Sucking up to Sam
Purported writer Ann Zimmerman's bitter attack on City Attorney Sam Lindsay weaves a few threads of fact into a tapestry of falsehood ["Jurist imprudence," July 17]. Zimmerman's characterization of Lindsay as "mediocre" is patently untrue and simply not supported by an objective look at Lindsay and the Dallas City Attorney's Office.

Lindsay brings to the office a dedication to excellence mixed with a practical knowledge of the law. Zimmerman forgets, or perhaps intentionally ignores, the fact that the office under Lindsay's leadership consistently (and successfully) handles hundreds of civil lawsuits and thousands of Class C criminal prosecutions, not to mention myriad complex contract, zoning, police, and political issues. The very examples cited in the article underscore Zimmerman's ignorance of both the facts and the day-to-day workings of the courthouse and city attorney's office. Apparently while dozing during her journalism classes, Zimmerman's daydreams about law now qualify her to critique Lindsay on complicated legal and factual issues about which she obviously has no knowledge. The federal bench would be well served by a person such as Sam Lindsay.

Robert Davis

I just finished reading Ann Zimmerman's article on Sam Lindsay's nomination for a federal judgeship. The article should have been titled "Mediocre Journalist Looking for a Story," since Zimmerman is obviously not a competent journalist and had no basis for her diatribe against Lindsay. Apparently, the Dallas Observer's search for a writer reached the "lowest common denominator" when it hired Zimmerman.

Paul Pearce

Wanna bet
Your recent piece on jockey Marlon St. Julien was informative and nicely done ["The Saint," July 17]. I have a lot of respect for these athletes since they risk their lives or permanent injury every time they ride a thoroughbred.

The reader might come away with the impression that many jockeys have a very hard time making a living earning the kind of pay mentioned in your article. However, not one time did you mention that these jockeys, their agents, their immediate family and friends, and/or the owners and trainers they represent actually win a lot of money (not inclusive of purse money) at the race track. I am talking about betting on races themselves, some of which they are not involved in at all. It basically boils down to receiving good information about a horse or other horses from a reliable source.

Just think, who collects the huge payoffs on exactas and trifectas, and especially superfectas and Pick 6's? Imagine how much horse people make when they know something the general racing public doesn't know.

Don't get me wrong--I'm not suggesting that races are "fixed," but only wish to say that these people are privy to inside information that the average horseplayer doesn't know about. I've personally seen, time and time again, important race people or their designated gambler go to a pari-mutuel window and place large bets on a horse that looked awful in the racing form but ran the race of its life that particular day.

I suppose it goes with the sport. As long as vast moneys are involved (the on-track handle for weekends at Lone Star is always well over a million dollars), you are always going to have things happen that are somewhat fishy and inexplicable. There are certainly no guarantees in horse racing--except that the tracks always make money and, most of the time, the average person ends up losing!

Chris McAllister

Julie Lyons responds: Jockeys are not allowed to bet on races, and I never observed Marlon St. Julien or his wife bet or offer tips to anyone. And while jockeys, trainers, agents, and owners do possess some "inside information" on a horse's condition, the laws of probability make it extremely unlikely they'll ever parlay that to a winning Pick 6 or trifecta wager.

Who's to blame?
I was touched by the story of Maricela, Jorge, and Diana ["Borderline case," July 24]. Here is a couple that is married, working, insured, and taking responsibility for their child. While healthy newborns are left on doorsteps and other couples have children without the commitment of marriage or get divorced over trivial matters, this couple is fighting for the right to stay together and take care of each other and their child.

Immigrants need to follow the law. However, the spirit of the law needs to be honored. This woman is married to a permanent U.S. resident and is the mother of a U.S. citizen and is trying to work within the law. If she is not deserving of legal status, then who is? I feel that she and her husband are deserving of sainthood. How many of us would continue their fight daily?

I will pray for this family and for a bolt of lightning to hit whoever needs to be hit at the INS or wherever to get this matter handled at once. This family deserves peace, not more pain.

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