Lidji Loyalists

“The Fall of the House of Lidji” (March) was one of the most disrespectful and degrading stories about an individual that I have grown to know, respect and love.

Martha Lidji’s grace and style are without peer. Her very presence created an atmosphere that encouraged customers to repeat their business at the store. Many of the clothes I purchased were because I first saw how beautiful they looked on Martha.

The downfall of the store, had your writer looked further, was solely the economy. Every major boutique in Dallas has cut back, both in the number of items they carry and the amount of space they occupy.



I worked for the Lidjis for most of 10 years in sales and in the office. I also spoke to the reporter who wrote this story for at least one hour and she failed to print any of the conversation, quite possibly because what I had to say was positive about Martha and Albert.

You suggested that customers found her aggressive and she did nothing for the store but take clothes and peek in dressing rooms. Nothing could be further from the truth. She was responsible for the Thierry Mugler boutique, which generated one quarter of the store’s annual income. She also brought in the successful Walter Steiger boutique.

In terms of her treatment of the staff, Martha was such a “monster” that she allowed one employee to bring her baby to work for a year and a half.

Martha worked without salary her first six months to help her husband out. When she did gel salaried it was under $15,000. Hardly an abusive sum. I also observed enough at the back desk of the store to know that Albert’s brothers and their wives enjoyed taking clothes at his expense for many years.

In short Martha and Albert Lidji were two of the loveliest people I could have ever worked for.



Albert Lid i has been a Dallas mainstay for years, and Martha, his wife, has worked very hard to aid in keeping the store afloat in a failing economy. Obviously you take great pleasure in kicking someone when their fortune has turned, which in turn is really anti-Dallas. You have sunk to exploitation and innuendo to sell magazines in a recession, which is a cheap shot.



I’ve known Martha and Albert Lidji for five years. Your article does little justice to their relationship, their dedication to family and to their efforts to keep Lou Lattimore open.

I wish that your story had given a more rounded view of the Lidjis’ relationship and their mutual efforts in the operations of Lou Lattimore. It is my belief that D Magazine settled for the creation of its own stereotype to the detriment of its fine journalistic tradition.



Cockrell Hill Speaks Out

I would like to address my concerns on “Law and Disorder” (March) being that this so-called piece of journalism refers to me, Sam Rodriguez, mayor of Cockrell Hill.

I would first like to state that I didn’t make any mistakes when I fired these so-called “good officers. “I stopped the drug raids because of the lack of equipment that the officers had to fight crime with. Our department didn’t have entrance vests, weapons that functioned properly, communication radios, proper training to deal with the armed drug dealers, and many others too numerous to list. But the main reason was that whenever there were drugs, guns, and money found in these raids they seemed to have a mysterious way of disappearing and the arrested persons were released pending investigation and never filed upon. As to what happened to the drugs and money that the “good officers” confiscated, who knows but them because they never were turned in to the department. Also, I might add that Randy Coffey, who was in charge of the drug department and had the only key to the storage room (which was empty of drugs and quality weapons) was the only person to fail the drug test that was administered to all of the police department. I also took the test to prove that I was drug free and did pass.

As for the accusation that I talk to the prisoners to get info on the “good officers”: Not having the money to post bond or money to pay their fines on traffic offenses does not make these humans into criminals. Also you state a ticket quota in the department. When 1 became mayor there were at least 1, 300 to 1, 400 tickets given each month. I have got the tickets down to about 400 to 450 a month.

I would like to be able to tell you about ex-officers that were involved in drug labs, sexual exploitation of women prisoners, taking illegal steroids to build their bodies, missing weapons, cashing checks that belonged to the police department, dating minors while on duty, and many, many others. Who knows? Maybe someday the truth will come out.



“Law and Disorder, ” supposedly an “exposé” about Mayor Sam Rodriguez, is in actuality a slap in the face to the residents of Cockrell Hill who elected him.

On a broader scale, it is another not-so-subtle attempt to downgrade those small towns within the Metroplex which don’t measure up to the standards of wealth, sophistication and ethnic distribution favored by D’s editorial staff. Those communities are invariably portrayed as ignorant hog and hominy farmers, or semi-literate, barely legal aliens blindly following some master politician’s lead.

Your article was full of accusations from disgruntled former police employees. However, you make no mention of officers presently employed by CHPD. I know several members of the current police administration well, and I know that their integrity is beyond question. They have worked hard to improve the operations and reputation of the department.

If you truly want to serve the metropolitan community, perhaps you could consider publishing something positive about its small cities for a change.



Space precludes my rebutting in detail those concoctions of Mr. Celeste’s of which I have personal knowledge. As for all those people Sam Rodriguez fired, I think they’ve just been putting too much sour cream on their enchiladas.



Child Retort

Oh, please, grow up Ellise Gunnell (“The Trouble with Tots, ” March).

I do believe parents should remove screaming or misbehaving children from the room as a courtesy to others.

But I have a child now. I cannot remain a prisoner at home for your sake.

Next time why don’t you help someone struggling with a stroller and an arm load of packages instead of whining?



It was unpleasant enough to have Ms. Gunnell lump all families with young children as “trouble. ” Some parents do let their children run amok, and there we give her our sympathies. However, she used Mr. Miracle to state Montessori educational practices as a reason parents don’t “curb the behavior of their children in public places. ” Maria Montessori spent her life devoted to helping children reach self reliance, and responsible behavior at the earliest possible age. Both the “Miracle Man” and Ms. Gunnell need to do better research before making such blanket statements.



“The Trouble with Tots” did everything a story can achieve when reaching for the positive. First I chuckled and finally my physical reaction continued upward to full blown laughter. I am impressed with your courage to take up this issue. There are many of us who agree totally, but are too cowardly to express our displeasure of unsupervised children sharing our space. Children are wonderful and I’m sure they would like to be remembered that way.



I sure wouldn’t like my children to grow up like Ms. Gunnell, a person who compares children with smoke and criminals.

My children love to go out and are well behaved most of the time. Sit the kids at the back of the bus? Good grief woman, this is the ’90s! What are you talking about?



Ms. Gunnell whines more than the children she berates. I challenge her to volunteer her time to young people. Maybe she; can spend a week (at least) as “Mom, ” with the 24-hour-a-day demands by family, friends and career.



Sounding Off

I was quite interested by “Observer vs. Sound Warehouse-Round Two, ” (March). I would question, however, one statement- that Best Buy’s CD and cassette prices are “lower than Sound Warehouse can afford to match. ” Back in the 70s, Sound Warehouse’s prices were delightfully low. Throughout the ’80s, as Sound Warehouse gradually took over the Metroplex market, its prices continually rose. Now, and for the past several years, many, if not most, items in the store are sold at list price.



Time Warp

Your March “Flashback’-reporting on a 1955 resolution passed by The Public Affairs Luncheon Club which was critical of The Dallas Museum of Fine Arts for their acquisition of works by artists with known communist affiliations-failed to state the criticism was based upon the use of tax dollars for these acquisitions. Remember, this was at the height of the Cold War. For Dallas taxpayers to be forced to pay toward the support of artists with known communist affiliations was the height of folly, hence the resolution. Nevertheless, the resolution was misunderstood and misquoted and became the topic of conversation in the salons of Dallas-also the saloons, I suspect.



Backing Baby Routh

Re “D Revisits Baby Routh” (February): I feel that the critic went to this restaurant with a preconceived notion of what her palate was to be offered, and she failed to review this restaurant as the upscale, progressive dining establishment it truly is.



Schutze Shoots Straight?

I just read Jim Schutze’s story “It Wasn’t Murder. Was It Suicide?” (February). What wonderful reporting!

It seems like it was yesterday that I was in my office in Dallas reading Jim’s column. I forgot how much I enjoyed his writing.



I am really steamed about the statements being tossed about concerning the closing of the Herald.

It sounds like Jim Schutze believed the Herald was a lame horse that needed shooting.

In writing about how miserable he was at the Herald, he made it sound as though all the employees were suffering the dis-ease of working for a slowly dying newspaper.

I worked for the Herald for five years and eight months. I wouldn’t have worked that long for a newspaper that I thought had completely given up the fight. It sounds like Schutze gave up, but most of us on the news desk never did.



An Uncertain Voice

My wrists are not as large as my husband’s and I do not patronize the Rocket Club. But I enjoyed your story about Uncertain, Texas. (“Uncertain Times, ” February).