Dear friends, thank you for your kind words (“The People’s Friends,” June 26), although my friends are in disagreement about whether “nerd” is a positive or negative attribute.

While the best way to accomplish something is often not to worry about who gets credit, it’s nice to be recognized once in a while as well. Thanks.

Rep. Scott HochbergHouston

I enjoyed your picks for best and worst legislators, but I feel Rep. Elliott Naishtat deserves a nod as well for his consistently excellent work. With nearly two decades of service under his belt, Rep. Naishtat is the go-to guy on health and human services for many of his colleagues, and while he doesn’t seek out the TV cameras, I believe he once again quietly passed more pieces of legislation than any other member of the House. (You don’t do that year in and year out without the hard-won respect of your colleagues.) In addition, he has one of the best staffs in the Capitol. We’re lucky to have him.

Doug ZabelAustin


This is a terrific piece of journalism by Andrew Wheat (“Reappraising the Governor,” May 29). Congratulations on an important story.

Ken Martin Posted at www.texasobserver.org


That’s terrible about the PCBs, but this radioactive waste is even worse (“Water, Water Everywhere,” June 12).Fifty years? Try 500 or 5,000 or 50,000. The inmates are running the asylum.

Adam Greenwood Posted at www.texasobserver.org


Nice writing here (“I Give Thanks for Illegal Immigrants,” June 12). The idea that immigration law, for pete’s sake, is the arbiter of “good” is absurd, and reaching back into history like this makes that clear.

Dan Solomon Posted at www.texasobserver.org


My Dad and I used to take food down to the “tramps” under the Trinity River bridge in Dallas (“Free and Homeless,” May 15). Hobos, he called them. I recall deep conversations, blazing 55-gallon drums keeping us warm, dark shadows where old men and women lay dozing under rags. It was 1954. The homeless children were the real victims then, as they continue to be now. Things have not changed much, we still have a parallel shadow society living among us. The signs are poignant. Thanks, Joe and Randal, for the reminder to look around.

Cela BethPosted at www.texasobserver.org


The Great Trinity Forest was named not in the 1970s but in the fall of 1994, by the Trinity River Corridor Citizens Committee (“If They Build It…” June 12). Dallas citizens were invited to join the TRCCC, which was convened when Steve Bartlett was mayor. It comprised several subcommittees and operated until January 1995 in a thoroughly democratic manner—we elected the subcommittee chairs, proposed and passed resolutions, and wrote the TRCCC Final Report, which was later approved by the Dallas City Council.

Our large urban forest had existed since Dallas was founded, but most folks in Dallas were unaware of it. Its naming was important, therefore, because it could then enter the people’s consciousness. Since it was named, the preservation of the Great Trinity Forest has become a focus of those of us who oppose ecological destruction—for example, cutting down trees to create new levees downstream from downtown, as was unfortunately approved in the 1998 Trinity River bond election.

Campbell ReadPosted at www.texasobserver.org


In “Silent Springs” (May 15), Forrest Wilder explores the effects of over-development on sensitive aquifers and tells a compelling story about parched land, but nowhere does he utter the words “climate change.”

Many areas of the world are passing into permanent drought/desertification. Texans haven’t faced the crisis ahead—even though our scientists have. The most important U.S. research on the link between drought and climate change was authored by Dr. Richard Seager of Columbia University. Prominent Texas scientists recommend reading this report in order to comprehend fully what is happening in Texas. It is predicted that cities like San Antonio, Austin and Waco will face a grave threat from drought under this model.

Dr. Seager writes, “In the Southwest the levels of aridity seen in the 1950s multiyear drought, or the 1930s Dust Bowl, become the new climatology by mid-century: a perpetual drought.” A PDF of the complete article can be downloaded from Science Express.

If only this problem could be solved by cutting back on development. Alas, it cannot. We must first cut back on the carbon emissions that got us into this in the first place.

Alyssa BurginOutreach DirectorTexas Climate Emergency CampaignPosted at www.texasobserver.org

CORRECTION: The People’s Friends,” June 26, incorrectly reported that Rep. Scott Hochberg, D-Houston, authored House Bill 3. HB 3 was authored by Rep. Rob Eissler, R-The Woodlands. The Observer regrets the error.