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., Jan. 7, 2014
I am writing to applaud the Chronicle
for two pieces featured in the Top 10s issue [Arts, Jan. 3]. This past year, I had the opportunity to experience several of the dance pieces mentioned. "Top 10 (+1) Dance Classical Musical Treasures of 2013
" by Robert Faires and "Top 9 All-In Dance Concerts (Plus 3 Short Works) of 2013
" by Jonelle Seitz were both insightful and inspiring lists for me. The writers informed me that what I've been looking for in Austin is here, it's happening, and it's growing!
When I was growing up in Pittsburgh, I got to see dance performances several times a month, usually right downtown in the city. There were places to gather culturally – strong museums, libraries, and performing arts centers for people of all ages and cultures. Yes, Austin is the live music capital of the world, but something has been missing for me culturally. I'd joke and say that if I wanted culture, I'd have to drive to Houston. Reading those two lists gave me hope. I want friends like Robert and Jonelle.
RECEIVED Mon., Jan. 6, 2014
In the Dec. 27 News column, “Point Austin: The Meanings of 'Affordability,'
” Michael King makes a whole bunch of interesting, provocative points. But he also makes a sweeping generalization with which I disagree: “… the same … neighborhoods (and city officials) persistently clamoring for 'affordable housing' are simultaneously doing what they can to obstruct the actual construction of affordable multi-family units in central city neighborhoods.” While yes, some people object to some projects, he’s mistaking the objections of some for effective obstruction by all. Let me point out some real counter-examples.
In Bouldin Creek last year, a developer proposed rebuilding Oak Creek Village – 270 affordable apartments – combining that with the addition of a larger number of new, market-rate units. There was a wide range of opinion and certainly some opposition, but much of it was against the proposed market-rate units, not against rebuilding the affordable ones. While respecting neighbors’ concerns and seeking to address them, Bouldin Creek leaders worked to find common ground. (Disclosure: I was VP of the neighborhood association.) Discussions with residents, the developer, and city officials took many months, but ultimately the neighborhood officially supported the zoning case and actively helped win funding from the state housing department.
Years ago in the South Lamar neighborhood, Foundation Communities proposed to renovate the old Ramada Inn into affordable housing. Similarly, there was some opposition but also much support and the neighborhood ultimately supported the proposal.
We must not answer a sweeping generalization with another one; we can agree that some neighbors oppose developments for a variety of reasons. But those opposing may be a minority, and in many cases neighborhoods support real affordable housing. In both of these cases, city officials ultimately approved building affordable housing after neighborhoods supported it. King and I probably agree that we need many more opportunities to prove the point.
RECEIVED Fri., Jan. 3, 2014
Sarah Elizabeth Campbell was a native Austinite [“Playback
,” Music, Jan. 3]. Although she moved to Columbia, Calif., for many years and was a beloved performer and friend there as well, Sarah moved back to Austin in 1989. She always had a home here and her beloved mother Sudie, who predeceased her fairly recently, came to see all her gigs. Sarah would spend Christmas seasons here throughout her time in California. Her brother Bill Campbell is also a revered musician worldwide, playing with Delbert McClinton and others. Bill lived in Fort Worth for a while but is back and has always also been considered a true native-born Austin musical treasure. Thank you for your coverage of Sarah Elizabeth Campbell.
RECEIVED Thu., Jan. 2, 2014
I continue to enjoy Richard Whittaker’s comments about the Libertarian Party [“Libertarians Are Not Far Right
,” Postmarks, Dec. 27]. As chair of the state party, I welcome the attention. It is also my duty to respond to Whittaker’s allegations, which last week included the claim that the founder of the Libertarian Party, David Nolan, created his Nolan Chart "its main objective has been to make people think that libertarianism is not a hard-line form of conservatism.” I don’t know if Whittaker truly knows anything about Nolan; I am guessing he never met him. I personally knew David Nolan and worked with him at the national level. I heard Nolan explain his motives for creating the chart: to clearly show the true political spectrum is not one-dimensional. He wanted to clearly distinguish Libertarians both from the left and right, not only the right. Public citations of this are widely available. Our main objective in using it is the same. Can Whittaker provide any evidence that Nolan only intended his chart to distinguish Libertarians from hard-line conservatives? Libertarians want to know!