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 Thanks for your patience.
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Using the Word 'Hysterical' a Disservice

RECEIVED Wed., June 6, 2007

Dear Editor,
    I was surprised one of your reporters described El Paso attorney Theresa Caballero's views regarding El Paso Police Department Chief Richard Wiles as, "hysterical" [“Smack Talking About the Police Chief Finalists,” Chronic News blog, April 9] Whether you consider Wiles tenure good, bad, or indifferent, to describe the views of a well-respected female attorney as hysterical is a disservice to your nonmisogynist readers.
    Do you also consider “hysterical” the concerns of minority communities that have led the Department of Justice to review excessive force concerns in the Austin Police Department?
    There are more than a few in El Paso who feel good Austin wants Chief Wiles. In our city, Wiles consistently refuses to speak to Spanish-language print media, endorses criminalizing a huge swath of the American community of Mexican heritage, and has seen seven suspects shot dead under suspicious circumstances. Not given to hysteria, I can assure you that I, and not a few others, feel relieved Wiles will soon be your problem.
Jaime O. Perez
The Border Observer
El Paso
   [News staff writer Jordan Smith responds: Jaime Perez is a little touchy – as a woman, I don't consider the word "hysterical" specific to one gender or race. The Caballero blog in question certainly qualifies (at least in part). I haven't come to any conclusions about Richard Wiles and neither has the city of Austin. Perez would apparently prefer we make a judgment without even meeting the candidate. That would seem to be a trifle premature, if not hysterical.]

Use Solar Screens

RECEIVED Wed., June 6, 2007

Dear Editor,
    Solar screens enable every window exposed to sunlight to do a great job controlling solar heat gain, and glare while adding privacy and reducing interior fading due to the sun's UV rays.
    They improve curb appeal and save money on your electric bill while easing the load on your air conditioner making it last longer with fewer problems.
    Solar screens reduce fuel consumption and demand on our energy grid when it is needed most, during peak power periods (hot afternoons are the biggest drain on the energy grid).
    If all buildings used solar screens the reduced demand on the power grid would be significant, going a long way toward reducing energy consumption.
    Each power company, town, city, state, or the country could offer incentives to encourage us all to use solar screens and the new compact fluorescent lightbulbs.
    America could lead by example reducing energy demand and hydrocarbon pollution. This could trigger a revolutionary phenomenon of getting everyone to reduce global warming.
Al Kolak

Two Favorites Gone – Shipman and Janes

RECEIVED Wed., June 6, 2007

Dear Editor,
    I was gone, out of state the last week of May last year when Clifford Antone died. Now, again, out of state, and two more Austin icons have passed. Councilwoman Sally Shipman was one of my favorites, for her intelligence and kindness. The environmental movement learned a lesson when they turned on her – for the Barton Creek PUD [Planned Unit Development] vote – and got Louise Epstein. Sally's devotion to Austin neighborhoods could never be equaled. Then comes word that Daryl Janes has passed. I was always a big fan of the Daryl Herald he and Daryl Slusher published. Another intelligent, charming person who cared deeply about Austin.
    A couple more little pieces of my beloved community are gone. I am smaller for it.
Bob Crowley

Forget Token Awards; Support Multiculturalism

RECEIVED Tue., June 5, 2007

Dear Editor,
    First of all, a big congratulations to Harold McMillan, director of the East Austin nonprofit DiverseArts. Monday night he was awarded a much-deserved achievement award – a seat in the Austin Arts Hall of Fame (ironically, at the Cap City Comedy Club). His legacy? Single-handedly struggling to preserve the black and multicultural arts community in Austin for the last 20 years. Very single-handedly. Or so it would seem at the recent affair.
    Facing a sea of mostly shiny white faces (with the occasional, but rare, ethnic variation), the critic who introduced McMillan rattled off an excited and nervously detached laundry list of festivals and accomplishments, underscoring the man's singularity and perseverance despite tragic fire and funding cuts. Yet … how odd that McMillan was the only inductee for whom the emcees had no personal anecdote to share, no convincing, heart-to-heart testimonial. Not to mention that there was at least one other prominent multicultural arts advocate in the room, Lisa Byrd. McMillan and Byrd are working on a coalition to project the landscape of the Austin arts community over the next 10 years.
    Still, the evening did little more than emphasize what seems to be the inevitable in the collective consciousness: East Austin, and Austin's multiculturalism in general, is dying. So let's tokenize it; let's give it a dusty resting place in the Austin Arts Hall of Fame.
    The other option is to reverse that mentality: Support the work that DiverseArts and ProArts and other organizations are doing around town and particularly in East Austin. Support them even if the city pulls out promised funding, even if carpetbagging businesses continue to gobble away the East, and even if developers continue to ravage the land where once the blues was king. Go to or to find out what you can do to keep East Austin alive.
Derek Hansen

Fascist Ideology Lives On

RECEIVED Mon., June 4, 2007

Dear Editor,
    In recent letters I submitted, Kurt Vonnegut was quoted from his last book of essays (A Man Without a Country), “George W. Bush has gathered around him … white supremacists and psychopathic personalities … (and all of a sudden they’re running everything),” and it was shown that the U.S. president’s family fortune was derived from collaboration with another white supremacist and psychopath in World War II, Adolf Hitler. The Nazis lost the war, but the fascist ideology lives on.
    If we indeed have an authentic Nazi in the White House, where a dynasty is forming through election fraud, I pose this rhetorical question. What better revenge could the Nazis get than to send the finest American young men and women into a meat grinder to die and be disfigured, and to simultaneously destroy the American economy?
    Daniel Schorr, a National Public Radio analyst, commented on something that many of us predicted before the fateful invasion of our soldiers into Iraq: “The White House is openly talking about a presence there similar to the U.S. presence in Korea.”
    This war was guaranteed to be endless via atrocities.
    There has never been adequate investigation into the crimes committed at Abu Ghraib. “Sergeant Samuel Provance from Alpha Company 302nd Military Intelligence battalion, in interviews with several news agencies, reported the sexual abuse of a 16-year-old girl by two interrogators, as well as the 16-year-old son of an Iraqi general.” “A May 2004 article by Seymore M. Hersh in The New Yorker magazine explored the abuses in detail (i.e.): ‘there are tapes of American soldiers sodomizing Iraqi boys, and these tapes are being held by the Bush administration.’” (Wikipedia)
Kenney Kennedy

Middle Ground for Dawson Plan

RECEIVED Mon., June 4, 2007

Dear Editors,
    Cheryl Fillekes' and Jim Lacey's opposing letters on density (“Postmarks,” June 1) do not address the issue at hand in the Dawson Neighborhood. There is room for middle ground in this dispute, and the middle ground can be found in the text of our neighborhood plan. The question is not density or no density; the question is where density is allowed. Changes for four blocks have been discussed. There has been no organized opposition to possible changes on the three exterior blocks (as long as the property owners want the changes). But there is organized opposition to commercial zoning on the one interior block. The neighborhood voted against commercial development on the interior block at a well-announced democratic meeting held on Feb. 12.
    The Dawson Neighborhood Plan encourages development on our commercial corridors while calling to "Preserve the residential character of the interior of the neighborhood.” Our plan, adopted by council in 1999, included the infill option of the day, mixed-use building. We allowed major upzonings all along South First Street and South Congress Avenue. Dawson is helping to discourage sprawl, to encourage affordable housing, and to protect water resources. Recently we voted to opt in for all of the new vertical mixed-use options. Dawson has repeatedly supported development on properties located on commercial corridors. We have not supported commercial creep into the interior of the neighborhood.
Donald Dodson, president
Dawson Neighborhood Association

There Is Only One Economic Theory, and McDonald Knows It

RECEIVED Mon., June 4, 2007

Dear Editor,
    Cheryl Smith’s June 1 article [“Bucks for Bullets: Federal minimum-wage raise approved,” News] subliminally extolling the so-called virtues of minimum wage is misleading and harmful.
    The pricing mechanism of the market always balances supply and demand. When the cost of labor is artificially increased by the hammer of government threat, the supply of labor will be forced down because business owners will either lay off workers or not expand their businesses. Prices and shortages relative to static or rising product demand will increase.
    In short, everyone suffers. This results from the natural or real market-pricing mechanism not being allowed to weigh supply and demand rationally without artificial coercion. Allowed to work normally, the market always substantially lifts economic growth, increases employment, and pays people more. But forced synthetic upward price pressures, of any kind, produce unwarranted hiring uncertainty and expand unemployment.
    These are the laws, not theories, of economics. And the never-ending neo-leftist fantasy of the minimum wage helping the poor and the economy once again reveals why government involvement in free enterprise and the engine of prosperity should be rare. When the market is allowed to function without interference, jobs and wages grow dynamically. All levels of employment opportunities and pay increase accordingly.
    Unfortunately, neo-leftist politicians and organizations, such as Ted Kennedy and ACORN [Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now], do not possess the intellectual and moral firepower to acknowledge these realities. As a result, they are not positive forces and must be pushed back wherever possible. But even more importantly, we as citizens must grasp these economic realities to understand how and why nonproductive governmental legislative intrusions like minimum wage are so destructive. With this power of information we will be more able to choose better qualified state and federal representatives.
Vance McDonald
   [Editor responds: Since these are "laws" and not "theories," does this mean if they are not followed the economy gets arrested? In his effort to demonstrate an ignorance that knows no boundaries, McDonald here handily demonstrates how little he understands of economics in general and economic "theories" and "laws," in particular.]

Growth Needs to Be Carefully Controlled

RECEIVED Mon., June 4, 2007

Dear letters to the editor,
    Growth is an important aspect of a vibrant city. Redundant letters to the editor that profess the only ways to address population growth are “upward or outward” confuse matters. No one wants sprawling, endless cities oor high-rise apartment buildings scattered around the neighborhoods.
    The real issue is uncontrolled growth within the neighborhoods. Should neighborhoods be forced to adjust around developers, or will developers adjust to the neighborhoods?
    Growth is a fact of city life, but it must adhere to current laws. Without neighborhood plans, city codes, and state statues, our neighborhoods would be in chaos. With these laws, we can have a vibrant Austin.
David Haun

Bush's 'Snow' Job

RECEIVED Sun., June 3, 2007

Dear Editor,
    I agree with writer Frank Belanger that it's time George W. Bush was impeached [“Postmarks” online, May 30]. Bill Clinton was impeached due to his "blow" job, and now it's (over)time George W. Bush is impeached due to his "snow" job!
Jinny Lee
Melrose, Fla.

Aspirin Kills; Pot Doesn't

RECEIVED Fri., June 1, 2007

Dear sirs,
    My letter titled Legalize Hemp [“Postmarks,” June 1] was written after I had not slept for two days because I had run out of my legal prescribed sleeping pills. If this had been a free country like Holland, I would have just gone down to a coffee shop and bought a small amount and smoked it and gone to sleep. My letter was supporting Ron Paul [“Reefer Madness,” News, May 25], and I haven't been smoking anything. What about you? What were you smoking, and did you take a so-called healthy aspirin before reading my letter? Aspirin kills from 180 to 1,000 people a year. Pot kills zero!
    And what about my letter I wrote about Dianne Delisi, chairman of the Texas Public Health Committee? How she stopped the Medical Marijuana House Bill 1534 from coming up for a vote. And she should lose her job as chairman of that committee? Maybe if she had showed up for our meeting at the state Capitol, she would have seen the sick and dying patients and heard how marijuana was the only drug that relieved their suffering. She would have heard a former Drug Enforcement Administration agent and a retired psychiatrist speak. I guess she didn't want to hear about suffering and dying citizens; after all, she is only chairman of the Health Committee. Why would she be concerned about our health? Patients came from as far away as Houston, but I guess walking downstairs to our committee meeting was too much for her. It was only in the same building.
    I do want to thank the Chronicle for being brave enough to tell the truth about marijuana and hemp to its readers. Keep up the good work!
Julian Ward

High Density Development Can Be Dangerous

RECEIVED Fri., June 1, 2007

To the editor,
    In his posting May 28 [Austin Chronicle Forums], Jim Lacey, lobbying for property developers proposing a vertical mixed-use condo covering four city blocks in the Dawson neighborhood claimed: "Under Density Sharing valuable time is gained in the short term if a slightly heavier burden can be put on the existing infrastructure before we absolutely have to modify or replace it. By comparison, sprawl will put an onus on taxpayers to pay now for both the new infrastructure and over time for the cost to replace the older, aging infrastructure."
    First of all, everyone I know in the "sprawl" dug their own septic, put in their own well or rainwater collection, gets their gas by the tank, and gets their electricity from the co-op, not the city. This places no burden on city of Austin infrastructure at all.
    But it is not this man's complete ignorance of country life that worries me so much. It is that he recommends here that the city embark on a program of dangerous and willful neglect of critical city infrastructure maintenance, while announcing that he himself intends to push Dawson's already strained gas, septic, and water systems to their breaking points by adding several hundred new condos (excuse me: "Density Sharing") to this same infrastructure.
    I hope the city did not fall for his line about this all being cheaper, somehow.
    We could all pay for this with a backed-up sewer system, water-main breaks, cholera, dysentery, and gas leaks and explosions.
Cheryl Fillekes Ph.D.

Diving Boards the Canaries in the Mine

RECEIVED Thu., May 31, 2007

Dear Editor,
    The key to our urban density issues is on last week's cover [June 1]. Forget that nobody you know can afford a condo Downtown; forget that nobody you want to know would buy into the suburban wasteland. If one looked closely at the cover of the Chronicle last week, one would see Deep Eddy Pool, and hovering above – a diving board! Look around town – I've only found two. Now I don't know what year that photo of Deep Eddy was taken, but I'm sure in those days the traffic, trash, and amount of Humvees weren't so … what they are today. Why is this, you ask? The answer is obvious. "Back in the day," we had personal accountability; we had diving boards. Millions of people would use them! A quarter of them would perish. This kept the number of us humans in a given area at a reasonable level. Over the years our diving boards were taken away, people discovered that they could get money for dying or being injured while jumping around and having fun – it was cheaper to remove diving boards than to pay amounts greater than what lives were worth. Bring back recklessness, drop overprotectiveness, and soon we'll all be living Downtown, smoking Lucky Strikes, and not looking both ways before we cross the street.
John Nordstrom

A Joke of Crybabies

RECEIVED Thu., May 31, 2007

Dear Editor,
    I have to comment on your article [“Point Austin,” News, June 1] about Mike Krusee's comments as to Tom Craddick's abuse of authority. Talk about the height of hypocrisy. This coming from the same man that sat on every bill dealing with toll roads and refused to bring them up in his committee because he did not like and/or agree with them. Then on the one bill that did get to the House floor, he was outvoted 149 to 1. It appears he is out of step with the rest of the House members and is pretty good at abusing power himself. This whole session was a joke of crybabies demanding to get their way.
Dennis Schultz
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