Our readers talk back.
Hospital to Serve All Children
I would like to comment on your piece about Children's Hospital ["Naked City: Seton Gives Up on Children's?" Oct. 25].
First, I want to say why you should pay some attention to my opinion. I served on the Brackenridge Hospital oversight council in 1998, 1999, and 2000. I have been the chief of staff at Children's for the past two years, so I have some knowledge and experience with the city/Seton lease, as well as with the Children's Hospital.
We have a significant and ever-increasing capacity problem at Children's. The pediatric physician community is, of course, acutely aware of the problem and brought it to the attention of the Seton administration because we were worried about the present, short-term, and long-term future. To their credit, Seton has responded by looking at the problem, possible solutions, and interim plans. We acquired additional pediatric beds at Brackenridge last year and again this year; however, the needs keep growing. After looking at the options and knowing that the best care for all children is at a single site, the physicians have concluded that the best solution is a replacement facility with long-term growth potential. Seton, instead of "giving up on Children's," has committed to the future of our children by committing significant dollars to build a world-class replacement hospital. Children's Hospital is not "threatened" by this, but allowed to grow and prosper albeit under different ownership. But, what is more important, that the city own the hospital or that we have a hospital capable of caring for all children into the future?
Some people may not preclude having two children's hospitals, but those of us who directly care for the children know that the best care for all children in terms of quality, efficiency, and equality will be provided at a single site. Who should the community listen to in this regard, the politicians or the pediatric physician community? The only goal the physicians have is ensuring that we have the ability and facility to provide what is best for our patients, your children. The parents and community trust us to care for all of the children here; now trust our opinion and suggestions so we can all move forward together and continue to give the children the best care possible. We need to make plans now for the future; let's focus on the problem and solutions and avoid a crisis later.
Patrick K. Connolly, M.D.
I was reminded today why the phrase "Austin Planning Vision" is an oxymoron. A local developer proposed a modestly scaled, mixed-use development which appears to fit our neighborhood "vision": "The North Loop Neighborhood Planning Area of the future is a vibrant mixed-use neighborhood, where commercial and residential uses are combined, and designed in a way that creates an interesting streetscape and built environment."
In a quintessential act of NIMBYism, a "neighbor" waged a solo campaign against the project based primarily on one of the favorite shills of the anti-growth faction, the "traffic effect." Whether it be the alleged congestion and safety-related issues associated with increased density or the specious assumption that more, bigger roads will reduce traffic, this issue appears to be one of the primary inhibitors of Austin's planning vision. While a consensus among planners as to the cause/effect nature of traffic is lacking, it seems logical to assume that if you provide amenity in a neighborhood one will not need to get in a vehicle to travel 10 blocks to the nearest restaurant.
51st Street is already problematic. A study done by the city indicated 11,000 daily trips made on this road. With maximum development on the site, increased burden would be 200 trips, a 1.8% increase. This development might conservatively reduce my car trips by two or three per week. But who's interested in a walking neighborhood?
Lacking the support of our neighborhood group, the NIMBY-evangelist solicited the assistance of Hyde Park Neighborhood Association President Bruce Nadik, who signed onto this fallacious campaign. Curious considering this individual represents Hyde Park and one of the most successful areas of Hyde Park is the confluence at Duval and 43rd Street, with a mix similar to the North Loop proposal.
In the words of eminent urbanist Jane Jacobs; "Societies and civilizations in which the cities stagnate don't develop and flourish. They deteriorate."
Chomsky Lacks Substance
Why do certain people like Noam Chomsky ["'It's Extremely Easy to Frighten People,'" Oct. 18]? Why do they listen to him? Has he traveled around the world talking to various world leaders, discussing international issues? No. Has he worked in government, creating foreign policy, observing how our country interacts with others? No. Does he have doctorates in political science or diplomacy? No, he's a linguistics expert, which is the study of language -- words, words, words.
No, the reason certain people like Noam Chomsky is because he provides the feeling, the illusion, of respectability to their views. Noam Chomsky is the Pied Piper of liberals. He's the Rush Limbaugh of the left. He's Ann Coulter with leftist views and a dick. And he has as much substance as any of them -- which is to say ... none whatsoever. Shit, at least Gee Dubya has a father who was president and head of the CIA! Has Chomsky ever been to the Middle East?
So The New York Times calls Chomsky, "arguably the most important intellectual alive." Wow, well that and 25 cents might get him coffee in the real world.
'ACL' Creator Speaks Up
Dear Mr. Black:
This is in response to the letter "'ACL': The True Story," published here September 27. My daughter Sara, upset to see me excluded as one of the creators of Austin City Limits, wrote the letter.
Since no one else has responded (neither former nor current ACL staff members), I feel I must, on the premise that if you don't blow your own horn once in a while, somebody will use it for a spittoon!
Although it's true that Bill Arhos secured the funding for the pilot and later the series, did he create it? The answer is no, because Paul Bosner and I created it. Arhos wrote our proposal and became our executive producer.
The idea was to chronicle the new music scene growing in and around Austin in the mid-Seventies. Paul would produce it. I would direct it. Between us we came up with the format. Paul designed the opening. Together we designed the set. Paul named the show. I came up with the logo. Incidentally, I decided on "London Homesick Blues" as the theme song for the second season on.
Arhos was certainly important to the creation; without the money nothing would have happened, and he is mostly responsible that it has been on the air this long.
The show, which looks about the same now as back then, is successful because of its simplicity and honesty. As far as the creator credit at the opening, it should say Paul Bosner and Bruce Scafe; okay, as well as Bill Arhos.
Today's producers certainly don't have to give any on-air credit for creator, but if they do, it should be truthful and accurate. Like it or not, Paul and I are the creators.
Co-creator and original director,
Austin City Limits
Don't Forget the Farmers
So nice to see other certified organic farms listed as sources for vegetable crops ["Second Helpings," Nov. 1]. But what about the other growers who your paper never writes about! We come to the markets but operate quite unique and successful operations.
My customers are always amazed at the selection of diversity of only heirloom grown crops. As an advocate of self-sufficiency, countless area gardeners receive the free seeds and plants I give away.
As the new certified organic standards come into play, only the strong will survive. Please consider equal advertising/promotion to the other growers out there.
Tim P. Miller
A Robust Review
Thanks for the ink on my joint a couple of weeks back ["Texicalli Grille," Oct. 4]; sorry your writer, Rachel, didn't much care for our sorts, but I loved the "buxom, baroque" description of our food. Does that mean it's more that a mouthful?
South Austin Forever,
Danny Ray Young
@ the Texicalli
Hot Sauce Capital of the World?
So let me get this straight ...
In 1979, some mofo in Austin starts selling commercial salsa and Austin becomes "the hot sauce capital of the world"??? ["Famous Dates in Hot Sauce History," Aug. 23, 1996, austinchronicle.com/issues/annual/hotsauce/96/dates.html ] On what world?
Gee ... I guess everyone thinks of Austin, Texas, when they think of hot sauce ... not!!! I guess there's more bull in Texas than first realized.
Loving the heat in New Orleans,
Chad J. Galiano
Stick to Linguistics, Chomsky
I have recently read several articles concerning linguistics professor Noam Chomsky, and was eager to read the interview with him by Michael King in the Oct. 18 Chronicle ["It's Extremely Easy to Frighten People"]. Needless to say, I came away with the same impression as before: Professor Chomsky should stick to linguistics, as it appears international politics and U.S. foreign policy are not his strong points (and kudos to Mr. King for the softball questions).
It is quite unbelievable that Chomsky fails to recognize the immense and catastrophic failures of the Clinton administration's foreign policy, which President Bush and his administration must now clean up. I should elaborate, but unfortunately the sheer volume of Clinton's ineptness, the totality of which we have not yet realized, makes it impractical in this forum. If any readers would like to delve further, simply look up anything from David Horowitz, TownHall, or National Review on the subject.
It appears to me that professor Chomsky is living in a fantasy world where evil people and their evil deeds do not exist. He certainly does not understand the reality of this world.
I regret not hearing his talk recently here in Austin, but am confident I did not miss much.
Question for the Comptroller
The Texas comptroller of public accounts, Carole Keeton Rylander, a few years ago made a statement in an article printed in the Polk County Enterprise that she was going to make sure that Texas taxpayers are not treated like second-rate citizens. We the people certainly would appreciate Ms. Rylander explaining what she meant. Especially to the individual property owners of this great state.
William L. Rozell
U.S. Army retired, and still serving
On a single page of the Oct. 11 issue, page 88, there are four rather grotesque errors that some editor or other should have caught.
(1.) Marc Savlov describes the animation and dubbing of Pokémon movies as "so patently annoying that an animated, all-singing, all-dancing, all-talking ducks version of The Sorrow and the Pity begins to seem strangely appealing." I attempted to derive the maximum comedic pay-off from this, but was conceptually stymied. While dancing throughout the conceived remake of this extremely long, difficult, and sad documentary, are these ducks also simultaneously singing and talking?
(2.) Later in the same review, Savlov opines that "why the Pokémon fad hasn't died off yet is one of the great mysteries of the universe, right up there with the Pyramids of Gaza [sic] and the white stuff in Twinkies." I believe I can explain one of these mysteries. Entrepreneurial citizens of Gaza built house-sized replicas of the Giza pyramids. They rent tiny figurines to be placed in the foreground so that, when viewed from a certain angle, the pyramid replicas give an appropriate impression of hugeness.
(3.) The first sentence of Marrit Ingman's review of The Transporter ends with the phrase "about as much plot to fill a thimble." I doubt that Bush, speaking extemporaneously (imagine the nail-biting in the White House whenever he does so), could manage to come up with such a grammatical head-scratcher.
(4.) Later in the paragraph she writes that one villain is "generically in cahoots with a nefarious Chinese businessman (Kwai, whose pancake seems to have been applied by a mortician)." Who's Kwai? His name is not mentioned in the list of actors that precedes the review. Is Kwai sort of like Cher with respect to name and name recognition?
Conceptual, factual, grammatical, and informational mangling such as is displayed on this one page leads me to ask an obvious question: Does anyone on your staff, many of whom are described as editors, actually edit this stuff before it's printed? (I'm available.)
Snide Remarks Unnecessary
Dear Mr. Black:
Congratulations to Melissa Sattley for providing some long overdue exposure on the ever-fertile music scene in Monterrey ["Cumbia Sobre el Rio," Oct. 18]. But tell Sattley to cut her crappy, snide, offhand remarks about Greyhound bus staff and Mexican immigration officials.
I've done the bus trip to Monterrey and on to Mexico City a half-dozen times from Austin. The Greyhound staff in Austin has always been courteous, and the Mexican immigration officials have never charged me more than the legally mandated visa fee. There's no point in The Austin Chronicle perpetuating naff stereotypes about Mexican officials and Greyhound bus staff, particularly if part of the article's laudable purpose was to convince ever-squeamish gringos to cross the border.
Perhaps Sattley's time would be better spent criticizing the overwhelming (and growing) presence of the U.S. border patrol -- who always make life hell and sometimes life-threatening (how many migrants have died in the desert this year?) for all those who head north from Mexico.
Still Pissed About Coach
Bet you thought that the pissed off Coach fans were done writing letters. We're not. We're still pissed off. The Chronicle is continuing to be a part of the suckifying of Austin. Mazel tov. When future Austinites look back and wonder what went wrong, you can rest assured that you helped fuck things up just a little bit more. You may not realize how ditching the best column the Chronicle ever had affected the overall ambience of Austin. But it is all the little things that eventually add up to our constantly decreasing quality of life.
The Steering Committee Speaks
I response to "That Was Then, This Is Now," by Rebecca Beall ["Postmarks," Oct. 11].
This letter represents the formal response of the student members of the Griffin School Steering Committee. The Steering Committee is made up of three student representatives (elected by the student body), two teachers, and one administrator, and is responsible for the creation, alteration, and removal of all policies at the school. The committee makes decisions only by true consensus, with recommendations from students welcome at all steering committee meetings.
After reading Rebecca Beall's letter to the Chronicle last week, the members of the steering committee felt prompted to respond. We feel as though we speak not only for the Steering Committee, but also for all of the current students whom we represent, when we say that our school was misrepresented by a distraught, disgruntled, former student who unfairly painted an incomplete and inaccurate picture in her attempt to illustrate the current state of Griffin.
Over the last few years the school has grown, and accompanied by this growth certain changes inevitably took place. Some of these changes were put into motion as the school went through the process of accreditation that we are proud to have completed, and others were considered necessary in cultivating and preserving a positive learning environment while encouraging students to explore themselves and their own sense of self-expression.
The Griffin School is a creative, communal environment based on consensus among teachers, administrators, students, and parents. The opportunities available to students to change and improve the environment of the school are endless. The school has, and has had, a system of committees, all of which directly involve students, that make major decisions for the school. The committees all have representatives from the student body, and they all accept and consider views on any issues that an individual wishes to address or alter. This can be seen as a vital aspect of our school. All of the students we spoke to regarding Rebecca Beall's letter responded by saying, "You get out of Griffin exactly what you put into it." Maybe the question should be asked, what did she do to better her experience at the Griffin School?
As members of the Steering Committee we feel it is our responsibility to make it very clear to the Chronicle readership that the views expressed in Rebecca's letter are hers and hers alone. At least once a week former Griffin students drop by the school just to say "hello" to the teachers and administrators. Every student who has come through our school with a positive attitude has left feeling as though he/she was part of something positive and valuable. The fact they continue to stop by and take part should prove this point.
Thanks Sew Much
We wanted to thank whoever was responsible for our being chosen as "The Best Sewing Store" in the critics picks, "Best Of Austin" 2002 [Sept. 27]. We really appreciate it, as well as the nicely written piece about our store.
Ron & Barbara Goldkorn
owners of Sew Much More
This is surely fantasy; only a dangerously deluded person could believe it's not fiction: Once upon a time, the priests, who owned people's souls, became more powerful than the kings, who owned people's bodies. In a spiritual doublecross, the priests manipulated the masses to revolt. The French and Russian monarchy were murdered and the British (German) monarchy was thrown off by the colonies. The faithful enriched the Vatican. The royal families were really pissed; they founded secret cults whose members amassed fantastic wealth and motionlessly waited while plotting their revenge. Of all human achievements, the U.S. Constitution and the Western outlawing of slavery have been the greatest thorns in their side. How could they reverse this humanistic tide and regain ultimate power? In the 20th century this was carried out by manipulating the puppets Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Mao Tse-Tung, Pol Pot, etc. Lady Liberty stood bravely against them. How to turn men back into slaves? Flood society with narcotics while banking trillions. Addict urban youth. Make laws with exorbitant punishments for feeding the addiction. Presto! Generations who have no vote or right to bear arms, who must work at slave wages. How to wrench liberty from the rest? Stage mass terrorist acts: Blow up buildings that appear to be their own; loose a team of snipers into a radius surrounding the seat of U.S. government. Declare martial law. Wage war on infidels, reaping the oily spoils. Silence the fourth estate and form a state media. Confiscate all guns; release plagues against which only the elite and the chosen are vaccinated. Perfect robotics and nanotechnology. Exterminate 90% of the world's population, leaving only the prime slave class, which through eugenics will be bred only to serve and entertain. The elite regenerate their bodies with the potential of endless perfect physical life, until the asteroid hits, obliterating all higher life forms. Then all hell breaks loose and the mighty are brought low before Real Power.
Footnote: Bush's apparent royal connections have been revealed before. According to Gary Boyd Roberts, a genealogist at the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston, Bush is descended from British royalty going as far back as 12th-century King Henry I, the son of William the Conqueror.