouraging to know Jim Schutze will be out there exposing "bad deals." The Dallas Observer is to be commended for bringing Jim back to Dallas readers. He has always had the ability to get to the truth without sarcasm or personal attacks.

Sharon Boyd

I'm convinced after reading Buzz's post-arena referendum comments that the Observer has been bought up as part of the Tom Hicks media empire. How else to explain the nauseating "Eater of Crow" statement? And if Buzz thinks the election results can be attributed merely to the "vagaries of democracy," Buzz needs a crash course in Dallas politics 101, especially the lesson titled "Show Me the Money." Where are those investigative reporters when we need them?


Dangerous when wet
It saddens me to see the Observer position itself against the planned Trinity River improvements ["Flood money," January 22]. The vision for these improvements is about making Dallas a greener community, not a flood-controlled property primed for real estate development. The Trinity greenbelt can become a major attraction that unites rather than divides North and South Dallas--a Central Park for the city. This greenbelt can be a center of recreation--boat launches, hike 'n' bike trails, equestrian trails, recreational sports fields, citywide gatherings and festivals, and more. When completed, it will definitely be more of an attraction to tourist and resident alike than that "urban" arena we're constructing.

As an ex-resident of Austin, I have seen first-hand the amazing positive value of Town Lake to that city. There are several reasons that Austin has a higher quality of life than Dallas, and an important one is easier access to nature throughout the city. With the Trinity greenbelt as an asset to this city, more businesses could be encouraged to relocate to Dallas, which does provide an economic incentive for these improvements. Yet a concerned, environmentally conscious citizenry and city can ensure that too much development does not occur along the levees through planning and zoning.

I would also like to address these concerns about the 800-year flood plain. I mean, give us a break, guys. You cannot guard against everything in nature, and that has always been man's hubris. Telling the Army Corps of Engineers to protect against an 800-year flood is like telling all of Los Angeles to build every structure against a 15 Richter Scale earthquake. If we have an 800-year flood, I have a feeling there will be a lot more worries than a few inches over those levees.

As a member of the Trinity River Corridor Citizens Committee, I invite you and anyone else who is interested to give constructive participation to one of Dallas' greatest endeavors ever.

Robert Croysdale
Via e-mail

The feature story about Ron Kirk's boondoggle project to build more levees on the Trinity River is well written and most informative. It seems once again that greed and an obsession with "development" may cause future generations of Dallasites much grief. Thanks for the story.

Bob Larson
Via e-mail

"Flood money" was a great spanking for the only reason voters might have to pass the bond package. If this excellent piece of journalism can be circulated (maybe with a copy of The Accommodation), the upcoming bond package might be defeated. Perot can build his own road to Rome and waterboy [Ron] Kirk can be stripped of any pretensions of working toward the public good.

R. Parker
Via e-mail

Good taste
Where did you find Mark Stuertz? Never before have I read more intelligent, articulate, and lucid food reporting. Not in Gourmet, not in Food and Wine, not in The New York Times. His prose is extraordinarily evocative of visual and gustatory sensations. His choice of language is exceptionally acute, never stumbling lazily into the banal phrases of food-critic journalese. The more discriminating among us in the dining public in Dallas are fortunate indeed to have one food writer to turn to who knows food and, perhaps more important, knows how to write about food in an exhilaratingly original voice.

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