No easy out
I must commend you on your sensitive handling of a socially taboo subject ["Late Bloomer," January 30]. Many people are upset when a previously married woman with children comes out of the closet to follow her own inner leanings. She no longer fits into a neat and tidy stereotype.

Pat Stone is to be praised for her courage and honesty. She proves that homosexuality goes far beyond the "sex" issue. Perhaps in a more enlightened time, she would have realized her true self sooner, but I believe she'll have the best of "both" worlds.

I do have compassion for those who feel the hurt of her recent revelation. There are more of you than you might suspect, and several sources of group support for the straight partners who have been left.

I write from experience, as I was also the lesbian in a marriage that wasn't working because of my sexuality. Thanks again for bringing "us" out of the closet.

Gail Dutcher

Babcock fumbles
Charles Babcock is not only full of shit, he is full of shit in two completely different ways ["Fumble," February 6].

The first problem is his open records request seeking audio and video tapes seized from the home of Erik Williams. If you follow [Babcock's] reasoning that these tapes should have been retained by police for evidence, then the police have no business releasing evidence to the general public. If the tapes are not needed for evidence, then they are Williams' private property and as such are not subject to the Open Records Act.

The second problem is his contention that the use of these videotapes may be needed should Nina Shahravan be brought to trial. Assistant City Attorney Doreen McGookey does not need them for prosecution, thus eliminating one possible argument Babcock could make for retaining the tapes. But in suggesting that they are needed for Shahravan's defense, Babcock seems to forget that in the American justice system, a person is considered innocent until proven guilty.

If the tapes show no evidence of Shahravan's claims, then returning them to Williams works out in her favor because her attorney can suggest that the tapes would show her allegations to be true.

On the other hand, if the tapes conclusively prove her allegations, then (disregarding the fact that she should never have rescinded her charges) this doesn't change the situation. Her attorney will still contend that the tapes are on her side, the prosecution will still argue the opposite, and since there is no evidence either way, she will have to be found innocent. She benefits regardless of what is on the tapes. It sounds to me that Babcock just wants to rationalize his quest for cheap sensationalism.

Tom Laurent

Thank you for the excellent article on the Tenth Street Historical District ["There but for the grace of God," January 16]. The area desperately needs as much attention and help as it can get. Having worked in the district for 15 years, I have some observations to offer on the completeness of your story.

The Oak Cliff Cemetery Association--which owns, maintains, and manages 30 acres (30 percent) of the district--was excluded from the story. Excluding the largest property owner and largest business was inappropriate. For 150 years, the association has invested millions of dollars in keeping its 30 acres mowed, weeded, painted, and repaired to the highest standards. Your failure to bring out the high standards and excellent performance of the largest landholder in the district is inexcusable.

In addition to the millions of dollars the Oak Cliff Cemetery Association has invested in the district, the association members have donated thousands of hours of their time picking up trash, designing the landscaping, supervising the contractors, and handling the hundreds of calls from descendants seeking information about loved ones buried there.

Without the association's generosity and public-spiritedness, the cemetery would be derelict. The Oak Cliff Cemetery Association deserves your recognition for its work, generosity, and professional conduct.

Your story was obsessed with how to squeeze money out of the government to subsidize private property owners. The first steps these homeowners should undertake is picking up their trash and mowing their yards.

David Herold
President of Cemetery Restorations

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