Readers take us (and each other) to task over mistaken identites and misguided ideas.

Count Down

To the Chronicle:

I wish that your recent article on the census ["Count Me In," Feb. 11] had drawn more direct lines between the census populations and the benefits they derive from the funding.

With respect to the homeless (a hard-to-numerate population of service-resistant individuals), most of the funding will go to support MHMR "counselors" trying to talk homeless people into accepting the encampment ordinance, and social service "caseworkers" encouraging the homeless to get two jobs (they still won't be able to pay the rent) and a spouse (to move up in the assistance priority lists as a "family"). Beyond that, additional funding will be used to "implement" a community court to induce the homeless to "cooperate" with the MHMR and social service workers.

The city and Census Bureau shouldn't "count" on our signing up for this.


Kirk Becker

Death Before GOP


Jeeeez!!!! Quite by accident I stumbled across your listing in The Austin Chronicle, obtained from Texans for Public Justice, of Shrub Bush's "Pioneers" -- that collection of well-heeled corporatists who are funneling him all that dough to make sure he'll take care of the "important" folks if he's elected President ["Pioneer Spirit," July 30]. On that list was one "Roger G. Williams" of Dallas, associated specifically with our law firm, Wilson, Williams & Molberg, P.C.

What an embarrassment! Guys, it ain't the "real" Roger G. Williams, for God's sake. We're Gore people here. Roger, my partner of 20 years, actively supported Bill Clinton in both presidential races and attended both of his inaugurations. Roger is originally from Little Rock. He took his wife and kids with him to Washington, D.C., to see it all. I did, too. I worked for Al Gore in 1988 and am currently helping organize the Dallas area for him. The "real" Roger G. Williams, a trial lawyer, happens to be on the Gore list -- unless you know something I don't know. You have to understand, our view here is much like that of our late friend and former state representative Bill Kugle of Athens, buried in the state cemetery, whose epitaph reads: "Never voted for a Republican and had little to do with them."

From what I have heard, the "other" Roger Williams -- the one who has raised so much for this empty suit of a candidate -- is a car dealer who lives somewhere in the area. He's probably a decent fellow, but misguided. My guess about this whole travesty is that some Republican flunky simply filled in the wrong information on one of G.W.'s finance reports, although it is also imaginable that it is conspiracy designed to compel us all here at the law firm to leap out the second-story window -- the highest one we've got.

As the former longtime chair of the Dallas County Democratic Party, the ranking member of the State Democratic Executive Committee, and the guy who saw your article within minutes of returning from the taping of a television show where I was speaking for the vice-prez, I'm not sure I can sleep tonight -- let alone explain this horrific slander to my wife and four pitiful young children. I also must quickly get into the next office and attempt to revive my law partner.

Please, please correct this embarrassing situation. We have spent years cultivating our reputations. This is worse than my mother having to tell her Baptist deacon father in the 1940s that she was going to marry a Catholic.

Ken Molberg

Wilson, Williams & Molberg, P.C.


Bring on Birth

Miss, Madam, or Sir,

Since overpopulation could go to germ warfare, and slight miscalculations, not 75% mortality of the human race where records were kept 1340 to 1360 but possibly maybe since no one has been Neanderthal lately, possibly next an extinct species like T. rex, a larger dinosaur, Tyrannosaurus rex.

Therefore as in the U.S. before 1950, again birth bringers such as ergot earlier sold commercially in Texas 1949 as Lydia Pinkham could and rightly should return for sale across the counter to 12-year-olds, and without prescription, or without asking some LVN, or RN nor yet an MD.

In evolution, a 12-year-old girl is a young adult, and just as a 35-year-old woman would not need to ask some woman over 55 years of age, just so as in Texas, in 1949, a 12-year-old as a younger adult does not need to ask some other woman.

In 1950 and 1951, as a young woman I worked on obstetrics at the city-owned hospital, Brackenridge Hospital, when I was a young woman of 22 years and 23 years of age.

In the last 3,000 years of history recorded in alphabetic languages, about 50% or 75% of reforms instituted are dropped in 20 or 80 years, or the 1949 move to put ergot as a birth-bringer on prescription can 50 years later in 2000 or 60 years later in 2010 be dropped. Also paragoric, a mild opiate sold across the counter in 1949 could again be sold without Rx, in maybe 2000 or 2010.

Mrs. Alice Kennedy Spooner

Black, White, & Blues


The blues might be color-blind, but Margaret Moser apparently isn't. When she notes in her Feb. 4 article "The Cruise," how bassist Yoggi Musgrove's greeting "diffuses (sic?) the alarm that was almost palpable as his large ("very black," Moser notes) self boarded the small vessel," it seems she is describing her racial feelings and presenting them as general. I suppose the reaction may, sadly, be a common one, but I wish Moser had been more reflective before presenting her racial reaction in such a casual way, which made it seem normal and acceptable.

Paulette Delahoussaye

Hendryx Pipes Up


While I am pleased to see a review of the new Silver Thistle bagpipe band record in the same column (February 4) as such luminaries as the Coffee Sergeants (hi, Mike, Carey; miss you guys), I must ask Margaret Moser to be more careful with her nomenclature. My last name is Hendryx, not "Kendryx," which is of some importance if you're trying to earn a few bob as a professional musician, especially on something as arcane as the Great Highland Bagpipe. Please proofread more carefully in the future, lest an irritable bagpiper appear beneath your bedroom window early on a Sunday morning. (It's not as funny as it sounds.) And yes, that story is true -- the Silver Thistle (nee Austin Highlanders) Pipes and Drums does date its founding to Sean Connery's birthday, 1977, when my wearing of the kilt caused a fateful meeting with noted Dallas piper Patrick Regan. He, I, and a few other mainly UT pipers started Austin's first Scottish pipe band, with Regan as pipe-major. Current pipe-major Ken Liechti has done an admirable job in maintaining the traditions of classical piping while introducing new musical elements, such as the "Samba Thistle" Scottish-Brazilian fusion. Thanks for the recognition and the opportunity to make a correction.

Millennium Piper to Sandra Bullock,

Kevin Hendryx

[Margaret Moser replies: I double-checked my source, which was the liner notes. The liner notes say "Kevin Kendryx," so I do believe the slap on the wrist goes to both the proofreader for the notes as well as any former band members who read them and let them pass without correction.

I take great pride in covering the local Celtic and Gaelic bands and in getting the information right, so while I accept your correction and will note it for the future, I am not the source of the error.]

Save the Animals


As touching as Margaret Moser's story of her two new puppies ["Little Darlings," Feb. 4] may be, it is distressing to read of another Austinite unwittingly supporting the Central Texas puppy mill industry. This past Christmas was the worst on record, as dozens of pickups lined the sides of Highways 71 and 290 each weekend, the tailgates loaded with crates of canines produced in squalid, factory-style kennels, from baby Rottweilers to Taco Bell tikes. We can look forward to more of the same in the near future, as breeders eagerly anticipate an impulsive surge in demand for polka-dotted pups when the Disney sequel 102 Dalmations hits movie screens.

Sadly, most of these pet purchases do not translate into lifetime pet relationships. It's ironic that while Americans spend more money on pets than any society in the world, our commitments to animals fail as frequently as our marriages. Most of these dogs and cats wind up dumped at shelters within two years' time, where 65% to 85% of them are euthanized for want of homes -- that includes "pure" breeds, which make up about 30% of the shelter population at any one time.

Compounding the problem is the steadfast refusal of pet owners to have their animals spayed and neutered, despite the many documented health benefits, and the fact that only four of every 50 animals currently born will ever find lifetime homes, regardless of their status as purebreeds or mixed breeds. Starting in March, darling little kittens and puppies just like Margaret's will be dropped off the shelter by area pet owners who refused to have their adult animals sterilized. Fact: These little innocents will be euthanized at the rate of 75 to 100 per day.

Please folks, if you truly love and respect animals, do the right thing -- adopt from the city shelter or one of the many nonprofit area rescue organizations -- and please, please spay/neuter your pets, regardless of where they came from.

Mary Thurston

Animal Trustees of Austin

Count Out Corruption!

Dear Editor, Apartment Renter, and Austin Election Committee,

The title of the front page [Feb. 11] is "Everyone Counts. Census 2000."

Well, I really believe you should fill out the census report, but do you think everyone counts to Mayor Watson or Gov. Bush?

OK, 93% of Austin voters did not vote in the last City Council election and 80% did not vote for Gov. Bush. Well, the City Council members kill every affordable apartment; a person would be a fool to vote for any of them. That is like voting to raise your own rent. Even a casual request or discussion will reveal why people do not vote. Ask them on a bus, in a focus group, and they say, "they are all crooks."

This last week, one City Council member was sentenced in Dallas to 237 years in federal prison for taking a little money through the years taking what this City Council and governor would call campaign contributions to get things passed. Federal investigators took him out.

Well, the federal investigators are moving this way it seems. Since we the 80% reject these candidates and many times the other party candidate is no better, can we write in our vote like was originally done?

I want to write in Gore for president and McCain for vice-president. McCain had to go to federal court in New York to get his name on ballot.

I believe it is against federal law for the Austin election system to refuse to do what normal cities do and not count write-in votes, and it seems McCain agrees. Look, I am exhausted with the all the federal violations in the elections in this state and city.

Obviously the voting system does not count everyone's vote, therefore everyone does not count.

Frank Bartlett

Responsible Execution


I think the title "Irresponsible Response" does a good job of summarizing the comments from Kim Comstock ["Postmarks," Feb. 11]. The authority of my comment, on the self-induced, drug-related mental problems for Robison, came from a major news media broadcast. I will grant that some of what you hear on the media is less than authoritative. However, I would remind K. Comstock, that though everything is not black and white, it is not a totally gray world we live in either. Trying to blame the system for the criminal activities of Robison is naive. I suspect Comstock also follows the line that the jails and prisons are full of the innocent and everyone inside is a victim. It would be interesting to see if Comstock had been one of Robison's neighbors, if he/she would have this same attitude. Maybe Comstock could have helped Robison see the error of his ways and helped him become a productive member of society. The possibilities are endless. Bottom line -- the system did take responsibility for the murder of five people by executing Robison. These five were individuals that had the right to live in this world and enjoy the joys and responsibilities of that existence. They should be the object of your concern.


Charles Jones


More Roads = More Traffic


The SH 130 hype roars on. The President and CEO of the Austin Chamber of Commerce, Mark Hazelwood, in a letter to the editor of the Austin American-RealEstatesman says, "The most immediate challenge is relieving congestion on Interstate 35 by building Texas 130."

Time for some facts. A November 1998 report issued by the Surface Transportation Policy Project looking at 15 years of data provided by the Texas Transportation Institute (The TTI is associated with that wildly liberal Texas university Texas A&M) taken from 70 cities including Austin titled "An Analysis of the Relationship Between Highway Expansion and Congestion in Metropolitan Areas: Lessons from the 15-Year Texas Transportation Institute Study" is quoted below:

"The time has come for transportation officials to stop making congestion-relief claims to bolster highway proposals. Not only has road construction proven to be an ineffective congestion-relief strategy, but it is an expensive one as well. -- Our analysis of the 15 years of data contained in TTI's study on congestion in 70 metro areas adds to the growing body of evidence that tells us that highway construction is an ineffective means of managing congestion. In fact, numerous studies indicate that highway construction often generates more traffic, raising congestion levels." (see

If you believe that supporters of SH 130, realtors, bankers, builders, and chambers of commerce, are interested in reducing traffic congestion, they have some land in eastern Travis County they'd like to sell you. Not one more road.

James E. Burnside

Is Cupid Elitist?

Dear Chronicle,

This is an appeal from just one of your dozens of readers to pleez stop printing the ads by the "It's Just Lunch" dating service. As a working class college dropout I find these ads not only personally offensive but blatantly discriminatory. "It's Just Lunch" is an exclusive and arrogantly elitist business who, from their own propaganda, only serve "professionals" and "well-educated" people. They go on and on in their ads about hooking up career-obsessed and overworked yuppies with like-minded folk. Is this really a culture that we want to encourage? People who have better social skills with a keyboard than they do with another human? Please -- It's bad enough that these "higher-income" and "well-educated" are busy remodeling downtown to their liking and forcing poor people and people of color out of East and South Austin by buying everything in sight. Now I get to open the Chronicle every week and see their sad attempts at getting laid by strangers, "well-educated" and "professional" as they may be.

This is a plea from those of us on the other side of the class spectrum -- those of us who build their homes and apartments, ring them up at the supermarket, and who deliver their mail. We are the janitors and ass-wipers of a system which, more and more, makes their lives easier while making ours more difficult and restrictive. I ask, nay, I demand that the Chronicle stop carrying these ridiculous pleas for affection from the well-to-do, wannabe "royalty" of Austin.

Let them have their silly little Web sites, but give the people the print media back! °Ya basta!

"I don't want to do what the rich are doing. I don't want to go where the rich are going." -- The Clash

Thank you!

Michael Bakunin

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