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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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Is Being Too Clean Dangerous?

RECEIVED Wed., Oct. 31, 2007

Dear Editor,
    Recently highly resistant staph infections have been in the news. Schools, especially, have become rigorous in cleanliness. I wonder, though, if this is counterproductive. If the staph bacteria are more resistant to whatever kills them, then by being extra clean, aren't we wiping out the competition, thus giving them a head start in the inevitable recontamination process?
Victor Engel

Density + Livability = Sustainability

RECEIVED Wed., Oct. 31, 2007

Dear Editor,
    Thanks to Katherine Gregor for such a thorough job in her review of the proposed density-bonus recommendations for Austin [“Finding the Sweet Spot,” News, Oct. 26]. We are at a crossroads now in the debate of how we shape our city. We talk about how we have to become more dense to accommodate the waves of people that want to move here. We talk about how we want to be a sustainable and green city. We talk about creating a livable and affordable city. Density-bonus options are all about the art of balancing these elements. One simple idea is this: Density + livability = sustainability.
    Density-bonus options address the "livability" part of the equation. In the Density Bonus Task Force review of other cities, density bonuses supported a broad spectrum of community benefits in exchange for greater developer entitlements and increased density. In Austin, we are recommending that the following be considered for a density-bonus program: affordable and work-force housing, child and elder care, open space, pedestrian connectivity, transit, green building, historic preservation, saving of valuable community features, public art, cultural facilities and live music venues, and sound mitigation. These are the elements that continue to surface as significant community goals for making the dense areas of our city more livable and, therefore, sustainable.
    Thank you to the City Council for entrusting the Density Bonus Task Force with researching and bringing forward these recommendations. Also, thank you to the community leaders from all sectors that gave of their time and thoughtful consideration to a new density-bonus program for our city.
Eleanor McKinney
Chair, Density Bonus Task Force
Austin Design Commission

Doesn't Like Swanberg

RECEIVED Wed., Oct. 31, 2007

Dear Editor,
    Please explain to me this infatuation with Joe Swanberg [“Something Out of Nothing,” Screens, Oct. 26]. I saw LOL, and all I could think was "WTF?"
Jennifer Murray

More and More and More Is Too Much

RECEIVED Tue., Oct. 30, 2007

Dear Editor,
    More construction, more toilets, more car traffic in the fragile Barton Springs Watershed? More speculative “grandfathering,” more administrative approvals, and limited public input? These are the likely results if the City Council approves the proposed amendment to the Save Our Springs Ordinance for redevelopment in the Barton Springs Watershed.
    Save Our Springs Alliance, Save Barton Creek Association, and Austin Sierra Club are asking the Austin City Council not to approve the proposed amendment to the SOS Ordinance for redevelopment, as drafted by city staff and Council Member Lee Leffingwell.
    We have suggested necessary changes to the proposed amendment, many of which the Planning Commission and Environmental Board adopted into their recommendations to City Council. Chief among them are making the redevelopment amendment a pilot project (available to the first 10 properties or 35 acres that want to use the proposed new redevelopment procedure), with a public evaluation in two years, and requiring public hearings at City Council for large redevelopment projects.
    A pilot project approach will prevent an onslaught of construction in the Barton Springs Watershed and speculative “grandfathering” applications, while allowing redevelopment that benefits the community. The current proposal has no limitation on the number of redevelopment sites, so we risk massive construction and density increases – and the pollution that follows – in our most fragile watershed.
    The current proposal also allows developers to avoid public hearings they would have to go through under the SOS Ordinance today, reducing citizens’ input into what gets built in our neighborhoods.
    Unless the City Council wants to engender a building boom and wave of “grandfathering” applications in the Barton Springs Watershed, they will adopt the recommendations from the Planning Commission, Environmental Board, and local environmental organizations. City Council is expected to vote on Nov. 8. More information is at www.sosalliance.org.
Sincerely,
Colin Clark
Communications director
Save Our Springs Alliance
   

[Editor's note: For more, please see this week's News feature "Watershed Redo."]

What Is the Optimum Population of U.S.?

RECEIVED Tue., Oct. 30, 2007

Dear Editor,
    Re: “Immigration by the Numbers” [“Page Two,” Oct. 26]: The crucial number missing amid the bombast about immigration is an estimate of the optimum population for the U.S. The U.N. recently reported that the whole planet's population is too much. Enhance your credibility, and do your readers a service. Try to give us a number from an unbiased source. Perhaps we've already surpassed it.
Robert Melsha

What About 'Opposing Viewpoints'?

RECEIVED Tue., Oct. 30, 2007

Dear Editor,
    I was disappointed and irritated by Josh Rosenblatt's “Fox”-worthy review of Alex Jones' End Game [“The Scene,” Screens, Oct. 26]. Or was it supposed to be “beat-up-on-Alex day” and I missed the memo (in that case, my apologies)? The “review,” or whatever it was supposed to be, was composed of total “snark.” Was there a point to be made? Surely, if one disagrees so vehemently with anyone (Alex Jones or anyone else, it doesn't matter), then at least tackle one or two issues intelligently, and explain. It's called “opposing viewpoints.” Having been born and raised in the Netherlands, I know all too well that once upon a time, people could not comprehend or accept that the Nazis (not to include all Germans) were readying themselves for the annihilation of the Jewish people. It is not the subject that matters but the treatment and dialogue thereof. Rosenblatt's petty (dis)missive did nothing to enlighten anyone. Not in the least as to why he was so disagreeable.
Ingrid Yaple

Support Love, Care, and Concern for Humans and Animals

RECEIVED Tue., Oct. 30, 2007

Dear Editor,
    Why is it that anything done to help animals equals neglect of humans automatically in some peoples' minds? I'm so sick of this outdated, unenlightened, and misguided idea! There are people who are part of the solution (see “Postmarks,” Oct. 26, “Well-Being of Our Friends – People and Dogs” from Eric B. Blumberg). Well-Being of Our Friends' “goal is to match Austin Travis County Mental Health Mental Retardation Center clients with dogs from Town Lake Animal Center”) – then, there are people like you, Ms. Belinda Acosta, who are part of the problem [“TV Eye,” Screens, Oct. 26]. You are the one who needs to widen your vision beyond your navel. The doxology we sing at my church says “bless all creatures here below” on earth. Not just humans. Many people think animals should continue to be classified as property to be ill-treated, abused, neglected, and abandoned. Just as others don't believe it's a sin to let people live without a home, to degrade them, wound their souls and dignity … and even deny them a bath. Love and care for all creatures should not be dictated by species, age, economic level, sex, or race. There is enough to meet all creatures' basic needs if only our society was committed to that above greed. How about stop being divisive and start supporting love, care, and concern for all.
Martha A. White

Stand Up! Be Brave!

RECEIVED Mon., Oct. 29, 2007

Dear Editor,
    When I post comments [on The Austin Chronicle website], I use my real name. Why is it so many of Michael King's critics and those who criticize me have to hide behind "guest"? Either own up to what you say, or stay out of it.
Delwin Goss

Americans Boundlessly Self-Righteous When Traveling

RECEIVED Mon., Oct. 29, 2007

Dear Editor,
    Our recent trip to Europe included a short stay in Germany. Among their numerous positive attributes, modern Germans seem considerate and unpresumptuous. One senses in them a certain humility, born from their particular awareness that all of us are sinners. Hence, they have the world's most advanced perspective on the potential excesses of nationalism, aka patriotism. Although they still don't much like the French (or vice versa), they stand resolutely shoulder to shoulder with them as the fundamental cornerstones of the European Union.
    Most Americans are close to the opposite end of the national self-awareness spectrum, perhaps a function of only about 20% of them ever owning passports. They ebulliently stride forth into the world with boundless self-righteousness, innocents abroad, oblivious of their own transgressions. Thanks to the Bush regime, few others still share this opinion.
David Hamilton

Black a Coward; Cracking Down on Employers Works

RECEIVED Mon., Oct. 29, 2007

Dear Editor,
    This letter is in response to Louis Black's article "Immigration by the Numbers" [“Page Two,” Oct. 26]. Louis, just where did you get your information, or did you just pull opinions out of your rear orifice? Labeling people as racist just because they disagree with you is a bit of a stretch, even for you.
    I'm not too keen on a wall for enforcement, but cracking down on employers works. I will provide evidence – contrary to your article. Initiatives in both Harrisburg, Pa., and Tulsa, Okla., have been very successful at expelling illegal immigrants. Problem is, they just move on to another city, like, let's say, Austin. Drying up the jobs and watching them leave is not a pipe dream – it's a reality in those communities.
    I own my own business, and I do not employ any illegal immigrants. I do, however, employ several workers of Hispanic descent. But I must be a racist, because you said so. Truth is all of us are subsidizing the service industry, food industry, and the construction industry. Let those industries stand on their own merit, not through cheap labor. The marginal ones would go under; that's business. Through higher property taxes, higher insurance rates, and taxes in general, we've been subsidizing these industries for years. Let's stop and make them play by the rules.
    You have no proof that employer enforcement wouldn't work, so you won't even engage in a debate. How cowardly of you.
Sincerely,
Bill Totah
   [Louis Black responds: I did not say all those that oppose illegal immigration are racists, just many of them. If you really believe that a consistent ongoing crackdown on employers will cause 12 million people to leave the United States (without even discussing the consequences of losing 12 million people), my hat is off to you. Yes, cities can successfully crack down, but a nationwide campaign aimed at shedding every illegal immigrant would be unbelievably expensive, would undoubtedly create a parade of civil rights abuses, and would economically impact any number of businesses and communities. The average is 140,000 people in each state. It may well be cowardly of me to dismiss out of hand the notion that employer enforcement will work. I was also called cowardly when I argued that invading Iraq would be a disaster. But look, you're probably right, certainly this country's track record on massive social engineering is impressive: prohibition, the War on Drugs, welfare, and busing for the purposes of integration all worked out so well.]

Human Sorrows Not More Important Than Animals'

RECEIVED Mon., Oct. 29, 2007

Dear Editor,
    As an animal-welfare activist, I was offended by Ms. Acosta's comments that Ellen DeGeneres should be crying over human wrongs, not animal rights [“TV Eye,” Screens, Oct. 26]. Compassion comes in all shapes and sizes … and species. I'm tired of people criticizing animal-rights activists on the grounds that their compassion should be used to help the homeless, the elderly, and sick children. First of all, how do you know that I'm not doing something to help these individuals? And, on that note, what are you doing to help these people? It's easy to criticize when one is not doing anything for anybody. I don't apologize for being an activist who helps animals, as this is just one of my many passions. It appears that this, too, is one that is close to Ms. DeGeneres' heart, and her shed tears should be welcome and comforting, not labeled as being myopic. I'm thankful my heart is open to helping someone, and I'm sorry if that makes Ms. Acosta cry.
Timothy J. Verret

R.I.P. Dr. John Warfield

RECEIVED Mon., Oct. 29, 2007

Hello friends,
    The sad news of KAZI's Dr. John Warfield's passing away reached me at the AMARC community-radio conference here in Rabat, Morocco. (AMARC is the Canadian nongovernmental organization that serves as the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters.)
    I too consider myself as part of the larger KAZI family. I was just one of scores of Austinites who crowded into the original KAZI air room, when the "Voice of Austin" signed on to Austin airwaves at 88.7FM for the very first time.
    I know firsthand that the station was the result of the tireless work of the Warfields and many others in Austin's African-American community. The station really struggled during its earliest years but never faltered.
    Now the station is very much the Voice of Austin; with strong management, a great range of programming not heard elsewhere on the radio dial, and significant community support.
    While hardly the only successful project of the Warfields, KAZI will certainly be one their most public, valuable, and enduring legacies.
    Since my early days on KAZI, I have helped carry the banner of community radio, putting KOOP on the air, working with survivors in New Orleans' Ninth Ward, and evacuees in the Houston Astrodome. I have now traveled even farther from the Lone Star State, working on a radio theatre project at a community radio station in Mozambique and this week working with nongovernmental organizations, media, and human rights groups here in the Middle East/North Africa region. "KAZI," by the way, equates to the Swahili word for "work."
    I will return to Austin knowing that one of the founders, one of the visionaries of community radio, has passed on to the airwaves.
Thank you, John Warfield,
Jim Ellinger
Rabat, Morocco

Refer Homeless to ARCH

RECEIVED Mon., Oct. 29, 2007

Dear Editor,
    I enjoyed Ms. Acosta's good points in her column about Ellen DeGeneres' meltdown over a dog adoption gone wrong vs. other tragedies [“TV Eye,” Screens, Oct. 26]. Ms. Acosta's story about the homeless man on the bus, as one good example, was very moving. I'd like to encourage readers, whether you want to give money to homeless people or not, to please refer to them to the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless Downtown, where they can get showers, clean clothes, have a locker, use a computer, get and leave phone messages including for jobs, and receive counseling and other help (also beds for the night). It does get crowded, but it's a great institution and a very real resource for a man like the one in Ms. Acosta's column. Please remember the ARCH!
Madeleine Mercier

Hypocritical Moral Whores

RECEIVED Mon., Oct. 29, 2007

Dear Editor,
    Boys and girls! Do you know what hypocritical moral whores are? Like a chameleon that changes its color when it suits its particular purpose, a hypocritical moral whore is a person who espouses their supposed heartfelt, sacred moral values about life on every possible occasion, but when it suits their particular personal political purpose, the hypocritical moral whore flip-flops like a fish out of water. Boys and girls, a perfect example of a hypocritical moral whore is your Texas governor, Rick Perry: a person who went to a church to sign the anti-gay-marriage act, a person who has been an ardent and vociferous opponent of abortion, a person who has championed gun ownership. Now the flip-flopping hypocritical moral whore Perry comes out to endorse the very liberal Rudy Giuliani: a person who has championed gay rights dressed like a woman, a man who has signed abortion rights proposals, a man who has championed tighter gun control. A thrice-married Giuliani, who went from bed to bed with two home-wreckers, the latest living in a hotel with Giuliani, while his wife, Donna Hanover, and their kids lived in Gracie Mansion, the mayor’s residence. A narcissistic Mayor Giuliani, whose sole, arrogant decision ultimately caused the deaths of hundreds of our brave emergency personnel by forcing the command control center into the 9/11 twin towers, over the objections of all of the police, fire, and safety experts who wanted to put it into a building in the Bronx. Giuliani, another hypocritical moral whore, who now tries to convince us he can keep us safe from future attacks, even though he didn’t on 9/11. I wonder if the conservative, religious Republicans – evangelicals, etc. – supporting Guiliani ask Jesus in their prayers every Sunday for forgiveness for being such disingenuous, two-faced, hypocritical, moral whores.
James Jolly Clark

'Same as It Always Was, Same as It Always Was'

RECEIVED Mon., Oct. 29, 2007

Dear Editor,
    The hucksterism of Louis Black never ceases to amaze [“Page Two,” Oct. 26]. He would lead us to believe that the protectors of U.S. sovereignty and traditional culture are really just ignorant xenophobic hayseeds. Louis is dreadfully wrong. The truth is that the exodus of Mexicans and Latin Americans to America is a direct reflection of the moral and societal swamp they are fleeing. But worse, Louis uses the illegals as his dupes to bash American efforts to defend the free world from Islamist totalitarianism in Iraq and worldwide.
    The sadness of the moral and intellectual waste of people such as Louis Black is deeper than is imaginable. His inability to grasp the danger presented by Islamist tyranny is an act of conscious commission. It is obvious to even a nominally informed person that the jihadi enemy is in fact as threatening as Hitler and his storm troops were in their day of evil. But alas, Louis prefers the decrepit dogma of reality denying neo-leftism as dictated by academic, media, and political commissar fashionistas.
    As we know Louis remains knuckleheadedly unmoved by reality. That is why he and his ilk must be confronted and shown the door. Indeed, Louis’ denial of the facts regarding the necessity of America to defeat Islamism renders him as a childlike enabler of the enemy. He would ignorantly and unwittingly assist in the destruction of the free world – all in the name of stupid multiculturalism resulting from moral obtuseness.
Vance McDonald

What Happened With 'Chronicle' Endorsements

RECEIVED Mon., Oct. 29, 2007

Dear Editor,
    I typically check in with ChronicleEndorsements” [News, Oct. 26] for an election cheat sheet when I've not done my own homework, but you missed one with Proposition 4. When a local news channel called this the "parks and prisons" proposal I knew something was awry. Indeed, the earmarks in this hodgepodge allow for "the construction of up to three new high security prisons" according to the League of Women Voters. "Parks and prisons" is akin to "make love and war." Texas has the highest incarceration rate on the planet, giving Austin an international rep as leader of the pack called the Prison Industrial Complex. Catching the obvious irony that belies the submerged hypocrisy used to be a mainstay of the Chronicle. Wha' happened?
Grady Hillman
   [Editor's note: Proposition 4, as Grady Hillman writes, would issue bonds to underwrite funding for prisons, among other things. According to the official figures, about 38% of the $717 million would go to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for construction of new facilities as well as repair of existing ones and another 28% to the Department of Public Safety. The bond also includes roughly $250 million for the Texas Building and Procurement Commission, the Parks & Wildlife Department, the Department of the Adjutant General, the Department of State Health Services, the Department of Aging and Disability Services, the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, the Texas Youth Commission, the Texas Historical Commission, and the Texas School for the Deaf. Voters should indeed consider whether the funding of more new prisons is a poison pill too toxic to endorse spending on all these other state needs.]

Jesus Lost out to Prostitutes

RECEIVED Fri., Oct. 26, 2007

Dear Editor,
    I have bigger hopes that Ms. Toby Futrell will take a fair and comprehensive approach to the solicitation ban, now that Jennifer Kim suspended it [“Naked City,” News, Oct. 26], and apply the near-school criteria of panhandling to a group of prostitutes that pester immigrants in my barrio almost every day. We see them at dawn, while students board school buses, and they hang out all day in full view of families with children till early evening. They exhibit some mental health problems and look dirty. Short raggedy skirts and low cuts reveal beat-up flesh, but they still hold a pathetic coquetry to passersby, sometimes showing black eyes or bloody lips. If this is the American people, the American dream, or the American whatever, I'm confused about the Austin City Council, the Austin Archdiocese, and every black preacher out there. I think Jesus lost out big time.
Paul Aviña

You've Been Duped!

RECEIVED Fri., Oct. 26, 2007

Dear Editor,
    You've been duped!
    I love this pic [Gay Place blog, Sept. 29]. Such creativity. Someone has too much time on her hands. I am a collector of Brady memorabilia and Maureen McCormick pics, yes I have more than 1,000 pics of the Bradys and Maureen! Harumpff … I have the real pic the morph artist split, then morphed together.
    Another thing … the girls had twin beds, not fulls or doubles, which this pic represents. Even though Maureen was only 5 feet 3 inches, she could have never possibly laid across the bed with her head in Jan's lap. The math just doesn't work. Also, the morph artist forgot to put back in the ballisters/styles in the headboard.
    If there were space to post the real pic, I'd put it up.
    Can I interest you in a bridge in Brooklyn?
John Sisk
Owings, Md.

Ammendment Process Broken; Vote No on Prop. 10

RECEIVED Fri., Oct. 26, 2007

Dear Editor,
    Proposition 10 in the upcoming Texas constitutional amendment election is the constitutional amendment to "abolish the authority of Inspector of Hides and Animals."
    I am a government instructor at Austin Community College, and my Texas State and Local Government class has started a Vote No on Prop. 10 campaign.
    Why, you ask? As much as this is about Proposition 10, this is also about drawing attention to an election that usually only generates about 5% voter turnout statewide and also about drawing attention to the amendment process in general. Proposition 10 is the perfect example of the piecemeal fashion in which we amend our state Constitution, and instead of fixing anything, it only perpetuates the problems that plague the Texas Constitution.
    While we understand the legislators' desire to remove authority from an office that has held no power in some time, we also think that the process by which Texans amend their Constitution is a tedious, futile task that encourages very little participation among citizens, although decisions that affect every Texan are being made. We also understand the theory behind wanting the citizens of Texas to have an active role in the decision-making process, but when only 5% of voters show up to the polls, that is not democracy!
    This entire project started as a joke in class when I was lecturing about the Texas Constitution, the amendment process, its almost 90,000-word content, and some of the amendments that have been passed with so little voter turnout. Now, we have an entire grassroots campaign running, complete with a website (www.votenoprop10.org), a rally at the state Capitol, a get-out-the-vote plan, videos, and contacts all over the state. We encourage you to vote no on Prop. 10, but more importantly, we encourage you to vote!
Cathy Setzer
Adjunct professor
Austin Community College, Department of Government
   [Editor's note: The Chronicle editorial board traditionally recommends that voters at least consider rejecting all proposed constitutional amendments, for some of the same reasons Cathy Setzer cites here. And for this election, we specifically recommended voting no on Prop. 10, although largely out of sheer cussedness. We applaud her students' public advocacy.]

Air America Is a Welcome and Invaluable Oasis

RECEIVED Fri., Oct. 26, 2007

Dear Editor,
    I must disagree with Kevin Brass' contention that Air America sucks [“Media Watch,” News, Oct. 26]. Yes, there are nonstop rants by some of the hosts (which I really enjoy), but there are also thoughtful, informative, and engrossing interviews with the likes of John Dean, Dennis Fein, and constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley. Randi Rhodes, in between her rants and interviews, manages to impart huge chunks of valuable information as she does her homework and is incredibly well-informed. Dr. Rachel Maddow hosts an excellent show blending news, politics, and humor, not unlike the Keith Olbermann MSNBC show Countdown, upon which she is a frequent and respected guest. Ring of Fire and Seder on Sunday are must-hear weekend shows. Room for improvement – no doubt – but in the wasteland of AM talk radio, I find Air America a welcome and invaluable oasis. My first move after the local demise of Air America was to check into XM Satellite Radio receivers. After visiting several stores and finding shelves bare of XM equipment, I was informed by the amazed guy at Circuit City that there had been a run on XM radios by loyal and distressed recently deprived Air America listeners hungry for their old standbys. Indeed, I'm anxiously awaiting my UPS delivery tomorrow of my portable XM receiver so that I can once again freely listen to Air America without being tethered to my computer.
Dr. Bruce Kirkland

Judge Keller Callous

RECEIVED Thu., Oct. 25, 2007

Dear Editor,
    Sharon Keller’s callous dismissal of Michael Richard’s last-minute appeal is another example of Texas’ commitment to executions rather than a commitment to real justice [“Naked City,” News, Oct. 26]. But because of her actions, and the Supreme Court’s decision to hear arguments about the constitutionality of lethal injection, the anti-death penalty movement has a historic opportunity at hand. The United States now has a de facto moratorium on capital punishment. The time is ripe to organize a case about the “unusual” aspects of the death penalty – the rampant racism, pervasive classism, and prosecutorial cronyism – not just the “cruel” nature of the drug cocktail used.
    We cannot rely on the Supreme Court to end capital punishment, because a short four years after abolition, the court reinstated it, assuming the problems were fixed. However, stories of men like the aforementioned Michael Richard; Cameron Todd Willingham, an innocent man executed in 2004; and Rodney Reed, another innocent man still on death row, continue to haunt Texas’ criminal justice system.
    I urge everyone to sign Texas Moratorium Network’s petition against Judge Keller, accessible at www.democracyinaction.org/dia/organizationsORG/tmn/petition.jsp?petition_KEY=748&t=sharonkiller.dwt. But petition-signing is not the end of the struggle: A political movement will end the death penalty, and such a movement must use the space given by this moratorium to swell its numbers and deepen politically.
    The death penalty is on the ropes – it’s time we organize and start swinging.
Robert McDonald
UT journalism and government senior

More Coverage of Electronic Vote Fraud

RECEIVED Thu., Oct. 25, 2007

Dear Editor,
    Thanks to Lee Nichols for covering the mysterious disappearance of Air America Radio last week [“NewsDesk,” Oct. 17]. It was one of the few good resources to explain the loss. The comments on the Chron's website were very interesting. [Editor's note: See the Oct. 26 News feature by Kevin Brass, “Media Watch,” for more.]
    As much as I miss listening to Air America, I have noticed some of the same media blackout on electronic vote fraud in this so-called "liberal media" that is also absent in the mainstream press.
    Even our "liberal" Austin Chronicle has seemed to join the blackout on electronic vote fraud. There have been a few scattered stories but no regular feature on this constantly evolving issue.
    A good example is the fact that the Chronicle has not covered a book locally published a year ago on the subject, HACKED! High Tech Election Theft in America – 11 Experts Expose the Truth!, co-edited by local election integrity activists Abbe Waldman DeLozier and Vickie Karp. A featured story on the book will help educate readers about this issue.
    No matter what issues or candidates are on the ballot, if we don't have transparency in our election system, the counts cannot be trusted. The best solution to electronic voting machines is simply to ban their use and require all votes to be cast on paper and counted by hand, in full public view at the precinct level.
    We the People Radio Network has a great new program Vote Rescue Radio – Where Citizens Count, One Vote at a Time, hosted by local activists Karen Renick and Vickie Karp on Sunday afternoons, 2-4pm. It airs on 90.1FM in the Austin area and on the Web at www.wtprn.com/listen.shtml.
    I have gotten more information about election-integrity issues from just three two-hour radio programs from Vote Rescue than a full year of Air America Radio.
Jenny Clark

Mask Cover Too Horrifying!

RECEIVED Thu., Oct. 25, 2007

Dear Editor,
    I was hoping for a humorous mask this Halloween! Or, at least, a mask of a cruel joke! But this Richard Suttle mask!? Please spare us this nightmare that is beyond all horrors. Halloween will soon be over but not this terror [“Supermask Instructions,” News, Oct. 26].
    Our only hope for salvation is the next election of City Council members. We can’t get rid of Suttle, but we can vote out his supporters. Neighborhoods have been democratically voting against the developers at their meetings, and the city is not listening. Instead, these out-of-touch council members have touched the “third rail” of neighborhood (local) politics: They are messing with our neighborhoods. And that strikes horror into our hearts!
Sincerely,
David Haun
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