They Got Nothing on Lacresha
Great job on the Lacresha story ["Justice Denied?" Vol. 17 No. 48], and a noble one given that an innocent child needs your help. The powers-that-be have been trying to sweep this one under the carpet for several years now. Lacresha's case is nothing more thann the latest example of a legal lynching. You are playing a part in saving this innocent girl's life.
Look also at the hard evidence against Lacresha, the "when," "where," "opportunity," and "physical" evidence. There is none, not one iota.
A special word of praise needs to go to Jordan Smith who did a thorough and professional job of reporting. Three cheers!
Rev. Marvin Steinmetz
Scales of Justice
I find it interesting that in the cover story of the Murray case ["Justice Denied?" Vol. 17 No. 48] M.E. Bayardo did not want to "disfigure the body" of Jayla Belton in order to gather medical evidence, but will take livers from young autopsy subjects and see if he "can break it, crack it" etc. Do the parents know he's experimenting on their kids' livers? Makes you think - and if you don't have a scale, you go buy one and get reimbursed by the agency - why was there not a scale? Very shoddy work if you ask me.
And what's with this "Big Girl" conclusion? Just wondering if anyone else picked that up.
Inspired to Action
I'm glad that you had the article on Lacresha Murray ["Justice Denied?" Vol. 17 No. 48]. I had pretty much forgotten all about this case. I'm very upset that an 11-year-old girl would end up behind bars for two years already. I would really appreciate it if you could tell me and the public who cares how to protest this absurdity. If there is someone to write to or a number to call please get back to me.
Go at Once!
Kudos for District Judge Wil Flowers. I fully support his recent injunction to rid society of suspected gang activity. After all, if the police are not able to catch the scum of society engaged in their suspected unlawful activities, then our judicial system should pick up the slack. Judge Flowers is taking that ever-important first step in curbing the activities of suspected gang members. Restricting their ability to communicate or assemble with one another, and outlawing their abusive language and their intimidating tactics are all important measures that will contain suspected gang members.
Surely the public must realize the dangers of uncontrolled suspected gang activity. They are the sickness that is weakening the fabric of our society and they must be contained. If this requires our lawmakers empower our men in blue with a little more freedom, then so be it!
As a tax-paying, law-abiding citizen in the land of the free, I would like to bring to the attention of the proper authorities another such area of suspected gang activity. These suspected gang members have a long history of intimidation tactics and abusive language. They act as if they are the only people that matter in the world, and pay little regard to the rest of us law-abiding citizens. I suspect them of gang activity because I routinely see large sums of money being exchanged. Many of them wear the same type of clothing and even insignias. They carry portable telephones and drive cars that most people simply can't afford by honest work. I don't suspect. I know they are up to no good. Go at once! Bigger brother! Use your new-found powers and proceed to the corner of Barton Creek Blvd. and Bee Cave Rd. Suspected gang activity in progress at the Westlake Hills Presbyterian Church. Officers should proceed with caution. Suspects are suspected of offering incentives for selective enforcement of the law.
Injunction-junction, what's your function?
Build It and They Won't Come
Sir or Madam,
What the U.S. Post Office is going to do with all those pennies raised by a more expensive stamp than 32cents a mailing is, according to the Zilker Neighborhood News, offering no speculation, but phasing out the 78704 post office in southwest Austin for a far more inconvenient one at the northeast corner of South Congress and Ben White.
Obviously, if some extra requests for P.O. boxes, an outbuilding could be constructed on the 78704 post office parking lot at West Mary and S. Fifth, even if instead the squeaking axle gets the oil, if contacting local elected officials else. P.O. persons, and it is possible to submit a signed suggestion to the U.S. Post Office with a suggestion slip available from the postal employee at a ZIP code post offices counter service.
Obviously, already if wanting to go to a huge post office, where all the people are strangers, the 78704 Austin area could drive a car or else ride a bus to that huge central Austin post office, and no reason to spend money building a huge new post office at South Congress and Ben White.
Alice Kennedy Spooner
Bike Back to China, You Skanky, Retarded Nazis!
I'm really sick and tired of the excessive whining by these car-hating, bike-riding buttholes who possess the arrogant attitude that they speak for everybody in Austin. Well, they don't!
Every day, while I'm driving my car to work (too far away from home to ride a stupid bike), I see too many skanky bike-riding environmentalist Nazis, riding out of their precious bike lanes, not signalling to turn, and breaking other safety laws in the book.
To Amy Babich's overly optimistic and retarded comments in the Chronicle's Vol.17, No.48 about some people missing work because they can't even fart without the services of their cars: Shut the hell up! Please!
When your ass is bleeding to death on the hot asphalt because your were riding your bike like a dope-ridden fiend, we'll send the paramedics on bikes to come haul your bleeding carcass off to the emergency room. Of course, it'll take about an hour to rescue you, because Bike, Roller-Derby, Skateboard, Tricycle Days will prohibit the use of motor-operated vehicles.
Ms. Babich, you and your followers can go to France and join your biking buddies during the joyful, motorless day. Or better yet, move to China and ride the hell out of your bikes alongside a billion other citizens.
This is America, darling! And goddammit, we love our cars! A lot of folks who ride bikes in other countries - including this one - do so because they can't afford one. Or they want to relive their childhoods over and over again.
We're very happy that you and your fellow banana-seat heads get excercise, don't pollute the air with noxious fumes - which smells very similar to your cult's hot air - and how you charm our eyes with the cute ways you decorate your bikes with flags. (The three-wheelers are my favorite) Not! Dammit! Stay in your lanes, wide ass!
The smart solution for Austin's traffic woes is to expand! Yes! Grow, spread out! Give out some more of those building permits. Oh, that was such a politically incorrect thing to say.
Bikers and roller skaters in Austin, stop telling us what's best for us and mind your own goddamn business.
Honk your horns, car drivers, and write to the Chronicle, so Austin can finally hear from the other side.
Karl J. Lieck
Where's the Outrage?
On July 13, a sewage lift station owned by the City of Austin spilled 170,000 gallons of raw sewage into Brushy Creek and contaminated the Brushy Creek MUD's water supply with fecal bacteria. Within a week's time, many residents of the MUD became ill. As news of this began to creep out, we were informed that our water was contaminated with Cryptosporidium, a very unpleasant and sometimes deadly parasite. As a result of the spill, our wells are not safe and MUD residents can look forward to medical bills, bottled water, and up to a 300% increase in the cost of our water. Although the story was covered by several news outlets, there has been a noticeable lack of coverage by the Chronicle. You guys always portray yourselves as staunch environmental supporters, consistently railing against developers and the politicians who assist them. However, I'd like to know where the outrage is in this case (I know there's plenty amongst my neighbors)? Does the Chronicle turn a blind eye when the City of Austin is responsible for the pollution? Why has Austin not made a move to accept responsibility for their spill and insure that the residents here don't have to pay for something caused by the city's facility? Why does the Chronicle work so hard to ensure the safety of a swimming pool and ignore serious problems with the water that people drink? Is the story not newsworthy when it's people getting sick rather than salamanders?
Thanks, F.A.T. Chicks
In reference to "Punks protest rape" [Vol 17, No.47], a quote from the flyer distributed by Austin F.A.T. chicks and the Girl Militia reads "Let's show the `rapists' and the Bates Motel what we think of their sickening name and flyers."
This, in my opinion, is a clear case of a special interest group(s) trying to push their beliefs on everyone else by getting a club to not book a band because they think it's offensive. All they really did was drum up more publicity for the River City Rapists and the Bates Motel.
As for the Chronicle saying that the protest was laughable, it was. The 30 or so protesters had such strong convictions for their cause that they all left at the first sign of rain.
On a side note, the Bates Motel is the only punk rock club in town to have a female bouncer. Chew on that, you PC whiner brats.
Former Bates bartender/disciplinarian
Joel R. Denton
Soiled Dress=Red Herring
While the vast majority of the establishment media is focused on Monica Lewinski and her "soiled dress," an issue of much greater concern to our country is being ignored and covered up. The president of the United States gave communist China top-secret missile technology in exchange for illegal cash, political contributions, and political favors. This technology transfer under the guise of helping the Chinese to have commercial satellites, is in fact, "dual use" technology that allows them to launch and guide nuclear armed ICBMs to within pinpoint accuracy of American cities. Not even the cash-starved Russians were willing to sell this technology to the Chinese.
China has funneled hundreds of millions of dollars into the Clinton campaign through payment to secret bank accounts, payments to the Clinton defense fund, and even by putting monies into Arkansas pension funds that were controlled by Clinton and his allies. It is also interesting that Clinton went around the State Department and put the Department of Commerce in charge of this transfer of technology. Ron Brown (Brown, a Clinton cronie, who upon being named the Secretary of Commerce had this to say: "Just what does the Secretary of Commerce do?") was the Secretary of Commerce who against the wishes of the Department of Defense, the State Department, and his own advisors, organized and approved this sale. Brown was the one man most directly involved in this illegal transfer, and within months his plane was sabotaged in the mountains of Croatia.
The bottom line is that once again the people of our country are being led down a titillating but no-account rabbit trail while our country is being ransacked and looted. Bill Clinton's acts are that of sedition and treason but he is not alone. Unless we as citizens of this country wake up and take action to protect our constitutional rights and to restore justice, our nation will face a very difficult future.
Breakin' the Law
Truly you have erred ["Letters at 3AM," Vol. 17 No.48]. Confusing civility with coercion can head only to much greater confusion, as I see it has with you.
Back off, and remember Pogo. Walt K. said he was the glue. Remember we must stick together to get along in this swamp. That requires that we be polite most (not all) of the time. That requires we know how. Thus rules, or "taboos" if you will; to be violated, true, but at your peril.
Hang in there.
Austin Community Gardens (ACG) has been around for a long time, as your article correctly points out. We are also a local nonprofit, but it is hardly fair to describe us as "dying on the vine," just because we have been forced to lay off our two staff members. In fact, ACG is thriving and continues to be a tremendous asset to Austin.
ACG has taken bold steps in the last few years to step outside of Sunshine Gardens and work with Austin's community, including the purchase of land and the development of gardens at several sites in East Austin. We take in revenues from Sunshine Gardens and could devote all our energies to that site only, but we believe that we best serve Austin by developing gardens in the whole city, including East Austin.
Frank Fuller, our past executive director, was a key force in helping bring gardens to the Mosby and St. Johns sites in East Austin, as well as in developing sites and working with schoolchildren at several elementary schools. Along with Erik Peterson (who is going to be in graduate school this fall at U.T.), Frank greatly enhanced the reputation of ACG. He also brought ACG out of financial doldrums in 1995 when he took over the organization; we now have a positive balance sheet and an enhanced reputation in the community. Our recent 2nd Annual Mother's Day Garden Tour was supported by the Austin American-Statesman and many of the largest private employers in Austin, including Motorola and H.E.B.
What is the problem - or why did we "sink," as Erica Barnett writes? In the first place, we have not "sunk." And secondly, I have spoken with the presidents of several local nonprofits, and they all agree that the hardest money to obtain, especially from foundations, is money for staff support; funding to support existing or ongoing programs is much easier to obtain. The trick is ensuring that there's money to pay your staff, and we just did not get some foundation money that we counted on. However, the board is currently pursuing several options to obtain funding for staff. All we need is enough funding for one staff member, and our gardens and programs will grow like spring bluebonnets.
If readers would like to support ACG, I urge you to send a tax-deductible check of any size (but the bigger the better) to ACG, 4814 Sunshine Drive, Austin, TX 78756.
President, Board of Directors
Austin Community Gardens
Not Somewhat Ramshackle
Ah, but the "somewhat ramshackle house" which Common Ground calls home, (Rebecca Chastenet de Géry's restaurant review, Vol. 17, No. 48), here in Bastrop County, we call that laid-back and comfortable. And, like many here, that humble abode has long ties with Austin - it once housed the fledgling radio station KGSR.
Not only is Common Ground a great restaurant, it's also a center for Bastrop County's large core of progressive residents. On the "Wall of Shame," photos of last winter's logging crisis show what devastation comes from clear cutting in the beautiful "Lost Pines." Our active, nonprofit, volunteer group, the Bastrop County Environmental Network (BCEN), distributes its journal, The Beacon, in a box by the door. BCEN, by the way, networks regularly with Austin-area environmental organizations on issues which affect our region.
If Common Ground's owner, Catherine Lewis, has time to visit with you, you will find a warm smile that lights up the room. Her view of our world's bountiful, natural goodness shows in the wonderful dishes she prepares and serves. The quality is always superb, but I especially recommend the showcases of local musicians at Friday dinners and Sunday brunches. (Call ahead for times: 512/321-3213.)
For Austinites who yearn for that small-town feel, a visit to Bastrop could be the answer. Take a drive, bike ride or hike through the Lost Pines to restore your souls. Consider supporting the newly-formed Friends of the Lost Pines State Parks to help preserve these natural jewels. (For information, call 512/321-3740.) Then enjoy some of Catherine's culinary delights at Common Ground.
As you drive home to Austin you will already be scheming your next visit.
Ann Mesrobian, Smithville
No Friend of Wong's
"Friends of Wong,"
Well, am I the only one sick and tired of hearing from those lunatics at KOOP? I quit going to station meetings a long time ago to get away from it and now here it is all over the Chronicle. Now, this group called "Friends of KOOP" is stuffing my mailbox with junk about the Board. My friends got it, a couple of relatives got it, and by God, I want to know how they got my address and so would my friends. Somehow information (private information) given to KOOP, i.e. the membership mailing list, was handed over to these nutballs! Another case of fine management by Wong. They want to convene a meeting. Hah! You go to these meetings expecting some information about programming and what needs to be done at the station, and all you hear is this obnoxious faction yelling at board members because they changed the Mission Statement to include several minority groups or some other nonsense - completely disregarding the real issues of much needed equipment repairs, fundraising and outreach. Their inflammatory speech is chilling, - and if I hear one more board member referred to as "Hitler," I think I will scream! (Having a Jewish mother, I can't begin to tell you how offensive it is.) They don't get who they wanted on the programming committee and all of a sudden there is talk of "conspiracies" and "takeovers," "power-grabs" and these people like Ricardo Guerro and Jim Ellinger act like they are martyrs for free speech and begin attacking Board Members by spreading half-truths and innuendoes throughout the station. Come down off your crosses, boys. Same goes for Wong, whose laughable account of a 400% increase in revenue during her stay does not take into account the incredible debt that was also accumulated in that time. I am very proud the Board of Directors stood up and made the "hard" decision about Wong's contract. It was the best thing for KOOP's future, and it shows who the "real" friends of KOOP radio are.
The "development" around South Mopac sucks.
How many people driving down that strip of highway look at those structures, take a deep breath, smile about their day, about life in general? Barton Oaks is atrocious. Its stimulating box shapes tall enough to be seen for miles, the subtle red neon lights, the soon-to-sprout IHOP, the "contract pending" sign just north make me sick, make me cringe. The apartments along the greenbelt are awful. After those Westlake-based businesses leave in 20 years, their CEOs move back to Dallas in 10, the rest of us will be stuck with this structural crap, evidence of late Nineties greed. Development is more permanent than not. The fact that structures this big, this permanent, go up so fast prove the development to be careless, irresponsible, maybe functional, most likely unattractive, probably not necessary, and of course profitable.
The buildings housing these businesses could have possibly been built on an already asphalted area more toward the center of town. Office buildings are empty and waiting to be rented all over the city. Bigger, boys, does not mean better. "It's more prestigous to have my office on top of a hill." "My company has more money than yours." Please realize that your buildings influence the rest of us. They influence our days, our impressions of things. They influence our cities.
Makes you wonder if the planners and architects behind the one-story box retail spaces, the large boxed office buildings, the let's-not-blend-in apartment buildings, have ever studied art history, much less heard of it.
Every Five Days, People
During this brutal summer, I have been doing my part to help conserve the little water we have available. I have been watering my lawn as little as possible to keep it from dying completely. Some parts I have let go completely, praying that it will all come back next spring (mid January). I have heard all the radio and TV bits telling me to only water between late evening and early morning hours every 5 days, and I have followed them religiously. Now, can you tell me how many shopping centers and apartment complexes get away with having their sprinkler systems running full tilt in the middle of the day, every day? Is there anything the city can do to educate these people in how to program their sprinklers? Is there anyway for we, the people, to tell them how much water they are wasting keeping their tiny lawns green? An investigative story into this problem may help open some eyes to a problem we all have to deal with.
P.S. I am not normally this anal retentive, this is just one of those things that really chaps my ass.
Well, I tried to keep my mouth shut, but I couldn't hold back any longer. I have been in Austin for six years and only recently have begun taking advantage of the live music scene, thanks to Storyville [Vol. 17, No. 46]. One show and I was hooked. The talent of David Grissom, David Holt, Chris Layton, Tommy Shannon, and Malford Milligan really inspired me. My first thought was, "How am I going to be able to afford all these shows?" Not only is Storyville incredible onstage, they are also wonderful offstage - very approachable and friendly. (I hope this doesn't change after the rest of the world discovers them on the B.B. King tour!) I was one of the many devoted fans on the Jamaica trip with KLBJ and on that trip Malford told me that attending the Storyville show was optional. As far as I'm concerned, Storyville is always mandatory. I know that is only my opinion, but since every single Storyville show has so many people I feel the urge to moo; I have a feeling it is also the opinion of many others in Austin.
I know I really don't, but I feel like I personally know Storyville. From packed Storyville shows at Antone's and Dessau to laid-back Monday nights at Antone's with Malford and the Blue Monday band. Mr. Bertin, keep your hatred to yourself. If you can't write something worth reading, don't bother writing it. I'm soley sorry you got so much attention from this.
Storyville, hurry home - Austin needs you here!
Foot in Mouth Indeed
It's a shame A.J. Vallejo ["Postmarks," Vol. 17, No.47] can't redirect his anger towards the perpetrators of laziness and unoriginality in the creative fields. But then, he's likely not flexible enough, since his recent accident, to kick his own teeth in.
Way to go A.J., although I think we could have done without the threat. I totally agree with you: And you did get their attention, probably the only way they understand. He verbally kicked Storyville's ass, but he's a supposed writer. So that's okay, I guess. A lot of us think the reviewers at the Chronicle suck. They seem to work under the impression that if you don't slam it no one will read it, and they're probably right. The thing that gets me is they are doing what they used to slam Michael Corcoran about. What's up, no original thoughts at the Chronicle? I guess that's a redundant question. The one saving grace is just like the movie reviews, we know that if the Chronicle don't like it, it has to be good.
Difference of Opinion Disturbing
Referring to Bertin letters ["Postmarks," Vol. 17, No. 47] ... when are you guys gonna wise up and fire his dumb ass? He is the epitome of all that is wrong with Austin's dwindling music scene and is a poor representative of the Chronicle.
My band (Stimulus) fell victim to Bertin's heartless slander last year. Especially obvious was Bertin's bias against techno. Moreover, we submitted a demo tape containing music from the album to the Chronicle prior to his review and won the following praise in Bonus Tracks: "A real, honest-to-God, great techno act from Austin ...". This demonstrates not only Bertin's bias but also the Chronicle's inconsistency in critique and review. The rag demonstrated this once again last week (Storyville) with both Langer's positive story and Bertin's foul review appearing on the same page. That was especially in bad taste.
Despite Bertin's efforts, Stimulus was featured on 94.7's "Mix it or 86 it" and received one month of light rotation after receiving a 90% approval rating on the show. Obviously, Bertin is not at all in touch with the tastes of his "readership."
Bertin has a death wish. Austin bands that spend thousands of dollars to produce their music do not deserve to be arbitrarily slammed by some asshole who is pissed at the world because of a bad career move.
Austin artists, unite and take siege against Bertin. Request your contacts (peers, live-venues, clubs, record stores, etc.) to not advertise in the Chronicle until Bertin is removed. The Chronicle views Bertin as a sideshow act whose hate-mail serves as a novelty in "Postmarks." The paper will only listen where money is involved.
Storyville, take heart. Mike Bertin wouldn't know a good album if it reached up and squeezed the herpe pimples off of his sorry ass.
Last Call Too Early
One summer day, twentysomething years ago, I had just returned from California without a dime and no prospects other than a daily swim at Stacy Pool when Dale Watkins pulled up to my house in his torquoise blue Cadillac. "Wanna work at the Armadillo tonite? Van Morrison's playin'." It was the best 50 bucks I ever made, and those nights at the old Armadillo are some of the best musical memories I have. Dale was part of the magic, towel in his back pocket racing through the crowd, grabbing an expert last dance, still cracking jokes at 2am as we washed endless empty beer pitchers or counted stacks of bills.
"Last call" came too early, D.W. You will be remembered.