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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Not Proud of His Country Right Now

RECEIVED Wed., Sept. 7, 2011

Dear Editor,
    As reported on CNN around Sept. 5, there has been found a 19% increase in cancer for first responding firefighters in New York City on September 11, 2001, compared to firefighters not exposed to that environment. Reported in late July and highlighted on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, Congress passed a health care bill in which the compromise was made to exclude treatment of cancer from the list of conditions covered under the bill. This atrocious legislation came on the heels of an Aug. 16 report that the first responders were to be excluded from the 10th anniversary memorial service at ground zero. It is incredible and unconscionable that this insult and snub should be perpetrated against those who were the initial wave of rescue into the heart of the catastrophe. I am uncertain what action should be taken, but what I will not be doing is consuming any media this week or participating in any official program locally or otherwise commemorating the event. I cannot believe the hypocrisy of the Republican Party in blocking health care for these beautiful, brave men and women, while keeping the country at the brink of collapse in order to give yet more tax breaks to their wealthy corporate overlords. I am not proud of my country at this moment in time.
Kenney C. Kennedy

Water Issues Require Broad Approach

RECEIVED Wed., Sept. 7, 2011

Dear Editor,
    Amy Smith’s story saying Austin Water should have implemented Stage 2 restrictions earlier ignores broader water issues critical to dealing with the increasingly serious drought [“Drought? What Drought?,” News, Sept. 2]. First, most Central Texas communities who rely on Colorado River water are only now going to mandatory, two days per week watering restrictions. Austin has mandatory two days per week restrictions, drought or not, year-round, for commercial customers and from May 1 through Sept. 30 for residential users. (Since the 2009 drought, year-round restrictions have been kept in place for all customers.) The response of Austin citizens to the restrictions has led to savings far exceeding original goals set by City Council. With Stage 2, Austin moves to one day per week mandatory restrictions, remaining stricter than surrounding communities. It is important that Austin take such a leadership role and is also reflective of the spirit of the city. To understand the drought and Austin’s impact on lake levels, however, requires examination of a bigger picture. For example, in the recent dry year 2009, Austin’s municipal use accounted for only 7% of stored water use from the Highland Lakes (including evaporation), and 15% when counting stored water and available river flow. In contrast, downstream rice farmers use roughly three times as much water as Austin and in 2009 about seven times more out of lake storage. As inflows to the lakes reach record lows and Austin implements Stage 2, releases from lake storage equivalent to the amount of water in Lady Bird Lake are being made roughly twice a week to rice farmers; significant releases will continue through mid-October. For comparison, Austin Water estimates that savings from Stage 2 will take three to four months to equal the water in Lady Bird Lake, or about three days of agricultural releases. Austin Water has been involved in a basinwide stakeholder process for more than a year negotiating terms of a new water management plan that acknowledges the importance of rice farming, lake communities, and the environment while better protecting Austin’s water supply. A basinwide approach can result in much larger savings, especially in lake storage (essential to Austin’s supply), during what may turn out to be the harshest drought in recorded Texas history. Thanks to all the citizens who are doing their part to conserve at this critical time.
Daryl Slusher
Austin Water, assistant director

Does Anybody Remember Laughter?

RECEIVED Sat., Sept. 3, 2011

Dear Editor,
    I was once a longtime listener of a country radio station. Due to the new Arbitron rating system, the talk show I listened to changed. I defected to KLBJ FM after hearing The Charlie Hodge Rock n' Roll Half-Time Show. The format and commentary about events around Austin, America, and the world, combined with the brilliant comedic talents of Charlie Hodge and Matt Sadler stunned me. I'd never heard anything on the radio like their originality and approach. It felt good to laugh again.
    Now, they've been canned by the same ratings system that killed the other talk show I listened to. Have we become so perpetually angry that humor about the condition of Texas and our world is not worth listening to anymore? Or have we finally accepted mediocrity on the radio?
    It's ironic that this radio show's demise comes in the same week as the death of Cactus Pryor. He was someone who helped lay the foundation for Austin's open atmosphere. Charlie Hodge and Matt Sadler helped that feeling along to bring listeners a unique way of coping with our world and making it a little more bearable with a dash of humor.
Paula Phillips

Bring Back Old Calendar

RECEIVED Fri., Sept. 2, 2011

Dear Editor,
    Why? Why after 30 years would you change your Calendar section? It was one of the main reasons I picked up your paper every Thursday. I could look at any date and find something exciting or different that I might want to do. Now I have to search all over the place just see what is going on any given day. This stinks! If it ain't broke, then don't fix it! Please bring back the old Calendar. I would hate to resort to having to use the calendar in that "other" paper.
Tracy Mongold

More Music News, Less Gossip

RECEIVED Fri., Sept. 2, 2011

Dear Editor,
    It was quite interesting to pick up the Chron and see the little blurb about my drunken buffoonery [“Off the Record,” Music, Sept. 2]. I was shocked that the magazine that has embarrassed itself for 30 years by employing the Mosers has made itself look worse by trying to make drunken antics and blog writing newsworthy. I thought the Chronicle was about providing news, not the perpetuation of drama. You know we haven't had rain for 90 days, right? You didn't hear about the multiple benefits for cancer patient and DIY linchpin Gina Talls of Spotted Dick Haus that included a band reunion (Wild America) and two Chronicle darlings playing at the same show (Hex Dispensers and Best Fwends at Bernadette's on August 27)? The space could have been used to help someone rather than provide hits to my bandmate and friend's blog (though I'm sure he's grateful). What I did sure was stupid, and my banishment from the Scoot (which is permanent by the way) is deserved, but it's hardly the stuff that deserves space in print.
    I'm really not that interesting.
JJ Ruiz
   P.S. I've been playing guitar in town for seven years. I'm hardly a drummer. But thanks for the vote of confidence.

RECEIVED Thu., Sept. 1, 2011

Dear Editor,
    I wanted to ask you about Audra Schroeder … where is she? I've missed her name and her reviews and she isn't doing the [Music] "recommended" page anymore. Why? I've always loved her writing and her musical taste. I also remember when she was a DJ on KUT. I might have missed something about it in the Chronicle, not sure.
    Hope you're doing well. Love, love, love, “Page Two.”
Karen Pate
   [Editor Louis Black replies: Regrettably and to the sadness of everyone here, the Chronicle had to do a number of layoffs. Audra Schroeder was one the staff members who was laid off.]

Change Is Baaaaaad?

RECEIVED Thu., Sept. 1, 2011

Dear Editor,
    Stapled through the fold now, huh? I don't know whether to praise you (no more missing sections, like last week when I grabbed a Chron from a bar and the entire music listings section was missing) or curse you (change is baaaaaaad!).
Alan Van Dyke
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