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No Mystery in School Bond Failures

RECEIVED Thu., May 16, 2013

Dear Editor,
    How out of touch has the Chronicle become with the voting populace of this city?
    From the article “Bonds: Death By a Thousand Cuts” [News, May 17]: "What went wrong? Was it the message? Was it community mistrust of AISD? Was it the bonds themselves? Or was it the larger anti-tax sentiment pushed by the right? As Board President Vince Torres told the media during a Monday evening post-mortem, anyone who thinks they know the one root reason of the results is premature at best."
    There is definitely an anti-tax sentiment in this city, but a push from the right was not required to create it. Longtime residents are being gentrified out of practically every neighborhood in town, in large part because property taxes (and subsequently rents) continue to rise at a clip that far exceeds any increases to their incomes.
    The "root reason" for the bond failures is plain to see for everyone, except Vince Torres and the Chronicle, apparently. It's taxes. The only death by a thousands cuts being dealt is to the citizens of Austin in the form of never-ending bonds and tax increases. Only now are people waking up to the fact that they've been signing their own one-way U-Haul contracts out of town with all of these spending approvals.
    Affordable housing is a big issue for the Chronicle – at least that's what you claim. If so, then why so little coverage of the ongoing, drastic, citywide loss of housing affordability at the hands of increased property taxes? Will you continue to stay silent while Austin completes its transition into a playground for the rich, as long as a few affordable housing projects are sprinkled around?
    Maybe it's not just "the right" that is against more tax increases. Maybe it's the majority of Austinites, who happen to be struggling, scratching, and clawing to remain in this town.
Steve Jones
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