A lost soul
Thank you so much for the incredibly sad story on Terry Southern ["Odd man out," January 28]. I just had to dig out my copies of Texas Summer and Red Dirt Marijuana and reread. Hopefully, this article will open up a new audience and get him the attention he so richly deserved. To his son, good luck with the Hollywood types. As desperately as they need quality material, someone should pick up Texas Summer for a movie. Matthew McConaughey, are you listening?

Via e-mail

It just so happens that I grew up in Texas. Your article implies similar circumstances surrounding the author and playwright Terry Southern. I found that the most interesting aspect of his life, despite his many contributions to '60s culture, was his removal of himself from the great state of Texas. Was this a conscious choice?

What probably happened, or is still happening, are the facts about the law, or Lauwww!, in Texas. He might have felt his fame would have made him a target in Texas, and with all the drugs and boozing, he probably would have been busted long ago. He maintained his problems were money, which might be the case, but what went wrong was he left place, roots, the red dirt of West Texas, and lost his soul. I feel sorry for his son having to assume his debts, as in the sins of the father falling upon the son, but hey, he lived that life where you aren't judged by your actions, you just suffer the consequences in your brain and liver.

I don't regret what Southern represented--the Southern rebel and the radical anti-cultural schism of his upbringing. I share it in some ways. It just seems Terry Southern was riding the rail all this time, and he just came down to earth after the money wore out.

John Howze
Via e-mail

One can only hope Peter Fonda has the conscience to make up for the travesty of his and Dennis Hopper's actions so long ago. Thanks for the great story that will hopefully enlighten the masses as to what happened to Terry Southern.

James Cook
Via e-mail

Sold down the river
Everybody else sold out the Little Mexico neighborhood--from the city to the inhabitants ["On holy ground," January 28]. Now they feel guilty and want to leave the Catholic diocese holding the bag. Thanks for some good reporting.

Dennis Novak
Via e-mail

Spinning the spin
The February 4 letter to the editor from Martha Gallier of Gallier and Wittenberg, Inc. attacking both Rose Farley and the "people opposing Albertson's"--a broad-based group which includes myself, countless individuals, and more than 20 other national, citywide, and local community groups--simply serves to underscore, yet again, the lengths to which this corporate giant is willing to go in attempting to bring its national supermarket war, and one of its huge mega-stores, into the living rooms of East Dallas.

As a professional mediator, a longtime East Dallas resident, a student at the University of Texas at Dallas, and a citizen who opposes Albertson's rezoning request, I greatly resented Ms. Gallier's implication that I, or any of my colleagues, would mislead Ms. Farley or anyone else about Albertson's actions. Ms. Farley is a seasoned and skillful investigative reporter, and I doubt that anyone ever misleads her for long. Her prowess has proved a problem for Albertson's, which has attempted to obscure the serious land-use and transportation issues involved in its upzoning effort with a number of dubious public relations efforts.

Had Ms. [Christy] Morrow (the employee Ms. Gallier was ostensibly defending) written the letter to the editor defending herself, she would have been forced to tell the truth--which is that members of the neighborhood team were asked not to talk to the press during the "mediation" process, an instruction that was later modified for "Team Albertson's" since Ms. Morrow was already distributing a press packet. Our neighborhood team members learned of this modification only at the second "mediation." Ms. Morrow would also have been forced to report that I, personally, in the presence of the mediators, had a discussion with "Team Albertson's" about press use of the mediation process--something that is never in the best interests of mediation. As a mediator, it pains me to have to put the word mediation in quotes, but in this case, because our team originally agreed to come to the table only if other sites were to be discussed and because Albertson's announced at the second session that it had never had any such intention, this process cannot be put in the same class as a true mediation in which all parties are operating in good faith.

It is Ms. Gallier and her public relations firm that have been badly misused by Albertson's in its attempt to manipulate the public image of this project. Albertson's has not provided her firm with all the facts. Albertson's had Ms. Morrow and Gallier and Wittenberg design and distribute to the public a four-color piece that clearly shows and labels a "Community Park." The firm also arranged and conducted community meetings in which this "Community Park" was presented. The truth is that the planning documents that Albertson's provided to the Dallas planning department did not provide for such a park. This is just one tiny example of Albertson's smoke-and-mirrors misrepresentations throughout this rezoning.

Had Ms. Morrow or Gallier and Wittenberg bothered to attend any community meetings before producing a piece depicting Albertson's as "Responding to Community Concerns," they would have known that the community concerns were land use, traffic, scale, truck routes, impact on nearby commercial areas, spot zoning, commercial creep--all serious land-use and planning issues that result when a large anchor store generating 34,000 vehicles and 175 trucks per week is plunked down on an island surrounded with residential zoning. None of these serious issues was addressed by Albertson's. Nor did Ms. Morrow and Gallier and Wittenberg make it clear that many of the "community quotes" in this same PR piece came from those with a direct financial stake in the outcome of the upzoning request.

Albertson's has been highly successful marketing itself with an "It's Your Store" campaign for many years. This seems to have made them feel that spending enough public relations and advertising money will make the public believe anything. I believe that Gallier and Wittenberg is the one being misled, and is, in turn, being paid to mislead the public on behalf of its corporate-giant client. Hats off to the Dallas Observer and Ms. Farley for not buying into the spin.

Pedro Vaca

Voucher wars
I have been enlightened by your information on Dr. James Leininger ["Holy handouts," January 21]. Supporters of public education are in a David-and-Goliath struggle with Leininger's money and marketing machine over the issue of public funds being given to private and parochial schools.

We will never have the kind of money that Leininger and his buddies have, but we do have lots of people that can and will write letters, make phone calls, and get the message to the Legislature in Austin.

Public funds should be spent on improving public schools, which serve 90 percent of the children in Texas. Public schools are improving dramatically, and with more than 7,039 schools in the state, only 281 have been listed as "low-performing" in the last three years. We are on the right track, and now is not the time to try some scheme that would siphon off our tax dollars to support private education.

Mary Duty
Consultant to the Texas PTA
Voucher Task Force

I would like to point out to Mr. Korosec, who apparently is a left-wing liberal, that I feel for him. We "right-to-lifers" feel the same way about Mrs. Clinton's announcement this week about all the money the president is going to put into making abortion clinics safer. Of course we strongly object to our tax dollars being spent for this. At least the government is going to get tax dollars back from the business of Winning Strategies. What do we get back from the money that we will spend for the safety of abortion clinics, for the killing of more babies?

Midge Douglas

Love letters
Dear Christine Biederman: Hi. Would you marry me? I swear, I don't think I've had a more entertaining read in a long time. Your ION Storm piece ["Stormy weather," January 14] is just wonderful, and I applaud you and the Dallas Observer itself for being so unbelievably kick-ass--even the response to the subpoena is priceless. I don't see how it's possible not to love you guys. Anyway, I'm free pretty much anytime, if you'd like to get married or something. Heck, I'll even change my name to Biederman. And I promise not to hog the covers.

Via e-mail

No, I am not an ION Storm fan. I would just like you to know my opinion about Ms. Biederman's article.

I am a game player, an avid one. I love computer games--the good ones at least--and love the inside scoop on what's hot and what's not. Unfortunately, Ms. Biederman's dirt-digging on ION Storm is about the lowest form of journalism I've seen a "journalist" (snicker) write about. Company e-mail, whether it be from a ma-and-pa shop or a huge company like Microsoft, is simply their property. That e-mail was not outbound through any source other than internal ION Storm mail servers, which makes that e-mail the sole property of ION Storm. It seems Ms. Biederman doesn't like ION Storm, or thought this kind of illegal activity would bring her some kind of publicity.

Well it did, and hopefully Ion Storm will bring charges against you as it rightfully should. Ms. Biederman and you are both responsible for this mess, and I hope one day you will feel the backlash of someone hacking your computer systems or digging up "dirt" on you. I'm sure you won't be smiling when it happens. By the way, whatever the hell you publish, I've never heard of it, as I'm sure most people haven't, but the stretches you go to to make a story are sickening.

I hope ION Storm nails your ass for this, and if it does I hope it sues you out of business.

Chris McCarthy
Via e-mail

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.