Letters: Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Is Seventh More Hip?

To the editor: Why is the development of the Seventh Street intersection glowingly covered and the Trinity River Vision described negatively as having “less to do with flood control than it does with private economic development”?

While that may be so, and even though the Trinity project seems to have been steamrolled by Kay Granger, isn’t the Seventh Street development private economic development as well? They are both going to be paid for with tax dollars and shut down businesses that are already established (my dearest loss being the Wreck Room). The only difference I can tell is that the Seventh Street affair is called “new urban development,” and that somehow makes it more artsy, hip, or something. I don’t understand the difference.

Charles Blaylock


Red to Blue

To the editor: Lon Burnam should apologize to Doreen Geiger for doing Art Brender’s dirty work for him. The incident at his office (Static, Feb. 15, 2006) was not the first time Burnam tried to discourage Geiger from running. At a precinct chair meeting last December he described her as a “nice little lady” who wasn’t qualified to run for the office of precinct chair, much less county chair.

Mr. Burnam, there are many precinct chairs in Tarrant County who are not qualified to hold the office because the county chair has never seen fit to train them to do their job. Democrats are losing in Tarrant County, not gaining, and that rests squarely on Mr. Brender’s shoulders. He has done some great work in representing civil rights cases in the courts, while neglecting the party. He brags that he keeps the office open year-round, while grassroots clubs are springing up all over the county doing the work that the county party should be doing by reaching out to voters and getting them involved.

The Mid-Cities Democrats were at the forefront of this movement and have made great progress in recruiting precinct chairs in northeast Tarrant County and holding training seminars for them. We are doing phone-banking, mail-outs and block-walking in our precincts, all without the help of the county party. We were told that there are no Democrats in northeast Tarrant County and that this is not where the “party base” is. We were even told that having clubs is not a good idea. We have proven them wrong.

We see that politics as usual is not working and someone must do something. That someone is Doreen Geiger. She is like a breath of fresh air in Tarrant County politics and wants to turn this county from red to blue, much like Dallas is doing. She has the experience to do it, the courage to take on politicians who want to maintain the status quo, and above all, commitment to the issues that the Democratic Party believes in.

George Prescott Bush did not move from Dallas County to Tarrant County because the scenery is prettier here. He moved here because he knows how weak the Democratic Party is in Tarrant County and decided this would be a good spot from which to start his bid for the presidency. It’s time we had someone to stand up for the Democrats and say, “We are going to take our county back.” That’s why it is crucial to vote for Doreen Geiger as the new Tarrant County Democratic Party chair.

Shirley Bumbalough

Chairwoman, Precinct 3332


Report on Conflicts

To the editor: I read with great interest your “School For Profit” article (Jan. 18, 2006), after being made aware of it by more than one colleague.

I am a professional storyteller, children’s book author, and past president of the Alaska State Literacy Association (our state reading council). I coordinated the Reading Tutor training program in Alaska from 2001 to 2003, and the Alaska Reading Institutes from 2002 to 2005.

I found your article to be extremely interesting. Many reading advocates have been aware of the conflicts of interest between state and federal employees and for-profit reading companies for years. What we don’t understand is why there have not been more articles like yours that point this out and why more people have not been exposed for conflicts of interest. Thank you for writing clearly and doing good work.

I also read a letter from Reid Lyon in response to your article. He stated, “Over the years, I have been asked by school districts and state officials about different reading programs. My answer has always been the same. To be approved for Reading First funding, a program must be comprehensive in its approach and have sufficient scientific support for the principles on which the program was built. It is that simple.”

At a schools conference in Reno, Nev., in 2001, Reid was a keynote speaker. He spoke at a session during which an educator asked him to recommend a reading program. Reid answered that he couldn’t do that, then went on to say that “the jury was still out” on one specific program because there wasn’t enough evidence on it. He then expounded on the research on another program, saying it was a good program to use to teach children to read. I thought it strange that he would publicly praise a reading program, especially after he just told the audience he could not do that.

Keep up the good work.

Brett Dillingham

Juneau, Alaska

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