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 Tue., Oct. 22, 2013
I recently read the article “Point Austin: When the Well Runs Dry
” by Michael King [News, Oct. 11]. As disheartening as it is to read about the harmful effects that humans are inflicting on the oceans and the environment, I appreciate the efforts of spreading the severity of the issue. Whether people are ignorant enough to believe that humans are not to blame for increasing rates of CO2 and other greenhouse gases or people have not informed themselves on the growing issue of global warming, it is even more globally unknown that much of these problems are irreversible. Currently, I am enrolled in a course at the University of Texas at Austin called “Humans and a Changing Ocean.” We recently discussed how climate change will continue to persist even if human emissions of CO2 are stopped. The same concern is addressed in King’s article, and it really highlights how far from the “safety zone” we have strayed. I hope that people see this issue as something that we need to address and heal immediately rather than taking the uninformed assumption that these catastrophes will occur at the same extent whether we try to stop it or not. I greatly appreciate King’s efforts of publishing this article and continuing to spread the awareness to other Austinites.
RECEIVED Mon., Oct. 21, 2013
Amy Smith accurately reflected what occurred at one of the city’s “informational panels” regarding the $65 million Affordable Housing Bond [“Then There's This: Housing Bond Election – Second Attempt
,” News, Oct. 18]. I was the lone voice voting “No” at all four of the informational panel discussions. There was no official city voice of “No,” which might have made these discussions truly “informational.” The city states in its materials
, “[the information] does not advocate passage or defeat of the measure and is intended for informational purposes only.” Like last October, the city may be violating the non-advocacy requirements of Texas election law and is absolutely violating its own stated “non-advocacy.” Everything (materials, panels, and online) is designed to show a voter how the money might be split up, past successes, and hopes for future successes. Critically absent is the answer to: “What is this going to cost me as a renter or owner in property taxes to repay this bond?” The city’s official answer regarding the financial impact to a renter or an owner is stated in its materials, “No increase in the property tax rate is anticipated as a result of this bond issuance.” This is a true statement, but also a misleading lie by omission. The only way to make an informed decision on this bond would be to determine how much it would cost each renter and owner to pay it back in “taxes,” not a nonsensical statement about the “tax rate.” Over the course of the panels, the city’s Capital Planning Office came up with an answer. I continuously requested that the materials be changed to reflect that answer and issue a press release on the changes so that voters could make an informed decision. I requested this to Council at my Citizens Communications speech
Oct. 17 (fourth speaker). Silence. Vote No!
RECEIVED Mon., Oct. 21, 2013
I am extremely distressed by your “No” endorsement on Proposition 4 on the November 5 ballot [“'Chronicle' Endorsements
,” Oct. 18]. Your endorsement board seems to be highly misinformed about this amendment. You wrote, “this amendment is more about incentivizing ‘charitable’ giveaways (for corporate tax write-offs) than supporting veterans.” Nothing could be further from the truth.
The purpose of this amendment is straightforward: Disabled veterans have sometimes received homes tailored to their accessibility needs from charitable organizations, only to find themselves losing those homes due to inability to pay the property taxes. After receiving such a wonderful (and deserved) gift, having it then taken away by foreclosure just seems like a cruel, sick joke — so we have proposed a tax exemption relative to the veteran’s level of disability (i.e., 70% disability receives a 70% exemption).
As the chair of the Senate Veteran Affairs & Military Installations Committee and the sponsor of the enabling legislation for Prop. 4, I can assure you that helping disabled veterans stay in their homes was our sole consideration, and corporate concerns never entered our discussions. (Although I am baffled as to why you think incentivizing donations to those who made terrible, painful sacrifices protecting our nation is a bad thing.)
I sincerely hope that you will consider reversing your endorsement and urging a “Yes” vote on Proposition 4. If this amendment fails, it will be a horrible insult to our nation’s heroes.
Senator Leticia Van de Putte
RECEIVED Mon., Oct. 21, 2013
There is a lot of theatre in Austin: good, bad, ugly, transformative. Thirty-nine years ago, The B. Iden Payne Awards Council was created to support, promote, and recognize excellence in Austin’s theatre community.
After 39 years, it is unfortunate that the 2012-13 BIPAC nominations contain no nominations for Outstanding Director of a Musical. It is also confusing; for while the directing category is empty, the list of nominees for Outstanding Production of a Musical is full.
According to the BIPAC Artistic Guidelines, the following serve as definitions for nominations in both the Outstanding Direction and Outstanding Production of a Musical categories: “Direction: Guides and supports all creative and technical elements of a production to tell a unified and integrated affecting story. ... Production: The cohesive synthesis of all production elements including design, direction, and performance.”
Based on these definitions, it seems an oversight to not include nominations for Outstanding Director of a Musical in the 2012-13 season. It seems highly unlikely all five nominations for Outstanding Musical Productions were outstanding due in no part whatsoever to the director.
This theatre is represented by hundreds of artists who have devoted their time, money, energy, passions, and love to its creation with the idea that it will somehow strengthen those who experience it. This is no reason to garner awards. However, the artists and community know there is work in this city worthy of recognition and if the organization tasked to remit those accolades fails to do so, then that organization is remiss in its duties.
This lack of recognition is unfortunate for the council and the community. It is hopeful that the council recognizes this oversight and reconvenes for a special session to reassess and bring forth nominations in the category of Outstanding Director of a Musical.
Julianna Elizabeth Wright
Half & Half Productions
RECEIVED Mon., Oct. 21, 2013
The lead story of “News of the Weird
” [Oct. 18] is the best demonstration that Obamacare is not going to work. Making everyone pay for insurance is not going to help anyone, unless you are an executive for Aetna. If Obamacare was implemented through a nonprofit insurance company, then it may actually provide affordable health care. As it is right now, the system is corrupt and broken. All we are doing is putting a Band-Aid on something that should be amputated. Get rid of the profit-driven insurance companies and we can have affordable health care.
RECEIVED Thu., Oct. 17, 2013
Now I know that cranks are made, not born. From being a relatively self-possessed person, I have devolved into a reactionary who calls the offices of public servants and screams at whoever answers the phone and is willing to listen. I am paranoid and nurse a healthy persecution complex. In short, I have become just like one of "them" – the maladjusted, hysterical, fear-based, "right-wing nut jobs." I am currently fighting through our system of politics. I have been warned about this: If a person gives in to hate, they are liable to become that which is the object of their scorn and contempt. I am afraid it is already happening to me. Why? Because it is like I am having to wage a heroic civil rights struggle in my community simply for the horrific crime of loving, respecting, and supporting my president and my government; because I seek to defend them from enemies foreign and domestic – and lately those enemies have been more domestic than foreign. So here is my sincere public confession and apology: If I have yelled at you, accused you, stereotyped you, or attacked you verbally on social media I seek your forgiveness. On the other hand, that does not mean I have given up the fight. Urbanites have no clue what it is like out here in the hinterland where the "Do Not Tread" flags flap in the breeze. But I digress. The fight we have on our hands is urgent, deadly, and crucial not just for the future of Texas but for the future of this nation. Once again we as Americans have to decide what kind of people we are. So you think you are immune? Come visit me a while, you'll see!