Don't Underfund Parks, Libraries

RECEIVED Tue., May 5, 2009

Dear Editor,
    When Marc Ott and the City Council members talk about making cuts to General Fund departments with the exception of the Police and Fire departments, what they’re really saying is that they’re going to cut the Library and Parks departments. I think it’s unfair to give raises and overtime to firemen and police while slashing the budget for the library and parks. I value nature and education just as much as public safety. In the long run, recreation and education can lead to a decrease in petty crimes. In that same vein, when will the Police Department stop wasting taxpayer money? The Texas Legislature has given approval for cities to issue tickets and citations for minor misdemeanors instead of taking them Downtown, which would save millions of dollars in booking costs. Why don’t we try that first?
Kanya Lyons
   Editor Michael King responds: For the record, after some delay, earlier this year the Austin Police Department did in fact adopt the "cite and release" policy for lesser misdemeanors.
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