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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Hoping for Justice in Yogurt Shop Case

RECEIVED Mon., Dec. 19, 2011

Dear Editor,
    I think the murders at the North Austin yogurt shop were without a doubt the most tragic incident in the history of Austin [“Scene of the Crime,” News, Dec. 16]. Four innocent girls were brutally murdered in the most horrific fashion imaginable. The case itself was a near impossible feat, with most of the physical evidence destroyed by the fire department. The crime scene investigation was lacking and not nearly as extensive as it should have been. The interrogation methods used by the police were also coercive and, at best, suspect. In the end, the D.A. used an approach that was blatantly unconstitutional. It seems like the state was not quite up to the difficult task that was placed in front of them. Yet sometimes the police can conduct a shoddy investigation and the prosecution can present a flawed case, but in the end somehow manage to get the guilty culprits. I think the police got the guilty culprits. Here is hoping that someday justice will be final and the families of the victims can find some kind of peace.
Mark Guszak

Church of the 29 Februarians

RECEIVED Mon., Dec. 19, 2011

Dear Editor,
    Frank Zappa died again using the alias Chris Hitchens. They kill us with cancer. Religion doesn’t bring back anyone who questions your assumptions. Did your religion bring back from the dead your ability to have an opinion of your own? We don’t get many at my Church of the 29 Februarians, but our doors are always open once every four years. We’re four years younger than everyone, but we’re waiting for Him to bring back the day so we can have our age and join the rest of mankind. You who were born yesterday and tomorrow can never understand how it feels to be born a leap child. I don’t believe in belief. Believing in belief leads to hatred of someone else. If you don’t think that’s true, then why are you so mad at me? All I know is I want to live in peace with everyone I meet. Whatever reasons you have, whatever religion you have that says I should not want to live in peace with everyone I meet, I just may have a problem with. All I want to do is get along with people. Are you opposed to that? Is your religion opposed to that? Religion is broken if it divides people.
Tom Lay

Examine Complexities of IDEA Issue

RECEIVED Mon., Dec. 19, 2011

Dear Editor,
    I agree with AISD Board President Mark Williams that the matter of partnering with IDEA to create two in-district charter schools is a philosophical issue [“Kicking Around an IDEA,” News, Dec. 16]. Above all, I hope we can expect a vigorous debate that transcends sweeping condemnations of mediocrity and procedural mishaps and instead focuses on the nature and future of charter schools, the strengths and weaknesses of IDEA, and whether the benefits outweigh the costs to East Austin children.
    Where I disagree with Mr. Williams and many others is the contention that IDEA will serve as just another choice for East Austin families. I view this as a dangerous oversimplification because unlike the rhetoric suggests, this new choice will affect – significantly – other schools, families, and most of all, children.
    First, Govalle and Ortega will become the bottom rung for students who can’t attend or who are later involuntarily removed from IDEA. Texas Education Agency and Texas Business & Education Coalition data suggest that while most likely unintentional, students who struggle the most are less likely to enroll and more likely to wash out of IDEA schools.
    Second, Eastside Memorial High School won’t see IDEA students until 2013 and then will coexist with IDEA, slowly shrinking grade by grade through 2018. There is no doubt that the continual changes over the past several years at Eastside have taken their toll on students. Bad enough, but for the next six years, incoming Eastside students will have no choice but to attend a school condemned to a slow death, gradually fading away with fewer means to attract better administrators, teachers, and students.
    Finally, struggling with under-enrollment and inadequate yearly progress, Martin Middle School will face the same struggles as Govalle and Ortega with students who don’t succeed with IDEA and as Eastside Memorial to attract administrators, teachers, and students. It’s unclear how we expect this school to stay afloat, much less continue to improve.
    So to say that we’ve nothing to lose by moving forward with the IDEA in-district charter school – that it’s simply one more choice – is to imply that the potential benefits of IDEA won’t also incur very real costs to Govalle, Ortega, Eastside Memorial, and Martin. Whether ultimately right or wrong for Austin, even the most optimistic assessment of the IDEA proposal needs to be weighed against these impacts.
Luke Muszkiewicz

City Abandons Hancock Hopes, Neighbors

RECEIVED Mon., Dec. 19, 2011

Dear Editor,
    The future of Hancock Golf Course has yet again been placed in doubt [“Hancock Not Up to PAR(D),” News, Nov. 18]. Having abdicated its responsibility for stewardship of the property through mismanagement, inadequate maintenance, and nonexistent marketing, the city is responding to Hancock’s underutilization by proposing that golfers, supporters, and neighbors abandon all hope of a future for this historic green gem in the central city.
Sharon Jones

War of the Rosés

RECEIVED Sun., Dec. 18, 2011

Dear Editor,
    Mr. Marshall has once again made a simplistic statement concerning wines. A few months ago, he referred to a wine from Beaujolais as being from southern Burgundy. While technically correct, he failed to make note of the substantial distinctions between the red wines of Beaujolais (from the Gamay grape) and those of Burgundy (Pinot Noir). Now, he has said that American antipathy for dry Rosés is why a certain Rosé is hard to find. No, it is due to American ignorance of Rosé, thinking that all Rosés are like "blush" wines (the sweet Zinfandel crap sold in most supermarkets). Besides, not all Americans are this ignorant. Being a regular customer of the Austin Wine Merchant, I can assure you that it always has a substantial selection of dry Rosés from France (and elsewhere). These Rosés make the Texas summer much more tolerable. It is unfortunate that Austin restaurants are afraid to move into this area, apparently most of them being as ignorant of dry Rosés as are most Americans.
Bertrand Piboin
   [Wes Marshall responds: Nothing in the wine world would make me happier than being able to find a good supply of robust dry Rosé in every restaurant and store in Austin, except maybe $10 Champagne. The Austin Wine Merchant is one of the reliable ones that does keep a nice stock of summer Rosés. Cheers.]

Michael Ventura: Fog-Clearing Instigator, Genius

RECEIVED Sun., Dec. 18, 2011

Dear Editor,
    Michael Ventura is a genius. This statement is not breaking news to readers of his column nor to Michael himself. The latest example of his genius is expressed in his recent column [“Letters at 3AM,” Dec. 16]. While single-handedly Occupying Lubbock, he has enlisted half of Mount Rushmore and that Gettysburg Address dude in the cause.
    Normally, discourses on politics or economics fog up the aura of my self-afflicted, consumption-induced psychic coma. But Ventura has managed to set off my alarm clock and clear much of the smoke. It is damned annoying. Stop it, Ventura! Stop it right now! Otherwise I may feel compelled to stop occupying the couch and stand with my sisters and brothers of the 99%.
James “Big Boy” Medlin
Venice, Calif., and the Spirit of Austin

Ron Paul's Dubious Liberties

RECEIVED Sun., Dec. 18, 2011

Dear Editor,
    For those who support Ron Paul's anti-war, anti-torture and indefinite detainment, and anti-wiretapping views, kudos, but you need to know your candidate. Under Paul's proposed We the People Act (H.R. 958), the Supreme Court of the United States and each federal court could not adjudicate "any claim involving the laws, regulations, or policies of any State or unit of local government relating to the free exercise or establishment of religion." Think about that one; states, counties, municipalities can establish a religion and create any laws they feel are theological necessities, and there can be no federal judicial review. Where's your liberty now? If you're lucky, maybe in the next county. The rest of the act is just as vile. Read it.
Tim Pipe
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