I'm writing to commend you on the truly comprehensive article written by Laura Miller ["The truth about Townview," March 14]. I am a graduate of the TAG Magnet here in Dallas, and I am also African-American. I attended TAG from 1988 to 1992 while living with my grandmother in the West Dallas housing projects. During that time in my life, TAG became my home away from home, and those in it became a part of my family. I see those traits being lost in TAG at Townview.
Since TAG has moved into the Townview building, I have since been to visit and have marveled at the amount of available resources while, at the same time, mourned the loss of intimacy. The success of TAG is not so much grounded in the availability of physical resources as much as it is founded upon the investment of the individuals who make up that family. There are teachers there now who only stay because they have a loyalty to those they teach and a thirst to share in the improvement of great minds.
I have experienced Susan Feibelman tracking me down one summer because Ann Richards called her at the Talented and Gifted Department when the former governor was looking for a student to represent DISD. (That phone call took me to the state capital, where I sat on Richards' inaugural committee.) I have been shocked when all the TAG teachers pooled their money to buy me a suit--because I could not afford one--to wear at the Tarrant County Democratic Convention when I introduced Richards.
I have seen my teachers change their grading schedules and policies to allow me to continue in seven classes while at the same time interning at ARCO Oil and Gas for four hours a night. I applaud Laura Miller and the Dallas Observer for the comprehensiveness of its research and the objectivity with which this article was written. Since I graduated from high school, I have not been an avid reader of your paper, but I feel that that's about to change.
DeJuan E. Jackson
The fire this time
Julie Lyons' question to her pastor's wife, Diane Eddington, about a race war igniting should Pat Buchanan be elected president displays a certain naivete on Eddington's part ["White like me," March 21]. As a Los Angeles writer residing temporarily in the Metroplex, I can assure both Lyons and Eddington that a racial war has been ongoing since the Rodney King verdict.
The counter-verdict rendered last October in the O.J. Simpson trial was another fusillade in that battle. And, if anyone doubts the veracity of the statement, they had better take a long, hard look at the current frontal assault to abolish affirmative action and the Draconian welfare reforms that are being proposed. Yes, the ballot box has been added to the arsenal that perpetuates this conflict.
Despite any so-called agenda of the Christian Coalition or Pat Buchanan's convoluted rhetoric, be assured that racial relations throughout our country will continue to suffer until we lay down our arms, collectively sit down together at the peace table, and finally engage in meaningful dialogue. My African-American colleagues on the West Coast, many of whom are political conservatives, concur with this assessment unequivocally.
Don't ask, don't tell
I just finished reading the article titled "Alarming news" by Miriam Rozen [News, March 14]. While I found the article interesting, I found one statement quoted in the article to be disturbing.
Sgt. John McCaghren, who heads up the Dallas Police Department's eight-officer special alarm unit, was quoted as saying, "[Prosecutors] have to ask the defendants a simple, 'Did you or did you not have a permit?'" This statement was offered in the hopes of demonstrating that prosecution of permit-alarm cases was quite simple: Just ask, right?
Wrong. It completely ignores a defendant's constitutional rights under the Fifth Amendment. The Fifth Amendment guarantees each person's privilege not to incriminate himself. Therefore, the suggested prosecutorial question forwarded by McCaghren would be of no assistance to a prosecutor.
Further, the statement is disturbing as it sheds light on the way police view the Constitution. Too often for the police, the Constitution is something to be gotten around instead of honored.
Joseph J. Kaupie
Living better through groceries
I don't know why Mary Brown Malouf spun out in her review of Whole Foods Market ["Free-ranging deli," Dish, March 14]. When she's eating Greek, she doesn't claim they tried to convert her to their orthodoxy, nor does she leave a bagelry throwing Jew jokes.
And though, by definition, living holistically within your body and soul does make you a better human, attitudes like Malouf's aren't promoted by the cheery folk at Whole Foods; it's something she carries in the door with her. Glad she loved the food, though.
A photo caption in a March 21 news story ["Against all odds"] misidentified Dallas attorney Tom Mills.