Mueller Will Gentrify
Re: "Taking Off" [Vol.18, No.26]: I'm disappointed at how little the article had to say about the likelihood of rising property values and rents in the adjoining neighborhoods. I admit that I skimmed, but all I came up with was a passing reference to how any change to "the remnant tenements and shacks of the Flight Path" will be "an improvement."
The author reports that "nobody is really interested in tying the market's hands." Then he tells us what "nobody" actually thinks: "we really don't know what's going to happen" with prices. If this is true, it smacks of some pretty unsmart growth ...
Maybe by "tying the market's hands" just a little, planners could make improvements without the side effect of driving people out (or is that part of what you meant by "an improvement"?).
Clay's Skirt Facts
I wish to thank Clay Smith for his article on the dissolution of the Cornerstone Gay and Lesbian Community Center ["A Disjointed Family," Vol.18, No.25]. He did a good job of reporting.
However, there is a point which I feel I must clarify relative to the article: Clay reported that Club Skirt had initially targeted Cornerstone to be the sole recipient of its fundraising efforts. Actually, Club Skirt was originally organized as a fundraiser of Cornerstone -- with Cornerstone providing the seed money for all of the events right up until November, 1998. I apologize if I confused this point during my interview.
Mr. Wall is so right about Amy Babich being a blatant capitalist ["Postmarks," Vol.18, No.26]. What an evil person she is. Imagine trying to make a living off of what she believes in rather than being a hypocrite like the rest of us and simply scamming us with something worthless. How dare she have principles and try to live by them? What is this country coming to?
Oh, and for those of you who didn't understand, Ms. Babich's "idea" for movable parking garages was a joke. The technical term is irony.
Perhaps there is one good use for the modern automobile. They probably have enough horsepower to assist some of you in pulling your heads out of...the darkness. After that park 'em and get a bike. I recommend Easy Street Recumbents; proprietors, Mike Librik and Amy Babich.
James E. Burnside
Bikes Are Clean Money
I would like to thank Mr. Dalton Wall for advertising my business, Easy Street Recumbents (free test rides, by appointment only), in a letter to the Chronicle. We capitalists at Easy Street can't yet afford display ads in the Statesman, Chronicle, or Texan, so not everyone knows that we sell bicycles.
Specifically, we sell recumbent bicycles, bicycles in which the seat has a back and is part of the drive train. We sell recumbents because the mainstream bike shops don't sell them much. If they did, they would soon put us out of business.
Mr. Wall has confused cause and effect. Interest in non-car forms of transportation led us to sell recumbent bicycles, not the other way around. We are unusual among American bike sellers because we regard bicycles primarily as means of transportation, not as toys to be carried on car roofs and ridden only for recreation.
I am much more interested in decreasing car use than in increasing bicycle use. Human-powered vehicles only benefit the city to the extent that they replace cars and other motorized vehicles.
Non-car transportation need not be the exclusive prerogative of Capital Metro. The city of Austin itself could lay track and run trolleys. I think it would be great if big companies would run their own transit systems.
American highway construction is socialism at its worst. Capitalism at its worst is represented by the car and oil companies. Easy Street Recumbents aspires to be part of capitalism at its best. Should Austin ever become car-free, deeper-pocketed bike sellers may well put us out of business. But if Austin ever became even partially car-free, we'd be happy to care.
Amy, Take Your Calls
Dear Mr. Black:
In the past, on several occasions you have chronicled (no pun intended) the thoughts and concerns of one Amy Babich. Whether or not I agree with her point of view is irrelevant to my case, although I do find her opinions to be far-fetched and unrealistic. I am writing to you today to identify and address a grave injustice being caused by Amy Babich.
It seems that Amy chooses not to have her telephone number published; that is, assuming she believes in that type of technology. Anyway, by not having her phone number accessible to all her ardent fans and associates she is causing these people to vent their adoration or anger to any other Babich that is in the phone book. Let me clue you in. There are two Babiches in the Austin phone book, I am one of them. My name is Paul Babich. Amy, please, if you're reading this: I have approximately 500 phone messages for you. They range from: "I love your cause" and "Can I buy one of your recumbent bikes?" to well, some less than savory comments. I'm sure you can just imagine.
I receive calls at every hour of the day and night concerning Amy Babich and her bicycle exploits. Most people think that she might be my wife or daughter. I am stating here and now that I am in no way related to or connected with Amy Babich in any way other than the fact that I take her phone messages and I'm getting very tired of it.
Amy needs to contact her phone service and have her number listed so her adoring public may contact her directly and quit bothering me. Perhaps in one of her many letters to you she can arrange to have you publish it.
So come on, Amy, step forward and embrace your vast legion of followers. As for me, I don't care what kind of harebrained crusade you choose to get involved in, just don't connect me with it. In closing I would like to leave you with the following thought:
"Fat bottomed girls you make the rockin' world go round ... Now get on your bikes and ride!"
-- Freddy Mercury
Legislators Blowing Smoke
First of all this is a "love letter," as we moved to Dallas early last year for work reasons and life has never been the same. We go through B.C. withdrawal on a regular basis. Dallas is really heartless and ugly, especially after living in Austin for 17 wonderful years. We know that traffic and gridlock problems are worse, as is air quality, but your legislators are working feverishly right now to "fix" our Texas air via SB 7, which barely addresses reduction of pollutants produced by large energy utilities in this state which are the main cause of severe air pollution in large urban areas, even ahead of bus, truck and car pollution, by hundreds of thousands of tons. Also, HB 801, which is so absurd as to eliminate any public hearings concerning the permitting of polluters by the discretion of the TNRCC. You folks should be all over those elected representatives like Ken Armbrister and Tom Uher who wrote this anti-citizen legislation. We need more emphasis placed on renewables which, Lord knows, now that the Lege is back in session we will have more than enough wind as well as sun to capture for energy, plus renewables offer more than 100,000 new jobs, conservatively speaking. I learned a lot while living in Austin from dedicated activists and environmentalists, most of which, unfortunately, in Dallas is lost, but we will stay on and with our elected officials and lobby to get us to EPA attainment levels, hopefully. I am so grateful to be able to pick up the Chron online. ... My only question is what the heck are y'all doing about the Forum PUD in South Austin? So near Barton Creek and to such density. ... You haven't given up have you? Impervious cover is everything......and 52% is not compliance or have you changed the SOS law again? Keep things green!
Support Your Local Comic
To whom it may concern,
I find it odd that since Shannon Wheeler departed so has any mention of Austin's comic-book scene. I know there are quite a few of us out here and I'll bet that they are all as frustrated as I am with the lack of public venues. Few bookstores have local sections and if they do it is stuck in a small corner off to the side. The XL publishes local comics but unless you are a product of the UT machine the only answer you get from them is "good stuff, but we're full up right now." Then in the next few weeks when you see their total comic rollover, you are left to wonder why you weren't contacted. Or how about the Chronicle, essentially a free magazine to promote and inform the public about local culture, who won't even look at you unless you're syndicated. I am a co-author of the Budget Strips and have been working on them part time since 1992. We have had a Web site (http://www.flash.net/~budgetst/) available for two years. Between our first URL and this one we have had over 4,000 hits, yet we still have no local exposure. We have five books self-published and are just finishing up our sixth. I was really hoping that Austin 360 would have a Web ring we could connect to and was disappointed to find once again my media is being ignored.
Thanks for listening.
Buy All Immigrants a Drink
I think I read it in the Feb.1 issue of the Statesman -- your "Media Clips" column shouldn't have missed it, either -- about the pay raise the coach at UT's football got, after just one year on the job, on top of his $200,000 salary base, plus $6,000 more for car expenses, golf memberships, etc., plus $15,000 to each one of his assistants. Boy, this town sure is full of pendejos! If you didn't know, he and the others like: the police chief, UT president, American-Statesman editors, AISD principals, Capital Metro officials, Museum of Art chief designer, the Ice Bats, and thousand of students came from out of state and Europe straight to a job that local graduates probably don't deserve.
Now, 35 Harvard students came into town sniffing around for a good job on the 25th of this month, hosted by Dell, sipping drinks at Maggie Mae's rooftop lounge. By comparison, let me suggest a "delegation" of immigrants, say from Mexico, be sponsored by the Comptroller's office, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Mexican embassy, and the Catholic church; have them tour construction sites, restaurants, landscape companies, etc., to make sure they pick just the right job. Maggie Mae's is not a problem, just give them plenty of water, tap water. Catering? The leftovers from any cafeteria on Sunday'll be all right, and assure to potential employers, that salaries of $120,000 for starters is no biggy. A tenth of that will do; after all, we all need an extra hand, since all those mentioned above are generating servitude positions, and the locals, especially in my neighborhood, are too busy selling drugs, going to the Army, or committing fresh crime.
Re-try David Gibbs
For Charles Rector, only lifetime, not death.
For David Gibbs: Give David Gibbs a re-trial, because Roy Moody made statements against David Gibbs which had not been presented before!
A Deal They'll Probably Refuse
"Compassionate Conservatism" was declared by Gov. Bush to be the defining phrase for his governing policy. That is good news for Texas since it is most adequately motivated by the ancient doctrine found in all world religions: "from each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs." Such "compassionate conservatism" requires legislation that holds people accountable for fulfilling their responsibilities to one another. Therefore the following enactments will be included:
*Replace residential property taxes and state sales taxes with a "graduated" state income tax beginning with .5% and increased by an additional .5% for each $5,000 increment over $20,000 of annual income. The only deduction is $2,000 for each dependent. Corporate taxes begin with 1% and increase by an additional 1% for each $10,000 increment of net profits over $50,000. No tax rate shall exceed 60%.
*The minimum hourly wage will be $9 for all workers and the minimum salary for public school teachers will be $30,000 with annual increases of 3% for everyone.
*Capital punishment is replaced by 30-year minimum sentencing without parole for murder and rape convictions. To reduce accidents and air pollution, the speed limits will be 55mph in urban areas and 65mph on open highways.
*Candidates for elected office are prohibited from accepting contributions from outside the jurisdiction of the office they seek and may not accept more than $500 per year from any one source.
*Every resident who pays 2% of their income to the State Health Care System will have all medical and dental bills paid by the state.
A Senseless Tragedy
It took no compassion or bravery to run over 8-year-old Pamela Adriana Gutierrez on February 19 as she stepped off a school bus and walked to the arms of her waiting parents. Apparently all it took was the ability to consume alcohol and get behind the wheel of an automobile.
The compassion and bravery came later and painfully to the family and friends left in the wake of the tragedy. How does one even begin to come to grips with the senseless death of a child so full of joy, a child whose smile and love still beats in the hearts of all who knew her? Funeral arrangements were made. Friends, family and church tried to help with the logistics of the painful ordeal. After the funeral, neighbors gathered and met at the house of a friend. There were so many people touched by Pamela's sprit and very little time to prepare for a gathering. In a last-minute rush, two local restaurants were asked to help supply food for the grieving. Their response was: How much food do you need and when can we deliver it? Pamela loved those two restaurants. They donated because they are part of this community and they felt the loss also. The family and friends would like to thank El Sol Y La Luna and The Avenue Cafe for their generosity. Their compassion helped to ease the pain at a time when we all gathered, searching for the bravery to live another day without Pamela and trying to come to grips with the tragedy that took her gentle, young life away.
Christ Doesn't Exclude
I am writing this letter of Protest as a Christian to all who are priests, pastors, evangelists, teachers, and to all who are in "authority" in the church. I am against your preaching and teaching of witchcraft by means of mixing the law of Moses with faith in the faith of Jesus Christ. I am protesting against those who are saying that we "must return to our Judeo-Christian roots. It was and is now the kind of twisted doctrine that has produced witch hunts against people who, like Apostle Paul, stood for faith in Christ plus nothing else. It produced the mentality in men which allowed them to make slaves of people of another race or color. It is exactly the kind of teaching and doctrine that gave men like Hitler and Jim Jones an entrance into positions of power and the ability to destroy people's lives. Here in North America, we are "too noble" to commit murder, so people are disfellowshipped. You are able, under this mixed doctrine, to use a myriad of "biblical" excuses to justify punishing or excluding someone from your group. It really demonstrates how mean-spirited and self-righteous you are. It is all made possible because the truth of the Gospel has been mixed with the law of Moses. It is poison. It is a doctrine of demons. It is anti-Christ. It destroys the believers' faith in Christ. It robs us of the joy and the peace we all experienced when we first believed.
As a believer and participant in the grace of God, I am solidly in absolute opposition to allowing this perverted gospel, which is not a gospel at all, into the next millennium. I protest against those who are insisting that we "return to our Judeo-Christian roots." It is witchcraft at its darkest form.
Out of respect for those who have suffered and died as a direct result of teaching, and out of love and compassion for those who are now in peril and are suffering insults and injury and loss of property and life, and out of love for all who are coming after us, let us stand and be free in Christ.
For their sakes and for ours, I protest ...
James Ray Oliver