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, follow this link, or email your letter directly to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for your patience.
RECEIVED Wed., June 19, 2013
Austin's current cycling infrastructure (or real lack thereof) is a dangerous Frankenstein's monster of sorts, one hobbled together from a severe lack of understanding, compassion, and democracy. None of this is really surprising, though; our transportation system is completely consumed by the designs of oil, auto, and road-building lobbies – some of the most powerful and secretive entities ever realized on Earth. In choosing to cycle, one embodies an aversion to this caricatured power elite of jowl-overhung suits and black-hearted oilmen; one denies "research" brought by the industry to delay any threat to their profit (such as the case with adding lead to gasoline), as well as denying the general sense of alienation and detachment to life that puttering around in steel-glass carapaces brings.
Driving has fundamentally changed our cities and our psyches, which is why breaking this norm causes such seething hatred toward cyclists. Driving as a transportation system is built around delays; all that speed and power up a hill is a commercially orchestrated illusion, especially when everyone has to drive. Cyclists form easy targets of wrath in a world of semi-professional drivers on an open course to a stop and idling hydrocarbon deadlock.
But questions of driving never really belonged to rational discussion; rather, emulation has always been one of the key factors in people's wholesale acceptance of designed obsolescence and conflation of status with evidence of conspicuous consumption. You drive that giant fucking "light" truck or "sport utility vehicle" because you've become convinced that you need such things to cart your ego around, because you consider it necessary for representation in an illusory middle class. The gulf between the most powerful and the rest of traffic-jammed humanity has become astronomical in its reckoning – and the powerful don't need such foul concepts as movement democracy mucking that about.
RECEIVED Tue., June 18, 2013
While much of the information about the FBI’s COINTELPRO program recounted in “The Facts Were Immaterial
” [News, June 7] were somewhat or very familiar to me, I was shocked that the event which brought the program down – the March 8, 1971, break-in of the FBI field office in Media, Pa., by the Citizens’ Commission to Investigate the FBI – was wholly unfamiliar. Not only do I consider myself well-read in American history, I was born in Media in the late Sixties, grew up and lived the first 21 years of my life approximately two miles from the Media Courthouse, and even had a longtime school friend whose father, an FBI agent, undoubtedly spent a fair amount of time in the local Bureau office – and I had never heard of this story! Thank you for the history lesson and for shedding light on this dark era. It’s amazing to think that little old Media – “Everybody’s Hometown,” as the borough’s quaint nickname goes – may have had its own “Deep Throat” (or “Deep Throats”) living amongst the rest of us.
RECEIVED Tue., June 18, 2013
Governor Perry has followed through with his blackmail threat to veto funding for the district attorney's Public Integrity Unit [“Perry's Veto Axe Comes Down
,” Newsdesk blog, June 17]. I believe this is a ploy by Perry to eventually transfer those investigative powers to a more Republican-friendly office. If the unit's cases are not pursued for the next two years, the 84th Legislature will transfer those powers to the attorney general, a statewide elected official who is usually a Republican. Perry would undoubtedly prefer to have those powers vested in the attorney general than in the lead prosecutor for the only county in Texas controlled by the political opposition. He seized on Lehmberg's mistake as his opportunity to lay the groundwork for such a change. Travis County must now provide funding to prevent those cases from falling by the wayside.
RECEIVED Tue., June 18, 2013
I have a little story I wrote that I hope you will enjoy [“Keeping the Lights on at Casa de Luz
,” News, June 14]. A barber comes into town and sets up shop. He puts out a sign that says “$6 haircut.” Other barbershops in town are unhappy with that because they charge $12. They visit the $6 barber and cajole him to charge $12. He declines politely, saying the $6 is all he needs to have a good life.
The barbers organize, and they get the chamber of commerce to lobby the city to enact an ordinance that barbers must charge at least $12. An official notice is sent out to the $6 barber, but he ignores it. The situation is brought to the attention of code compliance who swiftly issue him an infraction. The barber continues to charge $6. The code compliance officer comes back with the fire chief. The code compliance officer points out that there is no fire sprinkler system in the barber shop, and he is written up. He is summoned to court, but the barber doesn't show up.
An arrest order is issued for contempt of court. The sheriff goes to arrest the barber but the barber refuses to be handcuffed. The sheriff, who is used to dealing with thugs, attempts to force the barber into the cuffs. The barber resists and starts running away. The sheriff shoots him dead.
Eduardo “Wayo” Longoria
Casa de Luz
RECEIVED Sun., June 16, 2013
I hope Austin Chronicle
readers will join me in congratulating Rick Perry for his veto of legislation to provide Texas women with equal pay ["Perry's Veto Axe Comes Down
," Newsdesk blog, June 17]. Perry is doing his best to convince women that they need to vote for Democrats if they want equal rights in Texas. Thanks, Rick.