Letters: Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Eastside Tragedy
To the editor: As an Eastside native whose parents still live in Historic Handley, I was very impressed with your article (“The East Side Comes Out Swingin’,” March 26, 2008). I never thought, growing up in the beautiful neighborhood, that I lived on the other side of the tracks, but beginning in the 1980s, I definitely started to see changes in the Eastside landscape. One change that my father harped about back then was the fact that area newspapers — namely the Fort Worth Star-Telegram — and probably local officials began reporting crime statistics differently. They often lumped our area in with South Side, which historically had a higher crime rate. It changed the face of the neighborhood.
While I was away from 1988 to 2005, I came back often and was dismayed each time by the dramatic deterioration of my community. Streets were strewn with potholes, longtime businesses had closed, apartment buildings were left vacant. If it hadn’t been for those diehard Eastsiders who kept pestering the Fort Worth City Council to do right by the community, nothing would have gotten done. As it was, it still took decades for the city to respond.
In recent months, my poor parents have had to deal with this whole drilling issue. It’s breaking their hearts and mine to see what the city has allowed these gas-drilling operations to do — virtually selling the Eastside community up the river. Meadowbrook was able to galvanize for a good fight, but people in the Handley area — mostly elderly on fixed incomes — had already been sucked in and given often semi-threatening ultimatums if they didn’t sign on. It’s just criminal.
My parents have been among the last holdouts, but realizing many of their neighbors have already signed over their mineral rights, it looks like they will, too. And it’s totally under duress. Our city officials need to be horsewhipped and hogtied for what they’ve done. I’m deathly afraid to imagine what the East Side will look like in 10 years, even with the gallant fight the activists have waged. And it’s a dreadful shame.
Historic Handley and its other Eastside counterparts are likely to look very different — if they exist at all — considering the contamination of groundwater and other environmental problems that will likely surface before we’re through. And who will we blame then? The officials now in office will hopefully be history but it will already be too late.
J. Greene
North Richland Hills

Nix the Fine Print
To the editor: Jack Cole’s “No Accounting for (No) Ethics” column in On Second Thought” (April 2, 2008) will raise some eyebrows, specifically toward laws enacted on behalf of consumers and particularly the elderly who are the easiest and least vocal victims of crimes.
The fine print on most contracts, from loans to credit cards, can’t be read without a microscope, much less deciphered without an attorney’s assistance. As Mr. Cole pointed out, consumers aren’t just dealing with garden-variety unethical thieves — their practices now extend to banks, churches, and corporations that want “their” share of our buck. This is usually done with apparent impunity.
Hopefully the “Stop Unfair Practices in Credit Cards Act” will pass and be enforced to the fullest possible extent. It should include a section stipulating that all print on contracts and agreements be of the same size, so you don’t have to carry around a magnifying glass.
Steven Roth
Fort Worth

A Real Juggling Act
To the editor: Your article “Official Secrets” (April 30, 2008) was so penetrating and revealing that even I did not know I was running against Conrad Heede in the District 3 race for a seat on the Tarrant County College board of trustees. I am confident and able, but running against Conrad and Kristin Vandergriff simultaneously for two different seats is overtaxing me.
In truth, I am a retired federal economist running only for the District 3 seat. My major issues involve downsizing and relocating the proposed downtown campus, reducing tuition to a level comparable to that of Dallas County, and building active business involvement in the planning of the district.
I read and admire Fort Worth Weekly. Please help me set the record straight.
Jerome R. Pikulinski

Editor’s note: Gladly. See the correction below.
Due to an editing error, last week’s Metropolis story “Official Secrets,” included incorrect information about the May 10 election for the Tarrant County College board of trustees. Challenger Jerome Pikulinski, an economist, is running against incumbent Kristin Vandergriff. Joe Hudson is running against Conrad Heede. Fort Worth Weekly regrets the errors.

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