Not everyone agreed with our TV critic, David Hiltbrand, that cable-TV operators and their representatives are greedy, unresponsive and hostile. Then again, some readers did. Correspondents were also split concerning black academic Shelby Steele's disenchantment with affirmative action (PEOPLE, Sept. 2). Some hailed his ideas as insightful and long overdue. Others thought they reflected a limited understanding of the plight of American blacks.
Homefront is such a wonderful television show that I wish I had created it, as you say, but I didn't. Lynn Latham and Bernard Lechowick created Homefront. My role, as their co-executive producer, was at best that of a grandparent, reminding them how it used to be done in my time. Because I created Dallas and Knots Landing, I used to be credited now and then with creating other shows of the genre, most of which I hated. That was embarrassing. But now I find that to be credited with the creation of a show that I love is even more embarrassing.
DAVID JACOBS, Burbank, Calif.
We apologize for the error.—ED.
PICKS & PANS
I have devoted my career to the cable-television business for more than 10 years, and I'm quite disturbed by Mr. Hiltbrand's jaded, one-sided opinion of this industry. If he would take the time to visit some cable systems and talk to the people in charge, I'm sure he would have second thoughts. He would also realize something really shocking: Upper management in most cable companies cares tremendously about providing quality customer service. However, it hurts when the entire industry is generalized in a negative manner because of one or two bad experiences. If our industry is such a bad deal, then why does it continue to grow?
JAMES M. LYNCH, Jones Intercable, Lakewood, Calif.
I live in Longview, Wash., where, like other parts of the country, cable has been sticking it to the public. We decided to stick it back to them and disconnect our cable hookup. Well, we may not have our MTV or our CNN, but what we do have is zero bills per month from the cable company. If more people around the country would say enough is enough and go back to the old antenna, then maybe, just maybe, the cable companies would see the light.
FRED GASPRO, Longview, Wash.
I am a customer-service representative for a cable company. I am on the telephone eight-plus hours a day. You had the audacity to call me a Scrooge and unresponsive. Boy, could I jack your jaw for that. If a customer gets into financial difficulty with his bill, I am the one who spends 15 or 20 minutes helping him work out a payment plan so he isn't disconnected. I am the "unresponsive" person who tells an elderly lady to mail in just $2 because she had unexpected medical bills. I am the "uncaring" person who sends a remote control, at no charge, to a cancer patient, because he is now bedridden. I am also the person who gets customers on the phone like yourself—know-it-alls who argue and cuss because they refuse to listen to the facts.
SANDRA BAKER, Poplar Bluff, Mo.
I'd like to applaud author Shelby Steele for answering some tough questions about racism in America. It is time for blacks in America to make their own way. If everyone here were instilled with the values that Mr. Steele received, and if we could stop wasting time name-calling and come together, what a different world we could create for our children to inherit.
LISA COLEMAN, Chesapeake, Va.
Shelby Steele's statement that "affirmative action may do more harm than good" attests to the fact that he does not live in the real world of blacks. Affirmative action is for black people who work hard to qualify themselves for jobs and find that, despite their qualifications, the majority refuses to grant them what they have earned. I have worked for the federal government for over 30 years and have always had to overqualify for a position in order to obtain it when competing with the majority.
DORESSA CARLTON, Twinsburg, Ohio
Give me a break! I'm tired of hearing about Pete Rose deserving to be in the Baseball Hall of Fame. He did a no-no but feels he's the exception to the rules. If he's such an innocent, he shouldn't have signed the agreement banning him from baseball for life. Come on, Pete, you blew it.
ARLENE OBERTANCE, East Liverpool, Ohio
Pete Rose made some serious mistakes and used poor judgment. He also contributed greatly to the game of baseball. The man was an inspiration. I hope Commissioner Fay Vincent shows the wisdom and compassion to reinstate him.
JOHN MUELLER, O'Fallon, Mo.
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