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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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'Point Austin' Missed Point

RECEIVED Tue., March 15, 2011

Dear Editor,
    Re: “Point Austin: Expiation Day” [News, March 11]: It's a miracle. Michael King addressed race. The problem is, he did it by name-calling those who name-called those who name-called (Randi Shade, Mike Martinez, and Lee Leffingwell). With his tired, shoot-the-messenger tactic, he has become a full-fledged partner in City Hall’s crime of avoiding reality.
    Akwasi Evans, at NokoaNewspaper.com, laid it out: The city has spent a mere $700,000 in accordance with the African-American Quality of Life initiative to date, which was supposed to be a contract for investment in our dwindling black population. While it went from 10% to 8%, we invested less than $10/head (spending nothing in the past two years)!
    Besides avoiding race issues, King misses the point on the open meetings/open records issue. It's not what e-mails have come out; it's what emails have been hidden via private accounts, which the Texas attorney general says are subject to the Texas Public Information Act. See TheAustinBulldog.org for more.
    King avoids the failures of City Council by instead spending valuable space criticizing the name-game by community leaders (but not council), and then, of course, joins in himself. The NAACP-Austin letter, and the follow-up letter from several community organizations stating they "stand behind the NAACP-Austin," both relayed it’s not the name-calling so much as what it represents. It's clear that some city leaders don't value us and we measure this not in their words, but their deeds – or lack thereof.
    Better Austin Today's report card (printed three issues ago) shows to what degree our council members have the community's interests or the developer/police union's interests at heart. It's no coincidence that the three council name-callers have the worst voting record with respect to community interests.
    As we ask with our current city leaders: Is "Point Austin" fixable or replaceable?
Sincerely,
Debbie Russell

Support Lack of Parking

RECEIVED Tue., March 15, 2011

Dear Editor,
    Sadly the city of Austin is still schizophrenic when it comes to transportation policy. It speaks of noble concepts such as sustainability and mass transit.
    However when it come to city ordinances, it’s the automobile all the way. Requiring Casa de Luz [“Have Customers, Need Macrobiotic Parking,” News, March 11] to provide off-street parking is just the latest example. Even if a business wants to cater to walkers, bikers, and bus riders, city ordinances don’t allow it. If the city is really serious about sustainability, it should grant tax abatements to businesses that do not provide parking.
Philip Russell

Roller Coaster Primer

RECEIVED Mon., March 14, 2011

Dear Editor,
    Don’t fret that you don’t understand, don’t worry that you don’t know what to think – keep thinking – yes, yet keep a cool head, understand that we as people are still relatively new to the neighborhood, we’ve only been around for about a day or Tuesday, so if the complexities of the universe still evade you, if you are having a difficult time grasping what it is all about, try to remember that we are mere infants, we are children catching bubbles, we are the young punks of the galaxy. In the meantime, give yourself a break already, be reasonable, stay sane, remain calm, settle down, make yourself comfortable because we are in for the long haul, it’s going to be a rough ride, but visitors from the future will take our pictures as we hold up our hands on our roller coaster. Wheee.
Peace,
Tom Lay

Car-Bike Peace Summit

RECEIVED Mon., March 14, 2011

Dear Editor,
    On a recent evening, close to midnight, I was riding my bike south down Metric, crossing an apartment exit/entry driveway.
    I thought the girl in the car had seen me as I approached, however, she almost hit me as she pulled into the street.
    Afraid, I yelled some profanities. As I turned my head I saw her in the car, and she looked shaken herself, and she looked like she was very apologetic for what she had inadvertently done.
    Shortly, she came up beside me in the far lane going the same direction, which I thought was very compassionate.
    She was going slow and had her window down. I gather she was trying to make an amends for what happened, but I was not in a place to be able to hear it at that moment and I just waved her on.
    I don't know who you are, but I want to commend you on your behavior. Many motorists and cyclists, whether in the wrong or right, would not go as far as you did and would have acted very inappropriately.
    Although I was afraid at the time, I apologize for cursing and yelling at you. Some might consider this an appropriate response, yet I don't agree. I feel that if drivers and cyclists are ever going to coexist peacefully, the hotheads are going to have to cool down.
    I wish you all the best, and if you ever want to go cycling together sometime, please let me know. And I would be happy to take a ride in your car, too!
Thanks,
Brian Hamby

Sunsets Explained

RECEIVED Sat., March 12, 2011

Dear Editor,
    I did not much understand Michael Ventura’s recent “Letters at 3AM: SXSW: Let Me Guess” [March, 11]. Guess I’m too much of a literalist. In the same vein, I have an observation from Mr. Ventura’s last column, “Some Kind of Man” [Feb. 25], specifically the statement “… those [clouds] above go dark as colors still blaze westward, until an indestructible orange glares up from beneath the Earth's curve. That glow deepens slowly. You can't mark the exact moment night falls,” by which he makes the corny equation of death to a sunset.
    Of course, there is a sunset at some point on the Earth 24 hours a day (excluding the higher and lower altitudes). Our view of any day’s sunset, however, takes place from one specific vantage point.
    For the sake of simplicity, I will describe, not as artistically as Mr. Ventura does in said column, a sunset which occurs on any plain in the middle of nowhere on the cloudless evening of a new moon. At the moment the fiery globe of the sun appears to vanish beneath the horizon, twilight begins. At this moment, the curtain of night appears to lift from the east. As the sun, from one’s perspective, sinks lower and lower below the horizon, this veil of night rises higher and higher. The demarcation between night and day is quite clear as this veil rises. Although the color of the sky below the veil is still (a deeper) blue, the brightest stars are visible within it. Planets (and the moon) may be visible on the other side of the veil still lit by the sun but never any stars. You can watch this veil cross the twilight sky quite easily. The very moment this veil of night reaches the western horizon, there is no light whatsoever from any source other than the stars themselves. The instant the veil sinks below the horizon is the instant that twilight ends and night begins.
    Likewise, there are two distinct stages of physical death. One is the moment that the breath abates, and the second is the moment that the brain and other organs cease all activity due to oxygen deprivation. As Ventura asserts, this second stage is not visible.
Kenney Kennedy
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