Our readers talk back.

The Rumor Is True


Just read your terrific article "Fostering Family Values" [May 2]. You wrote: "Unconfirmed hallway rumors had one senator personally ordering a gay family out of his office." Rumor confirmed. I'm that family. My mom had a scheduled appointment with her state senator, Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, to discuss bills prohibiting gay people from adopting or becoming foster parents. When asked if he supported such bills, he couldn't say "absolutely" fast enough. When I asked him what should happen to my 2-year-old niece in the event my mom died (my heterosexual sister has given legal custody of her to our mom), he said he wasn't "going to go into that" but that she should not be with me and my partner because we're gay. It didn't matter to him that we care for her nearly every weekend nor that she has her own bedroom in our home. He then told us the appointment was over, got up, literally walked to the door and opened it, and told us to leave or he would call security. My only wish now is that we did stay! Anyway, Amy, thanks for the "mention" and please keep up the good work! We need people like you exposing this sort of thing.

James Wesley


Cover Story Greatly Appreciated


Thanks for your coverage of gay foster parents, and thanks especially for putting a photograph on the cover of two gay men and their adopted child ["Fostering Family Values," May 2].

For people who never read the accompanying article, the cover photo itself will jar common conceptions of both gays and families. It is an image that many people will remember for a long time. It is one of the more iconoclastic cover photos that the Chronicle has ever printed.

It's good to see that there is at least one publication in Austin that doesn't shy away from controversial topics.

Jim Caruth

Smoking Ban a Dangerous Idea

Dear Editors,

I would like to take this chance to thank all the fascists posing as our council members. After watching the council meeting last night and seeing an overwhelming disapproval of the proposed smoking ban, they found it logical to pass a ban that will effectively push one more dagger into the dying greatness that was once Austin. It wasn't enough to give away Downtown to the likes of Intel, etc., but now they want to eliminate the music districts also. This smoking ban will have the same effects it did with Tempe, Dallas, and others. I guess the only options left are to take the fantastic Intel building and make that a "designated smoking area" for music goers or change our motto to "Austin, Texas, the live, unplugged, nonsmoking, not over a certain decibel, music capital of the world."

I hope their full pockets are enough to ease their minds when our city has to apply for welfare due to lack of revenue. I for one hope all the great venues that are still here will change to "private clubs" rather than close the doors on what made this town great for so many years.

Yours in disgust!

Kevin Rollins

Where Is the Demand for a Smoke-Free Club?


I am a bit surprised that I have not seen anyone argue the point of pure capitalism on this smoking-ban issue. To me there is no other argument ... if nonsmoking bars made lots of money there would be a proliferation of them on Sixth Street. Instead, as far as I know, there are none. So, if these people, whomever they are, want to stop smoking on Sixth Street, or, as the lame argument goes, they just want a place they can go to enjoy live music without having to deal with us degenerate smokers, then they should go to private investors, or raise money however they can, and open a nonsmoking live music bar/venue. If, as the capitalist system is designed to do, the idea takes off, they will be the first of many nonsmoking bars on the strip. If, however, there is no demand for a nonsmoking venue they will disappear as every bad idea is destined to do. If these nonsmoking folk think they have such a good idea, let them put their money where their mouths are, and give it a go.

Let the Austin public speak for itself, instead of the few people in City Hall. This thing should never even come to a vote, it should have been laughed out of the chambers as soon as it was brought forth. Don't let government dictate private (legal) industry, because if you do, when someone finds something they don't care for about your (insert your private business here) establishment, then they go to City Council, instead of opening a business of their own to compete with yours. Sort of like rats.

Ryan Cook, smoker

Power Corrupts

Howdy Louis Black,

Austinites asked me why is the Chronicle disrespecting Max Nofziger so much? Louis, with respect, even after the election your subjective Smarty Growth agenda is showing like a whore's cheap petty coat. After an election, have you ever heard of being a good winner? Max was not "complaining" about not having enough money or press as you suggest. Max made a statement of fact, there was no complaint.

Max as mayor would not have fully supported the fiscally slanted Smart Growth agenda. Louis, you love Smart Growth/light rail and Max has a very different point of view on it. Your constant negative carping about Max's work at City Council and that hard-won experience is truly "complaining," with a very subjective Smart Growth fiscal agenda.

Smart Growth gentrification and light rail will spur capital densification development. Higher circulation and more readers "gives" the Chronicle more ad money and builds you a bigger ivory tower to preach from. However, that same agenda helps evict the common man from Central Austin housing. Isn't that why you used your rag to push your "visions" and that Kirk Watson look-alike as the best choice for Austin's new mayor?

Louis, you are starting to sound just like that crabby guy who heads up the other Austin paper. He is dogmatic, autocratic, and dictates to the public as if that paper is another law enforcement agency in Austin. You appear to be in a pressing contest to see who will be the "Print Media High Priest" of Austin. Or are you looking to be the new "Media High Sheriff" of Austin's newly fabricated moral, ethical, and environmentally correct "Downtown Castle"? Have you forgotten the "news," Louis? Power corrupts.

Rick Hall

Backin' McCracken

To Whom It May Concern:

When I read Louis Black's post-election column last week, I realized he does not know Brewster McCracken as I do. I believe it is important to correct some misperceptions that Mr. Black apparently has about Brewster.

In 2000, when I served as president of the Travis County Bar Association, we made the decision to start a mentor program at Johnston High School. A colleague of mine who was leading our school programs, Lee Ann Alexander, recommended that we ask Brewster to start the program. At the time, Brewster was a school volunteer through the Choices program, and he had served as a mentor at Fulmore Middle School. Brewster accepted on the spot our request to start the program. He worked hard, kept his word, and he set up a very successful program that still exists today. Every week, Johnston's cafeteria was filled with volunteer mentors who Brewster had personally recruited, talking with at-risk young people who faced enormous challenges in their lives. It was unglamorous work that had very little public visibility, but it was the kind of work that made an enormous positive difference in the lives of the young people they were touching. In other words, what Brewster and the other mentors were doing was volunteerism in the truest sense.

Brewster was very focused on doing a good job, he was well liked by everyone who worked with him, and he was someone I knew I could count on. I never knew that Brewster might run for office some day because he never spoke of having any political aspirations. I'm glad he is running for city council, though. I know what kind of person Brewster is, I know he's doing this for all of the right reasons, and if he does as good a job for the people of Austin as he did for the kids at Johnston High School, our city will be the better for it.


Mina A. Brees

The Redistricting Fiasco


It is important for Central Texans to realize that the 53 Democrats who went missing in action were not acting capriciously or out of spite. The events of Monday morning were the result of weeks of being frozen out of the democratic process while a newly elected House leadership rushed to set in motion a series of laws and resolutions unprecedented in our State's history.

There is a spirit of meanness at work this year in the Texas House of Representatives that transcends the expected untidiness of having a new party in power. Flurries of bills are emerging to the house floor that seem more punitive than ideological. Most grievous has been Speaker of the House Tom Craddick's assent to Tom DeLay's redistricting plan. There have been few times in our state's history when a Legislature was faced with more challenges and more in need of unity. When Craddick bowed his knee to Tom DeLay he placed the Texas House of Representatives in the service of national partisan politics and further divided a House already in danger of collapse.

Craddick's response to the Democrats' objecting to these maneuvers has been a consistent "take it or leave it." There is a point where no conscientious representative of the people will "take it" any longer. The people of Texas should tolerate no complaint from Craddick about the events of Monday morning. He chose to put politics ahead of the best interest of all Texans. It was he, not the "53," who was derelict in his duty.

Glen Coleman

No Computers in Nature


Not sure how to take the cover to the latest (May 9) issue, your cowgirl with a laptop. Is it supposed to be cute/funny/sexy? Or is it just sad because it seems to glamorize a quasi-Borg view that nature can't be enjoyed simply for its own sake, one must remain attached by a cyber-umbilical cord to the soulless über-teat of mechano-America? Maybe it's a work of irony, given the hundreds of high tech Austin worker ants now desperate for new jobs. Maybe I'll understand when I've been assimilated (if you can catch me).


Kevin Hendryx

Just a Bunch of High Tech Crap


Gee, why do we even need a "Hill Country Guide to Summer Fun" [May 9] if we intend to sit by the water's edge -- passive and plastic -- with our laptops keeping us abreast of all the latest fear and our DV camcorder to capture all the moments we never really live? I'd rather see a hairy, naked hippie from the hollow come throw blondie and her high tech crap in the creek. We're so asleep it's frightening.


Heather Kafka

Show Me the Money


Tom Strubbe's recent letter ["Postmarks," May, 9] is an excellent example of why taxes should perhaps be increased -- to pay for better education. He claims that he is middle class and that his taxes are almost 45% of his income. He then cites his tax burden as close to $6,000. That figure, at 45%, would make his income about $13,333 per year -- hardly middle class and not likely enough to live on in Austin -- certainly not enough to pay car operation, cigarettes and alcohol, and the many other luxuries he claims to pay taxes on. Who's he kidding? He's got some blatantly incorrect information somewhere and it shows.

Max Farr

Freedom of Expression?

Dear Editor:

When I read Ms. Apple's "Street-to-Street, Sign Wars," in the "Naked City" section of the April 4 paper, I was appalled. The battle for public opinion concerning the war in Iraq has become an actual war in its own right. People's private property is being attacked because of their politics. Property has been vandalized and destroyed and stolen, all over differences in views concerning the war in Iraq. As Americans we need to be mindful of our rights and freedoms that we take for granted. Thankfully, living in this country gives us the freedom to express our views and opinions, whatever they may be. Everyone in this country has the right to express his or her opinions without fear of intimidation or retaliation. The war in Iraq appears to be winding down, but the war for public opinion is not. The battle for the hearts and minds of Americans is still going strong. The signs and stickers littering cars and yards will likely linger long after the war itself is over. These signs and stickers are private property and represent the viewpoints of your fellow citizens. Proper respect must be given to all different points of view and to the laws that protect these different views equally. I assumed, incorrectly, that the people of this great city would have more respect for their fellow humans, Americans, and Austinites. Hopefully, these mindless acts of destruction and theft will not persist. What a trivial, petty squabble over signs while a war is being fought half a world away. The war is currently affecting and will continue to affect people on a local, national, and global level, but that is no reason to take our hostilities out on our fellow Austinites because of their political views.

Thank you,

Kit McConnico

Time for a Real Fashion Column

Dear editor,

Is the existence of the "After a Fashion" column really necessary? I mean, I like fashion a whole lot, and I like gay guys a whole lot, too, but somehow the "AAF" columnist just misses the boat, in my humble opinion. I'd like to see a real fashion column sans your current unembedded journalist tossing salads and the like. Thank you for your kind consideration in this regard,

Bett Barati

Black Death Hipster Metal

Attention: Michael Chamy

In regards to your summary of Opeth in the May 9 issue ["Music Recommended"], this band never was associated with Black Metal. They were a pretend Death Metal band and now they are a pretend prog-rock band. Get it straight, hipster.

Jeffrey Tandy

'Outlaw' Gray


In Mr. Gray's recent article reviewing Texas Outlaws ["Texas Platters," May 9], he touches on most of the album, yet I can't decide whether he loves it or hates it. What I don't like is the fact that he fails to mention what is arguably the best song on the album. John Evan's rendition of "Folsom River Blues" is amazing, and one of the few songs actually receiving radio play. Why is it that everyone else was mentioned in the article, albeit in an arbitrary way, and this song failed to even get a mention? I generally have respect for all the Chronicle's reviews and will buy or not buy an album based on them. I guess that Mr. Gray's reviews are ones that I will not pay attention to in the future.

Jennifer Cowan

The Dangers of eSlate


I was sad to see the "eSlate: It Worked!" article [May 9]. I encourage the Chronicle to research electronic voting further. Electronic voting is subject to software bugs as well as flat-out unprovable fraud. Read the comp.risks newsgroup, or check out Rebecca Mercuri's research: The companies that manufacture these devices are unregulated and don't permit their software or algorithms to be inspected or certified. Slot machines are better regulated than our electronic-election system! There are numerous instances of problems and apparent fraud in recent years, such as historically very liberal districts that mysteriously voted for conservative candidates, in conflict with exit poll data. Two major manufacturers, ES&S and Diebold, are both owned and operated by individuals with right-wing political views, who are heavy contributors to the Republican Party. Yet, most media and officials unfamiliar with the risks of this technology enthusiastically support it because it's allegedly more efficient and high tech, and golly, we can trust computers more than paper, can't we? What's more important: getting the results tallied quickly or getting them tallied reliably with independent verification and recounts? Our rush to make all elections tallied by proprietary, unauditable computer software should be a cause for great alarm, yet it's being sold to us as wonderful progress.

Lest this sound like hypothetical theorizing that doesn't really apply to our own recent election, consider this: When I voted Saturday, I personally witnessed the voter next to me have technical trouble as he accidentally cast his ballot after voting only for the mayoral race and not the council positions. He asked for assistance and the election official apologetically explained there was nothing that could be done, because that's how the software works, so tough luck, he didn't get to vote in the council races. Clearly eSlate didn't work for this frustrated fellow.


Russ Williams

Savlov's Review Shortsighted


Marc Savlov's May 2 review of X2: X-Men United as almost exclusively an allegory for the gay experience unfairly appropriates the film from its most apparent reference. While Mr. Savlov suggested allegory to other groups -- African-Americans, Jews, and Muslims -- it is extraordinary that a review of this movie, in which a principle character, professor Xavier is in a wheelchair, does not plumb for insight into disability.

Certainly X-Men raises many analogies in our political history. Some references are obvious; African-Americans were labeled nonmen in our constitution, today only people with disabilities are regarded as "mutants." Fifty years ago Jews and Japanese-Americans were segregated or warehoused -- today however, that status is reserved for the disabled. Professor Xavier's School for the Gifted is an allusion to the schools for the deaf, or the blind.

What makes this film particularly important to the disabled are the subtle references. The schism between Xavier and Magneto illustrates a very real division in the community -- between those who advocate "mainstreaming," and those who advocate segregation. I am not aware of any other group for whom such a question still resonates. Mr. Savlov found significance in the challenges mutants have being romantic -- Iceman's affections may kill Rogue. It is natural, and even expected that African-Americans will love African-Americans, gays other gays; but only in the disabled community does love regularly involve physical complications for partners. Had Mr. Savlov explored these nuances, his review would have been more compelling.

The problem with Mr. Savlov's appropriation of X2 for the gay experience is that the disabled community has almost no heroic figures in literature or film, nor any exposition of our challenges. From the New Testament's declaration that the disabled are possessed of evil spirits, to Shakespeare's King Henry III, to The Phantom of the Opera, and Samuel L. Jackson's character in Unbreakable, the disabled have universally been portrayed as evil. I recognize that the gays and others face many challenges. Fortunately, current literature and film portray strong and heroic gay and minority characters. Until the disabled achieve the acceptance that others have, please allow us a few heroes.


Martin J. Thompson

Arturo Mancha Deserves Kudos


Michael Erard's article on my friend, Arturo Mancha, captured the extraordinary talent of a fascinating young man ["Take Me, Instead," April 25]. Some months ago, I handed Arturo the first chapter of my next book, and he wrote observations and suggestions that greatly influenced the rest of the manuscript.

Arturo is a good guy -- and a writer we will hear more from in a few years. I hope they catch the pissant who stole his manuscript because he robbed all of us.

Gary M. Lavergne

Author, A Sniper in the Tower

Where Does Lottery $ Go?


I'm sick and tired of paying more and more property taxes on my condo every year. The tax assessor doesn't ask me if I can afford more. They just take without asking. In my book, that's stealing. I haven't had a raise in three years! In this economy, I'm lucky I'm still working.

I'd like to know why money from Texas Lottery ticket sales isn't even mentioned in the newspapers in this town as a possible source for funding schools and therefore relieving already overburdened property-tax payers. One store clerk told me that the company that owns the lottery ticketing machines pockets most of the money.

Please do an investigative article and tell us all where all that lottery money really goes, and suggest other alternatives to school funding.

Raymond Moran

Do Your Homework


To answer Mr. Gregg Gordeon's recent "Gen. Bush Gears Up for Election" letter ["Postmarks," May 9]: Yes, sir, you are wrong.

He states that he "could not think of a single president, regardless of military background, who had donned the uniform while in office."

In fact, Washington not only put his uniform back on, but also led troops into battle during the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794. Madison wore his old uniform when reviewing troops in the war of 1812, and there is a portrait of Grant wearing his uniform in the White House.

All of this was found in about 10 minutes of research on the Internet.

It appears that Mr. Gordeon is more interested in taking cheap shots and comparing President Bush to Hitler than he is in conducting basic research to back up his argument. Sadly, I am not surprised.

Lewis Etheridge

Time to License the Smokers


I am writing this in response to the uproar of all the people here in Austin on the smoking ban. I personally am not a smoker. I do not care what the rest of the world does with their bodies. I as an adult, understand that when I go to a nightclub that there will be a lot of people there smoking. I know this before I even leave my house. On the other hand, I believe that the people that smoke understand that when they go out to the clubs that there will be a lot of nonsmokers, also.

I am willing to propose this to the community. Instead of an outright ban on smoking in all public places, why don't we sell a license for a smoking permit. All the clubs have to get their alcoholic beverage license yearly. Why can't we do the same with smoking? If we did that, then we would make a lot of people happy. The club and restaurant owners, the smokers, and everyone that will benefit from the new revenue. Has anyone looked into something along this line?

Enough ranting, thanks for your time,

Robert Guinn

Wanted: Jazzy Space

Letter to Austinites and the editors of the Chronicle,

Hello. I am writing as a member of Austin's creative music community in hopes of finding a place for us to present our music to the public. At this time we have no place where we can present this music. The Chronicle has been very helpful to us in the past, and I am asking for more help now by writing this.

Pedro Moreno has proven through his Epistrophy Arts that there is an audience for this music here in Austin. He has presented international talent to our city and the people have turned out in droves. It would be wonderful to have a place where Austin's many local musicians can present their music to this audience as well. This will help expose our music to a broader audience, and we can, in turn, provide an opportunity for people to learn more about this music and its history. I also hope that any writers out there who want to help us will please do so.

If you have a space that you could make available to us -- be it a back yard, grocery store, or whatever -- please contact me at

Thanks and peace,

Carl Smith

Protect the Cormorant

Dear Chronicle,

I'll never forget the first time I got a good look at a cormorant in action. I was standing on the footbridge over Barton Creek, when I saw a big, black bird duck under the water and begin chasing fish. I had a perfect view through the clear water as this amazing creature zigzagged like a will-o'-the-wisp, staying submerged for an incredibly long time, finally surfacing with a little fish in its bill. It expertly tossed the fish up and, Gulp! Down the hatch it went, head first. I've never seen any critter work so hard for its supper.

Unfortunately, we humans have a long history of cruelty to cormorants, and according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, it's about to get worse: They've proposed more relaxed rules which will allow for thousands of cormorants to be needlessly killed. But that's not good enough for Texas Parks and Wildlife Director Bob Cook, who wants the rules even looser.

Why can't we let these birds be themselves? It's not like they can choose what they eat, the way we do. If they occasionally gobble up a few fish in some rich guy's lake, it's because they're hungry, not because they're "pests." The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service needs to understand this, before they rashly declare the cormorant no longer protected.

Austin's own Thoreau, Roy Bedichek, was a friend of the cormorants. He wrote eloquently in their defense many years ago when they were being killed indiscriminately. I hope we don't return to those days.


Chris Jones

Meet George W. Bush


What if America spent millions of tax dollars training a pilot to fly fighter jets, and then during the Iraq War, the pilot just gave it up so he could go work a political campaign for a friend of his father's?

And what if that same pilot cost American families another few million dollars by reserving an aircraft carrier for a day so he could campaign from its glorious deck?

Meet George W. Bush.

Bush wasted millions of tax dollars when he walked away from flying during the Vietnam war -- and did so without a single legitimate service day for his fifth and sixth years of "service" to the Texas Air National Guard.

John McCain nearly burned to death on the deck of an aircraft carrier.

John Kerry served his country during a time of war on the deck of an aircraft carrier.

What anger those two men must endure as George aWol Bush campaigns for re-election from the deck of a returning aircraft carrier after invading and bombing a country because they didn't have their paperwork completed in a timely fashion.

Rick Harvey

Fight for Your Right


What we have here is a failure to participate. Today's withdrawal of House Democrats in the face of the overwhelmingly competitive, predatory, and antisocial redistricting maneuvers undertaken by "the Powerful GOP" is roughly analogous to the withdrawal from democracy by the public at large that we've been bemoaning for many years now. When the bullies have got you bent over the seesaw and are spanking the hell out of you, the natural playground reaction is to pick up whatever toys you brought and run home. They bank on this.

I believe that the two together (lack of voter participation and outright hands-tied desperation of the Dems) are the proverbial "writing on the wall" that the system is broke, that the people with the money compete in a sphere that is not accessible to, nor beneficial for "the Weird" Austinites who still believe in government as the only useful protection from the greedy and powerful individuals who bend the rules to their whim and take any legal advantage. This cynicism is not only incorrect; it's what they bank on.

Note to all Austinites: If we all go home, they won't simply be the tops on the playground ... they will turn your playground into a "pay-to-play" ground.

The day I learned to punch the playground bullies (who were bigger, but not possessed with any real fortitude) in the face changed my playground life.

Punch the Grand Old Bully in the kisser. Vote, for a change.

Robert Clayton

The Price of Addiction


I was a smoker in L.A. when smoking was banned and didn't see any clubs/venues loose business. I smoked two packs a day, was completely addicted, and like everyone else suddenly had to (gasp!) step outside to smoke. I didn't mind, in fact appreciated the nudge toward more respectful treatment of others. No one ever even suggested I quit my dangerous and disgusting habit. I was only told to move it a safe distance from innocent bystanders, hardly the sacrifice Austin smokers are claiming.

I don't smoke anymore. I go to clubs and venues for live music every week. I am forced every single time to breathe smoke. It burns my eyes, nose, and throat. It's very uncomfortable and ruins the show for me. I ask politely every time of the smoker to please put it out or move to the edge or back of the crowd. Never once in 50-plus times has anyone obliged me or acknowledged my right to breathe clean air. I have even had to leave during shows of my favorite bands because it's so uncomfortable; no matter where I stand or dance, it seems I'm next to a smoker. How is it fair that I'm forced to leave, when I'm only asking that smokers take their harmful habit a safe distance outside? Addiction has a price. That's not a judgment, because like I said, I was a smoker, and so I truly understand and sympathize. But all this alarmist nonsense about clubs loosing business is bull -- it's just panicked addicts feeling threatened.

Smoke outside, stop whining, and suck it up. That's the price you pay for addiction -- don't make me pay it.

Kristi Holdgrafer

Tolerant of Intolerance


Thank you Rick Santorum for shooting your ignorant mouth off about your personal views on homosexuals. You showed not only your own intolerance, which I believe is your right, but you illustrated once again the myopic views of the knee-jerk liberals who are so desperate to portray the GOP as "anti-gay." Funny, didn't hear one of the people who wrote in last week complaining about Santorum's comments about Senator Robert Byrd's comments last year on FOX News about "white niggers." No one said shit about Byrd being a "proud member of the KKK." Didn't hear shit from them when Bill Clinton reneged on his "promise" of gays in the military after Democrat Senator Sam Nunn told him "no fucking way" after Clinton's first election. In 1993, when Clinton had a Democrat Senate and House of Representatives, Democrats, apparently "the party that supports gay rights" didn't do shit about gay rights. 'Course, pointing out the pathetic hypocrisy of the people who wrote outraged letters about Santorum's comments, which amounted to him saying he's not down with gay sex, is cool. Fine. Most gays I know aren't down with heterosexual sex either, but their "intolerance" is cool I guess. Thank god the Chronicle allows the narrow-minded, hate-driven, intolerant hypocrites a voice.

Carl T. Swanson

Hello Kitty

Dear Mr. Black:

On behalf of the Austin Cat Fanciers, I would like to extend our thanks and appreciation for the attention that your organization gave to the 35th annual Championship and Household Pet Cat Show at Palmer Events Center April 18-20, 2003. The show drew the largest number of visitors in a number of years. Your organization's assistance was vital in helping ACF to promote and encourage responsible pet ownership of cats. In addition, a number of new homes were found for pedigreed and adoptable rescued cats.

Once again thank you for your help.


Terry D. DeVilbiss


Austin Cat Fanciers, Inc.

You Can Rock Without Cigarettes

Dear Editor,

I support a Smoke-Free Austin because I value my health. And I can't figure out why there is such resistance to this obviously positive public-health initiative. Business owners claim that they'll lose customers ... but my question to them is this: Where do you think your customers will go for their bingo, bar, club, and live music needs? To another city that permits smoking? Let's face the facts: Austinites love this city and the entertainment that it provides. Austin's smoking population is not going to stay home and pout just because they can't light up while watching Double Trouble play at Antone's or Rusty Wier at the Saxon Pub. C'mon, Austin, let's continue to be the proactive city we've always been. Wake up and smell the carcinogenic-free air.

Bill Nelson,


We Are the Invaders


We in the USA have a president who is giving the [upper] echelon of our society a large tax break at the expense of the little guy. We were made to feel un-American if we were against sending 100-plus of our boys to their death in Iraq after the whole world wanted us to be patient and let the inspectors do their job. Who says we "liberated" the Iraqi people? We, who have weapons of mass destruction, were the invaders without cause; we have plenty of leaders with gold and porno in their homes. Who is going to liberate us from a government that doesn't listen to us?

Colleen Nance

For the Health of Austin


As a serious runner, when I heard that the city of Austin was considering a ban on smoking, I breathed a sigh of relief. Finally, this progressive, athletic-oriented city is taking steps to promote public health. Unfortunately, I discovered that on May 8, our new mayor, Will Wynn, voted against this ordinance. The ordinance has three chances to pass, and it will be brought up for another vote on May 22. What is even more disturbing is that Paul Carroza and RunTex supported Wynn's campaign. I am disappointed that Carroza, a runner, an advocate for runners, and a presidential appointee for children's health, would endorse a candidate that condones smoking. It is a slap in the face to Austinites who wish to live healthy lifestyles and look to RunTex for guidance. Perhaps Carroza will have an easier time getting permits from the city for his races, but only at the expense of his nonsmoking clients who will be forced to breath noxious air.

Vanessa Puig

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