Fri., Nov. 13, 1998
In a Circle
Re: "Page Two" by Louis Black [Vol. 18, No. 10]: Regrettably, Nan Clayton lost the Precinct 3 County Commissioner election. But I did so many backflips to help her, it's misleading to suggest my independent candidacy caused her failure.
I quit before Labor Day, endorsing Clayton as publicly as possible, while attacking Baxter as the eager puppet of the developer lobby. I spent all my resources researching my Smart Growth Plan for Travis County, which I gave to Clayton (and to the Chronicle). She used my $7,000 campaign survey. I vacated my office at Sixth and Lamar for her use. I recruited a Smart Growth advisory group for her that any Democrat should be proud of -- respected leaders like Mary Arnold, Shudde Fath, Brigid Shea, Jeff Jack, Jeff Heckler, Mark Yznaga, Dick Kallerman, George Cofer.
Here are some real reasons Clayton lost:
1. Lukewarm support of major Democrat consti-tuencies. Environmentalists shun her because she campaigned against the S.O.S. Ordinance. Labor remembers her unsympathetic School Board record. Democrats must cultivate candidates that appeal to Democrats.
2. She neither articulated the "Smart Growth" platform I developed, nor her own vision. During 125 years of Democratic hegemony in Travis County, especially during the Aleshire era of subsidized sprawl, commissioners have been beancounters of the suburban road budget, not policy leaders. She exemplified that tired tradition that still dominates the party.
3. Precinct 3 is majority Republican, and this was their landslide year. Sprawl subsidies have caused an explosion of hostile suburbs at the expense of double-taxed Austinites. Circle C Republicans in huge numbers paraded their petty hatred of the City Council. They failed to derail the bonds, but this biggest Pct. 3 box voted 1,315 for Baxter, 383 for Clayton, a margin of 932 in a race won by 611 votes.
4. The Statesman, in love again with Austin bashers, endorsed Baxter! Chronicle coverage was superficial, the alarm about Baxter's huge negatives inaudible. The Chronicle is the only credible defense against the monopoly daily, with much deeper penetration of the electorate than any independent ex-candidate. We needed you.
5. Every developer lobbyist from Dallas to New Orleans lined Baxter's pocket, and swamped Clayton's unimpressive fundraising. Money is TV.
We need to wake up the slumbering Travis County Democratic Party to regain Pct. 3, and bring the same commitment that took back our city to bear on all local jurisdictions. Who wants to help?
Narrow Loss=Near Victory
In searching for the reasons for Democrat Nan Clayton's loss to Republican Todd Baxter, it is easy to try to blame this defeat on one aspect of the race or one group. It has been suggested that the loss is somehow due to the lack of support of the environmental groups or the early candidacy of Kirk Mitchell, or even her personal campaign style. Focus on these issues, however, misses the point, and takes away from the real significance of the election. Nan Clayton's narrow loss to Todd Baxter should really be viewed by many Democrats as a near victory over staggering odds instead of a disastrous defeat. Considering the prevailing animosity of recently annexed voters in southwest Travis County, the blatant negativism and misinformation used in Baxter's campaign, the huge amount of State Republican money spent on Mr. Baxter's county race, and the very long coattails of George Bush's victory, it is remarkable that Mr. Baxter won by only 611 votes. Certainly, the environmental groups and Kirk Mitchell contributed to her near-victory. Nan Clayton should be proud of the honorable race she waged and of the support she had from neighborhood, school, business, and environmental groups from all over the precinct. Her many years of service to our city and county are greatly appreciated and we hope she will continue to work to improve our community for everyone.
Four White Guys
Your cover November 6 should have read not "The Men of KUT" but "Some of the White Males of KUTbu" [Vol.18, No.10].
Clearly you folks are not listening at many of the most interesting times of day, when one can hear the black, Native American, Hispanic, and even female persons (not to mention the other white males) at KUT who enliven the station's air on a regular basis.
I very much enjoyed your articles on "The Men of KUT" [Vol.18, No.10]. Will there be a Men Of KUT Calendar?
Paul Ray was first heard on KUT on my radio show, Rock of Ages, which aired on Sundays from 11pm to 2am. This must have been about 1977. He was one of a few great first appearances on my show. Others included writer Joe Nick Patoski; Latino writer Gregg Barrios; blues diva Lou Ann Barton; then film student Neil Ruttenberg, aka the Reverend Neil X; various early Austin punk stars including assorted Huns, Boy Problems, F-Systems and others; disco deejay Casey Jones; and Texas legend Huey Meaux.
Huey would show up with a liter size Sprite, spiked liberally with Jack Daniels. He did his Crazy Cajun show a couple of times for KUT. In fact, Huey Meaux did the first on-air fundraising for KUT ever! It was a skill he had perfected at KPFT in Houston. He would play records that he liked, yelling and whooping the whole time, and beg, plead, cajole, threaten, and finally shame listeners into sending in a donation. He would tell risqué rock & roll stories and sex tales. It was great radio, dirty in a completely amusing way, not anything like the sterile contagion of today's shock jocks.
I am gratified that perhaps in some way, my show brought Paul Ray within earshot of KUT listeners. He is a great talent in his own right with a wonderful knowledge of pop music. Now he is one of the great assets of the Austin airwaves.
MovieArt Original Film Posters
Sign of Maturity
I am a 20-year-old student at ACC. I recently have become politically active and in the recent election I have volunteered my time and services to Austin Parks '98. The campaign consisted of door-to-door flyering and the posting of bond signs. I live in precinct 304, which happens to be Circle C Ranch (Bradley Development). A few weeks before election day I started putting signs up in front of the neighborhood pool. After the first sign went up, every other day I was putting another one up in the same spot. Somebody was taking them down every time I put one up (only the bond sign, no other), but I persisted. Election day came and the sign that I had staked the day before was gone. I went home and took the only sign I had remaining from my yard and proceeded to stick it where the sun don't shine. I voted immediately afterward and as soon as I drove by again, the sign had been stripped one last time. This time I caught the culprit. It was a Circle C PAC member. There were four of them, all standing within 15 feet of where the sign once stood, waving their arms and their signs. Laying next to their water bottles and other personal belongings was our city's bonds sign. I then halted immediately and jumped out of my vehicle with pen and paper hungry for names. The moment I had stopped, one of the PAC members began pacing quickly away from me, so I approached the first lady who was reserved and reluctant to say anything to me, claiming she had just arrived. I then walked up to the man I saw walking away from me but he tried to refuse to talk with me. When I began to speak of the illegality of this he became hostile and asked me if I wanted to "go at it" with him. I walked away, determined to get names. I asked a third man; he almost immediately began telling me to go fuck myself and to leave him the fuck alone. At this time I furiously drove myself home and grabbed camera and film and returned to document the crime scene. Afterward I spent the drive to class asking myself repetitively if maturity really did come with age. I came to the conclusion that children I have watched over were more evolved than this group of "higher-class individuals."
I had hoped that I could live in a world or at least a neighborhood where politics could be played in the arena of the polls by people who are not only physically 18 but also mentally, not by the petty, sign-stealing, middle-aged infants that I am surrounded by.
So Mauro Got 8%?
Media Opinion Leaders:
The media and George Bush keep inferring that Bush received 69% approval by the citizens of Texas. This is very misleading. Actually only 17% of the voting populace cast a vote for Bush and only 22% of the registered voters voted for Bush.
Further, the numbers that the Secretary of State claim as official results are not correct, but tallies of information requested by the State from counties. For example, the total number of votes cast in the election is an unknown, as is the total number of votes cast for Governor (for other than the information requested by the Secretary of States Office).
What the Secretary of State Office did ask is total number of votes cast for Bush, Mauro, Turlington and Solar. Also they use the total votes for Governor as the total votes cast. Both these results are misleading and not the results of total votes cast or total votes cast for Governor.
Seventeen percent is not a landslide of public opinion for Bush and equally misleading. Let's not spread misinformation). The fact remains that 73% of the citizens of Texas did not vote for Bush. Perhaps a landslide of public opinion against George W. Bush.
Thanks for the Bonds
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Rev. Joseph C. Parker Jr. and members of the 1998 City of Austin Citizens' Bond Advisory Committee. Their time and hard work is greatly appreciated by the entire Austin area. But especially all the citizens who took the time to vote on the 1998 City of Austin Bond Election. Actions taken today will frame the city for the 21st century and dictate the quality of life for future generations. This sustains our economic prosperity and quality of life Austin has treasured.
I have spent the last four weeks doing a babysitting job for my parents while my sister did the legwork to find an extended-care operation where my parents could go should their physical and mental deterioration increase.
In that this is not a full-time job, I have had time to indulge some of my desires, both to reacquaint myself with Austin (I lived here for 21/2 years, 30 years ago). These desires include:
1. Cookies (chocolate chip and others). On a 1-5 scale (excellent to pre-bagged) I can recommend several sources to satisfy my sweet tooth.
Holding first place, equal are: Whole Foods Market (Sixth and Lamar) and Great Harvest Bakery (off FM2244/Bee Caves Road).
Second place is shared by: Starbucks (in Barnes & Noble), Great Cookie Co. (in Highland Mall), and Albertson's (Stassney/Manchaca).
Quality deteriorates from here, down to below bagged, pre-baked, as most groceries provide one whole aisle for these inferior products.
2. Bookstores. These I shall not rate. Each has benefits and drawbacks. Content is up to the reader and seller. Whether new or used, I think I have found all the bookstores in Austin. At each I have bought something.
3. Groceries. The future of grocery stores may be developing in Austin (my experience anywhere else is limited) as exemplified by the Central Market on Lamar, and the Whole Foods Market (Sixth and Lamar). Aided by this effort are two other stores I have found. Randalls, off FM2244/Bee Caves Road, and Alexanders', off Loop 360 and Bee Caves Road.
I have recommended these to my sister. In addition, I enjoy hot foods, as condiments. Between the limited listing in the yellow pages and my exploration I have found approximately 300 liquid and semi-liquid (salsa and sauces) to take back to NH for a lifetime of hotter foods, from 25+ stores, both little ones of limited inventory and large outlets.
They Know Not What They Do
Dear Blayne Turner,
Thank you for your heartfelt letter regarding the Matthew Shepard story ["Postmarks," Vol.18, No.10]. I don't catch much TV and missed the story until you wrote the Chronicle. It is horrific I know. My father was murdered for the same reason, and his murderer was acquitted because in 1981 it was more illegal to be gay than to murder. My letter, however, is addressed more to your anger than to the situation of gay and lesbian rights in America today.
I hope that you are a Christian who is disgusted at those who misrepresent our faith rather than someone who shuts out the faith completely because of narrow "religious" views that some uneducated Christians voice so loudly. Yes, there are verses in the Bible that directly state that homosexuality is an abomination to God. There are hundreds more, though, that express God's blessings and forgiveness for all of us as sinners who believe in Him.
I don't know much of the Matthew Shepard story, but it sounds from your letter that people related to the situation used Christianity as justification for their actions. It hurts you that their actions were a mirror of Americans and Christians "helping to prolong the persecution of every homosexual in this country," and we "might as well have helped tighten the ropes." The Christian faith is equally hurt by this kind of misrepresentation which helps tighten the rope around the necks of every person who, because of pathetic actions like these, chooses not to believe in Christ and his purposes for us. One purpose is to mirror his image.
The people who persecuted Matthew certainly deserve your anger, as do those who help perpetuate their same hatred. They also deserve your forgiveness. Remember -- 2,000 years ago someone was persecuted by you and me and he forgives us.
Ashley Paige Hill
P.S. My favorite verse: (Hebrews 13:1-2) "Let love of the brethren continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it."
PC at ACC
I was a part-time instructor of Economics at Austin Community College for five years. During the summer of 1998 I was fired from my job for allegedly making racist slurs and sexist jokes in the classroom. I was terminated from my job without a hearing or even presented with a written complaint against me. I was told by the assistant dean that I was fired upon the orders of political correctness Czar Richard Fonte.
After three weeks the college tried to solicit more complaints than the original two students but failed to do so. Also, all the other students supported me and told the investigators that I was the best instructor they ever had and that the two women who complained about me did not like my position on the U.S. government and its policies.
Finally, the college offered to reinstate me, a letter of apology for violating my freedom of speech and academic freedoms. The college offered to pay me for lost income provided I accept a "Mentor" in class to ensure I do not get anyone mad for what I say in class and that I abide by politically correct statements in class. I refused the offer and complained to the EEOC in a letter with a copy to ACC board of trustees. ACC sent me a letter stating that since I complained to the EEOC they are withdrawing their offer of reinstatement and that I cannot go back to work. I wonder if the board of trustees of ACC know the EEOC law or ever heard of it to retaliate against me in such a blatant manner.
Riad Elsolh Hamad
The recent killings of an abortion provider and a homosexual epitomize the old saying that two wrongs don't make a right. Rest assured, however, we Christians have absolutely no intention of accepting blame for the "atmosphere" created via biblical admonitions against murder and sexual perversity.
Did you read about the homosexual who is on trial for killing 10 homosexual partners? Funny, the media seems to think that only so-called "hate crimes" are worthy of front page news and outrage. Bad news for the ilk of the media who have fooled themselves into believing they preach to someone other than their liberal choir; we scoff at your blame-shifting McCarthyism and expose your ruse at every spin. Further, we don't lose sleep worrying about opinions to the contrary. If you're disgusted and outraged, good! Now you know how we feel.
P.S. People who ride bikes in this town must be crazy. These roads aren't fit for cars, let alone bikes. But, car drivers pay out the nose for insurance, tags, inspection, and drivers licenses. If some bike rider runs a red light and gets caught up under my car causing damage, who, pray tell, pays to get my car fixed? Not the bike rider's insurance company.