postmarks

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 mail@austinchronicle.com. Thanks for your patience.

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PARD's Peeved Constituents

RECEIVED Wed., Jan. 2, 2013

Dear Chronicle,
    You can add one more group to Austin Parks and Recreation Department's long list of peeved constituents: cemetery preservationists ["Then There's This: Parks and Rec in Review," News, Dec. 28]. PARD's inability to come up with a fair renewal contract with its longtime contract care provider has put the city directly back into the cemetery business. PARD is putting out for bid a contract that no one in his right mind would sign up for. In the meantime, PARD is scrambling to find funds, equipment, and personnel to bury the dead in city-owned cemeteries. PARD has refused to follow through on its own initiated studies as to making the cemeteries financially viable. In the meantime, sites like Oakwood Cemetery continue to deteriorate at an alarming rate. Soon, there won't be anything to preserve, and another historic piece of Austin's (our) history will be forever lost.
Danny Camacho

A Gentlemanly Debate on Gun Control

RECEIVED Wed., Jan. 2, 2013

Dear Editor,
    Doubting this letter will be published, because the editorial staff traditionally gets the last word, I decided, nevertheless, to write once again to respond to Mr. King's reply to my letter in the Dec. 28 issue [“Postmarks”]. As expected, Mr. King falls straight into a defensive crouch to justify his comments while trying to invalidate mine. He says that "Adam Lanza was no Timothy McVeigh," somehow thinking that Lloyd Bentsen-esque statement would justify his position about gun control. As I wrote before, to which no cogent argument was made, no one in his right mind could possibly argue that a disturbed mind bent upon death and destruction would immediately abandon that path just because there was no gun handy. Besides which, I seriously doubt that Mr. King's bold statement that Lanza would not have attacked without a gun obviously does not come from a solid background in psychotherapy or counseling the mentally disturbed. That is nothing more than a specious argument and a personal opinion thoroughly ungrounded in fact, but is apparently offered because it looks good in print.
    Secondly, Mr. King accuses me of hoping "to wish [the matter of violence] away" with my "willful blindness," or at least I suppose that was his purpose, his logic being somewhat difficult to follow. But once again, Mr. King, innuendo and presupposition about what I believe is all you have to go on. Slinging barbs at me to justify your opinions is unworthy of an accomplished journalist. In fact, I do believe there can be great strides made in the gun debate, but assuming that any such action will keep weapons out of the hands of those who seek to possess them for evil is either an unfortunate wish or pure folly.
    Third, the minority is also not uniformly "gun-crazy," Mr. King, and apparently, once again, it is impossible for you to offer written content without name-calling. The minority, I think of which you speak, could be and likely is nothing more than many good Americans who seek to keep their right to own firearms, just as you hope to keep your right to free speech within this periodical. And, like me, most responsible gun owners would be the first to agree that the problem with guns is a desperate one, and that there could be many roads to a solution, some of which they could easily endorse.
    Finally, a word of courteous advice: My name is more appropriately Mr. Wilson, just as you may observe I have been gentlemanly enough to refer to you as Mr. King.
Bill Wilson

CTRMA Boondoggle

RECEIVED Wed., Jan. 2, 2013

Dear Editor,
    The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority has a 2012-13 budget of $43.2 million taken from Texas taxpayers and toll tax revenue. The agency was proposed and pushed through 10 years ago by former Rep. Mike Krusee, whom Texans did not re-elect because of his questionable special interest motivated actions.
    The toll agency, which currently manages two toll roads, should be dismantled. The toll roads that it plans to build and manage on MoPac are a sham and are not needed. CTRMA borrowed $130 million to add to the toll road building. The proposed toll roads will not ease traffic conditions; they are simply a source of new revenue. Furthermore, Texas does not need ongoing toll roads.
    Texans need an intelligent, well-managed, and reality-based Texas Department of Transportation that works in the best interests of the entire community. There is no reason in the world that CTRMA Executive Director Mike Heiligenstein should be making $250,000 annually for running an agency that plans toll roads in Central Texas, except that he is appointed by Gov. Rick Perry.
    Perry and Texas legislators refuse to let the gasoline tax catch up with inflation and also continue to divert gasoline tax revenue to their other interests, which is part of the reason TxDOT hasn't sufficient money to build and maintain our roadways.
    Lastly, toll roads are an inefficient and poor cost-effective method of building and maintaining roads, the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority may raise toll costs at will without approval, and there is little oversight to ensure it is working in the best interests of the community at-large.
    
Peter Stern

New Contributor Falls Flat

RECEIVED Wed., Jan. 2, 2013

Dear Editor,
    Re: “Pole Position” [the Arts, Dec. 28]: I was looking forward to reading this article and finding out all the cool happenings at Brass Ovaries, but the author's overuse of "I" coupled with the overlong introduction about the author's thoughts on herself made this piece unreadable. The Chronicle often benefits from the quality writing of authors who know how to bring life to the descriptions of their first-person experiences without drowning us in special-snowflake sauce. I understand crapping on a new contributor's submission is a jerk move, but I can't see how substandard writing will help sell the readers on a new experience.
    The blog article titled "Who the Hell Is This Kaci Beeler, Anyway?," [All Over Creation Arts blog, Dec. 28] (which gave a broader idea of the relevance of Ms. Beeler) succinctly summed up my confusion. Why should the reader be concerned about her personal epiphanies or whether she'll have the time for her new hobby? Good writing puts the reader in the story. Good writing does not make the audience feel like they're reading Facebook statuses. I hope this is only a minor misstep in editing or article selection and not a pattern of negligence on the part of the Chronicle.
Heidi Buckner

What About Austin Yoga Institute?

RECEIVED Sat., Dec. 29, 2012

Dear Editor,
    Page 20 of the Dec. 28 edition was a huge disappointment to Austin Yoga Institute as a 15-year resident of South Lamar Plaza [“Southern Exposure,” News]. We have occupied the strip mall you said sayonara to for longer than most of the businesses you mentioned, and we're no less stymied by the puzzle of maintaining our bearings in our changed landscape. For a decade and a half, we have offered Iyengar Yoga classes, dance, and aikido; amazing workshops with international teachers like Gabriella Giubilaro, Ramanand Patel, Rodney Yee and Manouso Manos; and vipassana/mindfulness meditation, as well as kirtan with Krishna Das. Now that South Lamar appears to be in the midst of a huge transformation and rents have tripled and quadrupled, we are as challenged as Alien Scooters, the HighBall, Big Bertha's, and the South Austin Gym to keep our doors open. We have updated our website at www.austinyoga.org, and we invite our friends to visit us at 4006 South Lamar #700, next to Tuesday Morning and Active Life Healing Center in the Brodie Oaks shopping center.
Sayonara for now,
Peggy Kelley

Tax Guns to Pay for School Guards

RECEIVED Fri., Dec. 28, 2012

Dear Editor,
    The National Rifle Association's CEO Wayne LaPierre insists that his idea of having armed guards in schools would prevent tragic shootings. This ludicrous idea made me wonder how he would have us pay for such a plan, given that many cities are already having trouble providing adequate police protection. So, here's my plan: How about extra taxing on all gun sales and having annual licensing fees for all guns with rates high enough to provide those guards? We do that for buying and owning cars.
Stephen Cooper

Halt the Handlebarbarians

RECEIVED Thu., Dec. 27, 2012

Dear Editor,
    We walkers who use our heels instead of wheels to move about the city have long dodged the auto driving "carbarians,” but now we face the bicycle "handlebarbarians" who disobey stoplights, who seldom honk, and who treat pedestrians like fixed pins in a bowling alley. Sidewalks and crosswalks are for walkers. Please give us a brake. STOP (Stop Terror on Pedestrians).
Gene Burd

Your Music Will Live On

RECEIVED Thu., Dec. 27, 2012

Dear Editor,
    Re: the passing of Iron Butterfly bassist Lee Dorman: In the mid-Eighties, Iron Butterfly played at Liberty Lunch, where I basically lived for a year. The band played its first set without bowing to the audience's screams for “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida." The band played the second set, and again no "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.” By then, the audience was rabid. They played the encore, and still no "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida." By then, it's well after 2am, the lights go out, and the audience is screaming for blood. Then, over the racket and the screams, you hear the unmistakable first chords of "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida." The crowd exploded into the wildest dancing, moaning, and just general mayhem. Though, like most of the great concerts I've seen, I don't remember the specifics, I swear it was the one-hour version of "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.” By the time it was over, the band was exhausted. The crowd was dazed. It was one of those magic moments in time and just thinking about it has the hair standing up on my arms.
    Rest in peace, Lee. You earned it. Your music will live on.
Delwin Goss