Helping ex-convicts

Thanks for the terrific Sunday editorial “Second chances,” addressing the need for our community to provide better bridges to help ex-offenders successfully resettle in our town. Helping them is not only an act of living kindness for them and their families but will also bless our citizens with a lower crime rate and less taxpayer expense to house and feed criminals in our county. I’m thankful our community has a Reintegration Roundtable working on these bridges.

We are fortunate to have a nationally recognized scholar and leader in our community who has been working in this area for 20 years. Dr. Byron Johnson, a distinguished professor of social sciences at Baylor University, recently completed a series of studies for the U.S. Department of Justice on the role of religion in pro-social youth behavior. He is recognized as a leading authority on the impact of faith-based programs on recidivism and successful prisoner re-entry into society. His early research was the basis for a successful partnership between the Texas Department of Corrections and Prison Fellowship and has been utilized by 12 states.

He will be speaking at noon today at the McLennan County Republican Women’s Club at the Clarion Hotel, 801 S. Fourth St. Visitors are welcome. For more information, go to

Walter Bradley, Woodway

Education spending

Several recent articles have pointed out that Texas spends less than most states on education. For example, Texas spends $8,400 per student, while New York spends $15,974 per student.

Well, the last time I visited New York, everything cost about twice as much as it does in Texas. So Texas’ per-pupil spending is probably comparable to New York’s.

Janis McIntosh, Waco

White House costs

In reference to the Feb. 17 “Doonesbury” comic: True, there is freedom of speech, but that doesn’t mean one can do and say whatever without responsibility or regard for the common welfare. Indeed, there is no freedom at all when it is a lie.

President Barack Obama’s family trips to Hawaii cost taxpayers $2 million to $4 million each. The family’s trip to Spain cost $8 million. Obama’s daughter’s spring trip to Mexico cost $115,000. Obama’s family of four plus his mother-in-law for the entire year of 2011 cost $1.4 billion. Most recently, Obama visited Florida and golfed with Tiger Woods.

The Obamas are living a rich, Hollywood-style lifestyle at the taxpayers’ expense. Their spending is out of control.

W.F. Spencer, Waco

Dropped charges

I’m concerned charges for seven felony cases were dismissed by McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna after Waco police worried about possible leaks in the DA’s office. Police say they did their jobs. A judge says the information the DA wanted was unnecessary. And the Tribune-Herald reports there were confessions. So why are these cases being dismissed? Is this how our tax dollars are being spent?

Tom Ellis, Waco