FEEDBACK
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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Renovation Not Destruction

RECEIVED Wed., Aug. 31, 2005

Dear 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.
Mark Lind
CG&S Design-Build

Mr. Moser - Were You Not a Child Once Yourself?

RECEIVED Wed., Aug. 31, 2005

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?
Sincerely,
Lauren Jaben

What About One Sticker?

RECEIVED Wed., Aug. 31, 2005

Dear Editor,
    Re: “Sticker Shock: Bad Glue Days at TxDOT,” News, Aug. 19: Why not combine the inspection sticker and the registration sticker and have only one sticker? If the vehicle inspection was a prerequisite for getting your vehicle registered, you would send your vehicle inspection proof and your proof of insurance with your registration form and fee. The tax assessor-collector’s office would send you one sticker that would show that you had your vehicle inspected and had paid the taxes and registration fees. A system that uses one sticker for both inspection and registration would be simpler and eliminate one of the current stickers from the windshield.
Best regards,
Fred Plassman

Butts??

RECEIVED Wed., Aug. 31, 2005

Dear Editor,
    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.
Thank you,
Kelly deAnne Davis

Remembering Clearly 9/11

RECEIVED Wed., Aug. 31, 2005

Tena Tamblyn,
    I remember what happened four years ago on September 11, 2001 [“Postmarks Online,” Aug. 29]. I also remember there were zero Iraqi hijackers and Saddam Hussein did not give material support to al Qaeda. The time you have spent insulting the memories of all who were murdered on 9/11 would have been better spent reading The 9/11 Commission Report.
    Please get educated and informed by someone other than Toby Keith before another 1,879 men and women are killed trying to put the president's boot up someone's ass.
Marc Perlman

Constitution for All Americans!

RECEIVED Wed., Aug. 31, 2005

Dear Editor,
    Nearly every time I see the words "liberal" and "conservative" in print these days, they are part of a diatribe by some moron who believes that every political opinion other than his or hers is incorrect. The U.S. Constitution was written for all Americans, not just the smug, self-righteous fools who think God only speaks to, and through, them. Many unconservative positions are routinely supported by idiots who call themselves conservatives, for example, the worst budget deficit in our nation's history. At best, Iraq is about Americans dying for the freedom of fools who have never had the guts to fight for their own freedom, and they do not appreciate the sacrifices of our warriors.
Max Minor

Shame on Biscuit

RECEIVED Tue., Aug. 30, 2005

Dear 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,
Sue Clifton-Moore
Gladewater

Doing Our Readers a Disservice

RECEIVED Tue., Aug. 30, 2005

Dear Editor,
    I saw The Great Raid on Sunday. In my view it is a riveting human drama with powerful historical clarity. This is a compelling war movie presented in a realistic context with excellent supporting use of original film. Perhaps the best war movie I've seen, it is easily worth four stars. Your reviewer's immature assessment of this fine movie does your readers a disservice [Film Listings, Aug. 12].
Sheldon Lloyd

U.S. More Fascist Than Capitalist

RECEIVED Tue., Aug. 30, 2005

Dear Austin Chronicle,
    A thanks and a contention. On behalf of all the starving, striving musicians in Central Texas, I would like to thank you profusely for your dedication to the music scene. AusChron allows us to place free classifieds to search for jam buddies. Without this, many of us would be lost. Money has never been good for the lower echelon musicians. I have joined projects and started projects that would never have been possible if we had to pay going classified rates. Also, listing almost every band that plays in Austin lends an air of professionalism to most groups. I'll never forget the first time my garage band, Myth, was listed at the Back Room when I was 17. Thanks, Austin Chronicle.
    One point of contention. I am not sure many of the readers and writers know what capitalism means. The Chronicle is a leftist rag, which is fine. However, every bad thing that happens because of big business does not mean that capitalism is to blame. There are two examples in your Aug. 26 issue. Reader Laura Lefler wrote, "'As a passionate anti-capitalist' ... you would be much happier in a different country" [“Postmarks”]. However, the USA in no way resembles a capitalist country. Capitalism is founded on a free market and private property. With the thousands of regulations, corporate welfare, and heavy graduated taxation, we have a mixed economy as do most European nations. The illegalization of drugs, prostitution, and smoking is more akin to a command economy. Read Von Mises and Friedman to understand the difference. Writer Wells Dunbar calls the Austin City Council capitalist because they gave subsidies to Samsung [“Our Groovy Capitalist Council,” News, Aug. 26]. Again, this is command economy.
    America is more correctly called a fascist nation. The recent Supreme Court decision which allows cities to take individual property and give it to select businesses is proof. It is a special brand of fascism called "corporatism." In railing against or defending capitalism, please realize that America is not an example.
Erik Fortman

Angry White People for Peace

RECEIVED Tue., Aug. 30, 2005

Dear Editor,
    I ran into an Austin Chronicle reporter on the way to Camp Casey today [“Sheehan's Field of Dreams," News, Aug. 19]. Getting ready to board the bus from Austin, I invited her to embed with us but she declined. The day was extraordinary. What most struck me was all the respect and value given our soldiers and veterans. I cried a lot. And came back happy about all the love and consideration that we all offered up at that state of being called Camp Casey. The funniest sign of the day we saw, carried by a man in "downtown" Crawford, said "Angry White Man for Peace."
Love,
Marion Mlotok

AMN Helps Define Austin!

RECEIVED Tue., Aug. 30, 2005

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.
Jessica Cisneros
Laredo

Bless You Cindy Sheehan

RECEIVED Tue., Aug. 30, 2005

Dear Austin Chronicle,
    Thank you for the article and picture of Cindy Sheehan [“Sheehan's Field of Dreams,” News, Aug. 19]. I have been thinking of Cindy often ever since I first heard of her crusade. I will keep and look at this picture of Cindy, as the motherly love and concern expressed on her wonderful, courageous ol' hippie mom's face has become my seed of inspiration to personally start to speak up for more peace. As I hope she has become for everyone.
    Seeing that face made me start to wonder what would happen if Bush somehow miraculously turned into an old hippie while on his monthlong “vacation” in Crawford. Better yet ... how about Jesus himself? Well, that's a deep subject but, I believe ... Jesus would crawl out to Cindy on his hands and knees to beg her forgiveness for the horrific decision to start this war in Iraq that eventually led to the murder of her son, and for causing irreversible damage to future generations. I believe ... Jesus would tell Cindy that he had already started calling our troops home, and that billions of dollars had already been spent. Not on weapons of mass destruction, but for food to be sent directly to the mothers of starving children in Africa. Because, hasn't he been insisting in the past that every child has a right to life? I think Jesus would then ask Cindy to join hands in prayer for guidance to help the world toward peace, love, and acceptance for every human being on this earth, and for him to become the genuine leader the American people should expect in their president. This is what I believe Jesus would do. What does Bush believe in? We all surely know the truth by now. It's time. You and me. We the people. All of us who believe in justice, to stand up for the truth as Cindy has. God bless you Cindy Sheehan, your mom, and every mother around the world too. Moms rock the world because they are usually right! Peace. Back by popular demand.
Sincerely,
Renee Fuqua

Uncle Biscuit

RECEIVED Tue., Aug. 30, 2005

Dear 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!
Dana Tigert
Irving

More Rabid Narcissistic Dementia

RECEIVED Mon., Aug. 29, 2005

Editor,
    Contrary to the malcontent rhetoric of Glen Maxey and his agenda-seeking ilk, the vote on Proposition 2 this November is in fact very necessary [“'No Gay Marriage Amendment' Dubbed Proposition 2,” News, Aug. 26]. The sour grapes cry of “unnecessary” alludes to the fact that Maxey and his ever-dwindling minions – who portray themselves as a repressed minority in need of special civil rights – have met their Waterloo and don't have a snowball's chance in hell of stopping voters from finally having their say.
    So now the pompous browbeating attack from the far left is reduced to calling the will of Texas voters “nonsense” as the proverbial worm has turned to smite the narcissistic dementia of rabid social despots who will learn the meaning of the word no come election day.
    I hope editors and apologists gag on the Nov. 9 headlines that they will be obliged to publish after all these years of yellow, guilt-tripping BS.
Kurt Standiford

Shame, Shame, Shame on You

RECEIVED Mon., Aug. 29, 2005

Dear Editor,
    Please give Greg Solcher ("Postmarks," Aug. 19) the following message:
    Shame, shame, shame, on you! Go to the blackboard and write 100 times, in very legible handwriting, "I will put my mind in gear before I put my mouth in motion."
    As an old, fat, tired, retired sixth-grade teacher, I must respond to that racist, mean-spirited, ignorant diatribe of yours. One hopes your teacher wife is suitably embarrassed to see it in print. However, she married you of her own free will, so perhaps not.
    Observations in no particular order of importance:
    1) No teachers anywhere work less than nine months per year.
    2) All teachers deserve better pay.
    3) Teachers everywhere recognize your type as a former student, 99 out of 100 of them, as well as the patiently suffering "silent majority" of students, would choose almost any other type of student over you as a student/classmate.
    Fortunately for you, and to the chagrin of the rest of us, we mainstream jerks in our society. You're even allowed to grow up and become president if you can pass all the exit exams. Lucky for those folks who graduated before all our compassionate conservative education began.
    4) Instead of favoring only the wealthy, let's start giving tax breaks to the great parents in every tax bracket who somehow manage to raise decent, well-behaved kids. We love them and salute you – you're why we teach.
    5) For the socially challenged (smarty pants) let's have a Volunteer Courtesy Patrol, armed only with duct tape and bulging muscles. They can walk up and down hallways and classrooms to help keep order. Cages optional.
Respectfully submitted,
Maggie Hawkins

Buying the Administration's Bill of Goods Whole; Why Doesn't Sheehan Do Same?

RECEIVED Mon., Aug. 29, 2005

Dear Editor,
    My first reaction to Cindy Sheehan was empathy [“Sheehan's Field of Dreams,” News, Aug. 19]. Who in their right mind can deny that this woman, as any sane person would be, is in pain? It is written all over her face and you can certainly hear it in her voice. Cindy Sheehan hurts greatly and her heart is broken. She has given the second highest sacrifice that could possibly be given. She has given her son, who by all accounts was the epitome of what makes this the greatest country on earth. Casey Sheehan was a healthy, loving, smiling, gracious young man that most of us would have been proud to know. He knew without question there was a possibly that he could give the ultimate sacrifice, his life, when he joined the military.
    Cindy Sheehan may have given more than anyone in a sane world should ever give. Unfortunately through her pain she is unable to see we do not live in a utopian world. Through this blinding pain of which she endures, she is now knowingly being played as a puppet by the marionettes of the left that desire this country move further from the goal of a shining city on the hill to a fractioned shell of a country in the ash heap of history. Cindy has allowed those who yearn the demise of this country to play her like a pied piper's flute.
    The irony of what Mrs. Sheehan is doing is what confuses me the most. She is protesting her son's gift to the world, a gift that will eventually allow more free people and especially more mothers to voice their concerns about their countries. If this great country didn't have the brave men and women like Casey Sheehan who are willing to fight for the unalienable rights of others this world would be far worse off. Casey Sheehan was not dragged kicking and screaming to Iraq like many of the Iraqis have been over the last 20-plus years. He volunteered not once but twice in order for those less fortunate than he could experience the freedoms we all have in our country. He did not blindly go into war misled and misinformed, he proudly took up arms to protect and serve this great nation and those who were oppressed in lesser nations.
    Casey Sheehan unquestionably loved his mother but above all he obviously loved the right for all people in this world to be free. It is Casey's sacrifice and love for freedom for all people that should rightfully garner the attention of the media and the opposing sides in the debate, not Cindy Sheehan's grief.
    There is no question in my mind that there is a concerted effort in this world that wakes every day, eats every meal, and takes every breath in prayer to God for our demise. We can give them names as evil as we can manufacture but we must not fool ourselves that they have moved on, or weakened in their desire. We cannot let the apathy of many or the built-up scar tissue of 9/11 move our eyes off the Islamic terrorists of the Middle East and their supporters. We cannot allow hyperbole and deception by those who offer up Cindy Sheehan's dignity to weaken our resolve.
Frank B. Wheeler

Sad for Austin and All of Us

RECEIVED Mon., Aug. 29, 2005

Dear 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.
Susan Rather
Richard Wheelus

Invest Money in Austin

RECEIVED Mon., Aug. 29, 2005

Dear 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.
Jonathan Hoopes

Proud to Support Bush and Troops

RECEIVED Mon., Aug. 29, 2005

Dear 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!
Tena Tamblyn
Abilene

Hailing a Cab

RECEIVED Mon., Aug. 29, 2005

Dear Editor,
    Q: What's worse than it raining cats and dogs?
    A: Hailing taxis.
    As a taxi driver, I often see people looking confused on the sidewalks. I found that if I slow down they are often as not wanting a taxi and just don't know what to do. Others claim to be invisible. Can't help them with that, but it isn't that hard to get a taxi. Just make eye contact with the driver and wave that hand like you just saw your best friend. Almost any courteous gesture will do. At night, you can tell if the cab is loaded by the yellow lights on top of the cab. By day, the people in the back seat are a dead giveaway.
    If you're calling a taxi company, know where you are. The actual street address is what they want. At the laundrymat across the street from Conan's Pizza isn't what they need. Know the address and stay there. Don't wander off.
    Once in the taxi, tell the driver if you're using cash or credit card. If credit card, be prepared to spend a couple minutes at the end of the ride for authorization. Cash is always prefered. Have it ready at the end of the ride.
    That's it and don't forget to tip 100%.
Les Ross

Blah, Blah, Blah, Evil Liberals, Blah, Blah

RECEIVED Fri., Aug. 26, 2005

Dear Editor,
    Some media seem to have Barry Lynn on to discuss various issues that arise on different topics. I hear he is supposed to be a preacher and know he was an ACLU attorney and a spokesman for Americans for Separation of Church and State. I would like to hear his view on abortion and some other topics like euthanasia. I heard him say that Chavez should not be assassinated for his remarks about our president or our country for we have many here that have said such things. I assume he was referring to Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, and many other liberals.
Daniel Younger
Itasca

Kudos to Yellow Bike Project

RECEIVED Fri., Aug. 26, 2005

Dear Editor,
    After moving back to Austin last week, I realized I was in need of a new set of wheels. Friends directed me to the Yellow Bike Project, an all-volunteer-run shop that aims to put Austinites on bikes for cheap. In no time, I found my baby and learned how best to take care of him. The deal was a steal and now I look forward to our many happy rides together. Yellow Bike Project, you kick ass!
Jordan Buckley

Deer Meat Is Tasty

RECEIVED Fri., Aug. 26, 2005

Dear Editor,
    I applaud Reese A. Heffington and Steve Brownell for putting Ms. Quartermain in her place over deer hunting [“Postmarks,” Aug. 26]. I get fresh deer meet regularly from my family in South Texas. The meat is tasty, lean, and hormone-free, and as the two gentlemen pointed out, we are doing nature a favor by helping control the deer population. Amy, I suggest that you read about deer overpopulation and appreciate the fact that some people are choosing to eat this lean, healthy meat over doctored-up beef and such.
Genevieve Buentello

Was the Cyclist at Fault?

RECEIVED Thu., Aug. 25, 2005

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).
Erik Kuntz

KOKE Ratings Better Than 'Chronicle' Suggested

RECEIVED Thu., Aug. 25, 2005

Dear 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.
James Cullen

Swift-Boating Sheehan While Stereotyping Everyone With a Different Point of View

RECEIVED Thu., Aug. 25, 2005

Dear Editor,
    Your unbridled hatred of Bush is so out of control you ignore even the most basic journalistic sensibilities. Significant facts you conveniently “forgot” to include in your Cindy Sheehan story [“Sheehan's Field of Dreams,” News, Aug. 19]:
    1) She is not asking for a chance to meet with Bush; she is asking to meet with him again. She was already given the extremely rare chance to state her views to him directly.
    2) After her first meeting, she said President Bush was caring, and the two spoke of their deep religious convictions. Cindy said, "I know he's sorry and feels some pain for our loss. And I know he's a man of faith." She changed her story when it became convenient for her little show in Crawford.
    3) Her son clearly did not agree with her views. He re-enlisted after the war started knowing he would probably go to Iraq. Further, he was in a noncombat unit and bravely entered the fight to help other soldiers. No one forced him – he was doing what he thought was right.
    While I regret the loss of what was clearly a fine soldier, if Cindy Sheehan is the icon for your left-wing agenda, I feel sorry for you. The liberals in this country are clearly completely bankrupt when it comes to leadership if the poster child they chose to represent them is a crackpot who attacks her own son's political views after he dies doing what he believes in.
David Bernert
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