Letters

Odio: Enough of the Pointless Poor Taste!
I am tired of your unrelenting coverage of Cesar Odio. I thought your article on his family ("Dynasty," October 10) was pointless and in poor taste. Please write about someone or something else. Enough already.

Barbara De Leo Hamra
Miami

Odio: New Times Should Thank President Prio
As a Cuban American, I am offended that you chose to include the late Cuban president Carlos Prio Socarras in your tasteless "Dynasty" article. President Prio was the last head of state freely elected by the Cuban people. He is admired and respected by Cubans and Cuban Americans old enough or interested enough to know about his administration, from 1948 to 1952. Never before or since did Cuba enjoy the freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and respect for civil rights that were the hallmark of his presidency.

He graciously allowed, as he should have, political foes and publications such as yours to say or print anything whatsoever, no matter how partisan or untrue. That is why today, 45 years later, your paper can publish allegations about him that have never been even remotely substantiated.

Zoila Izquierdo
Coral Gables

Odio: New Times, Mouthpiece of the Batista Regime
I just read your unprofessional smear story about the family of Cesar Odio, which went out of its way (for no good reason) to malign ex-president of Cuba Carlos Prio Socarras. You repeat lies spread by Batista's military junta after they overthrew Prio's elected government.

When I go with my children to Woodlawn cemetery in Miami and pass by the tomb of President Prio, I tell them they can be proud that this man once led Cuba. His tomb is often surrounded with flowers placed by others who honor his memory. The next time I go, I will make it a point to place a flower myself, with the unspoken message that at least this one Cuban American found your comments about him despicable.

Maria del Carmen Consuegra
Miami

Odio: A New Low in American Journalism
Your feature on Cesar Odio's family tree was the lowest type of journalism I have seen in a long time, especially the pictures. What was the point of attacking and ridiculing every possible relative, dead or alive -- including, for heaven's sake, his second wife's dead uncle?

No wonder no one dared sign the article.
John Bowen
Coconut Grove

Odio: No One Bragged About Killing President Kennedy
I am a sister of Cesar Odio. In your article, you state that I "told the Warren Commission that 'Leon Oswald' and two anti-Castro Cubans stopped by [my] Dallas apartment to brag that they were going to kill John F. Kennedy." This is grossly incorrect and implies that I sat by while the president's assassination was being planned.

My testimony to the Warren Commission is public record. I testified under oath that in September 1963 three men I did not know came to my apartment and asked me to prepare a letter soliciting funds for an anti-Castro organization. Two of the men appeared to be Hispanic and the third was introduced as "Leon Oswald." The next day one of the Hispanics telephoned me and said that the American "is kind of nuts" and had said that the Cubans "don't have any guts ... because President Kennedy should have been assassinated after the Bay of Pigs, and some Cubans should have done that, because he was the one that was holding the freedom of Cuba actually."

At no point did anyone brag in my house about killing the president. If they had, I should have and would have gone to the authorities immediately.

With respect to my alleged remarks to a reporter you did not identify, I stand by my testimony to the Warren Commission.

Sylvia Odio
Miami

Shopping for Laughs
Ray Martinez's piece on the Dade Boulevard Publix supermarket ("Publix Maximus," October 3) absolutely made my day! It was both hilarious and all too true.

We moved to the neighborhood in 1983. At that time the store was probably the only supermarket in America that closed at 8:00 p.m. A series of pleading letters to top management brought ice cream coupons but no change in hours. Finally they advanced to 9:00 and 10:00 on alternate days and then to 11:00 p.m. Eventually the opening hour moved from 8:00 to 7:00 a.m.

Through the Eighties and into the Nineties, this store was plagued by managers and assistant managers who appeared to have been trained at the Hermann Goering Academy of Supermarket Management. One screamed at me when I asked if there were any baskets available, then told me to get lost when I confronted him on my way out about his lack of manners. A letter about him to upper management never got a response.

Another accused my daughter of trying to cheat the store when she asked for the extra photos promised in a promotional offer. A letter about that incident produced an apologetic phone call from him to my daughter.

Another one dismissed with a smarmy grin and "That's the idea!" my complaint about an armored-car guard who was standing at the entrance waving around his unholstered gun and occasionally pointing it at people -- including children -- and scaring the hell out of them.

In recent years, management has become far more pleasant. A few employee incidents, however, remain memorable. My "unfavorite" was the checkout lady who gabbed endlessly in Spanish with the woman ahead of me. When I protested -- after standing there for ten minutes -- I was, of course, accused of being an anti-Hispanic bigot.

Many customers also leave a lot to be desired. Numerous times I've paid a few dimes out of my own pocket to bring a time-consuming coupon fight to an end.

It's not easy to manage a store that's too small and doesn't have enough parking. But they do keep the store clean, and Publix has always been good with returned merchandise. There is, however, plenty of blame to go around. Store management could end the infuriating practice of constantly blocking the narrow aisles with loaded carts and displays. They could also crack down on customers who park illegally in the lot, blocking other cars and spaces.

The City of Miami Beach could help a lot by moving the one taxi space from the second parking slot, where some doofus decided to locate it, to the first parking slot, and also crack down on taxis blockading the meters. They could also change the cutoff on the meters around the store from 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., freeing up spaces in the lot during evening hours.

Anyway, thanks for the smiles!
Richard H. Rosichan
Miami Beach

Pretty Good Publix Relations
I've lived in South Beach and have been shopping at Publix for almost seventeen years. I usually bike it, but on those occasions when I drive, I never hesitate to enter the parking lot and I always find a space. The chap in the article who spoke of not even trying to park his Mercedes (not his car, his Mercedes) in the lot is like those snobs who brag of not owning a TV set.

I haven't noted grumpy or otherwise unpleasant shoppers -- but then, I've been doing my own shopping. Mostly, however, I've been genuinely gratified by the patience, politeness, and helpfulness of every employee, even when I've got my head up my Mercedes.

It's unique, it's on the Beach, and it's a pleasure!
Lionel Goldbart
Miami Beach

Erratum
Last week's article "Copping an Excuse," by Kathy Glasgow, incorrectly stated that Surfside Police Chief Terrill Williamson said he fired a police dispatcher. While a recent State Attorney's Office report did make several references to the "firing" and "termination" of a Surfside Police Department dispatcher, the report did not state that Williamson personally fired the dispatcher or that the chief said he had fired the dispatcher. The dispatcher, however, claims that Williamson forced him to resign. New Times regrets the error.

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