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Letters are posted as we receive them during the week, and before they are printed in the paper, so check back frequently to see new letters. If you'd like to send a letter to the editor, use this postmarks submission form, or email your letter directly to mail@austinchronicle.com. Thanks for your patience.
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In Zimmerman's Defense

RECEIVED Tue., Aug. 30, 2016

Dear Editor,
    Michael King sure dislikes Don Zimmerman; however, he is throwing the baby out with the bathwater [“Point Austin: Zimmerman's Hypocrisies,” News, Aug. 26]. A part of Council Member Zimmerman's anger at the city's attorneys regarding the mobility bond was that he, along with other council members had worked long hours to get a "truth-in-lending" provision on the ballot. That provision would have told a homeowner how much the tax impact would be for a $300,000 home, with the homeowner left to calculate the exact number using some math.
    When staff started arguing the legality of this provision, it felt like "lobbying" since it is not illegal to put that information on the ballot. It might have required some assumptions, but it was not illegal.
    On the first and second readings, such a tax impact statement was to appear on the ballot, and this passed 11-0. When the third reading occurred, the language had been removed and the count went to 7-1 with 3 abstentions showing the importance of disclosure of the cost.
    Just because Council Member Zimmerman speaks his mind is not a reason to state that his anger at staff is without merit. He is one of the few fiscal conservatives in this city, and his stand on this item (as well as the courthouse) is welcome to those of us who have no advocate in opposing these bonds, due to a failure to disclose the real cost to the borrowers.
John Goldstone
   [Editor's note: Only Council Member Zimmerman (who voted nay) and one of the abstainers (CM Ellen Troxclair) cited the ballot language as a reason for their votes.]

Russell Clarifies

RECEIVED Mon., Aug. 29, 2016

Dear Editor,
    Dick Kallerman is correct in faulting me for using the term “road widening” to describe what we’ll be getting with the new bond proposal [“No Room to Widen,” Feedback, Aug. 19]. However, even after visiting City Hall, I’m not sure how to translate into plain English terms like Regional Mobility Project, Corridor Improvement Project, and Local Mobility Project for substandard streets/capital renewal. However two things are clear. The bond issue is about cars. It allocates $594 million for the three categories just mentioned. The other thing that is clear is that, given the lack of any funding for mass transit in our rapidly growing city, traffic congestion will be even worse when the bond money has been spent than it is now.
Philip Russell

Do the Right Thing

RECEIVED Mon., Aug. 29, 2016

Dear Editor,
    My fellow Austinite. This week's issue: yet another of the seemingly endless Tom Tomorrow cartoons, aka character smears of Donald Trump [“This Modern World,” Aug. 26]. C'mon, enough already! You think ALL your readers are dumbed-down Hillary-bots?
    You had a presidential candidate in Austin – what kind of coverage did you give him? A big full-colored photo of the fuck-tard GOP with the "Child Rapist" flag? And that's it? I rest my case. How much more biased can you get?
    Except to say that your assertion in last week's column [“Page Two: When Pointing an Accusatory Finger, Three More Point Back at You,” Aug. 19] that all the negative attacks on Hillary were just "GOP hate." Well, here you see the GOP hating on Trump. And you think ALL the mounting evidence of her horrific and diabolical and treasonous acts via the State Dept and the Clinton Foundation are all just "made-up" hate attacks by the GOP? Dude, c'mon. You don't really believe that do you? You don't really believe that the Dems are all good guys and the Republicans are all bad guys do you? You don't really believe that just because HRC is a Dem or a woman that it doesn't matter how corrupt she is do you?
    Your readers are not as dumbed-down and stupid as you seem to think. We don't buy that bullshit. Get a grip. Do something to restore your credibility while you still have a shred of it to preserve. You DO have the option and the choice to do the right thing. Print some actual investigative journalism about the Clinton Foundation without whitewashing it.
    I dare you.
Stephen Summers

A Glossy View

RECEIVED Mon., Aug. 29, 2016

Dear Editor,
    I may be mistaken, but I believe I am the reader you speak of, and whom you have misrepresented [“Page Two: When Pointing an Accusatory Finger, Three More Point Back at You,” Aug. 19]. In my letter to the editor [“False Narrative,” June 24] I stated the “lesser of two evils” argument is an “intellectual bullying” tactic used by both the right and left to “cow dissident voters” in order to maintain the two-party system. This is a belief shared widely on the left and voiced by such notable figures as Jill Stein, Green Party presidential nominee, Cornel West, and Kiese Laymon of The Guardian, among others.
    Why is it that we should cast a vote in fear rather than in support of the person we believe best represents our “well-intentioned” interests? If the opposition wins because of an ideological divide among a constituency, wouldn’t that simply be the “bitter aftertaste of universal suffrage” which you describe?
    You correctly identify several factors at play in the current problem, but indict voters and not politicians for the current political climate. Democrats are equally guilty but “the Republican hate machine” is mostly to blame for the “vicious questions about integrity, patriotism, religion and intelligence.” Or are they simply being “well-intentioned” citizens? You criticize “armchair ideological purists” taking to social media, but what I see is a citizenry outraged by inaction on gun reform, the brutal treatment of African-Americans and Latinos, and LGBTQ rights; the growing income disparity and the shrinking middle class. Our government says we can’t afford socialized medicine or free education yet we can bail out Wall Street and finance endless wars abroad.
    Your impassioned speech for progressive politics takes a glossy view of the “Progressive Era” which, as Howard Zinn recalls, “was a reluctant reform, aimed at quieting the popular risings, not making fundamental changes.” There are many ways to participate in the political arena that do not involve running for office and often prove to be more effective because the office is incapable of reforming itself.
Brett Thompson
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