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 email@example.com. Thanks for your patience.
RECEIVED Tue., Dec. 10, 2013
I moved to Austin, Texas, just last month from the progressive and prosperous East Coast state of Maryland. I work for a business located in the Washington, D.C., metro area. Because I am able to telecommute, I was free to choose any place I desired for my permanent residence. A major draw for me to Austin was the recreational and dog-friendly nature of the city as a whole, and in particular, the large off-leash park at Auditorium Shores. To hear now that the size of that area will be significantly reduced and altered is a direct blow to my decision [“Turf Fight at Auditorium Shores
,” News, Dec. 6]. As a pet owner, shelter volunteer, and foster home for rescue dogs, I understand the need for exercise and enrichment. I also come from a city with very small dog parks, one in which the number of incidents in the dog parks is higher due to their smaller size and the contained nature of the dogs in them. I vehemently oppose the city's plan to alter Auditorium Shores and feel that a better solution is entirely viable, if the PARD, Council, and mayor are willing to further explore the options. You are fortunate here to have a city full of intelligent, involved citizens. You also have a reputation for your public support of health, wellness, recreation, and animal welfare. Take advantage of your resources, and make a decision that does not jeopardize the canine, human, and economic engines of this great city, lest you lose them all to another metropolitan place.
RECEIVED Mon., Dec. 9, 2013
When we invest money, we are showing approval for the entity that we invest in. When we divest, we are showing disapproval. Divestment has been used in the past as a means to effect social and political change. College campuses were on the leading edge of the anti-apartheid divestment movement, and Nelson Mandela acknowledged the impact of campus divestment as a factor in the overthrow of apartheid.
Today, many college campuses are once again looking to divestment to make a major statement. Fossil fuel companies have five times more oil, coal, and gas in known reserves than can be safely burned in order to keep the planet under 2 degrees Celsius of warming. This means that fossil fuel companies must keep 80% of known reserves underground in order to keep the planet livable.
This is an urgent situation, and the current political state makes it unlikely that change will come willingly from our government. In our country, corporations have unlimited ability to give politicians money, and since the fossil fuel companies are the most profitable, they have the most political power.
I represent a student activist group called Fossil Free Texas. We call on the University of Texas at Austin to divest their general endowment fund from the top 200 fossil fuel companies. Many cities and colleges across the country have already made the commitment. Austin should be next. We need to send a message to these companies that we value our planet more than we value their stocks.
RECEIVED Thu., Dec. 5, 2013
's review of the Hideout Theatre's A Bedtime Gorey
was way too generous, at least compared to the show that I saw during WaffleFest [Exhibitionism, Dec. 6]. I absolutely love the Hideout's improv shows and almost always leave their shows in awe of the patience, sharp wit, and storytelling abilities of their improvisers. The caliber of improv that I see there is fantastic, especially from troupes like Parallelogramophonograph (their 500th show was mind-blowing). My respect for the Hideout is exactly why I was bitterly disappointed and angry when I left the Gorey
main stage show. Though filled with seasoned improvisers, it felt like a beginner's show. The entertainment of the forced theme was over in the first 10 minutes, and the actors spent most of the show coming up with different names for boobs and genitalia, devising drawn-out, pointless games, and not developing any sort of interesting conflict or storyline. I strongly agree that the shadow-play portion was an "unfortunate miscalibration." Their mime was basic and sloppy, and the mechanics of light and shadow were not understood nor utilized in any interesting way. The narration by the butler was excellent to a point, but there was far too much pressure on him to completely carry those sections of the show. The only person who maintained any sort of cohesiveness to the show was Kaci Beeler, though the "yes, and" nature of improv dragged down even a performer of her caliber. I'm not saying I never laughed or didn't enjoy parts of it, but overall, it felt like a complete waste of my time and money. I highly respect the owners and the performers at the Hideout Theatre, and I sincerely hope that they continue to raise the bar for great improv and not sink into cheap themes and crude humor.