Letters: Wednesday, January 10, 2007
A Big Jump for Dems

To the editor: I really enjoyed Betty Brink’s coverage of the Pierson-Goodman race. This article showed how rough-and-tumble these state legislative races have become. This hard-fought win was a huge bright spot for Tarrant Democrats.

If I had to take issue with anything, it would be the intimation that the gain of six seats by the Democrats is not a big deal. I would say that cutting the GOP majority essentially in half in one cycle is nearly jaw-dropping. It certainly shocked most prognosticators and self-appointed experts in the Austin lobby.

Democratic state reps did not lose a single incumbent, despite the fact that several of them faced top-tier opponents with big financial advantages.

This shift immediately puts the current majority in potential jeopardy of being overturned in any future election. This was a big jump, a shift, rather than the usual couple of seats gained by a resurgent party. All the more amazing because this map is so atrocious for Dems. It was tailored to maximize Republican voting strength across Texas.

Dems won in districts that reliably vote GOP across the state: Juan Garcia over incumbent Gene Seaman in Nueces County and environs, Allen Vaught in East Dallas over incumbent Bill Keffer, Valinda Bolton in a Republican open seat in Austin, my friend Donna Howard in the wealthy part of west Travis County — Susan Combs’ old district.

Joe Heflin’s win in deep-red West Texas over Jim Landtroop is more of an unusual situation because it was former Speaker Pete Laney’s seat. The former speaker was far more influential in the outcome of that race than anyone predicted. Previous conventional wisdom was that Landtroop had it in a walk.

On top of all of that, the GOP bench for future statewide candidates lost a high-profile potential candidate. Heny Bonilla, the only Mexican-American Republican congressman, lost a special election in a huge upset to former Democratic Congressman Ciro D. Rodriguez. Yes, this cycle has proven to be momentous for Texas Democrats.

Mario Perez

Fort Worth

Found in the e-Zone

To the editor: I’m just catching up on old e-mails, and a link to your cover story “Lost in the Ozone” (Sept. 6, 2006) was in an Arlington Conservation Council discussion post. I’m glad I didn’t miss this link.

It’s a stunning piece — tremendous amount of detail. Knowing how long this would have been in the making, I had to offer my thanks.

If you are maintaining a list of interested parties, please keep me posted on any other related activities. This is truly a cross-partisan concern that is shackled by the nature of too many parts and pieces and by sheer apathy, fueled by limited details (which your piece helps to bridge) and lack of bandwidth in a single life. Your piece is truly classic.

I recently received a “letter” from my state senator, in which he stated that he’s heard us (responding to a questionnaire) and that education is the most important thing on our minds — I’ll be writing back to insist that breathing is the most important thing on my mind, with a link to your piece.

Paula Thornton


Good Words, Good Guy

To the editor: Just wanted to say thanks for the words about Gilbert Vera (Last Call, Jan. 3, 2007). I only knew him as a casual friend at the Wreck Room, but he was a good person with an open heart. You could tell he cared about his neighborhood and those who shared it with him. He will be sorely missed, but his presence will still be felt. Thanks.

Sherry Sours-Brothers

Fort Worth

Don’t Diss Our Mojo

To the editor: Lost our mojo at the Black Dog? (“The 2006 Tally,” Jan. 3, 2007) To my knowledge, Anthony Mariani hasn’t been near the place in six months. Perhaps he was facing a deadline and needed some quick copy.

In my next life, I’m going to be a mean-spirited journalist so I too can deliver dodgy fatwas.

Tad Gaither

Fort Worth

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