Scum Against Stratus

Dear Editor:

As evil, soulless, groundwater-polluting scum, I'd like to remind both Daryl Slusher and Patrick Goetz ["Postmarks: Don't Slush the Messenger," July 12] that we from the scum camp really do want a good settlement with Stratus. We'd just like an equal place at the bargaining table. As before, we do not dispute the right of Stratus to develop its property. Yet, how did the city leave neighborhoods directly abutting these tracts out of the deal? What's the harm of temporarily remanding the deal to the Z.A.P. commission while fully inclusive negotiations can take place? Does Austin need apartments and office space so desperately that we have to ignore the political input of thousands affected? Do we so fear asking Stratus for more time? These questions have remained unanswered. I was simply the first homeowner Mr. Slusher pounced on in an attempt to dodge the questions. That's why the audience booed. I was treated in a most ungracious manner, and clearly Mr. Slusher had no interest in understanding my concerns -- I was just to be derided as "precisely the problem."

Mr. Slusher, Mr. Goetz, this is not the way to make friends and influence people. Such an attitude, voiced so rabidly, will only serve to break down the alliance you seek to build. Give us input -- then we'll buy in. There are many more issues than environment here. Among these issues are community safety, quality of life, and yes, taxation without representation.

On a personal note, as a former plebe and peacetime vet, I've been hazed by the best. Describing Mr. Slusher's attack as "both barrels" is way too generous. I thank Mayor Garcia for ending a disjointed dialogue headed nowhere that night. And Mr. Goetz, I must live here, to make chips that keep you employed.

Still praying,

Kevin O'Dwyer

Stratus Makes No Sense at All


I read about the Stratus Properties proposal and watched the hearings, and I can't believe the city would move forward with this proposed deal. While there are passionate issues about the environment involved, this is really about money, profits, and pride. The City Council is about to grant Stratus $16.4 million of taxpayer money to subsidize development. $16.4 million! The city can try to justify it as waived fees instead of fees paid directly but that's like justifying my credit card debt as just future paychecks not yet earned. One way or another I still don't have the choice to do something else with the money ... and neither would the city.

Stratus makes the city negotiate from a position of weakness. Heck, Intel, a company with financial resources, left us with a big empty shell hanging over downtown. And we're going to pay Stratus money as well?

Even worse, the council is giving Stratus a provision that will obligate the city to pay Stratus penalty money if for any reason the agreement needed to change in the years to come. That ties our hands and puts Stratus completely in the driver's seat.

Some council members argue that this proposal is the best of two options. I'm just not sure why they continue to consider only two options. A third option is to remember what makes Austin special and fight for those values ... don't let Stratus hold us hostage. Wake up! Without zoning Stratus has nothing.

Add it up -- we subsidize Stratus with $16.4 million dollars now plus potential penalty payments and cleanup costs later. When cleanup time comes I'm sure it'll be taxpayers again holding the bill with Stratus nowhere to be found.

This agreement doesn't make sense.

Paul Strelzick

Council Is 'Tired and Defeated'


Kudos to Council Member Raul Alvarez for having the courage to say "no" to the proposed Stratus deal last night!

It was wrong of the City Council to close the hearing so that citizens could not speak up about such an important issue. It's true that they have to be able to do their job efficiently, but if you know that you have 104 people left over from last time who want to speak, and hundreds more coming tonight, then schedule your meeting for a room that holds more than 140 people. Using policemen to keep citizens out of the room and shuttle them 100 yards away to a "designated free speech area"(?) is wrong!

Lastly, I don't buy the argument that if we say "no" to this development, we might get more development. If we say "yes" to this development, we will get more development! If you're too tired and defeated to look for alternative ways to stop sprawl and save our aquifer, then you're too tired and defeated to represent the people of Austin.


Graham M. Smith

P.S. And another thing, you don't have to be an "environmentalist" to care about your drinking water!

SOS: End Subsidized Sprawl

Dear Editor:

Many thanks for Mike Clark-Madison's stand against the proposed Stratus deal, its $16.5 million price tag, and its excessive levels of development ["Austin @Large," July 12]. Perhaps most importantly, he added important questions about what is the true value of the land and what is the long-term cost of expanding roads and other services needed to serve development that the city has said repeatedly since the 1970s that we don't want (not to mention the pollution costs).

As for the SOS Alliance, we have been the first to say we (meaning our organization, the council, and the community) have failed to protect the Springs when there has been constant pressure to stand up at press conferences and sing "Kumbayah" with developers and elected officials and declare how successful we've been.

That said, it is the city's job first and foremost as steward of the springs to protect our home waters and our home rule power. Making protection payments to Stratus and their business partner, Gary Bradley, while simultaneously approving excessive levels of development on top of the most endangered aquifer in Texas won't protect our water or our home rule powers.

The council will be taking public testimony on two of the Stratus zoning cases today, Thursday, July 18, at 4pm at the LCRA Building, 3700 Lake Austin Boulevard. This is probably your last chance to tell the council to stop repeating the mistakes of the past by paying for more pollution with our tax and utility ratepayer dollars. It's time to end the cycle of subsidized sprawl that's killing the springs.


Bill Bunch

SOS Alliance

'Exhibitionism' Revisits 'Nam

Dear Editor,

I'm writing to thank Barry Pineo for his review of Tracers at St. Edward's University [July 12]. Pineo's review is clear and easy to understand, unlike almost anything that has to do with the Vietnam War. Complexity, layers of truth that appear to contradict one another, vulgarity, bitterness: These are indispensable-if-conventional aspects of any story about the war.

I recently toured Vietnam with returning veterans and Quaker pacifists. At the My Lai Massacre site -- where 504 Vietnamese were killed on March 16, 1968, under U.S. Army Lt. William C. Calley -- our guide was the daughter of a survivor. Days later, back in the states, I interviewed a veteran who said that most GIs thought of Calley as a hero -- difficult to hear, but true, and on a certain level, it's not surprising.

Woody Guthrie put it best: The role of art is to comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable. Tracers accomplishes just that. There are no easy answers -- it's up to the individual viewer to sort through the mess, to end up with a comprehensive, galvanized understanding of the Vietnam experience. For Pineo, obviously afflicted by our production, perhaps dissention is the path to understanding.

The veterans who have seen Tracers appreciate the humble reverence we offer to the nearly 59,000 who missed the "Freedom Bird." Further, Fred Casteneda, our veteran consultant and friend, has found some closure in writing his own introduction and epilogue: His words are his own, and should not be interpreted as coercion, but as a step toward healing.

Hoa Binh, Peace,

Stephen Van Balgooyen

Director, Tracers

Technical Director, MMNT/SEU

Nokonah Talks Back


Wow! So a building whose main virtue is that it is so close to everything that people can walk everywhere, including the food store, is according to your writer adding to the traffic ["Naked City," July 12]. Does she prefer these residents live in Circle C, so that they must drive everywhere? And to fabricate that some units have stunning views "into the inmate recreational yard" while sniffing at the hype and buzz about the building just go to show some people just can't accept a success story even when its completely environmentally friendly. The Nokonah is a wonderful addition to the downtown, as every urbanologist and environmentalist in the country extols the importance building a city where people can live work and shop within walking distance of all their major activities. We replaced a used car lot to build the Nokonah. There are still many left in downtown Austin as well as surface parking lots. I hope they are all gone one day, making downtown Austin even more livable. This is all about building a sustainable city. The writer might reflect on that the next time she drives to the grocery store.

Robert Barnstone

[Ed. note: Barnstone is one of the developers of the Nokonah.]

Don't Shed a Tear for Prater

Dear Editor:

Jordan Smith's "Beaten by Wackenhut," [July 5] was an interesting read, but using David Prater as the poster child for prison reform is a mistake.

Chronicle readers should know that Mr. Prater's original jury deliberated only a few minutes before finding him guilty of possession of crack cocaine. He was originally assessed a term of probation with no jail time. It was only when Mr. Prater refused to abide by the terms of that probation and passed on another chance to stay on probation that he was revoked and sent to state jail. It is also my recollection that Mr. Prater claimed his finances were already "wiped-out" before he went to Wackenhut, making one wonder what he really means when he says, "the bottom line is, where is the money?"

It goes without saying that no one should be attacked in jail. However, David Prater was in jail due to his own actions, not mine, the court's, the jury's, or anyone else's. When you know his background, and know that another jury decided that he was 95% responsible for his beating, isn't it obvious that it's time for Mr. Prater to stop blaming others for what happened and move on?

As for Wackenhut, put the screws to them all you want, but please, shed no tears for David Prater -- save them for those inmates who truly deserve it.

S.T. Edmonds

former Asst. DA,

Travis County

Whither Accountability?


I applaud Michael Ventura's column "Squeaks in the Din" ["Letters at 3AM," June 28], and wonder what has become of the Americans who have always insisted on accountability from their representatives, especially from the president. George W. Bush took a solemn oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, yet those liberties and freedoms have slowly but surely eroded since he took office and no one dares protest. What will we allow this administration to take from us next, and who will have the courage to protest its loss? What newspaper will have the courage to report it before page 20? I for one say that the actions of the president must be answerable to the people, and the Constitution must be protected at all costs.

Squeaking away,

David DuBose

Film Is Dead

Dear Editor,

Video will not kill the celluloid star any more than CDs have killed the rock star ["Will Video Kill the Celluloid Star?" June 21]. These digital mediums can lack the "warmth" of their analog predecessors because our eyes and ears are accustomed to the "grit" of film and analog tape. As with a CD, the "grit" doesn't have to go, if that's what you want. Some CDs are still sourced using analog tape and then mastered digitally or simply "warmed-up" in various ways such as using old-fashioned tube microphones and other tricks. The bottom line is that with the technological advances of our age, the right production and gear, we can and will have both warmth and crystalline clarity be it "film" or "records." Video is evolving, film is not.

I haven't rented a VHS tape in months, and the last time I spun some vinyl, Sting was still with the Police.

Mr. Edwards' comments on HD echo back to the first days of the CD when he espouses on HD's virtues as being "simply, incredible images with crystal clarity" to say nothing of its ease of use.

True, video never really killed the radio star. But let's not fool ourselves. Video is not radio, and movies are not records. A more analogous equation is in order: Do you want to hear your favorite song on AM radio, or FM? HD will, without a doubt, replace film as surely as the CD has ousted vinyl. Oh, film will survive a while, I suspect, and in some not-too-distant future, certain directors may choose to endure the labor-intensive and expensive, comparative nightmare that is the film shot on film (transferring it to video of course as to be viewed in a theatre). Most will not notice or even care, invoking the same reaction you and I have now, when a rock star of today gushes, "Dude, we're going to release this one on vinyl!"


Mark O'Brien

What Happened to Daniel Fogg?


On the hot afternoon of July 17, 1980, a 24-year-old retarded man named Daniel Fogg vanished from the Marbridge Ranch in Manchaca south of Austin. There were only a few possible sightings of him the next couple of days, but nothing was confirmed. No solid clues to his whereabouts have developed since. Twenty-two years later Dan's family is again asking for any help in learning what happened to him. My son had the mental capacity of a 7- or 8-year-old. He stood about 6 feet, 1 inch tall and weighed 175 pounds. He had blue eyes, thinning short brown hair, and wore glasses. He had started taking medication for epilepsy shortly before he disappeared. He was last seen wearing a yellow T-shirt with a sun emblem on it. He was very friendly and loved to talk about TV Westerns such as Gunsmoke and Bonanza. Our family would like to find out once and for all what happened to Dan, and it is possible that someone out there knows something. If any of this jogs a memory or you would like to get something off your chest, please call Sgt. Tommy Wooley of the Travis County Sheriff's Office at 512/854-9396 or me at 505/256-7188. Thank you.

Donald Fogg

Albuquerque, N.M.

Hightower on the Right Track

Dear Editor,

If Jim Hightower were Democratic majority leader, I'd have more trust in my government. His criticism in his column ["The Hightower Report"] July 5 of Senator Tom Daschle and other Senate Democrats for giving up the votes to help pass Fast Track legislation is much-deserved.

Their failure to put up a fight and look out for workers and the poor in our country prove that when it comes down to standing up to pro-business Bush and profit-hungry, non-taxpaying corporations they are Democrats in name only. Their votes and their acceptance of a piece of legislation that will essentially squash their voice in developing trade agreements prove they have been bought.

It is obvious that Bush wants Fast Track approval to put together the Free Trade Area of the Americas agreement, an expansion of NAFTA that will affect an additional 31 countries. Bush Sr. used Fast Track to develop NAFTA in 1992, which Congress then approved in 1993, without the ability to amend the agreement to ensure that corporate interests did not threaten the public's.

Today, we have seen how NAFTA has not only dirtied our air and water, but also how it has dirtied our democracy. Provisions in NAFTA allow companies to sue governments for regulations or rules that could potentially hurt their profits. Because a secret tribunal looks at these cases, corporations can bypass domestic courts and procedures, as well as Congressional and public oversight. The beauty of it all is that the damages awarded to these companies for a "potential" loss in profits is paid for with the people's tax dollars. Thus, the public is forced to payoff a company because its government enacted legislation that may have curbed pollution, or protected workers, or provided generic prescription drugs.

It will be up to us to stop Fast Track, to contact our representatives and to flood the papers with letters. If Daschle and his other "Democratic" weaklings won't go to the people, the people will have to go to them.


Melissa Thrailkill

One Word for You: Sprawl


It is greatly disturbing to see such a fine and, at least what I thought, a progressively thinking city such as Austin to fall prey to the consuming sprawl that burdens our everyday life. Think about it. Why do you think you spend so much time in your cars each day? Sprawl. Why is our environmental infrastructure continually defending, and losing battles just to subsist? Sprawl. A toll road over the recharge zone, mixed-use paved use of the springs, a Galleria in the Hill Country in Bee Caves for whose benefit? Not mine. Do you want this? Were you asked what you felt that Austin needed? No.

Robert M. Pousman

Clean Energy Does Exist


This is a rebuttal to the July 5 letter titled "Clean Energy Doesn't Exist" by Carl T. Swanson. My Toyota Prius averages about 50 miles per gallon between fill-ups at 500-mile intervals of in-city driving. This hybrid electric car seats five people and is presently available at several Toyota dealerships here in Austin. Its top speed is over 100 miles per hour and its range is about 600 miles per tank of gas. Extremely long-life white LED bulbs of 100,000 hours or more are currently available in flashlights. The LED bulbs are very efficient. Also, look for them here in Austin on stoplights, gas pumps, and bus taillights. I use a solar panel 4 feet by 1.5 feet and a solar voltage regulator to keep two large deep cycle gel cells on my 33-foot sailboat fully charged. This system runs all the electronics plus an electric winch that lifts an 1,800-lb. retractable keel. No other sources of electric power are used. It has been a completely maintenance-free electrical system for several years.

Dr Eugene G. Preston

Go to the Salvation Army


I am getting very tired of the people that "hit you up" for money at almost every intersection, gas station, and store entrance in Austin. I work very hard all day in the heat doing construction and several nights a week as a musician and still have trouble paying my bills. I also donate time to several organizations, like the Salvation Army, who will feed and lodge folks who really need help. The catch is that you can't use drugs or alcohol when you stay there, so some people apparently make a conscious decision to stay on the street and beg for money rather than give them up (yes, they do have programs, also free, to help kick these habits)! What really burns me (no pun intended)! is when someone is "hungry," but somehow has enough money to buy cigarettes! Some of these people are very intimidating, and I for one am tired of it!

Carl LoSchiavo

Austin, the Dream is Over


After reading Patricia Bittinger's letter in the June 28 edition ["Postmarks," "We're Outta Here] I felt that I had to write and say she's right, things here just aren't the same as they once were.

I moved here in the Seventies chasing the call of great music and wild times, and the town is certainly not what it was back then. I miss what it was and I wish it would come back. But it's not.

I also spent some time then living in Temple, Texas, and when I go back there it's not the same either, and I wish that would come back, too.

I would imagine there are people in Hawaii who can remember when their islands were much better, cleaner places before people started escaping to there instead of working to make their own homes better, but I'll probably never know.

Adios and good luck to you. Drop us a line from paradise when you get a chance. I imagine we'll still be here doing what we can for the town we love, warts and all.

The earth rolls on,

Jim Vest

Hyde Park

Pedestrian Rights

Dear Editor:

If Austin wants to promote clean energy, a good first step would be to stop waging war against pedestrians.

In Austin's residential neighborhoods, including Hyde Park, homeowners landscape their yards all the way to the street, blocking the pedestrian right-of-way with bushes, fences, and cacti. Then they park cars right at the curb. A person moving around on foot, using the cleanest energy in town, is forced into the middle of the street, easy prey for any car that may come zooming around a corner. This is probably one reason parents don't let their children walk to school anymore.

I believe that there is actually a city ordinance requiring that a place for people to walk be kept open in the pedestrian right-of-way (which extends 10 feet from the curb on most streets). If so, this ordinance needs to be better known and enforced.

Most people are much too nice to do this sort of thing intentionally. They just don't notice. The pervasive car culture skews people's perceptions.

We humans are built so that we can walk or bicycle all day long. Self-propulsion under one's own steam (clean energy) is extremely enjoyable. It's how we were designed to move, and it doesn't poison the air or require that more and more land be turned into highways and parking lots.

People used to walk 20 to 40 miles in a day, if they were going somewhere. They enjoyed it, too. It's not so easy now, not because of distance but because of human-built barriers such as highways.

Please, in the name of humanity or of clean energy, let's stop waging war against pedestrians.

Yours truly,

Amy Babich

Ballet East Dance Theatre Deserves Funding


As a longtime resident of Austin and a person that enjoys the diverse arts in this bubbling progressive city, I was totally baffled and angried by the ranking and the final recommendation of the Austin Arts Commission concerning Ballet East Dance Theatre 2002-03 funding. My understanding is that the chairperson of the dance panel has not appreciated the tireless work Mr. Mendez and his company does, for many years, in the Eastside Community and the community at-large. The dance panel chairperson attitude, that Hispanics do not belong in the modern dance field, needs a reality check. Hispanics in the modern dance arena have accomplished incredible success, nationally and internationally: Max Luna, Elizabeth Rojas, Jorge de la Pena, Julio Bocca, Jose Limon, Raul Torres, Rudy Perez, Chika Rivera, Rita Moreno, Evelyn Cisneros, Gustavo Veiga, Alicia Alonzo, Fernando Bujones, Paloma Herrera, Luis Falco, Juan Flores, Jose Manuel Carrerno, Rodolfo Mendez, Toni Bravo, and many others. The dance panel chairperson needs, "a time check" this is the new millennium, come join the Party.

Jesse Ramirez

Learn How to Drive, Austin

Dear Editor,

Last month, two bicyclists I know got hit by cars, and during last weekend's downpour. I myself was almost hit twice by negligent drivers.

Besides polluting our air and water, depleting our natural resources, supporting terrorism, and knocking people off their bikes, cars are out there running into each other and killing folks everyday. And what's behind all this genocidal terror? Lack of common concern. People get behind the wheel of a car knowing full well that they're contributing to making our world a dirtier, louder, more stressful place, and yet, despite the obvious gravity of their actions, most drivers don't bother to take their lives, or anyone else's life, serious enough to at least follow the goddamn rules of driving.

The Chronicle prints a weekly column on how to fix one's car -- how about some articles on how to drive it? Or maybe instead of printing The Austin Chronicle and the date at the bottom of every single page, y'all could replace half of them with driving tips like: stopping at stop signs, not drinking and driving, using turn signals, etc., you know, the really obscure ones that people are always forgetting.

Drivers: Driving is a lifestyle addiction, it may seem normal or cool now, just like cigarettes 50 years ago, but it is harmful; please at least be cautious and aware as you abuse yourself, your environment, and your neighbors.

And please stop driving/parking in the goddamn bike lanes.


Jeremy Ellis

Bill Hicks Statue

Dear Editor,

I enthusiastically second Shelly Tumbleson's idea of a Bill Hicks statue on Town Lake as a reminder of what Austin stands for ["Austin at a Crossroads," "Postmarks," June 28]. I can't think of a better role model for the no-BS attitude of our weird and creative town, with his well-worded oratories on non-subservience to corporate schlock and flambéing of any and all inane attempts to criminalize harmless individuality.

Most Sincerely,

Andy Mitchell

More Arthouse Please


I was both encouraged and depressed to read an article in The New York Times the other day (Arts section, July 4) about an apparent resurgence in arthouse film theatres in the U.S. According to the article, cities like Denver, Albuquerque, San Diego, Dallas, and Boulder are opening numerous new screens that will show independent and foreign films and documentaries. Landmark Theatres, which operates the Dobie here in Austin, is a big player in this trend.

How depressing then that Austin, a city that misses no opportunity to call itself a film mecca, seems to be heading in the opposite direction. Regal Cinemas has apparently abandoned efforts to replace the late, lamented Arbor theatre and now is farming out our meager diet of non-blockbuster showings to the poorly located Westgate. The Dobie, while filling its four screens with interesting alternatives, is too small to carry the load alone.

What about the long-shuttered Great Hills Cinema in North Austin, just a block away from the Arboretum, where a new Cheesecake Factory is soon going to be packing them in (in more ways than one) where the Arbor used to be? Eight screens and a great location, surrounded by retail and restaurants, just waiting for an exhibitor to step in and restore some of Austin's sense of film self-importance. Last spring the Chronicle reported rumors of exhibitors like Landmark, Magnolia, and Madstone duking it out for the rights to this primo site, but so far the place is still dark.

Another summer of digital aliens, slow-motion fireballs, and brain-dead cartoons of both the animated and live action varieties is upon us. There's a lot more to movies than this pap. Re-animate the Great Hills!

David Flaxbart

In Search of L.S. Penny


Hi, I am Karl Edmondson and live in the northeast of England. I am writing this e-mail in hope you might be able to help me. At present I am restoring a d/h Vampire T11xd602 which was the Royal Air Force's first two-seat jet trainer. In September 1961 a student pilot, L.S. Penny, aged 21, took off from R.A.F. Cranwell in Lincolnshire on a training flight. During this flight he overstressed the aircraft (he bent the wings), and on landing the aircraft was written off, which is how 30 years later I got to own it. He later went on to retire as a wing commander in the R.A.F. Records indicate his last address was in Austin. All my efforts to trace him from this side of the pond have failed. Can you help? I would like to talk to him to fill in a bit more of the history of xd602.

Many thanks,

Karl Edmondson

Welcome to the Drag

To Whom:

When a business opens its doors at the former Hole in the Wall location, I'm gonna get up early, grab the paper, stroll on in, drop my drawers and take a mighty, steaming shit on their floor. Welcome to the Drag, fuckhead. Enjoy your karma.

Turd-A-Brewinly Yours,

Justin B. Andrews

Free Speech or Mockery?


I have discovered a Web site which has really made me ask myself and others some important questions about America's faith, and where this country is headed, in its greatest hour of need:

Is it that this Web site, and others like it, are conspiring to spread a message of Godless notions to the youth of today? Are they one of the main influences that are causing young children to reject Christianity? Or does the youth of today just feel that they do not need God, in the aftermath of America's most dire tragedy?

I heard one such young person say that the events of Sept. 11 prove that there is no God. I have seen this site's address spray-painted on walls, and their bumper stickers on cars, all over Austin. Do the majority of the young people today feel that it is all right to mock Christians this way?


Joeseph Sheckard

Don't Give Stratus My Money


I am against using any monies, much less the city of Austin's tax dollars, to speed up construction and pollution of Barton Springs. Barton Springs' water district is the charm of Austin. Now we are destroying it with hundreds of homes in the Longhorn Pipeline's kill zone and more traffic than can be imagined. Who is Stratus really?

Meta Butler Hunt

Is Nothing Sacred?


I want my voice heard! We must stop the sweetheart deal with Stratus what are we going to give to our future generations? An Austin without the sacred springs, that's what!

Marci Allen

Texas vs. the Colorado


Why is it OK for an agency of the state of Texas to permit the uncontrolled dumping of toxins and carcinogens into the Colorado River? What makes it impolite to talk about the poisoning of Texans, but somehow not impolite to do it?

Lee Dustman

'Chron' Listing Has Dramatic Result


In the last two issues you listed our performances of Book of Murder/Just Desserts at the Gaslight Theater. As I am sure you know, this listing, just a few lines, had a dramatic, positive effect on our attendance. About one-third of our audience volunteered seeing the listing in the Chronicle. Most likely others attended because they saw the listing as well. As a struggling theatre located well outside of Austin, we depend on you. Thank you most sincerely.

Tim Bjerke

Advertising Director

Gaslight Theater


Cops for Rose


Patrick Rose has integrity, common sense, and is dedicated to public safety. Because of these qualities, the San Marcos Police Officers' Association is proud to endorse the candidacy of Patrick Rose for state representative, District 45. As law enforcement professionals, we know that character counts and we feel that Patrick Rose's principles will best represent the interests and values of the citizens of our district.


Wade Parham


San Marcos Police Officers' Association

A Libertarian Education


Independence Day is meant to remind us of what made our country unique; a nation founded on liberty. Although we remain a symbol of liberty to the world, our freedom has eroded in many ways.

For example, consider the role of parents and teachers in education. Are they the ones in control? Does a teacher have the ability to use their talent and training to their best? Is a teacher fairly compensated for this talent and training? Do parents have control over what their child is taught? Does a parent have a fair choice regarding who will teach their child?

The evidence says no to all the above. Politicians in state and federal government take more control away from parents and teachers every day. Teachers are regulated to death, and are forced to yield class time to mandated tests imposed by politicians. Schools cannot attract enough teachers because of poor compensation. Every day, decisions are being made in courtrooms regarding whether God, butter knives, uniforms, and sex-ed are allowed in schools. When these court decisions conflict with a parents' wishes, the only recourse is to spend additional money and effort to move to a different school district, pay a tuition to a private school, or home school; hardly a fair choice.

Despite the Supreme Court ruling on vouchers, this decision alone does not unchain parents and teachers. We are still controlled by a bureaucracy that will continue to operate as-is until we change legislation. It takes the right people in office to push through the changes necessary to make choice a reality. This November, take an act of political courage, and put people in office who will restore liberty; vote Libertarian!

Yours in Liberty,

Patrick J. Dixon


Travis County Libertarian Party

Constitution Crisis

Dear Editor:

It is good that our federal and local governments are taking steps to prevent another terrorist attack. However, our civil liberties are slowly being taken away in the name of security. Our government should not have the power to hold military tribunals where defendants who are U.S. citizens cannot appeal decisions to a civilian court. Our government should not have the power to hold military tribunals that can be held in secret. Our government should not be holding the alleged "dirty bomb" suspect in custody for an indefinite amount of time, with the possibility of no trial in court. Especially as a U.S. citizen, as it is unconstitutional. And he shouldn't even be considered for prosecution under the military tribunal, the military tribunal that supposedly will not try U.S. citizens. The federal government has given an enormous amount of power to itself, the military, the FBI, the CIA, etc., since September 11. Yes, we need to try our best to prevent another attack. But this does not mean we should lose our heads and throw the Constitution out the window. And we should not throw out our system of checks and balances either. But I see this happening as the government wants more accountability. If ever there was a time to uphold the Constitution, it is now. Our government already doesn't seem to be too concerned about staying within the limits of the Constitution. That is a very dangerous situation. I hate to think right now about where our country will be in five, 10, 20 years. I urge those of you readers who agree with me to be courageous and be the dissenting voice that we need right now and stand up for our rights, for what is right.


Chelsea Rivera

Another Cover-Up


Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.) has introduced a bill for a congressional probe of the Israeli attack on a U.S. surveillance ship in international waters on June 8, 1967. Israel claimed it was an accident, but survivors describe it as a deliberate attempt to sink the ship and kill all aboard.

McKinney said that "for over 75 minutes the Israeli forces attacked ... killing 34 Americans and wounding 172 ... with over 55% of the crew dead or wounded, they somehow managed to keep the ship afloat after being hit by over 1,000 rounds of rocket, cannon, machine gun, napalm, and torpedo hits."

For over 35 years Israel, the U.S. government, and the media have covered-up the story and Americans have not been informed. But now a documentary video, Loss of Liberty, tells the story and is available to veterans groups and individuals for $25 on the Internet.

Jewel R. Johnson

Columns (p2)

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 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.

Support the Chronicle  

More Postmarks
Our readers talk back.

July 9, 2004

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

March 31, 2000

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle