Red & Yella Hurt a Fella
Howdy folks, from way down yonder in good ol' South Austin. (Ha!) Now, I don't know about you all, but I'm puttin' my vote in for Max Nofziger and encourage you all to do the same. Now, I, like a lot of folks jumped on the bandwagon for that Kirk Watson fella, somewhat due to a lot of faith and respect for Brigid Shea and the Chronicle's endorsement.
Other than the typical soul searching, I've seen the writing on the wall, and it ain't pretty -- in this case, the Kirk Watson TV ad. Hey folks! Where I come from -- there's an old wise proverb -- "If it sounds like a snake, looks like a snake, by God, it's a snake!"
Thank ya kindly,
P.S. Also, while you're at it, seriously consider Karen Hadden for Place 5. She has an outstanding 15-year community service record with leadership on environmental and social justice issues!
A Watson in Sheep's Clothing
Dear Austin Chronicle editor:
In light of recent exposure of at least one Kirk Watson skeleton, I felt a necessity to reach out to the True environmentalists of Austin -- Brigid Shea included.
The problem of Mr. Watson's 1992 vote to permit top polluter Formica Plastics to build their plant, goes way beyond the mistake itself ["Naked City," Vol. 16, No. 34]. His actions include: a) His weakness to stand firm on the environment, b) His deceit to Austin citizens in this campaign, c) The poor response by some of his campaign staff, his attorney chums, and his shocked but environmentalist "friends" (the responses on 4/23 included twists of truth, fanciful wording, and anything to avoid answering to and taking responsibility for Mr. Watson's anti-environmental actions) and d) His anti-campaign-finance reform acts.
The environment is an important issue; a broad issue. Campaign finance reform (CFR) is a broader issue -- it concerns everyone. It's probably the issue in these days and time. True CFR would help many social ills. It brings true democracy, makes equality in elections, and leads to an inclusion of all people. Max is doing CFR (limiting donations to $100!), but Kirk Watson says he's for it, yet he's so far from it that he's in outer space chasin' comets or something. Hypocrisy -- just like his environmentalist claims. (Of course, don't forget he said he'd vote anti-democratically, like Ronney Reynolds, to prevent a citizens' vote this January on true campaign finance reform.)
To borrow from many heroic films -- like in Footloose, the community finally woke up and said, "Hey, wait a minute -- we can change this." We don't have to stand for old worn-out ways... of political campaign deceit and big-money buy-outs of public officials. I plead to you true environmentalists. Stand up and vote, Austinites -- for one of us everyday people -- Max Nofziger.
Eric Fortmeyer, Sr.KIND of Picky, Huh?
Hadden for Council
I depend on the Chronicle for information and advice concerning local politics, and so I was disappointed when you made your endorsements for City Council, Place 5 [Vol. 16, No. 33]. When a new candidate ponies up the incredible effort it takes to run a campaign, standing firm for an ethical process and refusing to compromise on the issues, she deserves at least an honorable mention. Karen Hadden has a 15-year record of devotion to Austin's well-being, and has worked tirelessly to preserve Austin's environment and neighborhoods. Viability is a worthy concern, but shouldn't we also be nurturing the early campaigns of promising future leaders? Even more importantly: Karen Hadden has limited personal means, yet she has voluntarily refused all campaign contributions of more than $100. Her message is clear: She wants campaign finance reform, and she practices what she preaches. Her campaign is based on her own hard work and commitment, and on volunteers -- she's an inspiring lady -- walking door-to-door and making phone calls. This is grassroots politics, and it deserves to be noticed. Until we get real campaign finance reform, we must cherish examples like Karen, because they remind us of how our system is supposed to be: based on equal opportunity and accessible to all. We know how desperately we need ethics and integrity in our government and in our political process. If the Chronicle doesn't honor these qualities, who will?
Stay Out of the Kitchen
I applaud Mark Zuniga's love and defense of his father Manuel ["Postmarks," Vol.16, No. 34]; but I would also like to remind him of that old adage -- "If you can't stand the heat...."
Austin voters are a viciously critical bunch Mark; and if your dad wins this job, then your family better be prepared with some tougher skin. If this little bit hurts, then you are going to bleed when your father gets blasted for the first wrong vote he makes.
I believe that your father is "out of touch" and it has nothing to do with Manuel not being a polished politician. It has more to do with the same type of arrogance that we find offensive in Eric Mitchell. Your father has the basic qualifications for the job, but I strongly believe that Bill Spelman is a much better candidate for this position.
The most important candidate qualification is not the ability to run a successful business. It's about vision, planning, and the skills to work with the other councilmembers to get things that we the voters want to get done. In other words Mark, personality gets a candidate bonus points here.
Austinites are paying dearly for council mistakes due to clashing personalities on the dais, so why add more salt to the wound? We need people who are willing to work together to solve our problems, not grandstand about how much their time is worth. My advice to your father, Mark -- is to keep his $720/hr day job, the hours are much better, the pay is a lot better, and he won't be under the microscope every day of his life. Austin voters take no political prisoners and we make no apologies for it.
Vote for Me
The primary economic growth of the 21st century will be fundamentally based on information age technologies, i.e. software and data that can be very easily be transported globally as (digital) bytes instead of (analog) atoms.
Those communities that optimize their economies around information age products and services will allow their citizens to enjoy the higher quality of life benefits of: a) more time to do things with whom, when, and where they want; b) living a more participatory (personally interactive) instead of a spectator lifestyle; c) lower taxes since their government can be more efficient, open, decentralized and minimal, in short much closer to being "of the people, by the people and for the people"; d) a clearer environment since more people will only have to travel when they want to rather when they have to; e) individualized life-long learning at lower cost and more availability; f) a safer community since fewer citizens will feel a sense of hopelessness about not being able to be as good as they can be.
There is only a short "window of time" for the leading-edge cities of the 21st century to optimize their overall community to exploit information age technologies as the more affluent workers will have increasingly higher degrees of mobility to be able to "live where they want and work where they want." A higher cost of living for services they don't need such as a light rail system and because they have to subsidize too many low-income citizens will make a city less competitive to attract and retain these workers.
I am the only candidate for mayor of Austin who not only has the vision of these benefits but also the experience and leadership to achieve them. As such, you have a real choice for your next mayor!
PS: More information can be found on my web page: http://ReadThis.com/Ted4Mayor
And the best call from a campaign worker is...
I pick up the phone today and the guy says "I'm with the Ronney Reynolds for Mayor campaign. Are you familiar with Mr. Reynolds?"
I said "Yes I am and there's no way on earth I'd ever vote for the guy."
So he says "Cool. Thanks."
Before Mr. Nichols "deliver(s) a lecture about how KIND should play by the rules and follow the regulation of the FCC..." I feel we should set a few facts straight ["Media Clips," Vol. 16, No. 33].
We are not Pirate Radio, regardless that we do not have a million dollar permit/license. We are playing be the rules and following the regulations of the FCC, even though they might not like it. And we are micro KIND RADIO SAN MARCOS not KIND.
Picky, huh? Well, when you challenge the FCC, you better have all your ducks in a row. We think we do. We are not stupid. We have won a U.S. Supreme Court case for freedom of speech before with our Hays County Guardian newspaper in 1993 (which is the sponsor of this micro radio station). We have probably the best constitutional freedom-of-speech lawyer in the nation, J. Patrick Wiseman. Even Steven Dunifer's (the gentleman who first started micro radio rebellion) attorneys feel we have a better case than they do in California since we have no community access to radio or cable TV in San Marcos. And two federal decisions have so far upheld micro radio. To quote Federal Judge Wilkens, "it's not freedom of speech if you need a golden soapbox" (i.e., a million dollar corporate permit/license). And we are not the only arbiter at this table of the United States of America, not just a San Marcos issue, there are at least nine other stations across the nation involved with taking back the airwaves from the commercial corporations knowing full well of the possible imprisonment of one year, seizure of all equipment and "the $10,000 fine" that you mentioned we should lose.
So please Mr. Nichols don't "lecture" us about FCC regulations, they do a bad enough job by themselves without outside support. Also, I think Robin Hood Radio would be more fitting then pirate, you know, taking from the rich and giving to the poor, where as pirate implies personal greed.
Oh, by the way, if Jim Hightower would like his show on micro KIND RADIO SAN MARCOS just tell him to give us a call at 512/392-0382 and I'm sure we could work it out, after all, he is part of our greater political community, and we are full community access, not corporate.
Zeal Stefanoff, Joe Ptak, Joe Simpson
Founders, micro KIND RADIO SAN MARCOS, 105.9FM
I am inspired by the bad architecture of GSD&M's new building and the banality of their billboard. If this is the city of ideas, too bad that building isn't one of them. And, from my perspective of 25 years here, may I offer my submission for a more accurate and honest city slogan...
City of Austin - Less With More
Selena Is Dead
I think it is time for everyone to shut up about Russell Smith's lukewarm review of the Selena movie! Why can't people just accept the fact that just because Selena's dead, it doesn't mean that her music (or a movie about it) is beyond reproach? I thought the most pathetic cult of personality movement had to be over Kurt Cobain, but I'm sickened to be proven wrong. I question whether or not anyone would have gotten agitated if someone with a Hispanic last name wrote that review. Maybe things might have been worse! The point is this -- Selena is not a deity. Stop treating her like one! I really don't think anyone who has written in with complaints even knew her! So how can people like Joe Vera make any informed statements about Selena (not to mention her spirit) or the portrayal of her family in the film? Since when is this movie immune to the manufactured mistruths so common in Hollywood movies? And I think it's sick that Selena's corpse has basically been used as a battering ram by lots of people in order to demand attention to this type of music and culture. If Tejano is so great, shouldn't it gain popularity on its own merit, rather than on ghoulish controversy and hype? If anyone thinks I don't have any idea what I'm talking about, let me just say that I'm from San Antonio, and in the last two years we've all had Selena and her music crammed down our throats by the local media. And most of us non-Tejano infidels didn't even know who the hell she was until she was six feet under! If you really want to honor Selena's memory, then buy her records, see her movie, and shut up!!
Mr. Steve Knickerbocker asks who should pay for bicycle paths ["Postmarks," Vol. 16, No. 33]. Motorists should pay for bicycle paths and sidewalks, because without motorists these amenities would not be necessary. Bicycle paths and sidewalks (both largely non-existent in Austin) are intended as safe zones to protect people not in cars from people in cars.
I have an idea for obtaining such safe zones at minimal cost. We don't need to build new bicycle paths. We can simply close a network of existing streets to motor traffic. If cars stopped using these roads, the maintenance costs would plummet nearly to zero. These streets would be reserved for bicyclists, tricyclists, pedestrians, and people in wheelchairs. Since Austin has nearly no sidewalks, the rightmost lane should be a very slow lane indeed, used mostly by pedestrians.
People with driver's licenses are not doing the rest of us a favor by picking up the cost of our road use. We would all be better off without their money, if we could also be without their cars. Driving should be taxed as heavily as possible, and the proceeds spent on public transit and safe zones for non-motorists, in order to discourage driving. We should also get rid of the legal principle that killing someone with your car is quite all right, as long as you haven't been drinking.
Once these deterrents to excessive motorcar use start working, and there aren't so many motorists, it might be time to rethink the way we pay for roads. We can worry about this when the time comes. Road costs will be far lower then anyway, so the point is moot.
Finally, I would like to point out that most people who bicycle recklessly and lawlessly also drive cars recklessly and lawlessly. When you encounter such a person on a bicycle in traffic, you can temper you annoyance by thanking your lucky stars that they reckless rider is on a bicycle, and not at the wheel of a car.