Our readers talk back.
Keep Austin Indie
It's frightening how much the local media landscape has transformed in the last few years. As reported in "Dialing for Dollar$" [News, Dec. 17], currently 23 of 27 radio stations are owned by just five chains! In a community with a tradition of grassroots support for cultural uniqueness, it's sad to observe the consequences from FCC media ownership deregulation and neglect of its localism mandate. With the shutdown of Radio Free Austin, uncertainty over Austin Music Network's future, and the deaths of many indie publications, how can we "keep Austin weird"?
What Clear Channel doesn't understand is that the amount of advertising on our airwaves isn't what turns listeners away it's the prepackaged formats programmed without considering why Austinites chose to live here. All the changes in the local media landscape should be the clearest signal that Austin media is failing to satisfy this market.
Austinites should remember that dissatisfaction inspired an outside proposal to KAZZ to experiment with a pioneering radio concept a couple of decades ago as KOKE's signal echoed across the national media landscape. Radio owners should also take note that Besley Corporation turned the table years later by guaranteeing creative control in order to attract an innovative program director to make over KGSR. Granted, corporate radio has its limitations, but noncommercial stations like KVRX can step up by giving more support to our local music scene.
Maybe the Chronicle should bring back the Biggest Waste of the Airwaves category. But since that award would be shared by too many, perhaps the Chronicle can spotlight what's still worth tuning in to on our airwaves instead, once the media landscape settles down a bit.
'Chronicle' Excludes Hispanics!!
Your story about Austin radio managed to exclude more than 25% of the market ["Dialing for Dollar$," News, Dec. 17]. Mr. Brass overlooked the eight Hispanic stations that rank among the Top 25 stations ... foremost among them KHHL ("Exitos"), a Top 5 station in every important demographic. Our company, BMP Radio, operates seven of these stations (Univision Radio also has a minor presence) targeting the nearly 300,000 Hispanic Austinites, and garnering a more than proportionate share of the advertising dollars. We're disappointed that the Chronicle seems oblivious to this vital and rapidly growing segment.
Place 1: Too Early to Call
To the editor,
In reference to the Mike Clark-Madison "Naked City" article printed Dec. 17 [News], I believe the paper should print a retraction and Mr. Madison should conduct some research before succumbing to the political machine rolling over him. I believe since I am a candidate for Place 1 and my name is listed first on the sequence I should be declared winner of the race five months before the election and before even one candidates' forum has been held. Please consider the following before crowning the Austin Place 1 progressive candidate. I have attended an HBC (historically black college), been a single father raising my son, and conducted grassroots organizing on affordable housing, APD community police relations, and the Travis County Democratic Party. I have been a small-business owner, involved with neighborhood zoning and planning, sustainable housing, and community empowerment. Building bridges for one community, one Austin.
Candidate for City Council Place 1
[Editor's note: See "Austin@Large" p.15 for more.]
So how much Christmas cheer did your reporter have before filing his alleged story on the homeless ["No Homeless in Our Time?," News, Dec. 17]? Here's a sampling of what wasn't reported:
* There are 20,000 homeless people in Austin and its surrounding environs;
* 6,709 of these meet the new federal criteria for chronic homeless;
* 1,917 meet the criteria but are turned away due to lack of resources;
* To be "chronically homeless" one must be an unaccompanied homeless individual with a disabling condition who has been continuously homeless for a year or more, or one who has had at least four episodes of homelessness in the past three years;
* Disabling condition is a diagnosable substance disorder, serious mental illness, developmental disability, or chronic physical illness or disability, including two or more of these conditions;
* 755 shelter beds available for 90 days to those lucky enough to get them;
* 388 transitional/permanent housing units for those lucky enough to get them;
* In the Austin area, the chronic homeless account for about 33.5% of the homeless population and receive about 32.6% of the available funding, which completely screws up the "New York" reform model;
* Ratio of staff to chronic homeless 1-to-86;
* Homeless funding: $17,960,000/20,000 homeless = $809.30 per capita, $67.45/month, or $2.25/day;
* Chronic homeless funding: $5,067,000/6,709 chronic homeless = about $756.74/capita, $63.06/month, or $2.10/day; and
* Implementation of "reforms" by DAA executive that seem openly hostile suggests less than optimum outcome of aid for chronically homeless.
Merry Christmas to the "value laden," Ricky Bird
[News Editor Michael King responds: Bastrop's Ricky Bird, self-appointed authority on all matters homeless, finds it amusing to insult anyone else who presumes to discuss the subject without his permission. In a previous letter on another subject, he condemns those whose "politics is to spit on your allies and imply that those disagreeing with you are fools or corrupted." Yet that is the only style of argument he employs. For the record, his figure of 20,000 area homeless depends on counting "20,378 duplicated homeless individuals" who were provided services (in the Homeless Task Force survey he attached) as each an independent case of homelessness. That initial incorrect presumption undermines all his subsequent arithmetic. Certainly the local problem of homelessness is serious and the survey represents an important step in addressing the specific problem of chronic homelessness. Wild and hostile exaggerations of either the numbers or other people's motives are not much help.]
An Average American
It's time for me to leave the closet. I've been a registered Democrat for 22 years. I marched in two protests against the latest Iraqi war. I voted for Kerry in November.
However, I am now happy to say, "I am glad Bush won."
I have three reasons for my new Dubyaism.
Europe is not our friend. They have been stabbing Israel and the U.S. in the back for more than 30 years under the Euro-Arab dialogue; with this Faustian pact, the continent sold its soul for oil. The continent is now rife with violence and bloodshed at the hands of Islamic radicals welcomed by this pact. It is the original "blood for oil." Couple this with the EU's unapologetic financial support of the Palestinian authority and Hamas and it is obvious that Bush was right to ignore Europe in regard to Iraq. They declared a quasi-war against us in 1973.
Multiculturalism and political correctness are divisive tools of limo-libbies. This abominable double standard is racist. By holding "disadvantaged" groups to a lower standard of behavior than that of the mainstream, we are saying that these persons are incapable of succeeding in the predominant culture. However, complain about the adverse effects of this misbehavior, and you are branded a racist. All reasonable discourse gets handcuffed by identity politics.
The left's own elitism has made it irrelevant. In fits of childish narcissism, they blame red-state ignorance rather than their own ineptitude for their loss in this latest election. They are way out of touch with the average American, and their whining just distances them even more.
Lefties are crying about moving to Europe to get away from red-state dominance. Go ahead. I suggest Spain. There's lots of sangria and Real Madrid on telly. Just don't cry to me when you can't hear the match over the loudspeaker of the mosque next door.
Time to Stop Dreaming
Some liberal-conservative arguments are anything but black and white. The Trans Texas Corridor is not black to the exclusion of white. The fact is, truck traffic from the border among other places certainly seems to be eating I-35's lunch. I'm no fan of Perry, but the corridor is an honest admission that this is and will be for decades a truck-based economy. The corridor fires through beautiful Texas land in the process of this admission, but at least it deals with the facts at hand. To sit back and pretend that the world's (and along with it, Texas') population isn't growing and that free trade and traffic with Mexico is irrelevant will land us where poor planning always lands you: mired in mistakes. At this stage in history, Texas environmentalists need to focus on the real issue, and that's the oil-based economy. Instead of coaxing I-35 corridor cities into a no-corridor frenzy, wouldn't our greater interests be served by riling everyone who is tired of dealing with Mideast turf battles, Exxon's price gouging, melting ice caps, and their kid's asthma into a frenzy over a product that is doing a hell of a lot more damage than a 1,300-foot-wide swatch of concrete would ever hope to? Liberals, we need to start wising up. We're losing elections because we dream old dreams with old allies instead of producing new solutions with broader coalitions.
Different Take on 'Kinsey'
It's not surprising that Kinsey will not be everyone's cup of tea, or that a male's reaction to the movie might differ significantly from a female's. I do not take exception to critic Kimberley Jones' rating the movie with three stars [Film, Nov. 26]. I would disagree that John Lithgow overacted; his character was pathetic, and ultimately poignant. Jones mentions the ambiguously gay scene between Boy Scout Kinsey and a fellow camper as "uninspired." Like Clara's pronouncement that she found Kinsey "churchy" (when he proposed), I found the scene of the two scouts praying in response to their mutual sexual attraction to be "a howl," as well as beautifully photographed. When Kinsey finally does explore his bisexuality, he immediately confesses to his wife, for not to do so would be "hypocritical." Kinsey does not "bully" Clara into accepting "an open relationship," he pleads with her not to abandon him. He clearly cherishes her throughout the story and never physically or psychologically abuses her. I really cannot think of the movie, however, without remembering Lynn Redgrave's stellar performance, which provides a catharsis to Kinsey's flagging career and self-esteem. And how can Jones say the movie "never thrills" when we are introduced to a character who starts out as hilarious but soon turns very creepy with his proud revelations of prolific pedophilia? The intersection of Kinsey's revolution with McCarthyism was also touched upon. It is truly ironic and thought provoking that Americans are in the grip of a new Puritanism, after we were given such enlightenment about human sexuality in the middle of the 20th century. Oh my God! The children saw an African-American breast during halftime of the testosterone-driven Super Bowl!
Kenney C. Kennedy
Ventura's Tribute Moving
It was a moving tribute to your brother ["Letters @ 3am," Dec. 10]. I cried a little at the end. Thank you for sharing.
Hightower Brings Hope
Every morning when my alarm clock goes off, I have about five minutes to lie in bed and wake up before KALW airs the Jim Hightower segment.
It is always the highlight of my morning.
I do think it's interesting and very very sad that even in the progressive Bay area, during the fundraising drive, the stupid announcer repeatedly apologized for the "inflammatory" words of Mr. Hightower.
This should just show us all how far out of touch even NPR has become as it's been dragged right by the FOX News Channel along with everyone else, though less severely.
Mr. Hightower, I don't know what I would have done without the acknowledgement I gained for my views by listening to you. We all know the truth when we hear it. Even Republicans who prefer denial.
Excellence in journalism is still possible. Mr. Hightower is proof.
Love and peace be with us all.
San Francisco, Calif.
Terror Starts at Home
The tragic story of the Ukrainian opposition candidate's poisoning should rattle people's brains. This most deadly toxin used in Kiev is the same chemical named as a key ingredient of Agent Orange, the product developed by DuPont chemicals during the Vietnam War to defoliate the jungles, thus revealing the enemy hiding therein.
Only recently has the U.S. government even acknowledged that the ailments being reported by the thousands of U.S. servicemen who came in contact with Agent Orange might possibly be related to the defoliant's ingredients. The international reports of thousands of Vietnamese people who were sprayed by Agent Orange developing cancers and other serious ailments have been largely ignored by U.S. government officials.
Think about it, folks! Using the criteria being applied today to such international monsters as Saddam Hussein, who used chemical weapons of mass destruction against his own people, then added to the world's list of individuals who committed crimes against humanity must be presidents Lyndon Johnson and Nixon, Defense Secretary McNamara, and generals LeMay and Westmoreland, all of whom either authorized or ordered the use of WMD against Vietnam.
Is the USA a terrorist state? Think about it!
Murder Is Murder
As a lesbian survivor of gay-bashing, I ask my Austin community and all people, especially those who are hated by white supremacists, to visibly and vocally oppose the execution of James Porter on Jan. 5, 2005. Whether a white supremacist is killing a gay man, or whether the state of Texas is killing a prisoner, murder is murder.
James Porter is an acknowledged white supremacist. He will be executed for murdering Rudy Delgado, a Latino prisoner, because he believed Delgado was gay.
Homosexuals are vulnerable "members" of U.S. society, even when they are in the custody of the state. A current example of this is the current case of gay Texan Roderick Johnson, who [allegedly] was "horrifically" subjected to being a sex slave in a Texas prison with the full complicity of the prison authorities. The state needs to protect gay people. But not by murdering our murderers.
As a lesbian in this world of neo-Nazis and gay-bashers, I call for a full moratorium of all executions, even the execution of neo-Nazis. Especially when it seems most difficult, Americans with "moral values" must be champions in the fight against state-sponsored murder.
Jeanette Popp is chairperson of Texas Moratorium Network. Jeanette's daughter Nancy was murdered in Austin in 1988. Jeanette became intimately familiar with the many flaws of the Texas criminal justice system after two innocent men were wrongfully convicted of her daughter's murder and spent 12 years in prison. They were exonerated and released in 2001. The real killer was convicted in December 2001. Jeanette successfully pressured the district attorney not to seek the death penalty for her daughter's murderer. Jeanette's riveting testimony in 2001 helped convince two Texas legislative committees to vote in favor of moratorium legislation. She frequently travels across the nation speaking out against the death penalty. She is a Texan.
Coretta Scott King says, "Justice is never advanced in the taking of human life. Morality is never upheld by legalized murder."