United Way Clarifies

Dear Mr. Black:

Robert Bryce's article on Earth Share ["Coming of Age," Vol.17, No.39] implies that United Way/Capital Area functions like a monopoly, limiting nonprofits in workplace fundraising campaigns. Our relationship with employers has been built through 75 years of integrity and accountability in fundraising. Although United Way/Capital Area conducts many workplace campaigns in Central Texas, it is the CEO who decides whom to allow to raise money in their workplace.

United Way/Capital Area's expertise as a community fund raiser helped raise thousands of dollars that would not otherwise have been raised for other nonprofit organizations. In fact in 1997, United Way/Capital Area raised $221,597 for Earth Share.

Full donor choice means a donor can earmark his or her contributions to the United Way/Capital Area Community Fund, one of 48 partner agencies, one of five priority areas, other United Ways, or any other nonprofit organization.

We do believe that charitable organizations, in the workplace and elsewhere, should adhere to high standards. For United Way/Capital Area, that means to address the most critical health and human service needs in our community, to provide evidence to donors that their investment is acheiving results, and to maintain low administrative costs (ours are 13.5 percent).

I appreciate the opportunity to set the record straight.


Brenda Thompson

Vice President of Marketing

United Way/Capital Area

Thanks from Zach

Dear Mr. Black:

I am writing to express the heartfelt thanks of Zachary Scott Theatre's staff and Board of Directors to the Austin community who recently supported our production of Tony Kushner's Angels in America in record numbers. Just over 8,000 people saw the play, which translates into an outstanding 97% of our seating capacity, making it the most successful play in Zach's 66-year history!

It was a pleasure to host the Chronicle's Gay and Lesbian Singles Party during the run of Angels. We greatly appreciate the opportunity it afforded us to introduce your readers to Zach and this extraordinary play.

After each performance our cast personally collected contributions for AIDS Services of Austin as patrons left the theatre. Now here is the truly amazing statistic: We collected $11,331 as of the final performance on Sunday. Austin again proves what we already knew - that citizens of this community are enormously compassionate and generous of spirit. We are so proud to call Austin home and eagerly look forward to producing Perestroika, Part II of Angels in America, this September.


Dave Steakley

Artistic Director,

Zachary Scott Theatre Center

XXXercising My Rights


I read your entry regarding the Cinema West Theatre on South Congress ["Naked City," Vol.17, No.39] with mixed feelings. I have no problem with anybody wanting to turn that back to a legitimate theatre if that is what they choose to do. However, it looks as if they are being pressed to that point by local forces who are too concerned with what other people are doing.

I am and adult and I enjoy adult entertainment and I don't apologize for that. If you have seen Cinema West, you would realize that it is just a nondescript building that does not impose itself or its identity onto the neighborhood. There is nothing about it that previews its contents, and it is not until you walk into the building that it becomes apparent what is being sold and rented there. Nobody under age 18 is allowed to enter, and young folks are challenged for their ID. So what's the problem?

It's just too easy and too obvious for religious fundamentalists and uptight jerks to exploit their children by using them as the excuse to promote their own intrusive and judgmental agendas. I am so sick of religious groups deciding that they must determine the behavior and attitudes of everyone else in the community. They are welcome to believe anything they want that doesn't impose itself onto me. But when religious groups become involved in trying to influence civic issues, I think that it is then time to tax those organizations just as corporations and other organizations who try to set a social agenda must do.

Religious zealots should make their statements by letting their own lives be an example of their convictions to others. If not, they might consider what it would be like for them to move to Iran or Algeria to see what it would be like to have religious convictions (or lack thereof) that are out of step with the majority.

Kenneth Jefferson Cottrell

White Pride

Dear Editor:

This letter is in response to your Pride '98 listing in the June 5 issue of the Chronicle ["Public Notice," Vol.17, No.39]. I have held my tongue far too long. First, let me state that my problem is not with the Chronicle but with the current so-called leaders of the queer community. Pride week/month us supposed to be about unity within the community - a mission that is difficult to achieve when all but two of the events in Pride Week cost $10-15 just to enter the venue. Kudos to Ye Ye and Katz's who ask for a reasonable $5 donation (suggesting that less money would be readily accepted if need be) rather than the outrageous cover charges set by LGRL, Club Skirt, Zach Scott and others.

My intention here is not to bash members of the queer community. I only wish to point out that members of the queer (and otherwise) community are being excluded by the methods of various "fundraiser" organizers. By making cover charges so high, these organizers are ensuring that those who attend Pride functions will be overwhelmingly white, middle class, and over 30. Maybe that's the goal. Please prove me and others who agree with me wrong by changing your methods. Whatever happened to fundraising via sliding scale? How about package deals like the Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival implements? There are other methods to be used in order to avoid alienating important members of the queer community who deserve consideration. And alas, my friends, those methods would end up making you a hell of a lot more money in the long run.


Traci Williams

Queer Austinite

A Positive Spin


I want to give a heart felt thanks to Marc Savlov and the Chronicle for a masterfully written article on the DJ culture and electronica of Austin ["Two Turntables and a Microphone," Vol.17, No.38]. I am currently jamming to Claude 9's track "The Zone," from the CD One: Texas Electronica - one of six CDs purchased as a direct result of reading that article. As an enthusiast and player of throw-down beats to electronic music, I've realized the major problem that many listeners have had is just simply locating rhythmic music that isn't lost with repetitive ambient techno that atrophies the brain. I've been holding out for five years for this article which gives a clear map of the electronica underground. I believe there is a revolution of good and very original music going on in Texas, especially with albums from Quaquaversal. All people need to do is be exposed to it, educated to it, and for DJs like Pam Mayo to keep playing it. Thanks for opening the doors! I look forward to reading more. Keep up the BPM!

Brent Bruning

Peliculas en Español


The story, Austin Chronicle 4/24/98, Cine Las Americas, "Films Without Borders" by Ms. Belinda Acosta [Vol.17, No.33] is fabuloso. The powerful motivation of las mujeres is truly expressed in the coverage/writing(s). Plus, the nice picture of quatro (4) females tells me a whole lot as well. That they are sincere, hard workers and dedicated, will stop at nothing to obtain (within the justifiable boundaries) their goals is their creado. Oops! Sound like I'm psychic - wrong, just Moses. Ms. Cogei, "We're only part of this hemisphere - there are a lot of other Americas out there and we don't know them."

The Latin America theme via film/cinema is imperative - is my personal observation - especially in our own backyard(s) of Austin, TX.

The distribution of L.A. movies in the USA is a gloomy, blurry picture. We need to get on the poleta (ball) and see that distribution/marketing fills the demands of the (our) Spanish-speaking peoples who want to view them. They want to feel, hear the sound of the mother tongue.

Futhermore, look at the grande picture - the monetary part that can be gained by showing these various movies, the American dollar is internationally accepted.

Remember and keep in mind that the Hispanic population will soon be the majority of the minorities.

Semper fidelis,

Moses P. Saldaña, Sr.

P.S. Better late than never.

Austin Needs Great Library

Dear Editor,

The City of Austin has an opportunity to build a new central library that would incorporate a town hall and a long overdue expansion for the library's holdings. I strongly support this initiative, and encourage you to do so for the following reasons:

A library/town hall could be a jewel that the entire city would have access to. I believe many residents feel alienated by the State government offices and buildings downtown; but a grand public library could be a focal point downtown that everyone would feel comfortable visiting.

Our youngest scholars - and potential scholars - need a modern library facility to learn how to do research. It is true that branch libraries are an important asset to our neighborhoods; but for college-bound students, a central library collection staffed with professional reference librarians is essential.

Adults also require state-of-the-art information technology. Entrepreneurs and business executives depend on statistical and market data. Retired Austinites rely on financial publications to make sound investment decisions. Austin is a city of adult students continuing their education at ACC, or studying independently, to learn new skills for the 21st-century marketplace.

Both the council chambers and the existing John Henry Faulk Library are woefully inadequate. When I've encouraged my friends to attend City Council meetings, they have had a difficult time finding the chambers. The current library exhausted its physical resources years ago. The library's holdings have expanded into to what were formerly research and meeting areas. Often it is difficult to find a place in the library to sit down and study. There is very little parking at either location.

Great American cities have great libraries. I've recently visited the new libraries in San Antonio, Denver, and San Francisco. They are showplaces of community spirit and a commitment to the future. If Austin is to be a 21st-century city of the first rank, Austin requires a new central library.


A. Arro Smith

More Developer Schemes


Not long ago a few neighbors with the support of other Austin neighborhood associations and environmental groups opposed the relocation of a the Oak Hill ACC campus (Pinnacle). Although we were successful in maintaining its present, very adequate locations, the ACC board demonized us for the costs of such a decision, as the Pinnacle building had been contracted to Ross Technology. Now, Ross is shutting down. How many millions of dollars worth of worthless paper would the Austin tax payer be holding if a few people had not stood up to developer sweetheart deals and backroom maneuvering by our public officials?

Well, they're at it again trying to turn Hwy1826 ("The scenic road to The Salt Lick") into a power line corridor to serve these same developers, like FM Properties and Gary Bradley, who still refuses to pay his FDIC judgment of over $50 million in our taxpayers' dollars. Amazingly enough this area is also in the zone just protected by Austin voters with Proposition 2. Will we never learn?

Martin Buehler

Just Like Sea Monkeys


I remember back in the 1980s that the Grey Banded Kingsnake was put on the endangered list because amatuer herpetologists from all over the country were collecting them out in West Texas. Some foresighted few of them, however, instituted captive breeding programs until the population levels increased to such an extent that the species was removed from the endangered list. Couldn't this be done with the Barton Springs Salamander? Or is that just too easy?

Jeff Burke

Humps Hurt

Respected Editor:

Austin's Public Works and Transportation Dept. put six traffic humps on Woodland street (1995). I was hit by a car in 1973; Texas Rehabilitation Commission gave me spinal fusion to the hips, it went bad long ago. I drove Special Ed. Wheelchair Buses for AISD many years, no more, I am too disabled. Why cause the disabled pain? Humps hurt!

"Strong arm" PWT just sent me a letter. They want to put 17 more torture devices all around my house on West Mary. All residents in Bouldin neighborhood were never informed. PWT talked to the Bouldin Creek Neighborhood Association over nine months ago. PWT ("oops") sent no notices to the whole neighborhood.

At Becker Elementary "Open House" PWT staff did not like what I said. "Why were no residents except the ones in the Association informed about the `focus planning group?' Legally Bouldin Creek Neighborhood Association cannot speak for me, I am not a member."

Members of the BCNA began to berate me, not Mr. Tony, he was cool. West Mary residents only get to vote yes or no on unrealistic "Traffic circles, Speed Cushions (humps), Chicanes (street narrowing!)," five flavors of torture devices. PWT cares only about "their work," that's what one said.

One isolationist BCNA member said "nobody who does not live in our neighborhood gets to drive through it anymore." When I explained that the devices would hurt me, that member told me to "go around." But Lamar and South First are dangerous, people actually get killed by traffic there.

I talked to EMS at the meeting. The Tech said they always listen to the injured and try to be careful on turns/bumps, he understood about back injuries. Why hurt the disabled? Can't we share these public roads?

Please Mayor Kirk, brake the traffic calming machine; leash your municipal pitbulls!

Rick Hall

Prove It


I laughed at the supernaturalist Kurt Standiford in his last letter ["Postmarks," Vol.17, No.39] demanding proof as to whether certain characters in the man-made Bible were homosexual or not. This is a bit like the tooth fairy demanding proof of authenticity from others. Mr. Standiford has been spouting stuff for a while now from a book that bears no divine proof to begin with, let alone anything found from its pages. If he can't see that a book endorsing superiority of men over women, advocating slavery, and banning interracial marriage is a human-penned work, then he's as lost as Noah's Ark.


MIke Rayburn

Round Rock

Take a Stand


Whilst going about my business downtown the other day, I noticed a bunch of Contumacy rags ["Media Clips," Vol 17, No. 38] leering up at me out of a Chronicle display stand. For a bunch of budding John Birchers, they certainly do demonstrate an interesting take on the notion of private property.

S. VerHoef

God Expelled

Dear Sir:

Forty-five years ago my day in public school began with the prayer, "Our Father, who art in Heaven..." At that time there was almost no crime in public schools. A child shooting teachers and fellow students would have been unthinkable.

In the last few decades, God has been expelled from public schools. Public schools are being "cleansed" of any trace of God, religion, and holy scripture. Not only is public prayer forbidden, but it is illegal for a teacher to have a Bible on her desk and Christmas vacation is now referred to as "winter holiday." We have turned public school into Atheist indoctrination centers for children.

And now, nationwide, over 100,000 crimes per week are committed in public schools up to - and including - murder.

The removal of God, religion, and holy scripture from people's lives marks the end of civilized behavior and the beginning of chaos.


Jack Vincent

Babich Babble


The next time Amy Babich comes by to drop off her weekly column, please give her a dunce cap and ask her to stand in the corner. Some of the editorial staff might want to join her. Don't your readers deserve something better than this ceaseless and brainless Babich babble? Bicycle commuter lanes to San Antonio. Really!

Robert P.Gerstenberg

License to Smog

Dear Editor:

Riverside, Calif., has the worst air in the United States. (Some years it doesn't win the title, but it's always a contender.) Everyone in Riverside drives everywhere, even for half-mile trips. Every day the Riverside newspaper reports that the air is unhealthful. No one is urged to cut down on smog-producing activities, however. Instead, people are urged to stay indoors with the air conditioner on. Of course, this makes the outdoor air worse, but no one mentions this.

Much of Riverside's smog comes from cars in Los Angeles. This may be why no one in Riverside tries to do anything about it. It's not really Riverside's fault, so why should Riverside residents be punished by having to drive less?

The problem with the "someone else's fault" rationale is that it doesn't solve any problems. Suppose that the citizens of Riverside said to themselves: "While it's true that most of our air pollution comes from L.A., we in Riverside exacerbate the problem with our excessive car and air conditioner use. Let's stop producing our share of the smog." And suppose that they stopped driving cars.

Not only would the air in Riverside become noticeable cleaner, but Riverside would be in a good position to sue Los Angeles for polluting the air. As long as Riverside folks keep driving cars, this can't happen. You can't sue someone else for doing what you do yourself.

We live in Austin, Texas, not Riverside, Calif. Our air is getting smoggier. We can either clean up our own act or follow the example of Riverside, with the worst air and the best excuses in the United States.

Yours truly,

Amy Babich

Go Back to Bed


If I was writing a letter to the editor of The Austin Chronicle referring to your esteemed and profound head of the Film Dept. at the Chronicle...

Dear Madams and/or Sirs:

Have we placed this in the context that Texas was once a confederate State? There was a lot of laughing at the beginning of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas but I, personally, (but who am I to know?... with a minor of Film Criticism at Ut-nay Austin-nay 76 nineteen-skay) felt as Marjie (not Marjorie; or am I wrong)...?

A disjointed dream sequence occurs... I the letter uhhh...

"What are those birds that have yellow under their wings called? So, for Readers still following this faltering dialogue: Clay at the House of Wacks will tell you what was meant by birds flying across a field with bright yellow underwinds but the editors of the Snoticle won't," Yes, well who are you? But personally, I agree with M.B.


"D Man D"

D. Anderson

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

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