Letters: Wednesday, July 09, 2003
Stumbling on Ballet?

To the editor: In response to your article titled “Stronger Every Day” (June 25, 2003) about Ballet Arlington’s performance of Carmen by Leonard Eureka, I would suggest next time an article is written about any dance performance, you send a staff writer/contributor that knows at a least a little about dance. Either that, or the writer pays a little more attention.

I found Ballet Arlington’s performance mediocre at best. In all three opening performances, a soloist stumbled, almost falling, and in Carmen Suite, a soloist did fall. Bolshoi Ballet principal Marianna Ryzhkina’s performance as Carmen was shallow, uninspired, and uninteresting. Co-Artistic Director Alexander Vetrov is getting to the age where ... well, I’ll just say that his direction of Ballet Arlington would be better left to backstage and in the studio. And for a fledgling company such as this, Balanchine’s works wound up accentuating the corps members’ flaws rather than strengths. Anyone understanding Balanchine’s works and what he strove for would understand what I mean. For a company that has segregated itself from Texas Ballet Theater on account of Mejia not becoming artistic director, they do very well. I did enjoy the performance, and for any person off the street wanting to see a ballet, it’s acceptable. However, for an avid ballet fan, I found the performance to be rather sub par.

Michelle Lowrey

Fort Worth

Fort Who?

To the editor: I read the recent guest column by Dan McGraw about the mayor and city council with more than a little bewilderment. Just what Fort Worth is he writing about? He writes that the city council has very little power — it merely “rubber stamps what the [city] manager lays before them.” But in the Fort Worth where I live, we have a landscaping ordinance, a billboard ordinance, and a crime control and prevention tax, which all started as initiatives driven by the council and mayor. The recent push within city staff to do more in the Code Compliance Department and hire more compliance officers was in direct response to orders from the council.

Even in the very same issue of the Weekly as McGraw’s column, there is an article about the Northside Mercado, a concept first supported by former Councilman Louis Zapata, and led by Jim Lane — and an article about the Fort Worth Cats (even written by McGraw!), whose LaGrave Field was a pet project of Lane’s. And let’s not forget that the Texas Motor Speedway would be located in Grand Prairie if not for the work and involvement of then-Mayor Kay Granger and others on the council. McGraw also lists some examples of issues that he doesn’t believe should be “answered by professional planners,” meaning city staff: annexation, the convention center hotel, tax abatements, light rail system. In what Fort Worth are any of these matters not handled by the council, either directly, as with tax abatements by voting on them, or indirectly through the commissions and subcommittees appointed by the council?

McGraw completely misreads the current trash imbroglio as well, stating that the city manager will blame some low-level staffer who might wind up losing his job over it. I would be interested in hearing McGraw provide details about any similar such circumstance that has happened in the past 20 years. Then, if the bases for his arguments weren’t unsound enough, he comes to the conclusion that Fort Worth government would be more effective if it were more political and council members fought over limited resources. Is he using Washington, D.C., or Dallas as a model? McGraw finally advocates increasing mayor and council pay to a “decent wage,” which may or may not be a reasonable idea (I’m inclined to think it isn’t) but not for any of the reasons that McGraw provides, because McGraw describes some strange world which simply does not exist.

Greg Shirey

Fort Worth

Brave New Garbage

To the editor: Well, here it is Monday morning after the 4th of July, and I already have three bags in the medium garbage cart, and the lid won’t close completely. In the house I have three more bags waiting until Thursday. I couldn’t get rid of them even if I had the larger cart. The design of the cart is wrong — being tapered to the bottom makes it harder to control when it’s loaded. All of the carts are top-heavy and will most likely blow over in a high wind. Not bad as far as bagged garbage is concerned, but how about loose recyclables blowing in the streets? All the carts except possibly the small one are too large to place in the house — but don’t let it show from the street or you’ll be fined. When are the new garbage cart storage sheds being delivered? How does an elderly woman living alone get even the small cart to the curb without risking a broken hip or worse?

By the way, the homeowner is now responsible for cleaning out city property and the plastic recyclables plus paying for the privilege. Based on the effective rate plus tax, a household of five will now pay at least double to have the garbage removed from their property unless they produce only three bags or less per week.

There is an upside to all this: You get a new hobby provided by the city (garbage sorting). Oh, who gets the money generated by recycling? Why do I get the feeling that the persons responsible for this fiasco don’t have to deal with their own garbage personally? What’s next — satisfaction guaranteed or double your garbage back?

P.S. Did anyone downtown call Nashville, Tenn., to find out how long it took them to cancel this type of garbage system after they instituted it?

George T. MeLear

Fort Worth

PETA Pride

To the editor: Sarah Chacko, in her attack on PETA (“Food Fascists?” June 5, 2003) seems unaware of many facts that would make Texas a center of protests by groups like PETA. North Texas is home to Pilgrim’s Pride, one of the world’s largest poultry slaughtering facilities. It is home to the only two horse slaughterhouses in this country. This is not even mentioning the extreme abuse and torture of animals in rodeos and animal circuses in Texas, “canned” hunt safaris, puppy mills, the brutal fur and leather industry, and many other horrors. In decrying vegans and their food, as well as mocking PETA’s protests against Kentucky Fried Chicken, she never once mentions that 10 billion animals are killed for food in this country alone each year. Most of the meat and dairy products people eat are laced with drugs and growth hormones. Veal is even worse, made from baby cows chained from birth so they can’t walk, to make their meat “tender.”

Of course Chacko never mentions that many stores now provide healthier, more sustainable and less-cruel alternatives to the factory meat industry (notably Texas-based Whole Foods) from pigs, chickens, and cows that are allowed to roam more freely and that are not pumped full of pharmaceuticals, and more humanely slaughtered. She acts like the school lunch program would suffer if it used less meat, without seeming to realize that this program was set up as a subsidy to help farmers and ranchers get rid of their overproduction.

As books like Fast Food Nation attest, America has a problem with obesity and poor nutrition (over half of Americans are overweight). Almost every dietician would agree that eating more vegetables and less meat is a recipe for a healthier body and longer life with less problems caused by cholesterol, sugars, and fats. With world population growing at an astounding rate, and its attendant malnutrition and starvation, our resources could be better utilized than in taking seven pounds of grain to produce one pound of meat.

Scott Walker

Fort Worth

To the editor: I am a PETA member. I am also Jewish. And I support PETA’s “Holocaust On Your Plate” campaign. This campaign is not anti-Semitic. In fact, it is being funded by a Jewish philanthropist and has the support of the grandson of Jewish scholar Isaac Singer. The only people who seem to have a problem with it are non-Jews. Perhaps this is guilt because many of them did nothing to stop the Holocaust in the first place.

It is a fact that PETA fights to protect the rights of all animals, both human and non-human. The fact is, PETA will be around forever and I will always be a proud member.

Staci Harris

Titusville, Fla.

Editor’s note: A rabbi was among those quoted in the story as questioning PETA’s Holocaust campaign.


•In a music story on June 12, (“The Rite Time,”), California radio station KFJC’s frequency was given incorrectly. It is 89.7FM and can be heard locally over the internet at kfjc.org.

•In last week’s story “Unsettled in White Settlement,” Donna Douglas’ age was incorrect. She is 39.

•In the same July 2 issue, a story regarding the aftermath of Sal Espino’s city council bid (“The Price of Politics”) incorrectly stated that SER Jobs for Progress is headed by Andres Mantecon, a supporter of councilman Jim Lane. Mr. Andrew Mantecon, a Republican, lives in Denton and supported no candidate in the Fort Worth City Council election.

Fort Worth Weekly regrets the errors.

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