Our readers talk back.
God Bless Bettie NaylorDear Editor,
God bless Austin's Bettie Naylor ["Rare Bird," Gay Pride, June 3]! What an inspiring and courageous woman! If only there were more like her.
The anti-gay-marriage amendment must be defeated, and she is right in saying she doesn't "see anyone doing anything about it."
Perhaps the solution is to bring "her day" back when, as she says, "we'd be in the streets yelling and screaming and throwing rocks." Unfortunately, it may well take protests on a large scale to secure equal rights in Texas for gays and make their relationships legal.
She asks why gays are "taking it." There are many answers. Unfortunately some gays have been exposed to enough violence through their lives because of their lifestyle and do not to want to wreak it upon others. Some are lazy and would rather cruise in the bars. Others are making plans to leave the state as soon as they can. And others simply don't know or are in denial about how serious the threat is today to their basic human rights.
Claude M. Gruener
Cover Photo Not Up to NaylorDear Editor,
Thanks to the Chronicle and Kate Messer for telling Austin about the outstanding work Bettie Naylor has done to make Texas a more tolerant and livable place ["Rare Bird," Gay Pride, June 3]. Although I wish the cover photo had captured her energy and enthusiasm the way the article did, I was gratified by the detailed coverage of one of my role models.
Naylor One of a KindDear Editor,
Many thanks to Kate X Messer and the Chronicle for a riveting portrayal of Bettie Naylor, who has never flinched from living life on her own terms ["Rare Bird," Gay Pride, June 3]. For 30 years she has been a true leader and superperson role model for many of us in the LGBT community. She truly is one of a kind who continues to educate and inspire for the good of the total community straight and gay.
Founders, The Texas Triangle
Austin Cannot Tolerate Hate PoliticsDear Editor,
Over the last days, many Austinites have been smeared in leaflets and e-mails being distributed across Austin. The targets of these missives have one thing in common: support for Margot Clarke for City Council. The hate-filled, homophobic rhetoric is something we haven't seen in Austin campaigns in decades. It shouldn't be tolerated.
There is one great way to send a message that these tactics may work in Tom DeLay's district or in Warren Chisum's district, but not in Austin: Vote for Margot Clarke!
I've spent a lot of my life working for my community. I'm a long way from being "a radical gay activist." I just happen to be a gay man who cares deeply about the environment, social equity, fiscal responsibility, and much more. And that's why Margot Clarke is my choice.
Send 'em a message: vote.
Former state representative
Current rather moderate gay citizen[News Editor Michael King responds: We are normally reluctant to run specifically "pro/anti" candidate letters in "Postmarks," but former Rep. Glen Maxey's letter is in response to a piece of widely circulated anti-Clarke hate-mail written by Robert Morrow, which also attacks Maxey by name, as follows: "Margot Clarke's three main constituencies are 1) environmental extremists 2) socialists 3) radical gay activists like Glen Maxey who has a huge role in Clarke's campaign." Morrow's letter is indeed disfigured by homophobic rhetoric that shouldn't be tolerated, and we believe Maxey has long since earned the right to a public response.]
Environmental Care Increases ValueDear Editor,
Michael King did a great job in his article regarding HB 2833 ["The Lege v. Austin," News, May 27]. Good environmental practices increase property values. Property rights are important, but more important are the rights of the community we, the people to protect irreplaceable community environmental assets such as the Edwards Aquifer.
What is under the property is a part of the true market value of a property. Politicians and developers who interfere with the marketplace betray their fear of competition against more competent developers who are operating within the true market value of property over the aquifer and doing quite well.
Austin is not the only environmentally conscious city in the region. Other cities, such as Sunset Valley, are involved in the Legislature to protect our rights as a city and the environment that makes this area such a desirable place to live and raise children. The more you promote the good things that the rest of us are doing, the more Austin will be encouraged to continue to walk its talk.
Mayor Terry Cowan
City of Sunset Valley
Insulting Mike LevyDear Editor,
I could use a lot of big words and long sentences, but everyone will understand and it's just a lot easier if I simply say, "Mike Levy is a dumb caca head" ["Campaign Update," News, June 3]! There, now I've lowered myself to his level, but at least maybe he'll grasp my meaning.
Despite AssurancesDear Editor,
The city of Austin leadership assured us that when they moved the day-labor camp from downtown to its present location on 4916 N. I-35 that the impact on surrounding neighborhoods would be minimal. However, the result has been the proliferation of intoxicated day laborers wandering our neighborhood, urinating in public, and panhandling on street corners. Locating anyone at the city to take action is more difficult than finding an affordable residence in Austin (no wait, there are now a few choice places in our neighborhood). Staff at the city of Austin's First Workers' Day Labor Center tell me there is nothing they can do. A brazen group of street imbibers has even set up a regular drinking spot on the northeast corner of I-35 and 51st Street. Here they pass the hours drinking, sleeping, and "giving the finger" to passing motorists. Austin Police Department officers simply speed pass them, no doubt late for encouraging some disco fire. Maybe in September I'll get a response when my new street neighbors "light up" within 15 feet of a nearby business.
Gay Bars, Don't DiscriminateDear Editor,
I am not an Austin native but recently had the opportunity to visit your wonderful city during Memorial Day weekend. As a recent graduate from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor, I felt at home in the progressive and individualistic atmosphere. However, I had an experience one night that was slightly disconcerting.
I am a gay male and am accustomed to frequenting the gay nightlife scene in the greater Detroit area and have also experienced the NYC gay club scene when I lived there for three months last summer. I have gone to many different types of bars and clubs with both my male and female friends ... gay and straight. My straight friends have always felt welcomed and comfortable at gay bars both in Detroit and in NYC.
When I attempted to go to a bar in downtown Austin this past weekend, however, my two straight female friends were blatantly discriminated against. We had gotten in line behind two other girls who were there with their friends. After watching the girl in front of us get turned away for having questionable identification, my two 23-year-old female friends showed they bouncer their identification. Despite the fact that they both had a driver license, student ID, and multiple credit cards with them, the bouncer refused to let them in. Never before have I seen such a display.
What bothers me most about this incident is the message that is sent to "straight" society. Gay people, of all people, should understand discrimination. In a world where it seems like every state government is against equal rights for gay people, how do we expect to gain these rights by alienating ourselves from the world in which we live? If a person is supportive of the gay community, they should be welcomed, not turned away. I sincerely hope the bar will change this attitude and realize the consequences of such actions, as they are destructive to the progression of equal rights.
Ann Arbor, MI
Seems Fair to UsDear Editor,
All bill signings and so forth that happen on church property shall henceforth be binding only on members of that particular denomination. Seems fair, no?
Trolley Proposal SensibleDear Editor,
Margot Clarke's downtown trolley proposal is right on track for Austin taxpayers. Portland's new streetcar connecting Portland State University with an old downtown warehouse district illustrates what linking UT, the Capitol complex, downtown, and Seaholm could do here. For $55 million, Portland's 2.2-mile streetcar created $1.5 billion in new tax base and did it without closing a single street. Continuous business access was achieved by building the bidirectional trolley on parallel streets in three block sections that were completed in three weeks. Track was laid using an 8-foot-wide shallow trench that never impacted utilities and allowed street use throughout construction. Like Austin, Portland has a large, well-used bus system (plus light rail) and a great downtown bus circulator, but the simple streetcar delivered a better than 25-to-1 return on investment for Portland taxpayers.
David D. Dobbs
Texas Association for Public Transportation