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Letters

Dah-veed's cojones
It's ironic that after recently celebrating the local Rock en Espanol scene, your magazine would print a feature that criticizes David Garza for insisting "that his first name be pronounced Dah-veed in honor of his Mexican heritage" ["Deifying Dah-veed," March 12]. It's even more ironic that such a criticism would come from a guy named Hobart...now, that takes cojones (ko-HO-nays). However frustrating your writer's comment may be, it is by no means surprising to those of us who try to maintain our ethnic identity. In the future, just remember--it's not a "minor egocentric detail," it's a name...one that you'll be pronouncing for some time to come.

Thank you, though, for finally giving David Garza the substantive coverage he has long deserved. I guess the Old 97's and the Toadies must've had the week off.

Joel (ho-EL) Garza
Via e-mail

To say that it is egocentric of David Garza to insist that his first name be pronounced Dah-veed reeks of racism, but you probably don't even realize that. The name his mother and father gave him at birth is pronounced "Dah-veed." That is all he knew until he started first grade and a teacher called him by the Anglo "David" pronunciation. Why is it egocentric to ask to be called by one's given name? The pronunciation "Dah-veed" is, quite simply, David's name. Day-vid is not his name. Why do so many non-Hispanic journalists have such a problem with that?

Who am I to be telling you this? An Anglo woman who has known David Garza for seven years. I signed David to Joe Priesnitz Artist Management way back when and worked with him for almost four years. I never had one single problem with David's supposed "pretentiousness." He has always been nothing but pleasant and a true joy to have for a friend.

Kristen Nagel
Via e-mail

Do you have a degree in psychology, Hobart? I think you need to stick to what you claim to know--music--and stop trying to analyze musicians for who and what they are. I happen to know David and am quite positive that what you wrote has been misconstrued. He is anything but "pretentious, grandiose, and self-indulgent." I also find nothing wrong with being proud of your heritage. So, in short, I am very disappointed in your attack on David Garza as a person, as well as your poor attempt to review his music.

Martita Short
Via e-mail

Lament for Judge Gandy
I enjoyed Muriel L. Sims' article about the race for the judgeship of County Criminal Court 10 between Judge Marshall Gandy and David Finn ["Choosing sides," March 5]. I assumed after reading this article that Judge Gandy would be easily re-elected. My mistake! That other paper had endorsed Finn, and the sorrowfully uninformed and disinterested voters of Dallas--if they voted at all--voted what they were told to vote by the equally uninformed Dallas Morning News.

In brief, let me say this: As a former senior detective in [Dallas police] Crimes Against Persons, I remember on many an occasion contacting Judge Gandy in the middle of the night to arrange a search or arrest warrant for numerous felons, including murderers. Judge Gandy never complained; he took the time to discuss the facts of the case; he even made coffee in his bathrobe. His reputation with the police departments throughout the city as well as prosecutors in the District Attorney's office and employees of the respected Family Place Center is excellent. His innovative management of the domestic-violence court has been a model nationwide. He's backlogged because he takes the time on these cases to make certain they are all well-handled.

The voters have unwittingly done a disservice to their community. David Finn is known as an ambitious but inexperienced young attorney, trying to ride on his father's coattails. These old-line defense firms resent Gandy's attempts to bring justice into the courtroom for their deep-pocketed clients who happen to beat their wives. Any women out there who did not take the time to look into this race and vote accordingly should be ashamed of themselves for the outcome.

Bill Walker
Irving

Glorious war
Is it possible that interests wishing to preserve the image of a gloriously victorious 100-hour war ["The war over Gulf War Syndrome," March 5] do not want an additional 100,000 casualties added to the butcher's bill?

Robert Bunting
Via e-mail

First of all, an excellent story. I myself was in the Army but did not go to the Gulf. However, I was involved with the USA's stockpile of chemical weapons on a little-known island in southwest Hawaii called Johnston Atoll (Island on some maps). I have experienced some of the symptoms described in the story, plus the addition of radiation from nuclear weapons testing. It makes me worried that the long-term side effects may yet effect me and my offspring. I have also witnessed firsthand how different symptoms affect people in this environment: sudden baldness, no energy, can't eat, and skin irritations. Maybe I'm paranoid, but this was the same reaction Gulf veterans reported after coming home.  

I only hope that the government will at least help the Gulf veterans.
Michael Cauldwell
Via e-mail

Dispatches from Saipan
I was amazed and gratified to read "Our man in Saipan" [February 19]. I am an elementary school teacher here on Saipan and represent a small but crucial recruited force on the island: stateside American professionals, including teachers, lawyers, and medical professionals like Peggy Japko.

I became active in Peggy's church right before she left for Texas last year. I believe that most of us "haolies" in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, as well as the small but growing number of concerned locals, truly had no idea why the Clinton administration hadn't made good on its promises to us. We knew nothing about these all-expenses-paid trips funded by our income taxes to brainwash these corrupt, bigoted congressmen. No wonder the CNMI government has been crying "poor" lately! No wonder they're telling us they don't have the money for our tax returns! (Isn't that illegal?) No wonder the government claims they don't have the money to build new classrooms, even though half of the island's schools are forced into multitracks and don't have enough books and supplies to go around, let alone classroom space.

Do those inhumane congressmen know that it takes two years for a school to get a single new piece of equipment--or even a textbook--because the locals working in the government offices don't show up to work often enough to sign the requisition forms? Their laid-back work ethic grew out of the realization that hard work is for those who can't afford to do otherwise: namely, the guest workers. Of course, not all locals are that lazy--there's a growing number of responsible and concerned local citizens with personal integrity who are aware of the inefficiency and incompetence problems in the work force, and go against the norm to create proper customer service.

Their cause would be hugely aided by getting rid of the guest workers! With all our money being spent on wooing congressmen, no wonder the local government refuses to provide funds for the island school district to pay for janitors and maintenance staff! I sweep, mop, dust, and scrub my own classroom with a little help from my students, most of whom are raised by Filipina maids at home.

Many island children here have little contact with their own parents, in fact. Those Filipina maids, with their loving, gentle ways, make excellent babysitters for those parents (and there are many) who spend literally hours every day or night at the island's legal gambling establishments. There are many addicted to Pachinko, slot machines, and Budweiser, leaving children at home to be raised by their maids and teachers. It's difficult to teach them in school to clean up their own messes and to respect hard work--they've been conditioned against it by their parents. It's not even uncommon for schoolchildren (not my students, of course!) to go outside during recess and yell racist insults to the Bangladeshi workers hired to mend holes in the tin classroom roofs, forgetting that they had just complained of rain leaking in these same holes during the last heavy rainstorm. They shout words learned from their parents. It's an uphill battle for concerned teachers. Because of the status quo, these islands of beautiful beaches are producing a generation of self-centered, spoiled, bigoted children. These kids are the future of the Marianas. Is that the kind of American citizen [Dick] Armey and [Tom] DeLay are proud of? Is that how he raises his own daughter? There is hope for these people, if Armey and DeLay will stop obstructing justice. (Isn't that illegal?) We're begging for Clinton to intervene.

Dallas Observer, please continue to inform the public of the wrongdoings of our own congress.

Kimberly Jackson
Saipan

I too was an American contract worker at the Commonwealth Health Center on Saipan and returned to the states in 1996 after a three-year stay. I saw firsthand many of the tragedies written of in your article. Saipan has one "fresh water" pond on the island, Lake Susupe. A cholera outbreak was traced to garment workers from a nearby "barracks" who had been found to be eating fish from the filthy murk. You never saw an overweight factory worker. You have written one of the best and most accurate articles on Saipan I've read to date.

Suzie McLain
Via e-mail  

There are many chilling aspects to the article about Saipan. Had Armey and DeLay walked into this situation blind, they could approach being excused except in terms of stupidity. But no excuse is available to them. Should there be a single element of truth in the article, it would be plenty to condemn the mainland American participants in such a blatant case of the violation of the human rights of other defenseless persons, sucked in by way of subterfuge. The manifest manipulation of U.S. tax laws, not to mention those related to country of manufacture, adds fuel to the fire.

Armey is such a sacred cow to too many of his constituents that numerous previous attempts to approach reason, if not a dialogue on the facts as seenThe Saipan window allows the destruction of decent jobs with decent pay on the mainland for American workers. The known corporations cited in the article utilizing such a cut-rate supply of goods for retail sales should be susceptible to economic pressure from consumers who also maintain a higher standard of human decency than that demonstrated by Armey and DeLay.

In this local desert environment, you once a week provide us with access to some sustenance in trying to be better-informed citizens.

Marvin C. Steakley
Via e-mail

Correction
The March 5 restaurant review of Water Street Seafood Co. misidentified the owner of this Texas restaurant chain. The restaurant was launched and is operated by Brad Lomax. We regret the error.


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