Mad Dogs and Mayors …
To the editor: After reading Kendall McCook’s article (“Got Gas,” Feb. 17, 2010), I looked up the Texas Railroad Commission map that lists gas wells near schools or in the less-affluent sectors of town.
Anyone who thinks Mayor Moncrief gives a tinker’s damn about this has been out in the sun too long, because he’s heavily affiliated with gas and oil. State Rep. Lon Burnam and State Sen. Wendy Davis are friends of the environment, and they realize the potential threat to people’s health because of the toxins emitted from gas wells. These emissions will eventually suck the oxygen out of our lives if swift action is not forthcoming to shut some of them down. Health and safety concerns should take precedence over the almighty buck!
… and Governors
To the editor: Apparently Gov. Rick Perry (Static, Feb. 17, 2010) does not believe that a healthy environment and job security can go hand in hand. Instead he continues to support his oil, gas, and agricultural cronies who in turn support him. It is time for real change, time for the environment to be put first so we can enjoy clean air once and for all in Texas, not the smog and benzene-filled air created by continued bad practices in Austin.
To the editor: I read your story on the recording industry here in Fort Worth (“Home Sweet Studio,” Nov. 4, 2009). I was really excited to learn about all of the great recording engineers and studio gurus we have so close to us.
I too am a local recording engineer and have worked with several local and national artists. If you ever decide to do any more research into this type of thing, I would love to be a part of it.
To the editor: Peter Gorman’s outstanding piece on GEO Group, (“Private Prisons, Public Pain,” March 10, 2010) presented a highly accurate picture of GEO corporate malfeasance. Only a book, though, could recount GEO’s chronic violations of public trust. In addition to the examples quoted in the story:
• California GEO employees sued for unpaid wages, settling for $10 million.
• Colorado’s then-director of prisons was offered approximately a million dollars to help GEO build a prison. He threatened that criminals would be running in the streets if the prison weren’t approved. Inexplicably, neither he nor GEO was prosecuted.
• GEO and its main competitor, CCA, together overbilled Florida for $12,500,000.
• Arizona halted transfers to Indiana’s dangerous GEO-operated New Castle state prison. Prisoners rioted weeks later. Poorly trained, $8-per-hour guards needed help from throngs of county and state employees to restore order.
• GEO’s juvenile prison in Jean, La., was closed following the discovery that the youths incarcerated there had suffered a multitude of broken bones. After that, former U.S. Atty. Gen. Benjamin Civiletti quit his lucrative GEO board position, enumerating his concerns.
• Observing a prisoner escaping from a San Antonio GEO facility, a passerby warned guards. They asked how he was dressed but otherwise ignored her report. The prisoner’s absence wasn’t officially noticed for another day.
•A Mississippi GEO guard helped murderers escape, driving the lifers 80 miles.
• GEO pushed Michigan to incarcerate juveniles at unnecessarily high custody levels in order to fill its high-security Baldwin prison. Newly elected Gov. Jennifer Granholm canceled the company’s contract. Unable to fill it afterward, GEO expanded further without a contract, then complained that federal policy wasn’t incarcerating enough immigrants to keep it open.
• New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson received generous GEO campaign contributions, appointed an unethical GEO warden as his corrections secretary, and spent years shilling for them. New Mexico Senate Speaker pro tem Manny Aragon ardently opposed prison privatization until GEO hired him as a “consultant.” Aragon was eventually convicted for skimming millions from taxpayers.
It’s not just a GEO problem. The for-profit industry is thoroughly corrupt. Any cooperating official is justifiably suspect.
Bluff City, Kan.