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So now we have CodeNEXT to plan new developments that Austin needs ["CodeNEXT Prepares to Rewrite Austin
," News, Nov. 13]. City plans we had before were Imagine Austin, Smart Growth, New Urbanism, Austin Tomorrow, and Urban Renewal. I would be interested in this new code if the planners were mostly native Austinites and it included affordable housing for longtime, low-income residents who have been displaced because of gentrification.
Starting about 1900 the city pushed us out of our Old West Downtown Mexican neighborhood. And then with the 1928 Master Plan of segregation we were pushed to East Austin. Because of racism we were red-lined and denied bank loans and were unable to fix up our houses, buy property, or start our own businesses in East Austin. In the meantime, outside investors were buying up all the land.
In the late Nineties East Austin activists begged the City Council and Planning Commission to put in place ways to prevent gentrification. The city did the very opposite and changed the zoning to commercial so that outside businesses and people can come in, take over, and push us out of our own neighborhood! All the redevelopment plans were aimed at a market that wasn't the longtime residents.
Neighborhood plans should have been made only by longtime residents. Of course we didn't want high-density urban projects that would cause more traffic and pollution that would harm our children and the environment. To me, community revitalization is an oxymoron because what it really does is kill the community.
This ongoing master plan of encroachment and land grab is an abomination and must stop. In the 19th century this was called Manifest Destiny; today we call it gentrification and cultural genocide.
As I read articles about the Syrian refugee situation and Greg Abbott’s opposition to welcoming them ["No Shelter Here
," News, Nov. 20], I cannot help but to think of another issue regarding the United States’ improper handling of refugees. I am referring to the Iraqi and Afghan translators who were promised visas in compensation for their valuable help to the American military. More than 1,000 have been killed since then. Most of them, including their families, are endangered and are unable to secure other jobs since they are constantly targeted in their communities. A very few amount of these applications have resulted in visas for these translators; most of them are stuck in bureaucratic processes and delays which keep these allies in very dangerous situations in the meantime. How is it that more isn’t done for these people who have done so much for Americans? These people have risked their lives for us, and worked alongside U.S. troops, which are their main supporters in facilitating this process and providing them the safety they were promised. I do not mean to take away importance from the Syrian refugee situation, but this matter should not be pushed aside as we have depended on these people in our wartime efforts and our treatment of them has only sent the message that we are not good friends and are not good for our promises. How can we expect help in the future?
Maria F. Gonzalez
Sadly I am reading your article “Tempers Flare as AISD Board Tackles Confederate Legacy
” [News, Nov. 13]. Of course Austin has a Confederate legacy – that part is history.
Trustees Gordon and Mathias feel a moral imperative to change that. The last political moral imperative I remember was Prohibition. Is this group going to prohibit Austin's history? How about its culture, cuisine, and music? Does this group want those white-washed also?
How sad that these two rabid racists (they are using race to their personal advantage) have anything to do with the education of children.
Elizabeth N. Branigan
"Making the Most of EAST
" [Arts & Culture, Nov. 20] was on target about some of the challenges and enjoyments of the unique experience that is EAST. However, the statement "And like any good Christian, don't forget how fun it is to sin" was an unnecessary comment that does not reflect EAST and is insulting, derogatory, and offensive to Christians who take their life with Christ seriously. Jesus paid a high price and died a horrific death to provide forgiveness for sin, and “good Christians” do not take His sacrifice lightly. Our commitment to our relationship with Christ gives us plenty of freedom to enjoy life without crossing the line into activity that is ultimately detrimental for us and displeasing to Him. Sin is not fun to “good Christians” who love Jesus – it is heartbreaking.