'Chronicle' Is too Frustrating. Wake Up Austin!

RECEIVED Mon., April 13, 2009

Dear Editor,
    Michael King's "Madness in Many Packages" is another example of why I've become more frustrated with the Chronicle weekly [“Point Austin,” News, April 10]. Not only did he slam Alex Jones ("tin-pot conspiracist,” “Infowars La-La Land,” “MisInfowars,” etc.), but he also has no idea about what really goes on at Highland Mall during the Texas Relays. Nelson Linder's NAACP publicity stunt is just that. Having worked at the mall for four-plus years up till January of this year, I had experience with the Relays firsthand. The Relays were a source of stress and frustration for many of the patrons and management alike. There are just too many people. Using a business space as a hangout is not good for anyone. My experience is that it actually hurt my sales tremendously. General Growth Properties, which co-owns Highland Mall, is bankrupt. In the past, they've had to hire tons of extra security to control the chaos, which I believe makes it even less safe. There was an Austin Police Department officer or security guard every 15 feet. They can't afford it. The businesses know it's not going to be beneficial to sales and will add unwanted stress to their lives. How is this racist? Now King and Linder and others will not be shopping at Highland Mall. So who suffers? The community that works at Highland Mall! Wake up Austin!
Dustin Hoefling
   [News Editor Michael King responds: This week the local chapter of the NAACP reconsidered its initial suggestions of a boycott of Highland Mall, with Nelson Linder calling instead for "community education and dialogue" on the matter and public discussion of alternatives for next year's relays, including programs for African-American youth.]
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