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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Live Music in Jeopardy

RECEIVED Wed., Feb. 16, 2011

Dear Editor,
    On Thursday, Austin City Council voted to change the city’s sound ordinance in ways that will very likely destroy this city’s live music. I own four Downtown bars, and I am scared that this council is going to run me out of business. Until this week, when the Austin Police Department measured volume coming from one of my venues, they would do so at the property line – where the music had the potential to disturb neighbors. Now, APD must measure volume from the speaker or instrument producing the music, regardless of how likely the music is to be a nuisance to others outside the venue. I live Downtown and am glad that we have a sound ordinance. There are times when a band or venue is just too loud. But how loud it is should be measured from where people live and work and might be disturbed, not from the source of the music. Due to the unique physics of sound waves, how loud a speaker is doesn’t necessarily translate to how loud it is at a neighboring residence. Gary Etie has regularly explained this issue on his Austin City Permits blog. If council doesn’t fix this immediately, all outdoor music in Austin is in jeopardy. Live music is the cultural and economic core of this city. Don’t let council kill it.
Brad Womack
Molotov Lounge
The Dogwood
Chuggin Monkey
The Dizzy Rooster

Tax Fox Lies

RECEIVED Wed., Feb. 16, 2011

Dear Editor,
    Congress should pass a Fox Truth Tax on every lie printed and/or broadcast by Rupert Murdoch's empire. This money could totally fund both NPR and PBS, and the surplus from such a windfall could create 10 new "real" stations per year! And even fund health care!
Jim Franklin

Celebrate Alonzo's

RECEIVED Wed., Feb. 16, 2011

Dear Editor,
    Thanks for doing the great article on Ray's Bar-B-Q [Restaurant Review, Food, Feb. 4]. I just live right around the corner and used to love to eat there. Ray is a great guy, and he puts his heart into the food.
    I wanted to point out another of Montopolis' finest restaurants which is just a couple of blocks south of Ray's location: Alonzo's taco restaurant. Alonzo's is having its 20th anniversary this week and is now being run by the second generation of the Alonzo family. It is where the working families of Montopolis meet to eat. The simple truth is just about every school kid in Montopolis grew up on Alonzo's tacos. Like the restaurant, the food isn't fancy but it is good and where else can you get a burger, fries, and drink for under $3? Or two eggs, two Jimmy Dean sausage patties, and three pancakes for under $4?
    Members of the Habitat for Humanity volunteer crew I work with have told me one of the things that gets them out of bed and on the site is knowing there will be Alonzo's tacos waiting for them.
    Not only is Alonzo's a great place to eat, but John Jr. gives a great deal of his time and energy to working with at-risk kids. He's a great role model.
    Anyway, I thought I would throw that out there.
Delwin Goss

Everyone Should Be Allowed To Have Their Own Opinion

RECEIVED Mon., Feb. 14, 2011

Dear Editor,
    I am writing to you about the article by Jordan Smith in the Feb. 4 issue “The War on Talking About the Drug War” [News]. Why am I not surprised by the government’s reaction to Border Patrol Agent Bryan Gonzalez’s statement? When did having an opinion become grounds for dismissal? Let me say that I do not do drugs nor do I think they should be legal; however, I think anyone, no matter what the circumstance, should be allowed to have an opinion.
    Did our government forget that this country was founded by free-thinkers that didn’t side with their former government’s policies? I agree with Bryan Gonzalez. I think the war on drugs is a joke, and something different needs to be done. The government comes up with ways to save money by taking money away from education. Why? They are just going to keep throwing money at this so-called “drug war.”
    This war has been going on, officially, since the Reagan administration and has done nothing but cost billions and billions of dollars. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. The drug war is just that, insanity. The government should find a new way to spend less money on the drug war and stop taking money away from education. They should change their either you are with us or completely against us way of thinking and give Bryan Gonzalez his job back. After all, he was named employee of the month the month he was fired, and I don’t think there are a lot of young educated men lining up for the job of border patrol agent these days.
Michael Hausen

Move Over, 'Mis-leaders'

RECEIVED Fri., Feb. 11, 2011

Dear Editor,
    Oligarchies everywhere are shuddering with fear as they watch world events unfold. Rightly, they worry that they may be next. They and their self-proclaimed "greatest generation" have failed miserably. Their methods are infested with dishonesty, insatiable greed, conceit, war crimes, and fixed elections. They have shown contempt for the people, the environment, the truth, and every law that inconveniences them.
    When John F. Kennedy moved to end the Vietnam War, they had him killed. They didn't like Al Gore so they had the Supreme Court appoint George Bush. When blatant war crimes were leaked (, they imprisoned the suspected leaker (Bradley Manning) and shut down most methods for people to finance those who published the material.
    It's time for mis-leaders everywhere to get out of the people's way. It's time for the people to seize the power and for peace, truth, and justice loving people to lead.
    By encouraging, supporting, and rewarding whistle-blowers, and by recognizing that they are essential for progress, we can obtain and spread important truths. Those truths will set us free from propaganda that keeps us from seeing clearly. The truth will enable us to shut down the military industrial complex and to tax wealthy tax cheats (who have hidden an estimated $20 trillion). Then we can build a sustainable global economy that works for everyone (except insanely greedy fools), and to build a new world characterized by peace, justice, tolerance, and respect for all life.
    To quote Julian Assange: “[M]ass leaking leaves … [unjust systems] exquisitely vulnerable to those who seek to replace them with more open forms of governance. … [I]f we are to produce a more civilized society, a more just society, it has to be based upon the truth. Because judgments which are not based upon the truth … lead to outcomes which are themselves false."
Robert Halcon

Wonderful Job by Jordan Smith

RECEIVED Thu., Feb. 10, 2011

Dear Editor,
    Re: “A Parliament of Experts” [News, Feb. 4]: Again, Ms. Smith, a wonderful in-depth report. I am impressed with your journalism – and how time-consuming it seems to provide the whole picture.
    As a young naive adult, I thought our legal/jury system was fair. Later on I realized that whoever can lie the best wins – and along with reading your story, add to that: whoever testifies inaccurate information or excludes scientific evidence can win. And, as described through your story, what are the qualifications of an "expert"? And how are the "qualified experts" included into the process?
    And, unfortunately, it appears that money/talent can be the deciding factor of guilty or not guilty.
Paul Birdsall

Opposes Zoning Change for Suburban Lodge

RECEIVED Thu., Feb. 10, 2011

Dear Editor,
    Regarding the rezoning for property at 2501 S. I-35, currently known as Suburban Lodge: My neighborhood opposes the zoning change. The rezoning of Suburban Lodge to a Single Room Occupancy is an undesirable use for the commercial property within our area. The property in question backs directly up to single family housing. Foundations Communities application to the Austin Housing Finance Corporation clearly states the planned development is for 120 units for Permanent Supportive Housing. Our area, ZIP code 78741, has the most affordable housing units in the city. We have 3,592 affordable units – that's 473.25 units per square mile – in an area of 7.59 square miles. The distant second is the area of 78753 with 1,879 affordable units. We our considered a Low-Opportunity area by Kirwin Institutes mapping. Foundation Communities is aware of this and that we have the highest crime rate in the city, are low income, minority majority, and low opportunity. The people that Foundation Communities wants to help really deserve better. The homeless population, especially homeless women who are the most underserved, deserve to be placed in areas of higher opportunity. Placement in areas of higher opportunity is known to increase success rates for people that are placed in permanent supportive housing.
    The Planning Commission voted on Jan. 25 and approved the rezoning with the requirement of a Conditional Overlay and a private restrictive covenant between the Greenbriar Neighborhood and Foundation Communities. The Greenbriar Neighborhood is amenable to this compromise. As of yet, we have not gotten a reasonable covenant approved by Foundation Communities.
Yours truly,
Cyndi Gilbert
Greenbriar Neighborhood Association
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