A tawdry Kelsonian cababble.
LCRA Servicing Developers
Thanks for Rob D'Amico's article on LCRA's proposed Bee Caves-to-Dripping Springs water line ["High and Dry," June 2]. There are a few points that need clarification. The bottom line is LCRA's project is designed for developers, not current rural residents. LCRA's alleged plan to serve only 7,000 residences is contradicted by their own studies planning for over 20,000 connections. The physical capacity of a 24-inch diameter line matched with big pumps and large storage tanks would serve even more development. The initial line is only phase one of a much larger project.
In short, LCRA is proposing to convert northern Hays County from rural to suburban under the guise of a water emergency. By refusing immediate help with readily available, small-scale rural solutions, LCRA hopes to accomplish several goals: pit urban and rural residents against each other, dodge meaningful consideration of alternatives, and build the line before folks realize the real purpose of the project and its consequences for roads, traffic, schools, taxes, the environment, and quality of life.
Mr. D'Amico misquotes me as suggesting that restricting utility extensions is not desirable. The first lesson every developer learns is that without roads, water, and sewer, you don't have a viable urban project. Conversely, if one favors keeping an area largely undeveloped, then publicly subsidized roads, water, and sewer utilities should be directed to other preferred growth areas. This key strategy is at the heart of the Austin Tomorrow Plan, the Barton Springs Scientific Consensus Paper, and Austin's Smart Growth strategy.
Unfortunately, LCRA is more interested in servicing developers than supporting the overwhelming will of both rural and urban residents to protect the beautiful Barton Creek and Onion Creek watersheds from the ravages of suburban sprawl.
Chief Counsel, SOS Alliance
Thanks for the quotations from Downtown Commission chair Robert Knight ["Center of Gravity," May 26]. We who try to make a living here (as opposed to making a killing on real estate) need to know our downtown leaders. Chairman Knight says that small shops "lacking department store anchors aren't considered sustainable models." Apparently he hasn't been to Sixth and Lamar, South Congress, or Central Market within the last 10 years. He suggests that the suburban-mall model (the model that got us into this sprawl mess, destroyed downtown retail, and bankrupted national department stores after the savings and loan debacle) should be applied to downtown.
His notion of "real-world experience" amounts to investment and financing formulas that have nothing to do with buying and selling goods to the general public and everything to do with funneling profits out of the local economy. Ask any local business owner who was forced to change a mall shop's hours of operation or inventory to suit the whims of a faltering anchor store's management, only to lose the shop's lease to another chain. The dealmaker who secured the incentives to build the mall has long since vanished with his percentage of the take. The Chronicle needs to stop identifying these speculators as "the business community" and letting them speak for retailers.
By the way, for those who share Chairman Knight's computer illiteracy, "fuzzy logic" is not the same as "fuzzy thinking." Fuzzy logic involves algorithms that pose their own hypotheses and test them -- an extremely powerful problem-solving tool.
Who appointed Knight?
[Ed. note: The quotations that Lorraine Atherton attributes to Robert Knight above were actually paraphrases made by the article's author, and were not presented as direct quotations in the original article.]
Antone Is Community Servant
When your Ken Lieck recently wrote about the sentencing of Clifford Antone["Dancing About Architecture," June 2], he mentioned that, in addition to his prison time, Clifford must also perform 5 additional years of "community service."
It seems to me that "community service" is exactly what this man has been doing for Austin for the last 25 years. Who else has done as much for this city's music community over the previous quarter-century?
Clifford Antone is a national treasure. The government should be subsidizing him instead of imprisoning him.
Stop the Swearing
Dear Mr. Black:
Just a note to say I echo the sentiments of Eric McKinney who wrote objecting to a reviewer's use of the so-called "f"-word. Thank you.
Light Rail Solution
In last week's letters, Robert P. Gerstenberg complains that the current light rail proposal for Austin is nothing but "the new nuke" being forced on a fearful public by big dollars and heavy hitters in a closed and secret forum ["Postmarks," June 2]. These claims may make for a good scare and easy reading, but the straw man that he builds and then proceeds to knock down is just that: empty straw. There have been numerous open forums for the public to attend and be heard. I have attended several. All one has to do is keep an eye on the local news media or visit Cap Met's Web site to find out about these numerous forums. As to the claim that big money big hitters are foisting rail on an unsuspecting public, I would advise Mr. Gerstenberg to do a little research. He will find grassroots organizations forming that support light rail in Austin. No big money movers and shakers; just concerned citizens who know that light rail can be a crucial part of our region's overall mobility solution.
Member, Light Rail Now!
Anti-Light Rail in the U.S.
The letter headed "Light Rail: The New Nuke?" ["Postmarks," June 2] is right on.
For those who want to see a list of the cities that have voted on light rail, both for and against (mostly against), along with the actual votes, go to the Web site: www.publicpurpose.com/ut-railv.htm.
Werner J. Severin
Disallow Transportation Allowance
I have a question: Why do City Council members get a transportation allowance? With all of Austin's traffic and air pollution problems, would it not be wiser to give them bus passes? That would get seven cars off the road and if our City Council feels the bus does not get them where they need to go, maybe they will change our bus system so it will become more functional.
Stop Amy's Epistles
I enjoyed Lisa N. Collins' letter ["Postmarks," June 2], and I agree with her. In fact, the only thing in your paper more at odds with reality than Amy Babich's pseudo-nurturing, overly earnest, and relentlessly tedious faux-Pauline epistles to the unredeemed Corinthians of Austin is the doctored photo of the female kickboxer in the Power Kickbox ad.
The entire tone of "Postmarks" has gone down into a tawdry Kelsonian cababble. What happened to the good old days when important issues were discussed, like the pros and cons of using cloth tampons?