Postmarks

Our readers talk back.


Castleman House Is History?

Editor:

Jenny Staff Johnson's piece on the proposed historic zoning of the Castleman-Bull House ["This Old House," Dec. 24] told only part of the story. The 1868 Italianate villa is one of the oldest and more historic houses in Austin, and its architectural integrity remains surprisingly intact. In its desire to accommodate St. David's Episcopal Church, the City Council deftly sidestepped the entire issue about whether or not the Castleman House is historic, and in fact avoided any discussion of the matter. Instead their vote was a referendum on the good work of St. David's, which was legally not the issue at hand. Historic zoning would not have prohibited demolition or moving the structure, and only provided a process. Had the building been in the path of a Hyde Park church, activists would have sounded a very loud alarm. The Castleman House may now be demolished at any time. The council took a giant leap of faith on the church's commitment to relocate the historic house. We shall see if that was justified.

Thanks for your consideration.

Peter Flagg Maxson


Growing Pains

Dear Editor:

Your "Chain Reaction" of civic superlatives (Dec. 24) resembled the chamber of commerce boosterism for the dumb and disastrous 1960s downtown U.S. urban renewal that eliminated the old, ugly, and poor. Now it's "Smart Growth" for elite, "yuppie" gentry and the "button-down crowd" in their "swank," "hot," "trendy" condos with gyms and spas in a "cool" neighborhood replacing a "scrubby strip" and "semi-seedy west end" -- like the bulldozed west sides of Boston and Chicago.

Baby boomers now welcome the new "boom," "glitter and hype," the "nifty" and "sweet" "view of the skyline," so "exciting to watch" as a "meaningful and very fulfilling experience" as "builders with gobs of money" like "bloodhounds looking for supper" "crawled out of the empty pockets of the Eighties to rebound with a vengeance in the Nineties."

Of course, there is the usual incidental press sigh for the loss of capital and charm to the homogenized chains; the lack of affordable housing; a feeble slap (p.30) at the post office design and Gotham's changing the skyline; excuses (p.38) for St. David's demolition of an old house to help the homeless and suburban parishioners; but no outrage at more cars and parking, since planners will "resolve the mess before it happens."

Editor Louis Black likes the skyline as it "sparkles in the hot Texas sun" (and smog ?), and admits "Austin as we know it will disappear" and "I don't like it," but evades alternatives, saying "we really don't have a vote." Sorta makes one long for the "Same Old Statesman," which turned its back on a seedy downtown and escaped to Town Lake park land to get away from the doomed dross of the Alamo Hotel, the Greyhound, the migrant job center, Liberty Lunch, and the East Sixth Street slum. Is the shabby old Treaty Oak the next obstacle to inevitable growth ?

Gene Burd


"Democratic" Monopolies

Dear Austin Chronicle,

I see a link between the "The Profit Motive" (WTO) [Nov. 26, 1999] and "Much Ado About Nothing" ["Page Two," Nov. 19, 1999]. (Tim Jones exoneration from the Statesman's lies).

Back in 1990 during the famous all-night public hearings on Barton Springs, Jim Bob Moffett (CEO Freeport-McMoRan) had to be told "No, you do not have the "right to profit' developing the Barton Springs watershed."

After the Save Our Springs Citizens Initiative was passed by 60% of Austin voters, I am guessing that Jim Bob did not like being told what to do by a bothersome democratic system. He and his WTO buddies don't want to be bothered with environmental laws or public process.

Now, the current version of the profit motive paradigm (Austin American-Statesman's cruel hits on Tim Jones) is systematically trying to destroy the Austin City Council appointed Citizen Board Commissions. The Austin bashing by the Texas Legislature is not enough for them, they have to pick on those pesky citizen review boards too. They are using cheap shots to try and discredit Tim Jones and others' good work. Everyone I know is thankful to have Tim on the Environmental Board to take care of our watersheds. This is a benefit of democracy at work.

Meanwhile, I have heard a rumor that "someone" is going around buying up all of the alternative press newspapers in the U.S. like The Austin Chronicle. This is another effort to cover the voice of the people. Please do not sell out. We need you to balance the corporate monopoly daily's lies.

Free speech, citizen action, and democracy. These are just a few of the issues at hand. Thank God for the Chron!

Jenny Clark

Former producer of Tim Jones' "Ground Truth" video series

(available for public viewing at the Austin History Center)


Plane Lies

Editor:

City and airport officials promised the residents living around Austin Mueller airport that the flight path from the New Bergstrom airport would remain east of our area, at last sparing us of the deafening airplane noise that had become intolerable. Planes were to fly straight up north to Round Rock before making their turns. What we were assured they would not do is turn directly over our neighborhood, returning us to audio hell. From May to September, they had seemed to have kept their promise. Some of us actually slept past 6am. Then the day after Labor Day, the noise began returning. And returning. And returning. Now we're forced to periodically turn up our televisions in order to hear through the roars of the planes. The airport officials' answer to this predictable lie? Pilot discretion. It's not the fault of the officials in charge. It's the fault of all those pilots up there who all on their own and in great numbers just decided it was best if they bombarded the same ole neighborhood they had been used to bombarding. Now technically speaking no one has lied to us. It's just a matter of circumstance, which is, of course, another bombarding lie.

Michael Adams


A River Runs Through It

Dear Editor:

The Colorado River Park can be a model example of effective planning.

There is plenty of room for athletic fields, a whitewater course, a playground, picnicking, a canoe launch, bird watching, gardening, and other uses, while still leaving plenty of woods, prairie, and waterline to retain and strengthen the natural habitat. The park is a big area. One point that needs emphasis is that the park's development does not have to be an either/or situation.

The real "story" of the November public meeting was not tension but common ground. The only frustration on display was directed at the city for taking so long to acquire and develop park land in East Austin, and for being so clumsy in past park development.

An example is the river's edge at Longhorn Dam. There is a huge concrete wall, litter, and the almost indiscriminate pouring of more concrete. These are things effective planning can prevent.

Erase the concrete and the litter from your mind. Envision a slice of Barton Creek flowing all the time. That is what the Austin Paddling Club proposes for this spot. Even better, it won't cost the taxpayers any money; we'll raise it privately.

Water would flow naturally from the top of the dam back down to the river in a channel bordered by stone, trees, and picnic benches. The water would rejoin the rest of the river next to the beach area shown in Design Concept C. Paddlers call Barton Creek "a whitewater course" so don't confuse this term with something artificial. This would be habitat for birds, fish, and other wildlife -- part of nature.

A water feature like this discourages people from drinking and littering along the shore, promotes low-impact day use of the area, restores natural habitat for wildlife, and strengthens the surrounding habitat by providing current and natural aeration to the otherwise stagnant water. Nothing beats paddling for being in harmony with nature.

On behalf of the Austin Paddling Club, I encourage everyone that opposes the urbanization of the park to join us in the design process of this park.

Sincerely,

Anthony Edwards

President, Austin Paddling Club


A Rich History

Dear Chronicle Sirs and Madams:

In response to the assertion that I'm the "Austinite whose name sounds most like a character from a Richie Rich comic ["Dancing About Architecture," Dec. 24 , 1999]," I would like to tell you the real story.

In a little-known or -watched holiday special, broadcast on December 28, 1970, Richie Rich's short-lived "feminist" love interest was born. The show, Richie Rich's Christmas Freak Out, introduced Genevieve Van Cleve to Harvey Comic/Cartoon fans everywhere. Unfortunately, audiences were confused by Genevieve's free lovin', bra burnin', dope smokin' ways. Advertisers and Nixon supporters alike were shocked but relieved by Richie's admission, "My girlfriend, Gloria, reminds me of my mother, so I'll probably end up with her," but Genevieve sure is a peppy and spirited girl. Even Professor Keenbean can't figure out how she makes those "giggle brownies." The Genevieve character was written out immediately, and the "groovier socially conscious" Richie Rich became that much dust in the bad wind that was the 1970s.

Now you guys know how I really got my name. (Ken, I told you not to tell anyone!)

Happy Holidays and Merry Millennium,

Genevieve Van Cleve


Criminal Conspiracy?

Dear Editor:

Subject: Texas prosecution of suspects in yogurt shop murders of 1991

My son is one of the "suspects" in this murder case. I am, obviously, prejudiced in my feelings about what is going on.

You may not be aware that there are many aspects of this case that resemble an Edward Humes or John Grisham book.

I believe an honest look at what I describe below will bear up as a classic example of how the "system" twists its responsibilities and persecutes citizens with political prosecutions instead of solving crimes. Another example by the same DA is the LeCresha Murray case that was overturned for the second time last April.

There are aspects of this case that involve: investor fraud of millions of dollars, liability settlements of millions of dollars from an unnamed insurance company that doesn't exist, use of non-evidence to arrest and hold suspects, arrest and detainment of at least one witness who was denied his medication and subjected to POW tactics before testifying before the grand jury, judges failing to apply minimal standards of the Texas criminal code to evidence during hearings, an election year coming up, gag orders issued before the defense can comment on the prosecution's case, police incompetence in collecting "statements" from the accused and attempting to justify the selection of these four boys as suspects.

Sincerely,

Robert Springsteen Sr.


Media Clip-ocrisy

Editor:

If the powers that be can honestly call Lee Nichols' "review" of the recent Grassroots Media Conference ["Media Clips," Oct. 15] an objective and legitimate critique, then I think this rag might have taken a sweeping sidestep to the right, indeed.

Consider at least the tone, if not the actual context, of the Pulitzer-worthy snippet. I, for one, did not attend the conference, and after reading Nichols' piece, I still have no idea what transpired, other than he got his shorts in a wad and has apparently decided to pout about it rather than explain it. His review smacks of bullied playground banter, if you ask me -- as a media consumer myself, I curiously anticipated a detailed description of the event. Yet the fact that his trembling voice actually merits a page 37, 2-column-inch blurb makes me think the conference hit a sore spot. Did the advertisers have a meeting or something?

"Rambling discussion of neoliberalism," 1.

Austin Chronicle, 0.

From what I understand, the conference organizers stand for media that is not profit-driven. Impossible and idealistic in a capitalist system?

Perhaps. But any cognizant warm body holding on to the idea that advertisers' whims don't form a news-impeding filter needs to go to Kansas to learn about evolution. You admit this by association in your caressing review [in the same column] of Robert McChesney's new book, Rich Media, Poor Democracy. You praise McChesney and his far-reaching views, but on the same page ignore the fact that somebody is actually heeding them and taking action.

So I ask you: Who's the most hypocritical of them all?

Leroy Smith


Dissing on Dallas

Dear Editor:

In the December 17th "Postmarks" I read a little missive from Don Coburn titled "Hippie Morons." In his letter Mr. Coburn addresses the moral high ground many Austinites try to attain and the absence of negroes in the Capital City. He goes on to dazzle us with a colorful lexicon, berating our city and its hippie ideologies. Now I agree one side of the highway here is whiter than Congress, and I hate hippies as much as the next guy, but I couldn't help but notice that Mr. Coburn is from DALLAS!!! Dallas is three of the worst cities this world has to offer and if you hail from there you should spend the majority of your time thinking not of the ills of surrounding communities, but focusing on why you choose to live in a big sunny toilet that boasts an infamous knoll.

P.S. For the record, Dallas harbors some of the illest honkys I've ever seen!!

Sincerely,

Justin B. Andrews


Go With the Free Flow

Editor:

Thank you for publishing my letter on free trade on 12-11, and two opposing ones subsequently ["Postmarks," Dec. 17, 1999]. I found the first letter quite informative as it contained statistics and supporting citations. I can only respond to Mr. Russell that as Mexican workers gain skills working for American firms, they also (hopefully) gain entrepreneurial ambitions, "home grow" more enterprises, and spread the prosperity, as they vote out corrupt officials.

I found the second one from Mr. Malkus informative also, for different reasons. It is a valuable illustration of the personality dynamics of unhappy people who dabble in political extremism. The letter culminates with invective and attempted personal attack, justifying it along the way by twisting my arguments into unrecognizable positions, also by asserting I say things I didn't say. He for example, starts by declaring that "in dittohead fashion" (without saying what that means or how it relates to the points offered by me) I attempt to "defend and justify" the WTO; note there is no mention of the WTO in my letter; actually I'm neutral on the WTO. He uproariously declares that I complain about no right to buy "potentially tainted" milk, when obviously I would never have an issue with that, since any food we buy is potentially tainted. My point was: Until the 1980s, a minority of Texans enjoyed the liberty of consuming raw milk but, being a minority (in the Legislature too), we had this liberty destroyed, presumably for business interests wanting to hurt small dairies. Next Mr. Malkus attempts an insult with "dimwittedly describes the WTO," a-a-astonishing!! since the WTO was never mentioned. Then I was in tears: "Any person who considers a 12-year-old Indonesian girl chained," I mean where did that come from? The clincher, though, is most informative; it shows that angry people would rather not or cannot engage in reasoned discourse: He pulls the profanity card and throws in personal attack for good measure: a person like me has to be a "sick fuck." My guess is that he knows more about "sick fuck" than most.

By the way, the economic buoyancy in Mexico extends further than "just south of the border"; Monterrey and Saltillo (similar to Houston and Austin in size) are around 150 miles from there and are booming; the port of Veracruz is doing well. May I add an observation? Economic globalization will continue with or without the WTO. This, in addition to my being anti-political generally, is why I am WTO-neutral. People who continue to fight globalization will continue to be on the losing side.

Thomas Groover


The Dark Truth

Editor:

Michael Ventura ["Letters at 3AM"] writes of a "Dark Age" of Great Madness on the eve of Y2K. On a secular humanistic level, he's right. Not knowing the Truth (as in the "truth that will set you free") can lead to "Great Madness." Simple case in point: 1+1=2; if you believe that is relative and not always true, you could suffer from "the Great Madness." And who's fault is that? Or is that humanistically relative also? When you try to replace Absolute Truth with secular humanistic relativism you're pissing into the wind.

Ventura writes, "What does a Dark Age demand of a good person? The answer to that depends on another question: Who do you love?" Amen, Michael. You've got to love The Truth like it or not, secular humanistic political correctness be anathema.

Kurt Standiford


The Forever Era

Editor:

I am responding to Mr. Ventura's insight of 3/5/99 ["Letters at 3AM"] because I find it applicable to his most recent columns on the millennium: He writes, "Does the [art] form have the strength, in and of itself, without all the old supports, to survive in the coming, already present cyber era? So many voices say No! Now you write, you paint, you create in the din of that No! An act of faith if ever there was one."

There is another answer -- if one can see that the act of creating is a series of integrated acts of living. So, as I bake the bread, do the wash by hand and hang it in the sun, dialogue meaningfully with a friend, plot out a new book, or write a poem -- then these acts of living become an act of faith. And this procession of moments in one day, this process has my love, my attention, and my allegiance. Here, I wear very loosely (or not at all) the garment of the cyber era.

I mean, who cares? I don't. What is it about these Windows 98 that open by the click of a rodent? How could a click from an index finger on something so cute as a little mouse have brought in a new era? I much prefer to close my eyes and watch another screen. Here, the movement of images arising from my own depths -- historical and emotional memories held in my organs, blood, bones -- open to the monitor of my own mind. Taking those images, as dark as they can be, and transforming them into bread or conversation or a poem is a living act of faith

Ten years ago I was part of an evacuation of painters and writers who scattered for the streets, the shelters, or $5-an-hour jobs to pay for escalating rents. I watched one painter friend give her veins to a blood bank to pay for groceries -- bloodletting in the 21st century! Another friend, a musician who lost confidence when he lost his home, died from sheer despair. I grieved for my fallen comrades who desperately tried to hold on to their visions as developers, the tourist culture, and technogreed devoured whatever security they had left. And now, a decade later -- the cyber era.

I was lucky to land in a European village with peasants still living by ancient agrarian rhythms. I lived for seven years without TV, radio, central heating, computer, or their language. I lived without the support of my American spiritual/psychotherapeutic community. The old supports having vanished, I had to find my own supports. I found them in the natural rhythms of my body and the land. I found them ultimately in the procession of moments.

So, it doesn't matter to me if the art form holds through this cyber era or not. What is it holding to, anyway? A global cobweb that may or may not catch your tsetse-sized creation? And doesn't the spider in that matrix more than often eat your fly? Does that web care to respond to Soul? No! In the din of massive mouse clicking, No! But in the forever era, something does matter -- some essence born from authentic living has a pure need, a human need, to give itself away. I would rather give a poem to a friend than have it irreverently snorted online. Or worse yet, submit my soul to marketing obstetricians who deliver us to realms where men live on Mars and women live on Venus and Soul is drowning in a bowl of Chicken Soup.

I watch my monitor: I am walking with Rousseau. It is a late afternoon in May. Our steps are synchronized in an easy, gentle pace.

"Oh what a lovely flower! Oh look, a lemon butterfly," whispers the philosopher. He adds, under his breath, "oh what a fine idea."

What is that, Monsieur Rousseau?" I ask as the butterfly alights on my shoulder.

"I was thinking -- if only the apocalyptic writer John had been fully conscious of what he was dreaming!"

"And what was that, Monsieur?"

"The Cyber Era."

The old man grinned, tipped his hat, and stepped off into the sunset.

I know that old man is with me, as are others in the forever era. I am usually asleep to its procession of moments, even as their images swell from the deep, calling me to respond. Most often, I am shattered awake when something no longer useful to me has fallen away. Only then am I mercifully returned to my process where I witness the history of my humanity and my soul's particular relationship to it; the actions of the present; the visions of the future. And the promise of silence within my body/my house where nothing is stirring, not even the click of a mouse.

Marianne Lake


Protect Cyclists Under Law

Dear Mr. Black:

The recent spate of accidents involving automobiles hitting pedestrians and cyclists in Austin shows unfortunate signs of becoming a trend. The Austin American Statesman, rather than publicizing the incidents and attempting to educate motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians has instead virtually ignored them. If the accidents are mentioned in the AAS at all, they are more often than not buried in a less-often-read section of the paper, and are often factually inaccurate, misleading, or incomplete. Other than last year's well-publicized incident involving one of the world's most prominent cyclists, I have yet to see a follow-up story in the AAS describing the injured party's recovery, the effect of the fatalities on the victims' families, or the punishment meted out to the party at fault in the accident.

According to DPS statistics on auto/bike collisions in Austin (source: http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/trafficsafety/bikes.htm ), bicyclists are judged by police to be at fault in approximately 2é3 of all Austin auto/bike collisions. Motorists are judged to be at fault in approximately a third.

The frightening aspect of the last three auto/bike collisions is that in all three cases, the motorist was at fault. I do not know if this is a statistical anomaly or a trend, but as an avid cyclist I find it frightening.

While the Chronicle has consistently been a staunch advocate of cyclists' and pedestrians' rights and has accurately depicted the police bungling of accident investigations, our paper could do more.

As an example, DPS statistics show that in collisions where the motorist was judged to be at fault police issued citations only 35% of the time. I do not know if this is because law enforcement officials have better things to do with their time than investigate traffic accidents or whether they simply regard cyclists as fodder for motorists. I suspect the latter, as when a car recently attempted to run three other cyclists and myself off of the road, the police department would not take any action on their own, and when prompted by all cyclists involved in the incident, quoted department policy as state law, and demonstrated remarkable ignorance of the city's traffic ordinances. Your paper could be far more aggressive in pointing out the police department's evident incompetence.

Finally, as only the most sensational incidents are reported at all in the Statesman, most of their (and your) readers are probably ignorant, as was I, that cyclists are at fault in the vast majority of auto-bicycle collisions. Educating both motorists and cyclists would be simple and highly effective.

The most important piece of information to take away from all of this is that as a cyclist or pedestrian, any of us are pitifully vulnerable in any collision with an automobile. While over 70% of the cyclist victims in auto/bike collisions were injured, only 1% of the motorists in these collisions were hurt.

Let's be careful out there!

Sincerely,

John Bravenec

Crime Isn't Islamic Tradition

Dear Sir,

The hijackers of the Indian Airlines flight IC-814 now in Kandahar, Afghanistan (in Taliban country), are Pakistanis. Their identities are:

1. S. A. Qazi (Pakistani national)

2. Sayyed Akhtar Sayeed (Pakistani national)

3. Ahmed Shaikh (Pakistani national)

4. Iqbal Mistry (Pakistani national)

5. Gajendra Man Tamrakar (Nepali national, and known criminal)

6. Anwar (an Afghani)

These six hijackers have been holding more than 150 Indian nationals hostage along with one Japanese, one American, one Belgium national, one French, and six Nepali.

The international community should under the aegis of the UNO pressurize Pakistan into exercising its hold and modify its directions to the hijackers to release the innocent people.

The hijackers have been demanding the release of a Pakistani cleric in Indian prison, Maulana Masood Akhtar, who is also the general secretary of the Harkarul Ansar, the extremist group responsible for the killing of four western tourists to India in 1994-95. There have been numerous kidnappings, and killing of hostages both Indian and non-Indian for the release of Maulana Masood Akhtar, who is one of the most dreaded terrorists in Indian prisons, as per Indian records.

In this Muslim holy month of Ramadan, such hijackings, and the subsequent killing by knife of the newly married Rupin Katiyal (aged 25), thereby making his 20-year-old bride (Rachna Katiyal) a widow only 21 days after their marriage, is totally un-Islamic and deserves to be condemned from the world over.

Vishal Sharma

Mumbai, India

14-step Rant

Dear Editor:

With regard to recent news events concerning public officials and their efforts to regulate art, e.g. Mayor of New York Rudy Guliani and the Brooklyn Museum, and the UT regents' heavy-handed botching of our opportunity to have great architecture in our city, I have the urge to tell people where I find some of the real obscenities and offensive aspects of today's world as we enter the new millennium.

1. Giant U.S. flags (some tattered and faded) used blatantly as advertisements at auto dealerships and real estate developments

2. People throwing burning cigarette butts out of the windows of their cars in the middle of a drought (or anytime)

3. Air and water pollution and nuclear waste

4. The destruction of the rain forests in Latin America and the ancient hardwood forests in the U.S.

5. Using public monies to fund private school programs

6. Religious groups foisting their beliefs on others by subjecting others to their ritual ceremonies at public school events

7. The U.S. being the only industrialized nation without health insurance for all its citizens

8. A corporate executive making hundreds of millions in one year, while hundreds of workers are laid off

9. The war on drugs and the poor and indigenous peoples of Latin America for growing and exporting agricultural products they have had for centuries, while the demand for the same comes from U.S. citizens (it's also a war on these American people)

10. An otherwise law-abiding young American charged with selling a very small amount of pot shot to death by masked police when he came to the door armed with an unloaded weapon at his own home in the middle of the night

11. Gangs and their violence fueled by the easy money of the banned trade of agricultural products

12. The disproportionate number of minority citizens populating our jails and prisons, and the U.S. having the largest percentage of its citizens in prison than any other industrialized nation

13. Violence by children in our schools fueled by the hypocrisy and hysteria of the adult world and the frustrations bred by the above

14. Road rage, air rage, and workplace killings all fueled by the same hypocrisy and hysteria of this "modern' world.

I do not use drugs, but I do vote,

Sincerely,

Cass Hook


Stop This Fascist Bill

Dear Austin Chronicle,

I am sure (I hope) you are aware of the bill that sailed through the House this past year, on a 140-0 vote, which would have made it a crime to disseminate any information concerning marijuana over the Internet; and which was withdrawn from consideration by the Senate after widespread protest from both liberal and conservative groups alike due to its disregard for the First Amendment.

Perhaps you are not aware that another, even more extensive, version of this was introduced by Orrin Hatch and Dianne Feinstein and cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee on August 5. This has now been quietly slipped into Senate Bill 486, the DEFEAT Methamphetamine Act (aka The Methamphetamine Anti-Proliferation Act of 1999) and stands a very good chance of becoming law when the Senate returns next month. (Who's going to vote against anything directed against meth?)

If this is approved, and Senate support for it is steadily growing, it would make writing an article or book concerning marijuana, even if it focused entirely on the medical marijuana issue, or concerning any other illicit drug, or any publication which concerns paraphernalia, its sales or manufacture, a federal crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

This law does not simply include written material and the Internet but also specifically includes any private oral and telephone conversations as well as any written private correspondence sent through the U.S. Postal Service.

This also includes any Web site operators who include such information or links to sites containing such information, even if strictly educational in nature.

Simply having a link on your Web site to another site that advertises paraphernalia or instructs in the making of a water pipe would be punishable by three years in prison. (Meaning a person who did both could receive a 13-year sentence in a federal penitentiary.)

Even writing a newspaper article, if it includes a Web address for a site which links to a company selling water pipes, would be punishable by imprisonment.

It is amazing that Americans just sit back and do nothing while people like Ms. Feinstein and Mr. Hatch attempt to run roughshod over what little is left of the Bill of Rights. I guess so long as they've got their sticky green bud why should they worry?

(My thanks to lawyer Richard Glen Boire for making me aware of this.)

K. Trout


All I Want for Christmas

Dear Niño Dios:

Because I've been good all year, I want you to bring me this Navidad a big piñata for all the kids in my barrio. I want to find, inside the UT oranges, the simple flesh that has been produced here over the centuries, and pluck out the complicated seeds. The AISD apple must be peeled to expose the hardworking core, so we can enjoy its pulp. Do away with the cascarones called city buses. Discard all cacahuates or peanuts (cops) that come from big cities; they've never tasted good here. Try not to stuff candies from California or New York; they'll melt easily in this heat, and will cause brain damage to us. Don't put no mandarinas in it; the Chinese don't want them, why should we? Pecans, lots of pecans; the brown and dusty ones grown here with no diseases. This year, we've tried to scrub the media grime off our charms and we want to put them inside too. Some guys in black, swinging this tinajita from way too far, are willing to let go of the rope, and in doing so, it might hurt some of us; so, it must be wrapped up heavily with our ancestors' colored paper to cushion its fall. We don't intend to whack it, but rather carry it back to its noble past, so we can all enjoy the goodies inside, one at a time. May the Texas Heat take care of those ripping it apart, for profit.

Paul Aviña


Run Ralph Run

Editor:

Ralph Nader for President!

Named by Life magazine as one of the 100 most influential Americans of the 20th century. Defender of the working class. Founder of Public Citizen -- the nation's largest consumer advocacy organization. A constant critic of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and corporate irresponsibility. Former presidential candidate for the Green Party. He cannot be bought off by Big-Buc special interests and fat-cat campaign donors. There is no other person even remotely qualified to be president!

Run Ralph Run

PO Box 19405

Washington, DC 20036

http://www.Nader2k.org

John Cassella

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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Our readers talk back.

July 9, 2004

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A plethora of environmental concerns are argued in this week's letters to the editor.

March 31, 2000

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