Our readers talk back.
Rebutting G-Town's Lyda
Council Member Lyda maintains his vivid imagination accusing The Austin Chronicle of being one-sided in their coverage of recent Georgetown political events ["Georgetown Recalls -- and Recollects," Nov. 16]. Numerous articles and editorials have documented the behavior and activities of Mr. Lyda and other council members, presenting all sides of the issues affecting Georgetown. They have had ample opportunity to give their side of the issues to the same reporters.
Council Member Lyda is misinformed on our activities in Huntsville. Nothing unusual here. We brought the idea of applying for a Housing Infrastructure Grant (not the Texas Capital Fund -- not even close) to pay for some of the off-site costs for the city of Huntsville. No dollars are going to our project -- just saving the taxpayers of Huntsville dollars and getting some of their federal tax money back. Something Mr. Lyda opposes for the taxpayers of Georgetown.
Mr. Lyda questioned why no one showed at the "fourth" public meeting. We showed at the three others and heard the same personal attacks and received no real answers.
I am not sure what "private corporation" Council Member Lyda is referring to when talking about the water park. The city of Georgetown had a 30-day cancellation clause on its contract with the Georgetown Industrial Foundation. I was reminded of that fact by various city staff and council members quite often. I understood the City Council had control. The 4B Corp. was formed by the City Council who appointed the members and the city manager was the executive director. This is the same 4B Corporation that the council and Council Member Lyda are using for as yet to be disclosed transportation projects.
The water park was a city of Georgetown concept since 1992. The City Council asked the Georgetown Industrial Foundation to work on the water park as a project. Due to the above-mentioned cancellation clause, the GIF obliged. This was done while working, helping 30 other companies move to or expand into Georgetown. Council Member Lyda says these companies are not still here, maybe he should look in the phone book and take a tour. I count about 25 still in town.
Council member Lyda keeps complaining about the secretive Citizens for Georgetown PAC. A PAC in the state of Texas is registered with the secretary of state, and all financial contributions and members are on record. We were late with the first filing, a fact that Lyda has distributed freely, so if he knows that then how are we secret?
It is amazing how our "little group" organized the recall with Greg Hall in Wyoming for two months, West Short's wife about to give birth to twins, and me traveling back and forth to Wyoming and Huntsville working on our projects. It is my guess we should thank the fine job of UT's Engineering School, Law School, and School of Government for the outstanding higher education we each received.
I suggest Mr. Lyda get a firmer grip on reality and curb his paranoia in reference to his recall election. He should take a little time to reflect on the following quote from Winston Churchill: "At the bottom of all the tributes paid to democracy is the little man, walking into the little booth, with a little pencil, making a little cross on a little bit of paper -- no amount of rhetoric or voluminous discussion can possibly diminish the overwhelming importance of this point."
Show Champ Respect
Dear Mr. Hernandez:
I am frustrated with what I consider the Chronicle's inaccurate and inadequate coverage upon Champ Hood's passing ["Dancing About Architecture," Nov. 9]. If it were not for Jimmie Dale Gilmore's refreshing guest article, the Chronicle would have completely struck out.
One anecdote, the day after Champ died, sticks with me. A friend of mine who recorded two albums with Champ asked KUT DJ Larry Monroe if he intended to present a program on Champ and play "all his music." Monroe more or less replied, "There's no way." He stated this not because he was not willing to honor the talented sideman, songwriter, singer, and bandleader but because Champ's recorded music is too extensive. Monroe explained that he had aired five hours of Hood's music on his previous Segway City show and "didn't make a scratch"; he noted that he could do a 24-hour program and not begin to cover Champ Hood's contribution. Later, friends and colleagues of Champ's, whose association with him extended almost 30 years, realized that, try as they would like, they couldn't begin to compile a complete discography of Champ's work. I think all the musicians involved would agree, however, that all of those albums are better because of Champ Hood; yet, the Chronicle remains silent on this, as well as his funeral service attended by close to 1,000 people.
I probably need to adopt more of Champ's attitude: I recall the Austin Chronicle Music Awards of 2000, when your publication presented him with an award for "Best Mandolin," an instrument he had not played that year outside his living room. As if that weren't peculiar enough, the actual certificate had his name misspelled. Mere mortal musicians who have a tendency to take themselves somewhat seriously might have been upset by such a snafu, but Champ threw back his head and laughed.
Don't Stop the Raves
In response to "The Agony of the Ecstasy," [Nov. 16] I am much more than saddened at the picture that has been painted of raves, and the people who promote and work so hard so that fans of "electronica," as you will, have a safe and organized space to enjoy what they enjoy like anyone else. If anyone wants to advertise by sucking a pacifier or wearing a face mask, that is of course their personal choice. There are oh so many more partiers roaming around town that feel no need to sport those accessories, actually it is not done except to a very minor extent at raves. It has long been a tradition that masses of people congregate to enjoy a particular atmosphere, i.e., the music that captivates them and transforms them for a while and takes them away from everyday life, into a dream of sorts. Music in general is so beloved by people because it does exactly this and whoever has not experienced going to a rave has missed out on the true feeling of being taken away from yourself to a higher place by music and the enthusiasm and goodness of the people you are enjoying it with. These are the gentlest, most considerate and among the most intelligent people you could hope to ever be surrounded by. These people make you want the party not to end. This is not because of drugs like ecstasy, which are not any more prevalent at raves than along Sixth Street, but because these people are together to enjoy a common interest. I would hope that Austin will not become the first town to officially ban raves or any other type of music gatherings in this town due to a very twisted image given to the public of what raves are all about ... listening to music, dancing and having a helluva good time. Hmmmm ... sounds like the Austin music scene is suppose to be, huh?
A Raver to the Grave
Ecstasy Not the Only Problem
I read your article regarding the rave scene in Austin ["The Agony of the Ecstasy," Nov. 16], and I wanted to say that it was a well-put story, but there needed to be a correction. The Airport party that was supposed to be in San Antonio was actually Airport 3; Airport 2 was in 2000.
Yes, there are people who can ruin everyone's fun, but we all know that there are much worse problems than ecstasy use among ravers. Drinking I think needs to be issued more as well as drug use, but it's only the few people who can screw it up. I have an idea that should say something like: At each rave there needs to be at least one police officer, and if you see someone under the influence or someone who is dealing, you can have the right to let the officer know, so they can be taken out. Drugs are everywhere, and there's not much we can do to stop it, no matter what. Look how long we have fought.
Thank you for your time,
P.S. I tell you, drugs are not worth it, and I'm glad I found out early on in life.
P.P.S. Are there any statistics that show that the use of ecstasy has gone down in Austin?
The Economic Genius of Jimmie
Out of one side of his mouth Jimmie Vaughan claims to be nonpolitical while out of the other side of his mouth he says "Barbra Streisand can kiss my ass" because she is politically active and did not support the candidate Vaughan endorsed in the presidential election ["All-American," Nov. 23]. Presumably Vaughan would also expect socially conscious musicians such as Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and John Lennon to kiss his ass because their viewpoint might be different from his. Would he also expect politically aware blues singers such as Leadbelly, Josh White, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee, and Odetta to kneel down and smooch his affluent, lily-white crap factory?
But maybe what appears to be good old boy redneck attitude on the surface is really profoundly brilliant economic genius underneath. Since Jimmie Vaughan's candidate took the office of the presidency, President Bush has led this country from the unrivaled era of peace and prosperity of the previous administration to an era of economic meltdown and raging war. That's got to give plenty of folks the blues. And that must be good for Jimmie Vaughan's business.
I Vote for Jimmie
Loved your piece on Jimmie Vaughan ["All-American," Nov. 23]. Keep on keepin' on.
Kirby F. Warnock
Price of Progress Too High
Here's a photo from the trail, Nov. 22, 2001, in the Barton Creek greenbelt just upstream of the Spyglass trailhead. The foreground reveals the sleeve liner for the sewer line retrofit construction in progress. The skyline reveals the skeleton of a large office building or hotel under construction at Rod Arend's Terrace PUD.
This is a building our City Council was assured "won't be seen" from the hike and bike trail. In fact it is a most annoying and disgraceful intrusion into the wooded skyline above Barton Creek and the green belt, for many miles along the hike and bike trail.
The price of progress is too high.
Ed. note: A photo was attached to this letter.
And On Guitar ...
Happily ever after we do not live,
Yet of our music we gladly give.
So we thank you sirs, for a kind review, ["Texas Platters," Nov. 16]
But next time, please mention our whole crew.
Girl Robots include Michelle Waterman on bass
And Christian Dukes on guitars.
Their haunted melodies do enchant the stars.
We're a team no less than the
Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick-maker,
Or that troll and his gruff billy goats,
It takes all four of us to rock your boats!
Compliments to the Book Buyers
I disagree strongly with an implication I believe was made in "Postscripts," Nov. 16, concerning recent layoffs at BookPeople. Despite an attempt to dissociate the layoffs with a restructuring of the way its buyers relate to customers, the article seemed to imply that Rick and Brandy Whitten-Klaw were out of touch with the reading public. Having worked in the book biz here in Austin for over a decade I can attest there has been no book buyer more in touch with his customer base than Rick Klaw. From BookStop (Lincoln Village) to Adventures in Crime and Space to BookPeople (including a stint as Mojo Press editor), Rick has served the SF/fantasy/horror community well and, in fact, has a national reputation for it. Brandy brought extensive knowledge of the metaphysical arcana and new age philosophies that are the very core of what BookPeople was originally about. What hath time wrought?
John L. Barton
Blame Where Blame Is Due
In a letter headed "No Vote, No Patriot" ["Postmarks," Nov. 16], the writer decries the low turnout in the Nov. 6 election.
Perhaps the writer needs to direct criticism to the elected and appointed officials who cause voters to conclude that their votes don't count. Many of those who opposed light rail a year ago now say their votes didn't count because it will probably be on the ballot next year, this time as "rapid transit."
John Birch on Air Terror
In the wake of the outrageous terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, I feel compelled to ask a very simple question, the meaning and portent of which, in retrospect, is outrageous in itself. How many guns did the flight crew members on the hijacked airliners have on their persons to uphold their awesome responsibility to protect the lives of their passengers? The answer: none. I'm told that this no-gun policy dates back many years, creating a condition whereby our airliners have been deliberately reduced to sitting ducks for terrorists to destroy, at will, using only pocket knives and razor blades, etc., which have been promptly outlawed on airliners, of course, by our asinine government authorities who disarmed the pilots and crew members long ago. The only time skyjacking subsided was when they put the sky marshals on the airliners years ago and then took them off when the skyjacking ceased. How dumb can the authorities get? Obviously the skyjacking ceased because terrorists don't want to deal with people with guns. The solution to terrorism, or violent crime in general, is obviously to arm the potential victims, instead of depending on criminally negligent or subversive government agents or agencies who deliberately disarm our airline crews and deliver us up to be sacrificed by agents from dead-end rat-hole cultures who would love to sucker us into a no-win world war controlled by the communists, cutthroats, and cannibals running the United Nations. Let's contact the John Birch Society at 800/JBS-USA-1(or visit www.jbs.org) for information, and then our congressmen to get us out of the United Nations, and also to support the HR 2896 bill by congressman Ron Paul, allowing pilots, copilots, and navigators to carry guns. We must act now!
'I Feel You Are an Asshole, Sir'
I recently sent you an e-mail regarding sending clips of my writing to you and got no reply. I sent clips last year to Raoul Hernandez. I did not expect a response from him because his writing is so unreadable and rambling, why would he want to have someone write for the Chron that can actually follow a thought all the way through. I wrote better when I was in junior high than he writes now. Your publication sucks, SXSW is a fucking overrated, overpriced, incestual joke. You have so many writers that are examples of how not to write properly. Self-centered bullshit as opposed to insightful prose is the typical fare for the shit-rag AusChron. Why my honesty now? I'll tell you. Saturday night I was jumped in front of Antone's and beaten for no apparent reason. My friend, brother, cousin, and myself beat the guy badly but I'm still all fucked up. He insisted that he had hit the wrong guy and that he was sorry. This is not the first time I've been attacked in downtown Austin, just the first time someone was successful in doing so. I filed a police report but those bastards could not care any less, and they all but told me this. So I'm done with downtown and all the wannabe rock stars in this town, the whole fucking half-ass, loser music scene here has little value anyhow, except to opportunistic assholes like you at the Chron that successfully water down the entire music community for your own gain. Maybe you guys over there could collectively pull your heads out of each other's asses and open your minds, but I doubt this. I just wanted to convey to you that I feel you are an asshole, sir, and that your music coverage is far too motivated by personal grudges and friendships, and does not even closely approach true journalism. Please express to your staff that I feel they are all half-ass losers, drunks, and hacks. I bet you will reply to this one though, won't you, dickhead?
Shine the Light of Truth
We are three girls from Sweden. In our English class we have decided to do a job about the death penalty. So our teacher showed us a documentary about the young man Miguel Angel Martinez from Laredo, Texas. We were shocked by what we saw. Miguel was accused of a triple murder when he was 17 years old. But he had two partners. To us it seems that the evidence was faked and the trial was unfair. He has now been on death row for 10 years, 11 in January. He has already received two execution dates, but both of them have been postponed.
The U.N. Declaration of Human Rights, Article 3: Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person. Article 5: No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Article 10: Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him. And so on ...
The judge who set the execution dates was retired when he did so. Don't you think it's strange that a retired judge can give a person an execution date and refuse to grant him a new trial!?
In the documentary the reporter, Folke Rydén, phoned Judge James Barlow to ask him some questions about the case. The question that everyone reacted on was, "Wouldn't it help the outside world to understand ...?" Folke gets interrupted. Quotation from Barlow: "I don't really give a damn about the outside world, this is Texas."
If you have some more research done about this matter you will see that a lot of the things have been handled in the wrong way.
We think that he deserves a new trial with a new judge. We beg you to help us draw the attention to this case.
News Flash: Drug War Is a Farce
Didn't get a chance to read Mr. Black's editorial on drug prohibition, just responses ["Postmarks," Nov. 16] augmenting his arguments. Hadn't they seen Traffic last year? Then why do they bother rationalizing this issue? Everyone in government knows "the drug war" is a farce and failure in terms of accomplishing stated goals.
What might be the motive for maintaining the status quo? Could it be to disenfranchise and create a slave class? God, no! Our federal benefactors could never do that! They would never abolish the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and establish concentration camps to indefinitely detain anyone they choose, without due process.
They forbid Americans from exercising their First Amendment right (freedom of sub-culture expression) only because they love and care about them.
Help Me Do the Right Thing
Since Sept. 11, I have tried to do what I can to help out. I've given about as much money as I can to the NY relief effort. But now, I feel like I need to help my neighbors.
Your food and entertainment editors (as well as the Statesman's editors) have written about how bad things are for restaurants and clubs and retail establishments in Austin since Sept. 11, and have hinted that many of our favorites are about to go out of business. Admirably, both the Chronicle and the Statesman have exhorted us to go out and support these anonymous entities, and I've tried to do my part. However, I'm basically lazy, like many of my fellow consumers. It is hard for me to figure out who exactly is in trouble, and who isn't. I would hate to find out that another one of Austin's landmarks went out of business due to economic conditions from Sept. 11, or because of the recent floods, or because of the economy being in the dumps in Austin, or because of general consumer laziness.
I can understand many enterprises not wanting their names being associated with imminent failure. However, I do consult the Chronicle and the Statesman ads for ideas where to go eat and where to go see music and where to shop. Unfortunately, sometimes I go to chain restaurants, or to the mall out of sheer laziness or because it's the fallback position.
Wouldn't it be a good idea for the Chronicle (and the Statesman, for that matter, though I doubt they'd go for it) to give a block of ads at a discount to local businesses that are hurting? These ads could be grouped in certain sections of the paper in order to let consumers know what the situation is. The ads don't necessarily need to be large, or flashy, or have good placement (I'm sure your steady paying advertising customers would appreciate that), but it would be nice to identify who these retailers are so that we consumers might throw them a bone, and maybe even help them survive during these hard times. I think the Chronicle would be doing Austin a great service in doing something along these lines. It would be cool if the Statesman also put their lineage where their mouth is.
Just trying to do my part,
Frank A. King