Letters: Wednesday, September 10, 2003
Murders and Money

To the editor: I went to the Fort Worth City Council meeting recently and listened to the council give away almost $2 million to build a bridge. The mayor had enough sense to say he was against it. It passed anyway.

I also listened to the families of murder victims speak. When a citizen asked about the value of a Cold Case Unit to the city, none of the council members said anything. When it comes to using $200,000 for a Cold Case Unit, they can’t seem to find the money. You know they are only blowing smoke. Wendy Davis was not there — I don’t know if she would have said anything.

This is why crime keeps going up in Tarrant County. And the council will not hold District Attorney Tim Curry accountable. I am looking forward to the day he is no longer in office and we can get a D.A. who will really uphold the law. Maybe we have too many lawyers at the courthouse. Think about it in the next election.

I think what we need is a citizens review board. No one should be above the law — not even the elected officials.

Robert Houston

North Richland Hills

The Good Guy

To the editor: I was quite surprised to see my old friend Doug Ferguson featured on the cover of Fort Worth Weekly recently (“The Ghost of Frankie Teardrop,” Aug. 27, 2003). Doug passed away in February 2002, so why was he apparently the subject of a cover story a year and a half later? Sure, he was a vital element of the local music scene, a very talented and creative musician, and one of the nicest and most gentle people I have ever known. He would most certainly deserve a published tribute to his life following his untimely death last year. However, as is true with any cover story published by the Weekly, I was sure the article must contain a controversial element — although I really couldn’t imagine what this could be.

Most of the article did read like a tribute to Doug. He had a passion for music that I have not witnessed in others. As a fellow musician, I learned a great deal from him in the seven years that I was privileged to know him. The article also dealt with Doug’s mental illness and accurately portrayed it as a central part of his life. However, as someone who spent a great deal of time around Doug, I must say I never once experienced anything that even hinted of his mental illness. We shared a common passion for vintage synthesizers, keyboards, and other old musical equipment, and we would often make weekend ventures into rural Texas and Oklahoma, visiting pawnshops and small-town music stores in search of vintage treasures. Those were great times that I will never forget. His medication must have been working wonderfully on each of these occasions, because he was always intelligent, insightful, creative, and wise. However, he did reveal to me on occasion his past struggles with his illness, and that each day was a battle for him.

The controversy I anticipated in the article was the attempt to show a connection between Doug’s death due to drastically elevated blood sugar and a medication he took for a short time prior to his death. Was there really a connection? Possibly, but I personally believe that can only be speculation in this case. I am certainly not one to defend the big drug companies, but I am not certain a story can or should be built around this possibility. I am even more concerned that his parents, who are wonderful people, will now be hounded by plaintiffs’ attorneys attempting to talk them into a lawsuit against the drug’s manufacturer. Your article indicates that they are still healing from Doug’s death, and I hope and pray they will be granted peace.

Still, I would like to thank you for remembering Doug in general. He truly was a great guy, and I miss him greatly.

Steve Peglar

Fort Worth

Real Estate Rip-Off

To the editor: Betty Brink’s article (“Remedial Math,” Aug. 20, 2003) is indeed commendable. It reveals yet again Tom Tocco’s incompetence and questionable motivation as superintendent of the Fort Worth Independent School District. Is this a great school system or what? Buy property at a premium and sell it below assessed value. How magnanimous. Why is the district involved in such transactions? Why isn’t it managed by a qualified broker? Either the Motheral and Temple Beth El transactions were sweetheart deals or they were notable exercises in stupidity. In either instance, once again the taxpayer loses. What is it going to take for this community to wake up?

Motheral insists that Tocco alone negotiated his deal. My sources assure me that Judy Needham participated in both transactions as part of the board’s Facilities Committee. Perhaps that is why the board “signed up” so readily without question or environmental impact statement. Now the district (taxpayers) is possessed of a property with some 15 environmental violations. Hopefully, the contract absolves the district of liability.

The story reveals four other such property transactions to the benefit of three influential Fort Worth groups. Perhaps this explains the conspiracy of silence by city leaders. Taxpayers are left with no ally — neither county, state, nor federal. What a sad commentary on government. This inexplicable back-scratching exercise renders innocent taxpayers the losers — to the tune of even more millions. But it should come as no surprise, given board members’ propensity to become directly involved in district business transactions. As a simple matter of ethics, board members should not be so disposed.

I sense a groundswell getting closer to taking this fight to city hall. Mr. Mayor, what an opportunity for you to excel.

Nathan C. Vail

Fort Worth


In “The Ghost of Frankie Teardrop,” (Aug. 27, 2003), the cause of death for guitarist Merk Crandall was incorrect. He died of natural causes. Fort Worth Weekly regrets the error.

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