Nader No Lost Cause
When I encounter someone comfortable among the dead, in this case the two-party system, I smell cynicism. Anyone who's read about Nader knows about the Green Party. No platform? The party itself is a platform. They work for peace, grassroots democracy, social and economic justice and, above all, ecologically sustainable society. They support fair trade and the people's movement that began in Seattle. The Greens, in 76 countries, are a global party, with 72 elected U.S. officials.
To quote from Against All Odds: The Transformation of American Politics by John Rensenbrink. "... success is measured not in terms of winning the presidency but by developing and supporting the power of the grassroots; and its impact on the constellation of powers and the policies pursued by society. In mounting national campaigns, the Greens may be able to get people to see things in a new light. Changing the 'pictures in our heads,' as Walter Lippmann called those fundamental perceptions people have about the world, is a critical element in ending the monopoly of the oligarchy and turning society in a new direction. Nader talks about reshaping the political terrain and making it once again a home for truth-tellers, plain speakers, freedom seekers, and leaders in solidarity with the needs of ordinary people everywhere."
Uh, Robert Bryce, that part about Cicero being a sucker for lost causes ["Naturally Nader," April 7]?!? And a loser for being killed for it? Does that make Jesus Christ a lost cause? Or Gandhi, Lincoln?
I sincerely invite you, as you drive down your road to Damascus, to take this opportunity to open your mind/heart. Change can only be made when a new vision takes precedence in our imaginations. Reach higher. Ask for more!
Help the Green Machine
In Robert Bryce's April 7 article about Ralph Nader's presidential campaign ["Naturally Nader"], Nader says that getting on the ballot in Texas "should be child's play." He may be right, but I want your readers to know that we can still use all the volunteer help we can get!!! We're about three weeks into this petition drive and we've still got a long way to go before we reach our goal of 57,000 signatures by the end of May. To help put Ralph Nader and other Green Party candidates on the ballot in Texas, please call Adrienne Boerr in Austin at 587-7354. For more information about the Green Party of Texas, please visit our Web site at http://www.txgreens.org.
Green Party of Texas
Triangle Dispute Continues
I would like to thank Lee Nichols for a well-written and fair article concerning my termination from The Texas Triangle ["Media Clips," April 7].
But I do take issue with the Triangle's publisher and his selective, albeit purposefully, short-sighted memomory: Todd Cunningham, you know very well that on Feb. 12 I called you to tell you my final paycheck bounced. You agreed to write me another check, which you did, and cancel the check that was returned unpaid. Saying you did not know anything about my check being returned is a lie and very poor judgment on your part.
Todd Cunningham, if your paper is having no money problems, then why do you complain to your employees all the time that you don't get a paycheck? And why do you have such a problem keeping a sales staff if your paper is bigger, better, and making more money than ever?
You can categorically deny the problems of your business all you want, but the fact of the matter is this: You are trying to run a turn-of-the century business with Nineties-era equipment, an Eighties-era management attitude ("everybody's replaceable") and a Seventies-era budget. If the Triangle is truly bigger and better for now, you can thank the Clinton economy, not your hit-and-mismanagement.
Under your leadership, the state's paper for gays and lesbians is more tainted than ever; if the paper does have integrity, it's a good thing -- because you don't.
Perhaps it would be best if you left Texas and returned to your native Oklahoma, where you can take courses in courage and corporate management and lip-sync "Fancy" at the nearest trailor outside Tulsa. At least there, maybe they'd care to know your name.
Stephen R. Underwood
Austin electronic music does exist, and it is growing. I have lived here long enough to know that you have dabbled in it a few times, cautiously, as if testing the water, and not really wanting to dive in at all. Bands that are internationally known in the electronic circles: Mentallo and the Fixer, Numeralia, Terminal 46, (and of course I shamelessly name my own band, 'cause if I don't, who will?) Lucid Dementia, Control, and Machine in the Garden, to name a few, are hardly known in their own hometown. I once spent part of an evening speaking with the singer from Front 242, and he told me he thought Mentallo was from Germany. Wow. Austin Chronicle, where are you? Electronic musicians of Austin are calling: "We're here! We're here! We're here!"
I read your newspaper every week almost religiously, even after I found out that you would ignore me, upon releasing my first album with Lucid Dementia, Twisted. Two times I personally came by, and dropped off a carefully created press kit for review. I left messages and numerous phone numbers for your critics to call if any further information was needed, and never got so much as a peep. Week after week you review records that are not even from Texas, how about giving us Austin bands a little more attention? Why not review every single Austin artist that puts forth the effort of releasing a CD themselves?
All this makes me tired, oh well. Guess what? Lucid Dementia is releasing a second CD, and, as you are my favorite newspaper, I have every intention of submitting it for critique as I did the last one. Persistence and a little lunacy will always keep me coming back for more.
Sheldon Reynolds of Lucid Dementia
I read your article on traveling in Asia ["Adventures in Backpacking," March 24]. I found it to be very "awakening." It's a privilege to read the work of such a "talented" writer. Although, I think at times you can be rather mean, insensitive, and judgmental toward things and people you may not fully understand. Oh well, myself as well.
Please take the advice of one who has experience with this. Be careful because you may totally devastate some undeserving soul. It's not a very pretty sight.
Once again, it is a privilege to read the work of such a talented writer. Peace and happy trails.
In the March 31 "Dancing About Architecture," Ken Lieck writes, "'My heart's always been [in Austin],' proclaims Kozik, countering the Frank Sinatra standard."
Anyone who writes about music should know that "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" is Tony Bennett and not Frank Sinatra. Not a big deal, unless you're supposed to be a professional music journalist.
No wonder the Chronicle jazz reviews are so amateurish.
Although I find your authority on the matter somewhat suspect, I do appreciate your having brought to my notice the fact that April 11 is apparently Eight-Track Day ["Need a Holiday," April 7]. However, I do take great offense at the unfortunate pun on p. 81. I take exception to the intimation that 8-tracks are just another box to check on a list of Seventies kitsch. Mind you, they were born in the Sixties and died in the Eighties. More to the point, however, they are not cheese. They remain to this day the most versatile and best-sounding audio format ever mass marketed on a wide scale.
I defy any woman, man, child, beast, or combination thereof to declare my 8-track hoard "cheese" upon personal inspection. And furthermore, I challenge anyone fool enough to bring their fancy pants CD player and their puny CDs over to put my 8Ts to the test. I guarantee, you will leave with your tail between your legs, you rogue, all too aware that it is you who are drowning in a sea of Velveeta.
Using an argument that rests on evolutionary principles, some smugly point to the demise of the format as proof of its inferiority. Yeah, well, they crucified Jesus too, now didn't they!!!
Paul M. Evans
Rant 'n Roll
First, before I get too carried away with my rant, I applaud your efforts to promote the sport of skateboarding ["SK8 Baby SK8," April 7]. Even more positive is your recognition of the women trying to gain respect in a male-dominated sport and business.
Now, on to my rant: Once again, The Austin Chronicle has overlooked a significant part of the Austin skating scene, Intellect Rollers Realm (aka Intellect Ramp Ranch). Why is that? Is it because we have never advertised with your paper (as has Blondies -- oops, Tekgnar)? If so, quick, have an advertising rep contact us! Perhaps favorable journalism can be gained through the modest fees associated with a 4" by 21é2" ad (such as seen on page 72 of last week's Chronicle). Is it because we are not of the establishment that in turn gets both flaming scorn (as does Kirk Watson and the City Council) and gushing praise (as does the Austin PARD)? No, sorry, we're not interested in being two-faced! Or, is it because we are not associated with a local church (as is John Newberry and the Calvary Chapel)? No, sorry again, we welcome all faiths equally and do not force our religious beliefs down anyone's throat.
Oh, I of deluded mind had hoped that journalists doggedly researched their stories and looked for all sides to a story. That clearly is not the case with the recent feature by Ms. Muscio. This now becomes the second major piece by The Austin Chronicle that has blatantly left out references to our business (the first being "Saturday Night Live," by Kayte VanScoy Oct. 2, 1998). In that first article, the Chronicle's love affair with Blondies (and Mayor Watson) blinded you to the impact that our business has had on the local skating scene. You ignore what we have accomplished in favor of your own agenda. Why would you recommend that parking structures be turned into after-hours skate parks sponsored (paid for) by the city? Are you in favor of the government competing with local business? I don't want my tax dollars spent that way! Furthermore, you spread false information by implying that only skateboarders get tickets skating downtown. The fact is that both Inliners and BMX riders have received tickets for the same non-crime! However, I digress so back to the issue of "facts."
Lonestar Skatepark was not the first skate park in Austin. That honor would go to Wet and Wild, opened 10 years prior to Ms. Peavy's business. (I would be happy to supply references to your paper.) We detest the tone that Ms. Peavy uses in the sidebar about her. "We haven't sold out!" referring to her business' decision not to sell roller blades. What crap! True, she does not sell roller blades, but she does currently sell Fox Clothing, a brand favored by the BMX sport enthusiast and other items that would not be considered "hard core" skating items. On the other hand, we (IRR) are an In-line, Skateboard and BMX business. We do not exclude one sport over the other, nor do we have illusions of our purpose. (Unlike Blondies, who supports the PARD skate park that excludes BMX.) We are a business, just like Ms. Peavy's Blondies. She profits from her support of the skateboard scene, just as we do. However, we do not profit as much! Product for product, we sell for more than 10% less! Now who's the sell-out? Furthermore, The Austin Chronicle has assisted Ms. Peavy in the derision of our business. While she was located at a previous address, she frequently advertised the bands playing at her establishment in your paper. In those same ads, she would take pot shots at our business by displaying the banner "Stop Profit Parks." Please, whose agenda are you supporting?
Loretta and David Martin
Owners, Intellect Rollers Realm
A Taxing Situation
In the fuss over the Austin Independent School District's financial problems, we are dodging an obvious way to save millions of dollars by notifying the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) of illegal alien students. Their education costs Texas taxpayers about $2.4 million per day, and Austin bears a large share of that. INS has the legal power to remove them reasonably and compassionately to their own schools and countries through due process of law, but they must know who they are and where they are.
School officials know who has no birth certificate, Social Security number, or immigration documents. They don't have to be policemen or experts on immigration law. They already have that information, but they don't tell. Concealing that information is aiding and abetting a crime in addition to soaking the taxpayers.
Road to Nowhere
Thanks for publishing my letter ["Postmarks," March 31] and correcting the map that showed the nonexistent (and much-needed) segment of Escarpment Blvd.; I've since found the same mistake on published maps going back as far as 1996. How long this misrepresentation of the true nature of Circle C has been perpetuated is not clear, but it is still ongoing in most circles.
Unfortunately, your map bearing the correction bears in itself yet another inaccuracy which indicates a much better flow of traffic in the area than actually exists. Davis Lane does not cut over to FM 1826, although if it did it would certainly help the flow of traffic in that area. (The MapQuest maps don't contain this error either.) The map you published also shows two small roads that cut over from the Circle C northern subdivision to non-Circle C subdivisions, but even this circuitous connection between Circle C and the rest of Austin does not exist as far as I've been able to tell from actually traveling these roads. From where do this inaccuracies arise? Where is this misinformation originating, and to what end? We are supposed to be living in an era when accurate information is readily at hand via the Internet, but all too often that just isn't the case. And even worse, such distorted imagery of the world we live in is being used to decide just how we will make the decisions that affect generations to come, as is the case with the recent debates over extending MoPac.
Thanks again for allowing me to rant a bit about the Orwellian nightmare of being told by various news sources and supposed authorities that roads exist where I know good and well they don't. And better luck to you in the future in finding accurate maps for your publication.
May peace find you on your journey ...
Paris, Rome, & Austin
Austin's Smart Growth initiative, as applied to downtown, aims to make downtown more densely populated and full of pedestrians, like a European city. The famous European capitals were built before cars were invented. They worked well without cars. When cars appeared, some European cities allowed them downtown, and some didn't. Some European cities (e.g. Venice, Italy, and Zagreg, Croatia) have always had car-free centers. Others (e.g. Paris and Rome) have allowed cars everywhere.
The cities of Paris and Rome recently decided to ban cars from their centers. The main reason for this action is the terrible smog produced by many cars packed densely together. France and Italy, traditional worshippers of racecars, are now experimenting with nationwide car-free days. They're starting to see that cars are ruining their cities.
Here in Austin, people are planning to make downtown denser, but with cars everywhere. We will spend lots of money and fill our downtown with parking garages, in order to move more cars in and out. If the plan is successful, downtown Austin will come to resemble the smoggy, car-clogged centers of Paris and Rome. Then we can spend more money to move the cars out of downtown.
Isn't this a bit silly? Why not plan a car-free downtown now, instead of 20 years from now? If we must have parking garages, build them outside downtown and run a tram line or a Dillo to take motorists from their cars to downtown. Don't fill downtown with parking garages.
Downtown can be clean, pleasant, car-free, and pleasant to walk in. Or downtown can be hot, smoggy, and full of cars. We have choices. Let's choose wisely.
Drivin' With Deborah
My name is Deborah "Racine" Goode. I have been driving a taxi for seven years in the Austin area (mostly known by way of the airport). You would be doing me (and my biz) a great favor by adding to your Best of Austin list "Best Taxi."
I really do not like tooting my own horn, but my individualism, image, and income are at risk. I have not pressed promoting myself so publicly before now, because of privacy issues.
Although I feel very much the fun/fearless female, I desire my reputation with the public as being of the healing nature.
I am a mother/grandmother and creative woman trying to save the old Texas homestead.
Thank you for your time/efforts.
Deborah Racine Goode
P.S. Daring to be different!
P.P.S. An original.
Mayor Kirk Watson attends a conference in Jerusalem, many of the professors at UT went there before they were who they are, your police chief joins in at the Jewish Community Center already full of personalities partying around a presidential candidate and a railroad commissioner, your governor had to travel there before getting pumped up for the presidency. Do you think I should pack up all my neighbors -- blacks, browns, and Anglos -- and take them to work in a kibbutz out there, so we can get access to top-paid jobs, education, and health care here in Austin?
Tobacco, Handguns, Nurses
In case, as in 1950, tobacco and handguns are not forbidden, then likely a GAO accounting on kindergartens and children's hospitals.
At one time California dropped RN BS colleges of nursing, and in Texas, at least, in 1950, at old pediatrics at old Brackenridge Hospital, charge nurse posts were held by non-college graduates or diploma nurses, in Austin, 1950, when I was a student nurse at Brackenridge Hospital, Austin, when Edith Turner RN was nurse director. Lansing Thorne MD was maybe pediatric chief of staff back then, 1950.
Mrs. Alice Lavene Kennedy Spooner
Okay, okay! Uncle! Uncle!
Please, we implore you (the media): no more Elian Gonzalez updates! Stop it, you maniacs, and leave the little raisined-sack shaver alone. Stop exploiting and spoiling this child like a bunch of pimps. Has the lust for ratings become so bad that you have to pick on a child involved in a situation that really concerns only his family and some friends? The coverage of this story has gotten even more out of control than the "Baby Jessica's stuck in a well" story we got hammered with many years ago.
Wouldn't this story -- upon its conclusion -- been more appropriately printed inside the third or fourth page of the local or national newspaper? Couldn't the lawyers representing both parties resolve this case quietly in a courtroom? I shudder to think how much damage the media has already inflicted on the young boy's psyche. What will Elian be like after the cameras have stopped rolling and all the public's blind sympathy and adoration come to an abrupt end? If he gets sent back to Cuba, the party will truly be over for Elian.
Alas, the manipulative media, more than ever before, have made the private lives of citizens public domain. Now, the news is akin to the rowdy spectacles one sees on all those awful talk shows that trash the airwaves. Flat stories become inflated and balloon out to be much more important than they really are for the sake of creating "drama" for the targeted "dumb-downed" American television viewers.
Can the media now get past this lame little tale and gravitate toward the issues that concern most, if not all of us?
Join the Media Circus
Can six-year-olds make their own decisions? Sure, there are some six-year-olds that would be happy to run away with the circus -- come to think of it, that's what little Elian has done!