Eyes wide shut

Your article "Impossible dreamer" (March 2) reeks of skepticism. I'm sure you have a duty to explore both sides, but I have discovered that what Bobby Wightman-Cervantes says is true, as I too have been subject to the oppression that is endemic in this Texas system that CBS' 60 Minutes called justice for sale.

Coming from what the Republican establishment thinks to be a "rag," I'm surprised that you don't show a little more respect for an officer of the court who is willing to risk all for his causes. If the Supreme Court of Texas gave him a license and he is crazy for suing them, your readers should ask who's crazy and who's telling the truth, them or him. For your information, Mr. Wightman is not alone in his quest for legal reform. You should run an exposé on how judges who are turned out by the ballot simply return to the bench by assignment as "visiting" judges. Ask yourself what good the vote is anyway.

It is true that the usual fair-weather defenders of the Constitution lose their nerve when up against a stone wall of oppression and judges who wield contempt as in the days before the Magna Carta, when the king could not be sued in his own courts. Try suing a judge some time. Next time you get disabled by a tainted product made by a Texas oil company, call U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and see whether she'll make you whole.

With "tongue in cheek" investigative papers like you as friends, who needs enemies? God knows -- even if you don't -- that the judiciary and the State Bar are not your friends. If not for people like Mr. Wightman who defend the First Amendment (which you profit under), you'd be closed down, and all copies would be burned in the public square.

You appear to be like so many Americans who believe that judges derive their power from God because they wear black. If you think our courts are open and that they don't destroy evidence, try reading Gerry Spence, or Ralph Nader, or Thomas Jefferson sometime. When you think that judges are good because lawyers seem to like them, try learning something by logging on to the Web sites of Common Cause or Texans for Public Justice, and you'll find that Mr. Wightman is right on. Mr. Wightman -- or Cervantes, or whatever his name is -- is not alone; but he is treated like a pariah, as are all the rest of the reformers who work under oppression to free the likes of you. It may be true that he and they are probably crazy for trying to buck an oppressive system and for caring about Americans who don't care enough to open their eyes.

Buck Liptak
Via e-mail

Vigilante justice

Concerning you recent article "Victims in the shadows" (February 24) about notario Marisa Hierro, I am reminded of two old sayings: "Justice delayed is justice denied," and "Law and justice derive from the people." If our legal institutions cannot or will not resolve the serious disputes over the injuries notarios reportedly commit every day, then we should not be surprised if some of the injured people subsequently resort to "direct action."

David W. Olson

Long live the queen

I have had occasion to know Sharon Boyd ("Queen crank," March 9) since the late 1970s, and trying to describe her in a brief letter would be extremely difficult.

I confess to supporting the downtown arena, which I regard as a good investment for Dallas. Likewise, I have no dispute about Sharon's outspoken qualities, and a proper temperament is in order; therefore, the Dallas Stars penalty box should be named in honor of Sharon.

All right! The Sharon Boyd Penalty Box.

James A. Moyers


I am a homeowner in East Dallas. The Dallas Housing Authority has targeted a neighborhood where, once the Roseland Homes ("Poor vs. poorer," February 24) projects are rebuilt, the immediate surrounding area is earmarked for buyout and demolition by corporate real estate developers. Our community realizes that U.S. District Judge Jerry Buchmeyer has worked diligently to preserve the integrity of the Roseland Homes neighborhood and expand the concept of a true integrated mixed-income area. Since the neighborhood bounded by Cesar Chavez, James W. Fannin, John F. Kennedy, Milam, Spence, and North Dallas High School, and including "Little Asia" is an economically poor but racially balanced neighborhood, we have asked the Honorable Judge Buchmeyer to extend his jurisdiction to include planning not only for Roseland Homes but for the rest of the neighborhood as well.

No one in the area was apprised of the plan created by the DHA or any of the developers. We were not part of the planning process.

We have tried to create affordable low-income housing for all first-time homeowners for 10 years. This effort is to preserve and expand this wonderfully diverse and ethnically balanced neighborhood. We are the last neighborhood of single-family homes in the downtown area.

We do not want the wrecking ball of economic development to destroy a neighborhood that could be the crown jewel of Dallas with all ethnic groups represented in a well-planned, integrated community. Please help us be heard. We had no notice and have not been part of the process.

Donna Smith
Committee Chair of the Diverse Neighborhood Coalition

Dish's résumé

As a Dallasite, I have noticed over the years that Dallas Observer food critic Mark Stuertz seldom has a kind word to say about any of the restaurants in Dallas. My friends and I often disagree with what he says in his articles, almost to the point that we give his articles no credibility.

I am writing to see whether it is possible for you to publish his credentials. We'd like to know what culinary school he graduated from, and/or where he received his culinary training.

Mike Johnston

The editor responds: In addition to having a tongue, an appetite, and a flair for writing, Mark Stuertz worked for 10 years in various restaurants in Chicago as a line cook, prep cook, kitchen trainer, busboy, and dishwasher. He also was the managing editor of a restaurant trade publication in San Francisco and helped develop consumer education and international marketing programs for California wines for the Wine Institute. So there.


Here's a comment on your coverage of South by Southwest (March 23):

If you're in a band, you're no good.

If you're in a band and write your own songs, you're not even trying.

If you're in a band and write your own songs and want to sign with the "Big 4," you don't even like music much.

Tom Hendricks