Our readers talk back.
Sad for Austin and All of UsDear Editor,
In October 1999, as the tech bubble neared maximum inflation and real estate prices soared, we and four other parties entered into a bidding war on 3714 Meredith, then in its first weekend on the market ["Invasion of the McMansions," News, Aug. 28]. We would have been thrilled to live in a Fehr and Granger house its original rectangular block left intact by an offset and largely inconspicuous addition to the rear of the large, wooded lot. But at least the lucky buyer felt similarly. How sad for Kyla Kanz, last owner of the house, for a desperate group of neighbors who tried to save it from demolition, and for the architectural heritage of Austin that developer Hunter Wheeler could not leave the property to another homeowner with a sense of history, propriety, and taste.
Uncle BiscuitDear Editor,
I wanted to send my deepest thanks for the beautifully written articles about my Uncle Randy ["Biscuit" Turner] ["Making Biscuit," Music, Aug. 19 and "True Today," Music, Aug. 26]. My mother Wanda Tigert (maiden name Wanda Haire) was his half sister. I never made time to spend with him through the years, yet as he is my family, I am still grieving. I grieve because I never took the lifetime of opportunities to know him and have a relationship with him as a family member should. He lived a life of great courage. I say that because it takes courage to be who he was. He was never afraid to scream at the world through whatever way seemed to fit the moment. We should all be so brave!
Your articles have allowed me a tiny glimpse of the wonderful uncle and man I missed out on knowing and I want to thank you and Mr. Savlov for that chance. Because of how this loss has affected me, I am going to try harder to know each member of my family and wildly celebrate their God-given talents and inner beauty.
I am proud of who he was and what he gave this world!
Thank you again!
Ratings Better Than SuggestedDear Editor,
Re: The Aug. 19 "Bob and El Chulo Lead Radio Spring Ratings Pack" [News]: Kevin Brass reports, "The news wasn't as good for Border Media's Air America. After debuting in Austin in March to much hoopla, the progressive talk format [at KOKE-AM] posted an unspectacular 1.8 rating share among listeners 25-54 on weekdays from 6am to midnight, although Al Franken's show posted a more respectable 3.5 share." I don't have access to the 25-54 breakdown, but among listeners 12 and older, KOKE nearly doubled its audience from a 0.6 share in the winter to 1.1 in the spring after switching to Air America programming, despite a weak signal that fades in the evening. That must be encouraging to Border Media Partners, which owns KOKE and four other stations in the Austin market.
Was the Cyclist at Fault?Dear Editor,
While I was deeply saddened when I heard a cyclist had been killed riding on Sixth Street ["Naked City," News, Aug. 19], I have to say my initial reaction was to wonder if the cyclist was at fault.
Living downtown, I heard about it quickly and was angered to learn that [alleged] drunken driving had claimed another life. I realize that the cyclist was not responsible for this tragedy. But I'm also surprised that more cyclists aren't dying downtown. Walking regularly around the neighborhood near Sixth and Lamar, it's common to see cyclists without helmets, cyclists riding at night without lights or proper reflectors, cyclists riding the wrong way down busy one-way streets, cyclists riding on sidewalks at high speed and without concern for pedestrians, cyclists running red lights and other such reckless behavior. Just last night I witnessed a near wreck when a cyclist without a helmet and without lights, going the wrong way on Fifth Street, ran through a red light at high speed.
As a cyclist myself I want to remind people that cycles are subject to the same traffic laws, and deserving of the same rights, as motorized traffic. Let's remember that sharing the roads goes both ways. And let's continue the fight for more bicycle lanes and safe routes to encourage people to leave the car at home and cycle (safely and responsibly).
Shame on BiscuitDear Editor,
I was sad to hear about Randy Turner's passing until I was told by several classmates of ours to read your article by Marc Savlov ["Making Biscuit," Music, Aug. 19]. The unkind remarks made regarding his hometown of Gladewater (calling it a postwar podunk, horrid little backwater East Texas town), yet his remains were sent here to be buried. I wonder if he could have foreseen his demise, if he wouldn't change his tune, so to speak. I am sorry for his family that he left that kind of legacy for them to bear. Remember they proudly still live here. This town like any other gives back as good as you give it.
A Gladewater alumna,
Were You Not a Child Once?Dear Editor,
I just read Stephen Moser's edifying if somewhat obnoxious column detailing his efforts to stem the flow of junk mail being delivered to him ["After a Fashion," Aug. 26]. Being as averse to waste and unbridled advertising as the next girl, I found the article quite useful, but I wonder what use Mr. Moser saw in insulting children in the process of educating his public. I don't find his catty comments at all cute or charming. Of course Mr. Moser is entitled to his opinion but I found his remarks regarding children offensive and in poor taste. Mr. Moser, were you not a child once yourself?
Renovation Not DestructionDear Editor,
Re: Your article, the "Invasion of the McMansions" [News, Aug. 26] and the indiscriminate demolition of older homes in many of Austin's inner city neighborhoods: I am a native Austinite who works for a design-build architecture firm that specializes in residential additions and renovations.
We pride ourselves on our ability to artfully expand and renovate existing homes no matter what the style or period in which they were originally built.
We are an award-winning, family-owned, local business with our own in-house architecture department, and a team of talented designers sensitive to client needs and budgets. We have had several of our residential projects showcased on past AIA, NARI, and green-building tours.
I would have loved to help save the award-winning home on Meredith Street from destruction, and I'd like to encourage all homeowners to consider even an extensive renovation, rather than tearing a house down and building something out of character to the local community.
There's one issue of the smoking ban that, to my knowledge, has not yet been brought up. That is the issue of butts. Now, look, I'm a smoker, but just because I don't mind my lungs gettin' a little polluted doesn't mean I feel the same way about my hometown's streets. There are plenty of trash cans in Austin, and on Sixth Street in particular. So please people, dispose of that butt properly when you have to smoke outside. Think of the calories you'll burn to offset those beers, "accidentally" brush your smoldering ashes against someone raving about the ban, I don't care, just do whatever you have to do to motivate yourself to walk a few extra feet to a trash can. Please don't make this ban any worse than it has to be.
Kelly deAnne Davis
Proud to Support BushDear Editor,
Does anyone remember what happened four years ago on September 11, 2001? Obviously some people don't! Except for the brave men and women over in Iraq and Afghanistan, President Bush, and all of us conservatives who get our information from the true sources of news! Does anyone remember President Bush saying that this is gonna be a long and tough-fought war? Obviously some people have forgot! Oh, and about Iraq, does anyone remember President Bush mentioning in a speech "axis of evil" being North Korea, Iran, and Iraq? Obviously some people weren't listening to that speech! I know this will fall on deaf ears, Iraq is a battle on the war on terror! I'm very proud to say that I support President Bush along with our troops!
AMN Helps Define Austin!Dear Editor,
I can't believe that the local officials of the city of Austin are turning a blind eye to what's happening to the Austin Music Network ["The Day the Music Died," News, Aug. 19]. I am almost outraged, if that were my thing, at the lack of support for great local musical programming. AMN is as much a part of what makes Austin great, as is its live music (fiscal generator) counterpart.
I certainly hope that my return home will be to an Austin that is home to one of the finest music networks that any town small, huge, or otherwise could ever dream to house.
Invest Money in AustinDear Will Wynn and the City Council Singers,
Do y'all really have such a short memory? Is the Fifth Street Intel Monument not a daily reminder to you of the stupidity of luring a corporation to town at the expense of local taxpayers?
Here's a crazy idea. Why not take all the money the city is sure to lose on the venture and invest it in locally owned businesses and cooperatives? That way, Austin gets to keep weird and employed.
Locally owned businesses have a vested interest in the local economy, first and foremost. Furthermore, owners and employees of locally owned businesses are more active in civic and community activities. Finally, locally owned businesses tend to be more entrepreneurial and democratic in structure. The result is happier workers and happier customers. Both of whom vote and pay taxes, if you haven't forgotten.
Local businesses help establish and preserve a local city identity a city soul, if you will. Please reverse this ridiculous trend of city-unfriendly corporatization.