Letters: Unlocking DOORS, Margaret McDermott, Death of a Cop, Lillian Salerno, Taking the Fifth

Ex-offenders deserve a chanceRe: "A startup life for ex-offenders — Prison Entrepreneurship Program teaches much about true American dream, says Arthur Brooks," Tuesday Viewpoints.As the founder and president/CEO of Unlocking DOORS, I could not agree more with Brooks' assessment. It's why I have personally spent close to two decades studying and actively working to improve the lives of individuals with criminal backgrounds. I speak for the organization and our board when I say that these offenders deserve a second chance to become productive members of society.I am in full support of the mission and work of both the American Enterprise Institute and our partner, the Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP). It is the purpose of Unlocking DOORS and our many partners, like PEP, to ensure ex-offenders are able to achieve a path to sustainable success.When it was established in 2004 as a program at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), PEP served only men. At that time, I was the first and only woman to lead the nine-member Texas Board of Criminal Justice to TDCJ. It's terrific programs and organizations like PEP that are now expanding to also serve women. But, just as each of us are individuals so is each ex-offender; no one-size fits all.We use a specialized reentry brokerage model that relies on carefully coordinated and collaborative partnerships with numerous statewide agencies, providers and corporations (222 and counting) known as the Community Network. Without these programs, many ex-offenders will re-offend, costing taxpayer dollars, increasing our crime rate and destroying the chances for a holistic, healthy, and productive society.In Dallas, Unlocking DOORS serves as a gateway to the services ex-offenders desperately need. Our team and our partners work diligently to ensure that their needs are met so that one day they might be able to help others in the same position; but, ultimately, so that they can begin again. That is when we all win.Christina Melton Crain, DallasFounder, president and CEO of Unlocking DOORSMcDermott lives on through giftsRe: "'The perfect giver — Crowd lauds Dallas philanthropist's talent for generosity," Wednesday news story.During my tenure on the Dallas City Council (1969-1973), three Dallas County Community Colleges opened: Eastfield College, Mountain View College and Richland College. El Centro Community College downtown opened in 1965. People who would not have been able to attend a four-year college or university now had four community colleges to help further their education and ambition. Margaret McDermott was an early supporter of the Dallas County Community College system. She was instrumental in helping create campuses that offered students and faculty beautifully designed functional buildings, classrooms, and indoor and outdoor common areas that nourished the desire and quest to learn. Landscapes and water features for each college campus were a must to help create a serene atmosphere for thought, discussion, debate and study. Her philanthropic generosity, aesthetic and taste live on in all that she leaves the people of Dallas and visitors to enjoy.Anita N. Martinez, DallasFloyd captures officers' emotionsRe: "Few tragedies unsettle us like a cop's murder," by Jacquielynn Floyd, April 29 Metro & State column.I just read your article in The Atlantic City Press this morning. I was truly moved by it. I'm a retired police officer of 32 years outside Camden, N.J. Unfortunately, I have attended more than my share of funerals for officers who have been taken from us in the line of duty. Your article is spot-on with respect to the feeling among the law enforcement community when we lose one of our own. I appreciate your statement that we do what we do for others, and we do what most people wouldn't do. It's truly a different perspective from the other side of the badge. But it's part of the life we chose and it's our job. Again, thank you. Mike Iepson, Margate City, N.J.Why pick on the Gaines?Re: "Family first,' huh? Daryl Austin: With a business empire like theirs, how can I believe that Chip and Joanna Gaines really focus on their family?" Saturday Viewpoints.I am still trying to figure out Daryl Austin's motivation for lambasting Chip and Joanna Gaines' business success and happy lifestyle. At first I attributed it to envy or a need for attention but I have concluded that the nature of his discomfort is likely because they are educated, hard-working and have found a way to capitalize on their God-given talents while raising their children in a loving home and Christian environment. Perhaps it is both. Why your editors chose to feature such a hateful piece aimed at this exemplary couple who are living the American dream is unclear. There are so many stories of broken families where children are abused and exploited; why pick on a family that is deserving of acclaim for achieving a stable and meaningful life for themselves and their children?Chere St. Clair, Royse CityAgreeing with GoldbergRe: "Cultural-appropriation outrage is idiotic — Borrowing from a culture is not the same as denigrating it, says Jonah Goldberg," Sunday Points.I don't often find myself agreeing with Jonah Goldberg, but I do in this case. Like Goldberg, I would have thought that when an idea such as exemplified here gets enshrined as the oft-quoted "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery," it would enjoy the status of an axiom and not have its meaning turned upside down.John P. Lovetere, McKinneySalerno understands health careWe need Lilian Salerno to beat Pete Sessions. She understands the out-of-control costs in health care. The pharmaceutical companies are now throwing more money into lobbying to keep their daggers in our health care system. Salerno says, "Health care is my background. Wouldn't it be nice to have someone at the health care table who is not just someone who's written legislation, but also someone who knows what things cost, so when the pharmaceutical companies come in and talk to me about patents and how much pipeline they have that I can call whether or not that's correct? One thing that we never talk about is our manufacturing is so advanced in this country. We know how to do things at such low costs, but our prices have never been higher." Salerno needs to change Pete Sessions' runaway healthcare legislation. We need a voice for District 32. We want affordable fair healthcare for everyone. Vote May 22 for Lillian Salerno.Chanda Parbhoo, DallasTrump, why take the Fifth?Rudy Giuliani is right. Donald Trump has every right to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. And the American public has every right to draw its own inferences from what this action means.If there's any doubt, let's recall what Donald Trump himself said in 2016: "The mob takes the Fifth. If you're innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?" Is there any end to the hypocrisy of this administration?Miner Raymond, Waco  Continue reading...

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