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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Resist the Violent Few

RECEIVED Wed., Nov. 23, 2011

Dear Editor,
    We are currently 7 billion people and counting. How many of you out there in our world want to live in a state of perpetual violence? Anyone, anyone? I'm not seeing a lot of hands out there. How many of you would just like to have fun for the wily days of your life, would rather you didn't have to bury your friends until their rotting flesh finally gives out? Of the 7 billion people in the world, how many do you think want to create violence and how many do you think just want to live their lives in peace? The violent people in our world have all the guns and all the press, but we've grown tired of their promises of the different world they seek with their bombs and mayhem and the lives of the people we care about. We, the people of the earth, will no longer allow the violent few to decide the course of human events.
Tom Lay

Officer's Actions Disgusting

RECEIVED Tue., Nov. 22, 2011

Dear Editor,
    I am tired of the police reserving the right to use excessive and unnecessary force because they feel or think they can. I think some police officers are a little to quick to use their guns.
    This weekend, I read an article in the Austin American-Statesman about a police officer named Mark Lytle who killed a dog outside of the North Loop Food Store.
    I am appalled and shocked at Officer Lytle's actions. According to the article, witnesses said that Lytle created the tense situation by trying to grab the dog and overreacted when the dog did not cooperate and then shot it. The dog appeared to belong to someone as it had a leash and collar on.
    On the local Austin news, the reporter said that Lytle was trained to handle animals and had experience with animals. Clearly he did not. If you know anything about animals you aren't familiar with, you don't approach them. Why was Lytle trying to take this dog to begin with? When the dog didn't comply by going with a stranger, did Officer Lytle feel it was necessary to shoot the dog and create a violent and dangerous situation in a crowded area? Why didn't he call animal control?
    Even if it is true that he worked with animals, it is not his job to handle animals since he does not have the appropriate training.
    Lytle's actions are disgusting. Because you have a gun and wear a badge doesn't mean you can abuse that power. Killing a scared animal does not make you a hero and it certainly doesn't justify killing a dog that you provoked. I would bite a stranger too if I didn't know what their intentions were. Your job is to protect and serve. You caused a potential harmful scene. I believe Lytle needs to be fired. What happened to common sense?
    This dog would still be alive if Lytle hadn't shown up. The dog was not posing a threat to anyone.
Anna Obek

Formula One Wart Counting

RECEIVED Tue., Nov. 22, 2011

Dear Editor,
    If there is a God, he or she must surely be the driving force in the recent eruption of trouble for the squalid attempt to build a Formula One racing facility in Austin. A feud between the principal players in the project has led to a stoppage of construction at the track and cast the entire enterprise into a divine state of doubt.
    What's wrong with Formula One for Austin? Let us count the warts. The sprawling facility in eastern Travis County, including the track and ancillary features, will consume and destroy many hundreds of acres of prime farmland. This is a priceless resource that our community is going to need desperately in the decades ahead, when we will be driven by climate change and the end of cheap oil to make a transition from exurban sprawl and globalized economics to a radically different socioeconomic model based on local and regional self-reliance, i.e. local production of food and other life-support resources for mostly local consumption.
    A second obnoxious wart on the face of Formula One is the manner in which it makes Austin a whore in the frantic scramble among cities of the world to prostrate themselves at the feet of Emperor Auto. A third wart is the manner in which something like a Formula One race track inflicts enormous damage to the environment and image of a city like Austin. Still another is the inevitable cost to local, county, and state taxpayers, as witnessed by the previous commitment by State Comptroller Susan Combs to award the Formula One project in Austin an annual subsidy of $25 million in state funds for the first 10 years of the track's operation.
    Let us sing “Hallelujah” that Formula One in Austin may now be choking to death on its own bad faith.
Ray Reece

Abortion Worse Than Pedophilia

RECEIVED Mon., Nov. 21, 2011

Dear Editor,
    The country is fuming with anger about the revelations concerning a former Penn State football coach but says little or nothing about the daily murders of unborn infants in the womb. Hypocrisy is alive and well and growing in America!
Ephraim Levin
Philadelphia, Pa.

Class Differences Not the Problem

RECEIVED Mon., Nov. 21, 2011

Dear Editor,
    In the Nov. 11 "Page Two," you insinuated that Mexico's and Latin America's problems result from inequality, totally reassigning the cause for the effect. These countries are in the economic state that they are in and suffer the inequality that they do because they have limited rule of law and they have governments who run their economies by handing out favors to preferred recipients. Maybe you are making this point in a roundabout way and implying that we cannot continue on with our system of crony-ism (I do not use the term crony capitalism because it is a contradictory term), in which case I agree we should not. However, corporate greed is not the cause, as corporations are comprised of people and people are inherently self-interested (including me, you, every politician, etc.), and I do not expect or wish this to change any time soon. The problem is that the people and the courts have ceded the power to politicians to grant favors and write laws that restrict the many on behalf of the few. So the only logical answer is less power given to government to dole out favors, not more. This seems to be the opposite of what you are suggesting in your column from last week. Unless you think that Democrats are less prone to this behavior than Republicans, in which case I would encourage you to re-examine your faith in team blue (same goes for team red apologists).
Adam Johnson

Fond Memories of Joe Gracey

RECEIVED Mon., Nov. 21, 2011

Dear Editor,
    My father, Bruce Scafe, is the co-creator of Austin City Limits along with Paul Bosner. He was saddened to learn of Joe Gracey’s passing and had frequently mentioned him over the years in fond terms ["Joe Gracey RIP," Earache! Music blog, Nov. 17]. Because Joe was so good-natured and did his job at KOKE FM while writing about music at the Statesman, it is easy to underestimate his role with Austin City Limits.
    Joe’s musical tastes were mentioned in Jan Reid’s The Improbable Rise of Redneck Rock and were the impetus for eclectic, progressive country as the primary initial music genre of Austin City Limits. Due to Joe Gracey’s connections, he booked musical acts for Austin City Limits. Sometimes audience attendance was sparse, so he'd broadcast on KOKE FM that Studio 6A at KLRU needed more people for that all-important energy on which musicians thrive. Dad also tapped Joe for the opening announcement copy that Dad wrote for each show, "Recorded live … from Austin City Limits." Together they worked on it to get it just right.
    Bruce Scafe’s fondest memories of Joe Gracey include hanging out with him outside the Broken Spoke (with Asleep at the Wheel’s beat-up old school bus nearby) and other venues as they scouted acts during the creation and formative beginnings of Austin City Limits. Joe Gracey was essential to Austin City Limits, and it is doubtful that the entire city would be what it is today without him. He will be missed.
Paula Scafe

Morton Convicted on Anderson's Theory, Not Facts

RECEIVED Sun., Nov. 20, 2011

Dear Editor,
    Twenty-five years ago Williamson County District Attorney Ken Anderson sent Michael Morton to prison for life for killing his own wife ["Morton Prosecutor Wrote the Book on Crime," News, Nov. 18]. Ten years later Anderson wrote a book in which he said: "My theory of the crime was that after returning home [from an evening out], he wanted to have sex. When she said no, he savagely beat her to death."
    District attorneys are not supposed to convict people on theories. They are required by the Constitution to convict on facts beyond a reasonable doubt. It is very clear from this case that some people in Williamson County believe that their gut feelings trump our Constitution. If there is justice now in Williamson County, Ken Anderson will soon find himself standing before a court to defend this miscarriage of justice. I'm sure that he will demand that the case be tried on facts and not theories, something he denied Morton. Regardless of whether Anderson ever spends a day in prison for this disaster, there is no denying that he sent an innocent man to prison and allowed a killer to walk our streets and perhaps kill again. How many other innocent men from Williamson County have gone to prison, and how many other killers are walking our streets because of Ken Anderson and his office?
Clifton Smith

As A National Board Certerfied Teacher Shocked by IDEA School

RECEIVED Thu., Nov. 17, 2011

Dear Editor,
    As an Austinite and National Board Certified Teacher, I was shocked to learn about the IDEA school [“Not Everyone Keen on Charter IDEA,” News, Nov. 11]. Thank you for conveying how many of us (teachers) feel. We feel unappreciated, not valuable, and pressured at all times. We are always the last ones to know. I am concerned about how this school is going to "punish" many teachers. Our communities deserve better than that; a lottery of 100 students is not only discriminatory but also detrimental to the Eastside families. The superintendent and board members have a huge responsibility – this school will have major effects over the next 20 years. The last-minute meetings with less than a month's notice and two-minute speeches at citizen communication during board meetings only conveys the district's unwillingness to hear from our communities. Please stop bringing other agencies and contractors to fix our problems. Austin is unique, not Rio Grande Valley. Our community is going to be vigilant on how board members are voting on this IDEA school; we will hold you accountable.
Montserrat Garibay
National Board Certified Teacher
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