In your Postmarks section of The Austin Chronicle Nov. 6th [Vol.17, No.10], I was attacked by John Duncan as the person solely responsible for the unfortunate situation regarding The Pacifica Foundation dropping KO.OP Radio from their news feed. This is completely false and I have documented proof.
I was a Trustee for KO.OP from early 1996 to April 1997. In not one but four separate Trustees meetings, two official meetings and two work sessions, we discussed the Pacifica situation. It is recorded that I asked the Trustees to bring this issue directly to the programmers to decide what we should do. The minutes of 6-25-96 and 7-9-96 state:
"PO discussed Pacifica labor dispute. PO suggested that the issue be brought up at the next Programmer's meeting in order to get suggestions on what type of actions the station might take. And PO provided an update regarding the Pacifica labor dispute and suggested that the issue be discussed at the Programmer's meeting. PO will obtain more information and will make the information available at the next Programmer's meeting."
The issue was discussed at the Programmer's Meeting and the idea of having an informational disclaimer was brought up. This disclaimer would take no sides on the issue. The programmers voted in two different meetings. The minutes of this meeting contain the actual vote where each programmer wrote their names and what they thought of the idea of a disclaimer. The vote came out with 75% in favor of the disclaimer.
I'm very concerned with the few people who are trying to subvert democracy by claiming falsely that this was the work of a small group at KO.OP Radio. This spread of misinformation is very damaging to the democracy of the station and to my personal reputation.
C. Paul Odekirk
Community Board member
KO.OP Radio 91.7FM
Come Charrette with Us
To the Editor:
I commend The Austin Chronicle for your continuing coverage of the Triangle Park development controversy, especially the recent story that featured the design contest results [Vol.17, No.9]. As an active member of Neighbors of Triangle Park and editor of our newsletter, I appreciate your publicizing our efforts.
As much as I've enjoyed spending countless hours editing the newsletter, delivering flyers, picketing Randalls, and attending endless meetings about Triangle Park, I'm looking forward to the day when this matter is settled. And that day may come this weekend, when Councilmember Beverly Griffith is inviting neighborhood residents, the developer, and city and state officials to a design workshop known as a "charrette." In the charrette, the stakeholders will meet with design experts, start with a clean slate, and create a new plan for Triangle Park.
To my surprise, the developer and state officials have agreed to attend the charrette; with their participation and everyone's cooperation, we can create a plan that meets the state's financial requirements and is in harmony with the surrounding neighborhoods. Because it will be based on community input, this new plan could be far more visionary and beneficial to Austin than the developer's current plan for a strip mall.
The charrette is free and open to the public, but preregistration is required. (To register, call 467-5286.) I encourage everyone to participate in this great opportunity to shape the future of Austin.
No Thank You
Responding to Richard Lynch's letter ["What I Learned at R/UDAT," Vol.17, No.10] in which he suggests "improvements" to Enfield Rd., may I say no thank you. Enfield Rd. is proof that traffic-calming works and how it keeps residential streets, like this one, 100% residential instead of being turned commercial. Unlike Windsor Rd., Brodie Lane through Shady Hollow, and other residential arterial streets, the majority of residences on Enfield Rd. face Enfield and have their driveways on Enfield, not on a cross-street.
The speed limit on Enfield is 30mph and the only reasons drivers keep anywhere near 30 is because of 10-foot-wide lanes (not 12-foot as emergency services and commuters want), no medians, curves, negative-camber curves (banked away from the turn), rough road conditions in the outside lanes, and 200 busses per day making stops. Any improvements Mr. Lynch wishes to make may make his car trips easier but it will be at the expense of those of us living, walking, and bicycling along Enfield. Enfield Road was a residential street long before it became a commuter corridor and unlike electric and water/wastewater utilities which must be built to handle peak usage, streets such as Enfield Rd. are too financially and socially expensive to build and maintain to meet peak demand -- which lasts only a couple of hours per weekday.
Enormous amounts of money have been spent by home and apartment owners to upgrade, remodel, and expand their residences (thereby adding to the tax base) because, except for rush hours, Enfield Rd. is still a nice street on which to live.
Mark R. Ferrari
Chron too Comfy
As part of Austin's progressive community as you are, I could not disagree with you more strongly about campaign finance reform. You seem to think because progressives are winning today that the system is justifiable. That is the same tragic mistake that the Democrats in Congress made in the early 1990s. Corruption is corruption whoever is winning elections, and in the long run the monied interests, rather than the public interest, will prevail in Austin without reform. The Chronicle's short-sided coverage is very disappointing and makes me wonder if you have gotten a little too comfortable.
Your bicycle article of a couple of weeks back reminded me of my experience a few months ago when I saw a bicycle parked at a convenience store. Both wheels obviously had been taken from one of the yellow bikes; spokes, rims and tires were all the same putrid shade. I called the police department to report what was unquestionably a theft, only to be told, "We don't take reports on those." I was offered a phone number for someone on the city payroll involved with the yellow bike program, but I declined. I didn't see the point.
I guess the moral of the story is... well, I guess there is no moral.
Reaping What's Sowed
Got a little sad reading Ann Richards' real politikal activities on your cover [Vol.17, No.8], but got pissed reading George Bush, Jr. condoning nuke waste to be sent to West Texas. He's got big boots to fill compared with dad: "He killed 100,000 Iraquis, but I permanently polluted." Nuke power pollutes when uranium is mined, can pollute during operation, e.g. Chernobyl, and then, what to do with the waste? Put it in the power plant parking lot cuz they reaped the economic benefits. The USA won't allow reprocessing waste due to nuke proliferation. To say West Texas isn't part of the biosphere is a lie. Nuke waste is a symptom of the big problem, modern humans' impact on the environment. Lip service is paid to economic efficiency; only money will do no one any good when we've crossed the point of no return in our rape of the biosphere. Coconuts grow on Bikini Atoll but you can't eat them because they're radioactive. Texas already has enough toxic waste. To say no to nuke waste may force others to reap what they've sowed.
Bertin Needs Stimulus
Michael Bertin's review of the Stimulus album [p.78, Vol. 17, No.10] seems more like a personal attack on the band than a record review. Maybe they knocked up his girlfriend or something. He announces in the first three sentences how much he hates elecronica, and if you don't recognize his bias by then, you read on the following page his fellatio-like review of Slobberbone, a grunge-thrash-rock derivative. Moreover, Bertin makes no comments on the songwriting or production of the album (which is impressive). He only rambles on about how much he hates techno. (And what's with the comment on the length of the album?) With Bertin's obvious distaste for electronic music, why didn't the Chronicle have Marc Savlov review this record?
I have the record and like it. While I would agree it's not great, it is a commendable first effort from an up-and-coming local group trying to make it in a city that is oversaturated with grunge and blues. Bertin's review is a mean-spirited attack inspired by the idea that Austin should renew Seattle's dead grunge scene instead of growing into a diverse music scene like that of San Francisco or New York.
By the way, the third track ("Confession") of the band's record was featured on 94.7's "Mix it or 86 it" on Friday, November 7, and received 90% approval. Looks like they're going in rotation.
Tell that wanker Bertin to stay home and masturbate to his Blind Melon album. He is like a critical armchair quarterback who has never played the game.
Students, Not Statues
I am upset. I recently served on a panel to select the finalist for a sculpture on Martin Luther King for the UT campus as a non-voting member. I was told the Texas Commission on the Arts recommended that the "experts" not vote. (Could this be a repercussion of the dismantling of the N.E.A.?)
The total budget is $500,000. However, any money not used will be used for a scholarship fund. This is more than double what was spent for all the projects at the Austin Airport, most of which went to Austin area artists, for which I was a juror.
The work selected with a budget of $350,000 is difficult for me to defend on artistic grounds; it is competent and mediocre. Martin Luther King deserves more than an ultra-conservative statue in the "Confederate General style." The students deserve more. Rather than "this" solution, this money would be better spent on scholarships at a time when programs for all minorities are being cut back -- it represents a step back artistically and socially.
Hondo, New Mexico
Setting the Record Straight
I feel that I must clarify the pink taco/purple hot dog issue for Mr. Miller-Carrasco. The stickers are not used to pick up people in traffic; rather they are used in much the same fashion as the rainbow/triangle stickers. They are simply used to profess one's heterosexual pride. Pink tacos for the men, purple hot dogs for the women. I will let you pick up on the analogy yourself. I hope this sets the record straight. No pun intended.
Not A Bad Idea...
The election system described below -- preference voting -- solves the problems single-member districts are supposed to solve without all the problems districting involves. It is used in Ireland, Australia, and Malta -- which has the highest voter turnout of any Western democracy.
In the simplest version of preference voting, you rank the candidates instead of choosing just one. Your vote is assigned to your first choice. If your first choice is eliminated, your vote goes to your second choice, and so on. The candidates with the fewest votes are eliminated one by one until somebody has a majority.
In the full version of preference voting, all the candidates run in one pool for all the seats. A candidate needs only a fraction of the vote to get elected (1/2 of the vote+1 in case of 1 seat; 1/4+1 in case of three seats; 1/6+1 in the case of 5 seats, etc.). Again, you rank the candidates. Your vote moves down your list of choice as the candidates with the fewest votes are eliminated. When a candidate is elected, a portion of each vote assigned to her/him (based on her/his excess vote) goes to its next choice. You don't waste your vote on unelectable candidates or on candidates who already have enough votes.
Preference voting gives voters more choices, a mechanism for majority rule on multiple issues, and full representation (over 90% of voters would have at least one councilmember they helped elect on a nine-member council).
Carding the Voters
To the Editor:
With little fanfare, the 1997 Texas Election Law (HB330 & 331) has added new requirements for prospective voters. Though these requirements seem to be in tune with current wisdom on monitoring citizens, they reduce democratic participation. Turnout in today's election was already very low, but in Austin's precinct 335, for example, the new requirements succeeded in disqualifying fully 10% of all prospective voters who entered the polling station (as of 3:15 when I visited it). Instead of voting, the disqualified voters were put on the newly styled "List of Rejected Voters," even if they had voted many years, if not decades, in that precinct. Ten percent can swing an election. One new requirement is that a voter carry identification, yet it is uncertain what end "proving" one's identity serves. It does not prove citizenship. As far as proving identity, it is dubious whether the means employed at polling stations really accomplishes that either. The polling staff are instructed to ask registered voters for a driver's license, a state-issued ID card, or even a Sam's card. Lacking these, the prospective voter may submit a letter addressed to him from a state agency or maybe even just a plain piece of mail with the voter's name and address on it. I'm not sure why 10% of the electorate (at this polling station at least) needs to be disenfranchised for the sake of such requirements. The United States survived two centuries without them, and God knows, the possession of a Sam's card will not safeguard an election.
Addicted to Ventura
Just a note of appreciation to your paper for carrying Ventura's column. It is generally an excellent column, and one that I look forward to. This week, Ventura outdid himself. He addressed, with great insight, one of the central issues concerning our civilization, as a civilization. An issue that few talk about with any understanding. Most seem happy to ignore it. As the minds of the young go, so goes the nation. If the young are addicted to fantasy, then we have some tough times ahead. I would have written to Ventura, but he has no e-mail address (which does not surprise me).
As a UT student who has filed a lawsuit with the American Civil Liberties Union to guarantee free speech in our campus elections, I am deeply disturbed by the recent political witchhunt initiated by the Texas Student Publications (TSP) Board. On November 7, they passed a resolution blasting Daily Texan Editor Colby Black for publishing conservative editorials and cartoons relating to affirmative action. Evidently, the politically correct board members who favor racial preferences objected to conservative perpsectives on the Texan editorial page. In the resolution, the TSP Board arrogantly declares that the cartoons were "racially insensitve" and that Black's apology was "not acceptable." Along with thousands of other students, I elected Colby Black to control the content of the Texan editorial page. I am therefore outraged by the TSP Board's shameless attempt to manipulate the content of a page that should belong to students, not bureaucrats. If anyone should be disciplined, it is the Managing Editor Sholnn Freeman and the News Editor Amy Strahan who disgraced our student paper by printing an unsigned, unidentified notice on the front page stating they had "no confidence" in the Editorial Board. I have no confidence in them, the TSP Board, Oscar de la Torre, and other so-called liberals who are willing to desecrate the First Amendment in order to muzzle the conservative views they abhor.
Students for Equal Opportunity
Kinda Fonda Honda
I was pleased to see so much media coverage of the less polluting automobile technology being designed by Honda and others. It's precisely these advances that make me wonder: Why has the auto industry spent so much time and money fighting EPA's better clean air standard? They could've spent it speeding these improvements into my car and actually cleaning the air we're breathing. The technology is clearly there. The longer the delay, the more people get sick.
Each year, over 17,000 dogs and cats are killed at the Town Lake Animal Center just because they are homeless or lost. On an average day, 50 dogs and cats are killed, most of whom are perfectly healthy animals. On that same average day, only six are adopted.
It is clear that the City of Austin has a policy for how to deal with pet overpopulation: kill them.
The number of dogs and cats killed at the Center increased in FY 1997, while the number of animals adopted stayed about the same. Despite this, the city Council cut the Center's budget for FY 1998, reducing the number of staff available to care for and find homes for the animals who are brought to the Center.
The City of Austin Animal Advisory Commission is a board of citizens who advise the city council on Center operations. They will meet at the Town Lake Animal Center, 1156 W. Cesar Chavez, at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 18 to consider what advice they will give the city council. At that meeting, they will be urged to adopt the goal of no killing of healthy dogs or cats by the year 2000: A No-Kill Millennium.
Any resident of Travis County who cares about animals ought to be at that meeting.
James W. Collins
Anyone Can Be a Dumbass
This is in reply to a letter from Julius Gordon, who shared his recent experience with racism in Austin (Vol.17, No.7).
What Mr. Gordon experienced is the sub-category. The category is called stupidity. It knows no bounds. It crosses races, cultures, educational, social, and economic levels, gender, sexual preference, religion, and so forth. What he experienced is what I experienced when an African American made fun of my thin upper lip that almost disappears when I smile by calling me "baloney lips," or when anybody of any race ridicules me for my excessively pale lips. Reverse the words "white" and "African American" in his letter and the result is the same: Stupidity. He can't escape it by not coming back to Austin until 2010, because it's everywhere. He could try to avoid it by locking himself in a box, but he wouldn't be able to. I mean, wouldn't it be just plain stupid to lock yourself in a box? Mr. Gordon is justified in being angered by his experience, but please, Austin is not what needs to "grow up," but society, and every individual in it. All of us need to stop acting stupid, thinking stupid, and saying stupid things. This includes the "white bigot" in the restaurant for acting the way he did, and Mr. Gordon for blaming the entire city of Austin for the action of some stupid people in a restaurant.
Oh, and include me in the "stupid" group for caring about the opinion of one person.
Flaming Liberal in the Wind
Loved your latest screed about Ann Richards, "Shattered Icon" [Vol.17, No.8]. It just goes to show that a woman can do just as bad of a job as any man! But isn't it hypocritical of the Chronicle to accuse Richards of selling out to special interests like Big Tobacco? In the same issue, pages 60-61 sport full-color, full-page tobacco ads. How much does a full-page, full-color ad cost these days? Richards is also blasted for helping to build a shopping mall. Considering the dens of iniquity the Chronicle advertises for, who are y'all to bitch?
But let's look on the bright side. Texas now has one less flaming liberal and that's a start. And kudos to Robert Bryce for pointing out the not-so-obvious differences between Richards and Ralph Reed. (I had to check twice to make sure I was still reading the Chronicle!)
And on a stranger, bigoted note, how about the quote from racist Velma Roberts [Million Man Mayhem]: "Black people want to be with black people, just like you all want to be with you all people." So much for diversity, huh?
Don't Grow Population
In all the talk about global warming recently, politicians have ignored the role of population growth. At a time when the world's population could double to nearly 12 billion in the next 40 years, this contributor to global warming cannot be ignored.
Over half of the increase in global temperatures is attributed to energy use. Our demand for energy will only be exacerbated by a world population growing at an alarming rate. Progress made by increasing and reducing per capita emissions will be overwhelmed by rapid population growth. Experts agree that a climate change program with any chance of success must be aimed at both resource consumption and population stabilization. A population policy which provides voluntary family planning information and services to both industrialized and developing nations needs to be developed in conjunction with any treaty on climate change.
Such a policy is particularly needed in nations such as India, that are struggling to provide electricity and industry for their country where population is expanding at an alarming rate. Without slowing the rate of their population growth, these nations will not have the resources to invest in more efficient, less polluting technologies, or in social and educational services for their citizens.
The United States must take the first step toward reducing our emissions of greenhouse gasses by investing in the development of new, efficient, and clean energy sources for the future. At the same time, the U.S. must ensure that increasing access to voluntary family planning services is a priority of both domestic and foreign policy. Addressing the population crisis is critical to assuring that the entire world will be able to protect our future.