Alibi V.15 No.15 • April 13-19, 2006 


One Hard ’Which

Dear Alibi,

[RE: The Dish, “Vietnam comes to UNM,” April 6-12]

A million “thank you”'s—for calling it exactly right.

I'm so crushed. I'm a nut for those Vietnamese sandwiches—I lived on one for two days in Los Angeles last fall, priced at $3.75—and what I got the first time [at Green Jasmine] was simply terrible. The second he put it in my hand there was a problem. It was light as a feather.

Second visit—this past Saturday. I was late getting back to help my neighbors move, and discovered to my horror the bread was as hard as a baseball bat. Completely unedible, or inedible, take your pick. If I had opened it there, I would have tossed it on the counter and left.

That's it. Two strikes and I'm out. I'm 8 minutes further down the road, as you pointed out. You critiqued it fairly, elegantly and without malice. Good on you.

Oscar Michaeux

It's Still the Same

Dear Alibi,

Flying Star has not changed its dress code—it's the same dress code we've had for about 15 years. The difference is that we have started enforcing it—again. Our dress code has never attempted to make androids out of individuals. We have a huge diversity of employees—Cubans, Hungarians, Somalians, devout Christians, Muslims, just to list a few. We have an even huger diversity of customers—I can't even begin to guess their breadth and depth. Our dress code was and is designed to establish a respectful common ground between the trendy and those of no taste, the radical and the conservative, the public and the individual.

Our policy toward tattoos in general is that they are fine, until they cross over into the profane or offensive. Two examples of tattoos that had to be covered up: "Kiss My Ass" on the forearm of a counter server (that is not a Flying Star customer service ethic!) and a skilled rendering of a woman who was enjoying a large tongue performing oral sex on one employee's bicep and forearm. These employees are good people and probably never thought these images could be construed as offensive, but they are to some people. All we required of them was that the questionable tattoos be covered with long sleeves.

Our dress code also asks for a modicum of modesty (i.e. "no bare butts"), and I think I want to add "bellies and boobs" next. Fashion seems to be daring women to bare more flesh. Fine, but not behind our counter, please. Recently, a visiting designer who works with us dryly commented to me that he thought we were trying to become Hooters. The young lady he was referring to had shrunken her T-shirt to about three sizes smaller than it had started out—her very ample butt cheeks and bare belly were hanging over her extremely low-slung pants.

Gee-whiz, I don't feel like some old corporate fart. I think our dress code is pretty darn good-natured. No baggy, unfashionable unisex polo shirts—it's OK for servers to wear jeans to look great. Nose studs are allowed—try that at a big chain! However, back to establishing that common ground. This is a widely diverse society of changing values and beliefs. Since we serve the public, we feel obligated here at Flying Star to negotiate some kind of middle point in the sea of diversity with nothing more than our common sense and judgment. What more do we have to use?

Jean Bernstein
Flying Star Cafés

Westside School Showdown

Dear Alibi,

I'd like to add a few comments regarding Marisa Demarco's fine article on overcrowded Westside schools [Newscity, “Bursting at the Seams,” March 23-29], and my school, Edward Gonzales Elementary (EGES), in particular. I'm a counselor there, but here I speak only for myself.

First, for those of us at EGES to call the school “ours” is in a way a misnomer. Despite empty platitudes to the contrary by the APS central administration and school board, they don't allow meaningful site-based management.

For example, in the meeting with parents and staff mentioned in your article, one of Superintendent Beth Everitt's assistants was caught in an apparent outright lie, claiming parents had been involved in the initial basic decision to place a separate new school on our campus. Unfortunately, this is business as usual at APS and just one of a myriad of reasons so many don't trust APS administration or believe them to be even minimally sensitive or competent.

Despite this, the real stakeholders in EGES—the families, staff and students—are going to help shape what our school will be, in two years and in 20. Fortunately, Robert Lucero, the APS board member from our district, so far seems to have some competency, guts and a clue as to what is needed to address the problems of Westside schools.

Secondly, Mayor Chavez' proposal that he be given power to appoint the school board as a way to “fix” APS is laughable, though only in a darkly ironic way.

One of the main causes of overcrowded Westside schools is irresponsible, greedy developers and their hired public officials in local government slapping up subdivisions for obscenely high profits while making virtually no contribution—financial or otherwise—to the casts of building schools, much less sustainable communities.

Chavez is, however, a bright and able administrator with some excellent ideas. I can only hope his ludicrous proposal was made to stir up public debate on how to address serious chronic problems in APS. I welcome and look forward to Marty joining the effort, as undoubtedly he can add much value.

By law, as an APS employee, I can't run for the school board, and as long as Michael Carillo is principal and the community has a real voice in how our school is created and run, I will happily remain an EGES counselor. However, I will also work to assure a competent school board member is elected from my northeast residential district and will consider running against the developer's shill Sally Mayer when that City Council seat is next up for election. It's high time we had public officials who work for the greatest common good, not for the profit of a small elite. Meantime, I'll continue doing what I love: working with the awesome staff, families and kids at EGES.

Thomas M. Heady

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