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Letters are posted as we receive them during the week, and before they are printed in the paper, so check back frequently to see new letters. If you'd like to send a letter to the editor, use this postmarks submission form, or email your letter directly to mail@austinchronicle.com. Thanks for your patience.
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Name Left Out

RECEIVED Wed., Nov. 24, 2004

Dear editor of the Chronicle,
   I am glad to contact you regarding the article entitled "Food-o-File" published on Nov. 19 in the Food section and written by Virginia B. Wood. I was one of the participants in the annual Outdoor Paella Cook-Off held in Ms. Kelty Christman’s back yard. I was basically the master chef cooking the paella with D. Wizelman and A. Aoki which won runner-up in the People’s Choice category. I have had no chance to contact Virginia B. Wood from the Chronicle to find out what went wrong. Two days ago I was asked by Ms. Christman for my last name to be included in the article. So, I was kind of surprised and disappointed when I found out that my name was not published in the article. I am sure it was just a mistake and I hope you can do something about it.
Karina B. Falbo
   [Virginia B. Wood replies: Because the party was on a Saturday night after my regular column deadline, the piece got put together in a hurry on Monday morning before the last possible deadline. Many of the names (with multiple different spellings) dribbled in over a period of days, and I didn't get Karina's name until after the piece had gone to press. It was an accident that I certainly regret and will correct in an upcoming issue of "Food-o-File."]

A Shame

RECEIVED Wed., Nov. 24, 2004

Dear Editor,
   For the second year in a row, Stephen Moser has snubbed one of the most important fashion/DIY shows in Austin – the Stitch Fashion Show and Craft Bizarre. This year's show (at Emo's Nov. 14) featured 20-plus local clothes and accessory designers on the runway and had more than 60 designers and crafters set up with merchandise booths, displaying and selling their diverse goods. Not just a good time, which it very much was, the show and craft fair were meant to showcase local talent. And the proceeds went to charity! It is a shame he would miss the opportunity to witness and write about such an event. If Stephen Moser really is going to cover the local fashion scene perhaps he could do a little less useless name-dropping and get out and actually see what is going on. Almost 1,000 people attended this event, if that means anything in terms of popularity (which I imagine speaks to Mr. Moser's criteria of cool), and I certainly suggest he get in touch with someone who was there to find out what he missed. While out gallivanting in Houston, he missed a chance to write about a revolution in his own back yard. A shame really.
Scott Pierce
   [Stephen Moser replies: I apologize for not being able to meet Stitch's expectations of what my column should be about.]

Don't Assume Bush Won

RECEIVED Wed., Nov. 24, 2004

Dear Michael Ventura,
   Thank you for your recent article "Dancing in the Dark" ["Letters @ 3am," Nov. 12], which like so many of your articles I found insightful and inspiring. However, I feel that the article is based on a false premise, that Bush actually won the recent election and that therefore the progressive mobilization we have witnessed in the past year was unsuccessful. The overwhelming evidence of voting irregularities in Ohio, Florida, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and other states that the mainstream media has chosen to dismiss casts significant doubt over the legitimacy of this election and the future of representative democracy in this country. Not to mention the fact that nearly three-fourths of the country voted on machines that leave no paper trail. This election is not over – there will be a recount in Ohio. Your words are encouraging but premature.
Thank you,
Warren Stewart
Oakland, Calif.

Floating a Name for Frost Tower

RECEIVED Tue., Nov. 23, 2004

Dear Editor,
   Anyone familiar with the BellSouth Tower in Nashville, Tenn., will know that it is nicknamed the "Bat Building" because of its distinctive shape. On a recent visit to your fair city, my wife and I were struck by the singular configuration of the Frost Bank Tower, which was not yet complete last time we were in Austin. My wife, Cathy, immediately suggested calling this edifice the "Iceberg Building." Hope this will catch on, and remember you saw it here first! Best regards from (just outside) London, England.
Tony Newman
Bushey, Herts
United Kingdom

Liberalism Not Dead Yet

RECEIVED Tue., Nov. 23, 2004

Dear Editor,
   Richard Stovall ("Postmarks," Nov. 19) expresses satisfaction in the death of liberalism, supposedly one of the outcomes of our recent election; however, to paraphrase one of America's most famous liberals, Mark Twain, rumors of the death of liberalism have been greatly exaggerated. In his letter, Mr. Stovall never actually defines liberalism, and I'd be interested in hearing how he does. In my mind, liberalism means, among other things:
   1) using the law to protect people from the unbridled excesses of power and the market at large;
   2) ensuring that citizens are not discriminated against or persecuted for their political, religious, social, or sexual orientation; and
   3) believing that, in a country as wealthy as the United States, no child should go to sleep hungry, be denied health care, or live in a toxic environment.
   Why am I so certain that liberalism isn't dead? This may surprise Mr. Stovall, but liberals like myself have no intention of remaking ourselves in order to be accepted by "flyover" America (to use his term).
   Consider the very fashionable "red state-blue state" trope. Frankly, this is not a very accurate or useful way to look at what is admittedly a fundamental divide in our country; instead, if one paints the map in red and blue according to the voting results by county, a very different image emerges, that of the Urban Archipelago (which includes Austin and Travis County, I might add). That's right, every urban region, including the entirety of Silicon Valley, is a beautiful, cool azure.
   What would it mean to the Unites States if the Urban Archipelago were to vanish into the fog like Brigadoon? What would the population be like? It would be a lot less diverse, a lot less tolerant, and a lot less educated. Indeed, even folks like Richard Stovall, who are clearly among the best red America has to offer, are drawn to the cultural, intellectual, and commercial opportunities offered by the Urban Archipelago. And we're glad you're here! But here in our sanctuary there will always be more of us than you. And if red America were somehow able to destroy the very liberalism that sustains the Urban Archipelago, then surely the goose that lays the golden eggs will have been sent to the slaughter.
Stefan Keydel

Appreciate Workers Who Built City Hall

RECEIVED Tue., Nov. 23, 2004

Dear Editor,
   In celebrating the grand opening of the beautiful new City Hall building, we would like to recognize the contributions of the workers and laborers – including but not limited to the many foreign-born workers – in the construction of this magnificent new Austin landmark. These hard workers build so much of our great city, and we want to express our sincere appreciation.
City of Austin Commission on Immigrant Affairs
Julien Ross, vice-chair

Mala Sangre Story: Nothing New

RECEIVED Tue., Nov. 23, 2004

Dear Editor
   This new "article" about Mala Sangre failed to provide us readers with anything new about the case ["APD’s White Takes ‘Bad Blood’ Back to Court," News, Nov. 19]. If Ms. Smith insists on pounding on APD's managerial skills she should consider digging into the upcoming changes at the Police Monitor (an APD affair) or write something about the clout of insurance companies on this noble institution. Even a stupid traffic ticket's effects on East Austinites would be more interesting.
Paul Aviña

Council Issues Complex, Exhilarating

RECEIVED Tue., Nov. 23, 2004

Dear Editor,
   Members of the small-business community have met with all of the City Council candidates and hosted a candidate forum on Nov. 16 at which eight candidates participated.
   We agree with Mike Clark-Madison that the central issue could and should be "quality of life" ["Austin@Large," News, Nov. 19] rather than environment versus business. All of our conversations with the candidates have been about how Austin can nurture its economic vitality so we can afford the quality of life we all want for ourselves and our neighbors.
   A thriving economy, particularly for small businesses, allows us to afford to protect more land from sprawl, allows us to provide more comprehensive services for our homeless, allows us to reopen libraries and community centers, allows us to preserve the funky businesses that define Austin's laid-back culture, allows us to expand public arts projects, allows us to invest in a more friendly parking situation downtown, allows us to expand transportation choices, and allows us to resist pandering to inappropriate businesses that might take more from the community than they give back.
   The candidates we will support are those who demonstrate the most depth of understanding of the obstacles to our greatness, and the broadest imagination of possible remedies, and the best skills of persuasion to build consensus with their colleagues on the council.
   Only the most simplistic thinking sees the City Council race as left versus right or pro-environment versus pro-business. We have evolved past this. It is now an exhilarating discussion of information and imagination.
Paul Silver

Peoria-Bashing Must Stop

RECEIVED Tue., Nov. 23, 2004

Dear Editor,
   I have a comment about Richard Stovall's letter printed in "Postmarks" on Nov. 19. Stovall voted against Bush, but is delighted with the outcome. He despises Christian fundamentalism, but abhors the elitists' disdain of "those core values quietly held in Middle America." After viewing the red-and-blue map, Stovall concludes that "the liberal cant never played in Peoria." I'm not going to get into the confusion of his abhorrence trumping his disdain, I just want him to know that he shouldn't have used the overused Peoria reference. On Election Day, Peoria, like Illinois as a whole, went for Kerry, not Bush. I guess this makes Peoria a quiet bastion of the "liberal elite."
Craig Weaver

Right-Wing's Confusing Morality

RECEIVED Tue., Nov. 23, 2004

Dear Editor,
   It's funny, lately I've been hearing a lot about morals – things like, "the most important issue to voters was moral values" or "America is having a moral revolution." The thing is, I was never taught that squandering civil and human rights was a moral thing to do. Nor was I under the impression that waging a war on false pretenses and thusly killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people was the right course, or chopping down trees and shooting wolves from helicopters, or contaminating air and water, or endangering a whole generation by censoring sexual education in textbooks. And I also never heard that ignoring scientific fact for your own purposes, cutting funding for legislation to help nations far worse off than we, providing tax cuts for the rich, and catering to special-interest groups were morally correct actions. Above all I was under the impression that attempting to attack the founding documents of this nation in order to oppress people different from you in blatant, self-righteous hatred, and bringing together church and state as much as possible before cries of "unconstitutional" fill the air, and lying to your people in order to kill and rule the people of another country were in no way moral actions, that moral men carry out in their best attempts to do what is right. It's rather funny, then, that I should keep hearing this talk about how morally concerned this administration and its right-wing lackeys are. Unless I am somehow mistaken, and this country is even more backward than I could have imagined.
Aimee Grainer

Revisionist History: 'They Faced It Like Adults' by Impeaching the President

RECEIVED Mon., Nov. 22, 2004

Dear Editor,
   I would be distressed by these people claiming that they are going to move to Canada and elsewhere, but I have to ask is their leaving a bad thing? You did not have a bunch of conservatives claiming that they were going to Australia during the eight years of darkness for them that was the Clinton administration. There was no declaration of how divided we were as a country even though Clinton never got more than 49% of the vote. While many did question the wisdom of the Clinton voter there was not this massive insulting of the voters’ IQ.
   Instead of abandoning the country after the voters expressed their desires in the Nineties, the conservatives rolled up their sleeves and worked to advance their ideology. In my opinion they made a compromise with the moderate presidency of GWB, but they did not run off and hide or seek therapy. They faced it like adults and learned from their defeats. They were strong enough to admit that their losses were, at least in part, their own fault. They did not blame voter intelligence (knowing they would need these same voters’ support later) or engage in conspiracy theories.
   Now it could be that the USA, the Democratic Party, and the progressive movement will be made stronger by those leaving. This could be viewed as a culling of the herd as the weak members voluntarily remove themselves from it and run off to Canada and elsewhere leaving more resources for the stronger ones. The strong ones who remain can now work like the conservatives did during the Nineties to advance their ideology. Although for my money it is going to take more than repackaging rejected decades- or even centuries-old social/economic ideas as "progressive."
Carl Anderson

Media's Disgusting Behavior

RECEIVED Mon., Nov. 22, 2004

Dear Chronicle,
   This is in response to Rob "Captain Boycott" McCarty's letter in your last issue [Nov. 19]. WTEN, the ABC affiliate in Albany, N.Y., also refused to air Saving Private Ryan. And I, like you, was irate with that decision. One thing Rob didn't mention in his letter: ABC had told its affiliates that it would be responsible for any fines the FCC might levy. So the local affiliates' argument that they were afraid of being fined or penalized is duplicitous.
   So we have the capitals of two of the greatest states in the United States blacking out this important and revered American film about the sacrifice of veterans, on Veteran's Day.
   What are we to think? That we ask young men and women to give their lives for their country then don't even have the guts to present something which highlights the nature of their sacrifice. Pretty disgusting.
Steve Swartz
Schenectady, N.Y.

'Chronicle' Is Not the Voice of the People, Well, at Least, This Person

RECEIVED Mon., Nov. 22, 2004

Dear Editor,
   On the 9th to 12th of November I had an e-mail exchange with Mr. King asking why the Chronicle had not run a story on the allegations of election fraud in this past election. The text of the e-mail exchange can be found at www.angelfire.com/indie/chronicle0.
   At this point I am not aware of the Chronicle having run any story about these allegations despite various grassroots news sources covering this issue. Note to the reader: please look at www.blackboxvoting.org for more on this story.
   In my estimation this isn't just some kind of paranoid theory, but one very much supported by ongoing actions taken by our current administration. Yet your choosing to not report on it (though you knew it was going on) is part of the process of this issue being robbed of its legitimacy.
   Is the Chronicle still the voice of the people? Was it ever? Does the voice of the people report on a story that impacts the citizens of the world so profoundly as would a fraudulent election of the United States of America? I should think so. And yet you didn't.
   My issue here is not precisely with whether or not the election was a fraud (though I very much believe it was) but rather with the matter that when you were presented with the opportunity of writing a story about a growing number of citizens that believe that their election was rigged, you didn't. In fact, you (in my opinion) treated me rather rudely and rebuffed my concerns about your actions.
   My hope is that you will grow to see the effect that your inaction has had, and in the future, when a story of grave importance comes along that the corporate media is not reporting you will perhaps report on it.
Andy Costell
   [News Editor Michael King responds: Despite his superhuman diligence, Andy Costell apparently overlooked "Wake Us When It's Over," Nov. 19 [News]. While berating us for irresponsibility, he also seems to have entirely overlooked our regular coverage of the issues raised by electronic voting and related matters over many months. We will continue to report on these stories, but we do plead guilty to having higher standards for news, voting fraud, and accuracy than either BlackBoxVoting.org or Mr. Costell. On the other hand, we could never hope to compete with him in either rudeness or condescension.]

Which Should Say?

RECEIVED Mon., Nov. 22, 2004

Dear Editor,
   In Houston they are putting up a statue of George Bush senior. I hope taxpayer money is not involved, but I do believe there should be an inscription with it.
Sincerely,
Robert Bush
Dickinson

Ventura Was Smarter When He Agreed With Me

RECEIVED Mon., Nov. 22, 2004

Dear Editor,
   One week Mr. Ventura writes about "perfidy" ["Letters @ 3am," Oct. 1] and the next he tells us we must try to appeal to people who aren't very educated or intelligent ["Letters @ 3am," Nov. 12]. One week he demonizes Ralph Nader, and the next week he tells us not to demonize Bush and Cheney because demonizing is wrong.
   Years ago in a brilliant audio recording titled Demo-crazy in America, Mr. Ventura said that the Democratic Party only served the purpose of creating the illusion of a democracy. Years ago in his original collection of essays titled Letters @ 3am, Mr. Ventura tells us a vital lesson he learned after his mother whacked him with a pot for crying. "Don't ever get on your knees for anyone," she tells him.
   A few weeks ago, Mr. Ventura said Nader and other third-party voters would hate themselves for voting as they did. I feel much better today, having voted for Nader, than I would have if I had fallen to my knees to vote for a candidate who has seldom represented my views and would be unlikely to ever do so. I know what John Kerry stands for because I've examined his voting record and because I learned some important things from a younger, more focused, and more courageous Michael Ventura.
Roger LeBlanc
Ellensburg, Wash.

To Sunshine (Ex-) Patriots - Good Riddance!

RECEIVED Mon., Nov. 22, 2004

Dear Editor,
   I have one word for David Hamilton and his desire to leave the country because Bush won ["Postmarks," Nov. 19].
   Bye.
   Speaking as a liberal, your rhetoric sickens me, as does your cowardice. You do nothing but make us look bad. So please don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. Also when things do get better (and they will), don’t even think about coming back.
   So in other words, get lost, stay lost.
   I would remind my progressive colleagues of some words spoken at another dark time in out nation’s history when all seemed hopeless. They rallied us then and they should suffice now.
   "These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated."
   Thomas Paine – The American Crisis.
Sean Wardwell
San Marcos

Bush Is His Own Worst Enemy

RECEIVED Fri., Nov. 19, 2004

Dear Editor,
   Disregard the fact that there seems to have been massive election fraud going on to get George Jr. "re-elected" (that should be a joke to everyone). What's important to note is why people voted for Bush.
   I had been traveling just weeks before the election and have been talking with people in three states (Calif., Wash., and Texas). It seems to me that the reason many people were voting for Bush was not because they liked him. I heard reasons such as, "Well, he got us into this mess. He's the only one who can get us out." Or, "Let's wait and see if the economy turns around otherwise I'll lose faith." The truth is that in my estimation, at least 10% of the public that voted for him are holding his feet to the fire to see if he does anything productive.
   He is arguably the most hated man on the planet at this moment in time. The majority of the Muslims despise him for his role in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Democrats (the majority of the registered U.S. voting population) are repulsed by him. The Libertarians hate him as a whole due to his support of the PATRIOT Act, and their numbers are growing rapidly. In fact, many more people are waking up to the fact that this current administration was probably instrumental in allowing 9/11 to take place as a justification to invade Iraq (remember this was planned before 9/11 according to W.'s own staff).
   I believe all George Bush has to do is to act as he regularly does to be his own worst enemy. He will bring down the Republican Party by getting caught in his lies, push the moderate Republicans from their comfort zone way to the right. And he will have no one to blame, since both houses of Congress are loaded in his favor. He will either alienate the Christian right or people will wake up to how evil they can be by the administration promoting their draconian agenda.
   So don't worry about W. He's going to bring himself and the Republicans down.
Sincerely,
Giovanni Angello

Hays County Troubles

RECEIVED Fri., Nov. 19, 2004

Dear Editor,
   Several members of the Hays County Commissioners' Court have gotten themselves into a terrible and embarrassing political and legal bind this past year over the Heatherwood subdivision near Dripping Springs. And they're trying desperately to maneuver out of the quagmire they created by supporting this scandalous development. Their behavior concerning Heatherwood has been so harmful to the public interest that their future political careers depend on how well they cover up what they have done.
   County Judge Jim Powers and Precinct 4 Commissioner Russ Molenaar have, at great cost to taxpayers, consistently supported the nefarious Heatherwood subdivision of their avowed developer friends Paul Watkins and Rex Baker. In May, after creating turmoil in commissioners’ court, Powers encouraged his developer friends to sue the county. They did.
   When a competent outside attorney, hired to defend the county against the lawsuit Powers had invited, told commissioners she could win the case and recover all legal fees from the developers, Powers and Molenaar caused her to resign. Instead of requiring the developers to pay for their frivolous suit, Powers and Molenaar engineered a "settlement" wherein county taxpayers will pay legal fees for both the county and developer in a suit Powers helped to create and encouraged his developer friends to file.
   In a clumsy and transparent attempt to cover up their mess, Molenaar and Powers called for Hays County District Attorney Mike Wenk to appoint a special investigator to probe "leaked executive session information that may have damaged the County’s interest" and then accused others of the offense they had already committed themselves.
   Wenk has shown that he will play ball with Powers and Molenaar by appointing an investigator Wenk claims is "absolutely qualified" but won’t identify, or explain the jurisdiction, authority, and responsibility involved. In other words, we now have "secret police" in Hays County.
   The irony is that while Commissioner Carter and HaysCAN have worked tirelessly to protect the public interest, Powers and Molenaar have been keeping their Heatherwood developer friends up to date and working tirelessly for them in commissioners' court.
   HaysCAN sees a witch hunt on the way to cover up the mischief of Powers and Molenaar. Citizens should call and write to these two officials to demand an accounting and an independent outside investigator such as the Texas Rangers, whose responsibility it is to carry out these kinds of investigations. That’s exactly what Powers, Molenaar, and others in Hays County government fear.
Charles O'Dell
Director, HaysCAN

Kill the Enemy Before They Kill You

RECEIVED Fri., Nov. 19, 2004

Dear Editor,
    The Marine in Iraq that killed the "wounded insurgent" or enemy a few weeks ago did exactly what he was trained to do. As far as I can find out he did not violate any code of ethics or rules of war. The enemy was not trying to surrender, so the Marine’s actions were correct. I can relate to what he did because I spent a year in Korea in 1951 and was wounded two times on the battlefield. My friend would probably be alive today if he had not waited too long to act. He was killed by a North Korean civilian woman when she infiltrated our observation post.
    I think what has to be done is to eliminate the video cameras on the battlefield, because they don’t tell the complete story. Let our military heroes fight the war the best way they know how. You have got to kill the enemy before they kill you!
Gary A. Schutza
USMC veteran
Allen

Needs Lessons in Civics

RECEIVED Fri., Nov. 19, 2004

Dear Editor,
   Apparently this administration needs another lesson in civics. In addition to completely not understanding the checks and balances system set in place by our three-branch government, as evidenced by this administration's belief that the president is not bound by Senate ratified treaties. This argument was made by our soon-to-be new Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez. He also authored the now-infamous memo outlining the "legal" ways in which the U.S. could torture its captives. Yet his office is not the latest one to cause problems in this administration. Apparently the new CIA head Porter Goss needs a brush up; the Congress is charged with intelligence oversight, so in actuality the CIA should be under direct orders to do whatever it feels is in the best interest of the American people. When agencies in our government begin to champion the viewpoint of a "leader" we are on the road to tyranny. The belief that the "leader," in this case Mr. Bush, is infallible was present in such magnificent states as Stalinist Russia, revolutionary China with Chairman Mao, and Nazi Germany. To those in positions of power in our government, please end this insipid cult of personality that hangs in the air over Washington, D.C.
Daniel Blanchette

Europe Better Than U.S.

RECEIVED Fri., Nov. 19, 2004

Dear Editor,
   Europe may have declined, but the fact is now that as an economic unit, the European Union is strong, very strong, almost strong enough to survive on its own. The fact is, the European model of multilateralism and intercooperation makes Europe a viable force to contend with. I have long maintained that what keeps the U.S. big is its size, but that, proportionally, the major European countries are better off socially and economically, and in terms of providing a more egalitarian and opportunity-full life for many of its citizens. We also in the states have a huge underclass which helps pump up the economy, does allow some social advancement, especially for Latinos. There is an underclass in Europe, but not as prevalent, and the social services are more equally spread out, which in a sense, keeps real advancement over the last 10 years in Europe down.
   But clearly, we need to deal with why Americans have such an untrue picture of themselves.
Carole Anne Seidelman
New York, N.Y.

Arnold vs. Bill

RECEIVED Fri., Nov. 19, 2004

Dear Editor,
   Wouldn't it be fair to let Arnold Schwarzenegger and other alien-born entities run for president as long as we let two-term presidents run for a third term? Think of an Arnold vs. Bill Clinton race.
Michael D. Noren

Censorship Is Patriotic

RECEIVED Fri., Nov. 19, 2004

Dear Editor,
   In reference to the Marine who shot an insurgent in the mosque, I would like to say that the news media was allowed to go in with the Marines, and with that privilege comes responsibility. The Arab news station is running the tape and infuriating the Muslim population. Who is responsible for this? Who will admit they put our troops in more danger? What has happened to our American values? Someone had to make the tape available to the Arab media, who?
Daniel Younger
Itasca

Planning for the Future With LCRA

RECEIVED Fri., Nov. 19, 2004

To whom it may concern,
    My father, William M. Peacock, bought 3,000 acres on Hamilton Pool Road in 1949. We moved to Austin in 1953. Our family has been a part of that community for many years. He always thought that some day Austin would grow to it. Obviously, that time is coming in the near future.
    Through the years I have seen many changes in Austin, I-35, Loop 1, Loop 360, etc. We have lived in West Lake Hills for 31 years and worked on a Master Plan for our community. This has served us well as more and more people moved into the area. Growth is inevitable and no one can change that. However, it can be anticipated and planned.
    I am convinced that LCRA will be the best agency to help us plan for the future. The proposed water line for Hamilton Pool Road will serve thousands of people and also preserve the land we love and help the environment. I am convinced the proposed Hamilton Pool Road water line is a necessity. We need to install a larger pipe to accommodate future development beyond RR 12.
Sincerely,
Patricia Harrison

Don't Stereotype!

RECEIVED Thu., Nov. 18, 2004

Editor,
    In regards to "Letters @ 3am" [Nov. 12].
   Mr. Ventura begins his most cogent passage with the admonishment, "Don't demonize people who disagree with you." That's good, but his piece is rife with examples of him doing otherwise.
   When discussing a theoretical economic chaos, he says progressives must "present them [economic alternatives] in a way that badly educated people can understand." Do I detect a rather obvious and odious inference that those who don't vote "progressive" are automatically classified as "badly educated"? I.e., vote my way or continue to take your stupid pills, yes? He goes on to describe those who voted conservative as "Irrational," likening it to cases where "whole peoples go insane." This is far from the case.
    Despite his own acknowledgment that progressives shouldn't "talk down" to white working stiffs, he continues to do so. As a former 17-year member of the United Steelworkers union, I take umbrage at the declaration that I, and my fellow blue-collar workers are "unequipped for the complexities and paradoxes of the 21st century," and have, in some way, been "left behind." Bull. We are as able as anyone to do our own research and make fully informed decisions as to whom we wish to place in leadership positions. Just because our actions confound Ventura's thinking doesn't mean we're not entitled to take them; we'll choose our own path.
    As to the war in Iraq, I also take umbrage to the notion that the "rural poor" are fighting this war. Tell that to my 21-year-old son, a Marine serving in Iraq. Our family is neither rural nor poor. He joined the Marines after 9/11, with his eyes wide open as to all the possible negatives that might come his way. He went to serve and protect all Americans, even those who would denigrate his efforts, like Michael Ventura.
    And, finally, I'll really look forward to Ventura standing by me, and other firearm owners, the next time the leftists/elitists try to ban or otherwise restrict our right to keep and bear arms. I'll hold him, and all of his "progressive" friends, to his statement, "Progressives must stand passionately with all who seek their fair share of the Bill of Rights." We'll see if, when the moment arrives, they're really willing to deliver! Personally, I'll bet they come apart like a cheap suit!
Sincerely,
Keith Batcher
Dripping Springs

Coyotes Are Here to Stay

RECEIVED Thu., Nov. 18, 2004

Dear Editor,
   While I applaud Travis County for recognizing that the coyote "problem" is best solved by behavior modification for coyotes and humans, their proposed plan falls short of their stated objective.
   Contrary to the opinion of the Travis County extension director, leghold traps do little or nothing to reinstill fear of humans in a local coyote population. This is because the trapped coyote is typically killed along with his or her newfound fear of humans, and the coyotes not caught in traps remain unaffected. Moreover, such traps are inherently nonselective and cannot discriminate between a coyote's limb and that of a dog, a house cat, or a child.
   A safer and more effective way to teach coyotes to fear humans is through aversive conditioning techniques such as body language, loud noises, and pyrotechnic charges. In extreme cases, rubber bullets and pepper spray may be used. Further, Travis County should prohibit the intentional feeding of coyotes and other wild animals in urbanized areas with strong legislation and enforcement.
   Coyotes are here to stay. In honor of the coyote's resourcefulness and resiliency, the Navajo called the species "God's Dog." If we're smart, we'll recognize that coyotes have much to offer us, not only by keeping ecosystems healthy, but by providing inspiring examples of ingenuity and adaptability in an ever-changing world.
   Check out the Animal Protection Institute's Web site (www.api4animals.org) or call 916/447-3085 for a free brochure on living with coyotes and other wildlife.
Sincerely,
Monica Engebretson
senior program coordinator
Sacramento, Calif.

Thank You, Election Workers

RECEIVED Thu., Nov. 18, 2004

Dear Editor,
   The citizens of Travis County owe a debt of gratitude to the county employees and the community volunteers who worked during the November election period to ensure that every vote was counted and that the election ran smoothly.
    The employees of the Elections Division of Travis County worked long hours preparing the ballots and the eSlate machines, training election workers, and counting ballots. The Assessor-Collector's Office processed a record number of voter registration cards. The sheriff's officers delivered the equipment containing the votes to the counting sites from receiving stations and early voting sites.
    Citizens helped as election workers through early voting at numerous sites and on Election Day at 261 precincts. Others volunteered at the Ballot Board to open and verify more than 9,500 absentee ballots.
    The League of Women Voters Austin Area thanks the election workers and citizens who worked so hard to make the election successful and the 354,000 citizens who came out to vote.
Barbara S. Hankins
president
LWV of the Austin Area
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