Our readers talk back.
Sadness at Inevitable ChangesDear Editor,
As a resident of Brentwood/Crestview for the last 11 years, I have to express my sadness and frustration about the inevitable changes that are being forced upon us ["Crestview at the Crossroads," News, Oct. 6]. I am the voice of the lowest of the low in Austin: the renter. I have watched my rent go up, up, and away every year due to the rising property taxes, but I stay, because I love this neighborhood. I have walked down almost every street, and year after year I see the rebuilding of the houses. Houses that are too small (inferior) for the modern person/family. Houses that were just fine to raise up families that wanted to live within their means. Not the modern family that needs a second floor, grand room, and lawyer foyer. Every time I drive by the Triangle complex, I want to puke. I have to laugh at the chump who is paying $1,600 a month to live above the dry cleaner's over there. I have taken a vow with other friends never to spend a dollar at the Triangle because it is the equivalent of a residential Wal-Mart. The article says the number of people who will be living in the "New Crestview" is approximately 1,400, but it is really more like 3,000 once all the boy-/girl-/displaced/friends move in. It is going to wreak havoc on the area. The impact of all of this is going to be more than anyone bargained for, I guarantee. Close in and bought out.
Erica Vaughn[Lee Nichols responds: Actually, the article said the Crestview Station development will add approximately 1,200 residential units, not people. Assuming that 60% increase in units is reflected in the population, then the approximately 4,000 people that currently live in the Crestview neighborhood (according to the 2000 census) would jump by about 2,400 people.]
Why Did You Print It?Dear Editor,
When syndicated columnist Molly Ivins said, "As we start down the stretch, Bell is picking up on the outside, Perry is still at 35 percent after a year, Strayhorn is fading, and Kinky stopped to poop on the track," what grade level was she in, and why did you print it ["Quote of the Week," News, Oct. 6]?
Backhanded ComplimentsDear Editor,
Though I have long used most Chronicle reviewers as a sort of reverse barometer, occasionally someone gets it exactly right. The most evocative, heartfelt, and outstanding article I have read in any publication in a long time is Mark Rubin's piece on Don Walser ["Song for My Father," Music, Sept. 29]. I propose that you pay Mark to teach your reviewers how to present a subject without trying to excoriate it in order to seem hipper-than-thou. The first lesson should be that a reviewer should have some familiarity with, and even some interest in, the topic. Kudos to Mark and to The Austin Chronicle for publishing his article.
Whose Park and Pool?Dear Editor,
Re: Crestview article, Oct. 6 ["Crestview at the Crossroads," News]: Great article packed with lots of information to digest. One point needs clarification no park? Adjacent to Brentwood School, is that not a park with a swimming pool? Just wondering how that was overlooked.
I am an eight-year Crestview resident, and I love the area. The IGA has changed a bit it now carries organic choices including veggies and milks.
Thanks for the in-depth coverage.
Chetty Mastroianni[Lee Nichols replies: Brentwood Park and Pool is actually in the Brentwood neighborhood. Within the Anderson-Lamar-Justin-Burnet boundaries, there are no publicly owned spaces of any kind.]
Keep KUT From the Wrong DirectionDear Editor,
Louis Black in his Oct. 6 "Page Two" column says, "For years, there has been planning aimed at making KLRU the Austin station carrying PBS programming rather than the PBS outlet in Austin."
Yes. Excellent. Bravo, KLRU.
Now, how do we keep KUT from drifting off in the opposite direction (further than it already has)?
Way to Go, PaulDear Editor,
To all y'all who complained about the sudden loss of Femme FM on KUT, get over it. Programming is decided by contributions made by program listeners, and Femme FM didn't do so hot. Also, Paul Ray has been on the air for a long time and deserves the longer set based on seniority alone, not to mention his great play-lists. Way to go, Paul!
Separate Movie ReviewsHey,
The Austin Chronicle movie reviews are the best in Austin. One thing would really improve your online listings. Separate them into two different sections. One section for first-run films and one section for films that are not new (i.e. revivals). Having to sift through the long list of movies trying to sort out what is new and interesting is kind of a bother.
10 Parts Stupidity, 20 Parts CrueltyMr. Caligiuri,
While it's true de gustibus non est disputandum, and you're certainly entitled to your opinion, there's no excuse for the potent cocktail of 10 parts stupidity and 20 parts cruelty you served up in your "review" of Johnny Edson's CD ["Texas Platters," Music, Sept. 29].
You say "Edson's first band was reportedly called Uncle Uh Uh & the Uh Huhs," as if this might be untrue. I know the Chronicle is often short on fact-checkers, but that's one you could've easily tracked. (Hell, you could've asked me I'm married to that band's former lead singer, Herman Bennett.)
You also say that the name Uncle Uh Uh & the Uh Huhs is "about all you need to know concerning the creativity involved in More Than Friends." Now what in the hell does that mean? Sounds to me like yet another critic who likes to hear himself type.
When my first book was published, Turk Pipkin told me, "You're bound to get a bad review, and odds are good it'll be in the home town." Sure enough, that book got trashed in both local papers.
I love Johnny's record. That such high-caliber musicians as Floyd Domino, Cindy Cashdollar, Chip Dolan, Asleep at the Wheel's rhythm section, David Sanger, David Miller, Boo Resnick, and Korey Simeone took part should have waken your dumb head up to the fact that some of us recognize talent when we hear it. As for your dismissal of so-called-mundane topics like watching water boil, marriage, and breathing well dang, as I type this my head fills with all those crappy mundane songs about brown-eyed girls, fast cars, falling in love, big divorces California style, one love, and red shoes. Shit, don't even get me started on Springsteen lyrics.
With opinions like yours, who needs assholes?
Spike "Uh-Huh" Gillespie
Makes Sense to Me ... NotDear Editor,
The dynamic duo of Lee Leffingwell and Jennifer Kim are spearheading the City Council on a plan to police and enforce a clamping-down on water use by the Austin citizens and the city and claim they will save 25 million gazillion gallons of water that then can be used for more unchecked growth and development. Makes sense to me ... not. This and past councils needed to restrict development long ago but instead opted for the millions and gazillions in tax revenue that it would create. If they really want to stop the dry wells and the shrunken, polluted water, they need to stop building mungo hotels and stop grabbing their knees for developers.
(Sarcastic) Kudos to S. MoserDear Editor,
Re: "After a Fashion" [Arts, Oct. 6]: Wow, really, bravo! Usually Stephen is able to slip in at least a sentence about actual clothing, but this week he managed to write an entire article without a single reference to Austin fashion. And the people at the tax office failed to recognize our local celebrity? What ... they missed the episode of Project Runway when they talked about the worst people to audition?! For shame!
I've read LiveJournal entries by 15-year-olds who rambled less than Moser does. Give this guy a LiveJournal account, where narcissism and ranting are expected, but stop wasting column inches so that Stephen can stroke his ego, pat his friends' backs, and rip any poor waiter/receptionist/manager that gets in his big, fat way.
Great Piece on Sunny!Dear Editor,
Re: Your piece on Sunny Ozuna ["La Onda Chicano," Music, July 21]: Great article! It brings back a lot of memories. I'm Texas-born, raised in Chicago, but I've always followed the Onda Tejana. Back in the days when los hermanos Zuniga would bring Sunny & the Sunliners to Chicago, I wouldn't miss one single dance. I would even follow the band to Aurora, Ill., (Aurorita la Bella) where he always played at the Stardust. Wow! That was like going home to the Rio Grande Valley. I was also very fortunate to have met Mr. Ozuna and have in my possession many photos with him and his band.
Thanks for bringing back beautiful memories!
Don't Mock the IconEditor,
Re: Shannon Wheeler cartoon ["How to Be Happy," Comics, Oct. 6]: In the world of the military, the ripple of one blast reaches every army. In the world of religion, the ripple of one desecration reaches every soul. I don't fear no army, I do fear a revengeful soul. Please, don't make a mockery of a revered icon like la Virgen de Guadalupe, hijos de la chingada! (Don't make me call the bishop.)
Open the Parking Lots!Dear Editor,
What is going on between the Backyard music venue and the Shops at the Galleria in Bee Cave? We went to last week's Bonnie Raitt and Keb' Mo' concert and were surprised to find dozens of security guards protecting the large, unused parking lots that now surround Austin's gem of outdoor venues. Hundreds of people who were looking for a convenient parking space close to the show were told to leave the lots and follow a dark road to some remaining piece of unpaved land. Was I alone in my "silver-lining" thinking, back when the paving of paradise started, that at least the big-box stores with their big, black lots would alleviate some of the parking problems around the Backyard? It's frustratingly ironic that they paved paradise, but you can't park in the parking lots. Whatever beef is stewing between the owners of the Shops at the Galleria and those of the Backyard has produced an absurd lose-lose situation for Austinites. Obviously the retailers at the Shops need parking for their customers, but most of the shops are closed in the evening, and many are still vacant. Here's an idea for management: Hire half as many parking-lot "attendants" to enforce a Backyard-friendly parking area that leaves adequate open parking for open stores and charge $5 per car for the close-in parking option. Part of the revenue can be used to cover expenses and the rest could be donated to a good Austin charity. Think of the positive marketing angle: "Park at the Shops while supporting the Austin Children's Shelter." A win-win solution can be developed, if you are willing to try.
'Shut Up and Dance'Dear Editor,
I just don't get it. Why is it that when you attend a musical performance, a good portion of the crowd is there to just talk the whole time the entertainer is onstage? It does not matter if it is a free show or an expensive ticket, the talking doesn't stop.
At the Tony Joe White Antone's show, I politely asked the couple next to me to be quiet for his song "Rainy Night in Georgia." The guy just used that as an excuse to continue talking even louder to make his point. So much for the polite approach.
Tony Joe White even mentioned that Coach Royal was there for the show, and at the legendary coach's listening gatherings, if he had to ask you to be quiet, you were asked to leave, no questions asked! At the old Emmajoe's, you were expected to listen and, if not you were told to leave. This was to show respect for the performer.
Wow, the band has two drummers and a huge stack of Marshall amps, and people are still attempting to talk over them. They yell nonstop at their friends the whole show! Now there is a music lover ... not!
The musicians spend years crafting their lyrics and sound, but people cannot seem to be able to be quiet and listen to a performance. Do people really think that what they are saying is so important that their friends and everyone around them have to hear?
One last thing: Would someone who knows the girl who shows up with a tambourine to clubs and concerts please take it away from her and tell her that if the band wanted tambourines included in their songs that they would have one onstage. Please!
If you're a music lover, then please, shut up and listen. Enjoy the performance without all the constant talking. It might not be the smoking ban that is keeping some people from going out to the clubs but maybe by being turned off by inconsiderate people talking!
Tommy Hancock writes, "Shut up and dance." Not bad advice.
More Important Things to Do?Dear Editor,
Last month's heated debate before the City Council dais on the proposed bicycle-helmet ordinance was amusing. However, when everything is considered, this was basically a nonissue. A City Council vote on the bike-helmet initiative would have just created another ordinance that the Austin Police Department could not or would not be able to enforce.
In my neighborhood for example, motorists are constantly parking their cars in the bicycle lanes on Duval Street. They seem to do this with impunity even though there are numerous signs that indicate that bike lanes are tow-away zones between 7am and 6pm. If APD would simply write a few parking tickets and authorize trucks to tow away these vehicles; then cars blocking bicycle traffic would probably stop. And bicycle safety would improve.
If the city of Austin can't enforce its own parking laws in the central part of the city; how can it enforce a helmet law? Police officers and parking officials probably have more important things to do.
How to Use Use-of-Force ReportsEditors,
Re: Use-of-force reports: no/no/no. Haven't you read the reports? Masked behind the "Other" category, the All Asia-Pacific Pro-Wrestling Team has won APD's Most Difficult to Arrest Award for the third consecutive year. In true "rasslin'" fashion, the 96.4 UF/1,000 rating is four times the Afro-American 24.1 rating (never mind that there aren't even 1,000 entries in the "Other" category). APD should seek a grant to control these "unknown" criminals, who seemingly vaporize into the "Asian" communities.
Maybe some funding could be dedicated into a use-of-force report that would actually show something. This report fails to reveal which Austin areas and among which ethnicities UFRs are clustered. The objective, as I recall it, was to focus on how area commands were policing their various local ethnic populations. To achieve basic statistical analysis each APD area command should be listed and cross-indexed with every category from Charts 4-10 and the figures broken out by ethnic categories (Anglo/Latino/Afro-American/etc.). The last several reports have treated that as a taboo subject.
The present cluster-flop report shows a rise of "subject" aggressive/defensive resistance; firearms used against the police; and APD officers creating an event paper trail, anticipating legal need should ACLU/NAACP/PODER sniper charges that "the officer is always wrong" become self-fulfilling. Mr. Linder & Associate Bubbleheads can probably find missing Northeast command UFRs among the 20.7% Northwest command UFRs increase, assuming clichés go where the money is. Standard auditing won't solve this difficulty because it's a service problem. What's needed is a service audit showing what the various public consumers want the APD to do, what the officers believe and/or want to do, and what actually gets done.
7-Eleven's GrandstandingDear Louis,
Since the mid-Nineties I have been purchasing virtually every gallon of gas from 7-Eleven because of their purported ties to non-Middle Eastern oil. That's right ... I was anti-Middle East oil when anti-Middle East oil wasn't cool. Many times I have passed Chevrons and Exxons while flirting with the "E" on my gas gauge, in order to "vote with my dollars" at a Citgo station.
Words cannot express my disgust and feeling of betrayal while reading the Sept. 27 announcement that 7-Eleven Inc. has decided to drop Venezuela-backed Citgo as its gasoline supplier of more than 2,100 locations. The official tripe from spokesperson Margaret Chabris was: "Regardless of politics, we sympathize with many Americans' concern over derogatory comments about our country and its leadership recently made by Venezuela's president Hugo Chavez."
Whether or not I agree with Mr. Chavez's opinions of an egocentric power monger who used gerrymandering, media manipulation, and voter fraud to steal the last two elections, I certainly defend his right to express those opinions. If I choose to personalize them and let them affect my purchasing habits, that is my decision to make; it does not need not be imposed on me by the corporation that has been accepting my hard-earned dollars for lo these many years, without once asking me for my thoughts on anything.
I expect that sort of Dixie Chick-CD-burning mentality from backwoods Arkansas or rural Ohio, but I certainly do not expect to see it exhibited in a boardroom in Dallas. I only wish that there were something else that I purchased from 7-Eleven, so that I could boycott them.
I hope that Chronicle readers will be able to identify this political grandstanding by 7-Eleven Inc. as opportunistic and juvenile and will vote with your dollars. A quick search will get you on their Web site, and venting to customer relations is slightly cathartic.
Thanks for providing a forum,
Where Does Kinky Stand?Dear Editor,
What is Kinky Friedman's stand on gun control? More, less, or leave it like it is? I can find nothing online about it. This is a very important issue to a lot of people.