Dialogue

Letters to the Observer

FAN OF SISSY

Frances Farenthold was an inspiration to many of us. (“Texas [Still] Needs Farenthold,” September 21) She represented the good side of political involvement. You always knew exactly where she stood. No waffling. The countless hours I spent campaigning for Sen. Ralph Yarborough, Sissy, Ann Richards, Garry Mauro, Bob Gammage, Richard Raymond, and a few others was all time well spent. Even though some of the losses were tough to take, I’d do it all again in a minute. She deserves a major book on her career, her accomplishments and her role as an inspiration to thousands of young Texans.

Steve Speir Via e-mail

LONGTIMER’S MEMORY

The Texas government is the product of the morally bankrupt, ignorant, and irrational people who are allowed to vote. Texas is like Mississippi, except without all those burdensome civil rights that get in the way when courts and police function as de facto lynch mobs.

A ways back when Texas Democrats really were Democrats and Auntie Ann Richards was governor – when we all still had the excuse of being naïve – the Texas prison system had several prisons that operated as drug treatment facilities, which was part of the bipartisan agreement for a $2.5 billion bond issue for prison construction.

The education of the good Sen. John Whitmire and myself includes the conversion of those treatment facilities into regular maximum security units not long after Auntie Ann left office.

At first, I said to myself, “Self, I suspect those Republicans and the Huntsville good ol’ boys lied just to get their hands on that $2.5 billion and throw it in the well.” Then TDCJ Director Andy Collins assured me that neither he nor anyone in his administration would ever lie for personal gain. That was right before Andy was indicted on federal racketeering charges.

So recently, I’m reading in the Observer that Whitmire’s so-called “Criminal Justice” committee has agreed to $478 million for construction of Intermediate Sanction Facilities for parole violators and drug treatment facilities.(“Politically Correct,” June 15) I thought, “How sad that Senator Whitmire is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and completely forgotten that we’ve already built drug treatment facilities.”

Then it dawned on me that I was reading bullshit right there in the pages of the Observer. I watched as the TDCJ grew from 27,000 to 170,000 inmates during the 1990s, and $478 million equates to 30,000 to 40,000 new prison beds. Whether you call ’em ISFs or treatment beds or goddamned beach resort beds. The Observer writers need to know their prison system before being turned into the TDCJ propaganda organ.

Homer Lee Brown, Jr. Wynne Unit Huntsville

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