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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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Frontier Bar Is a 'Must-Add'

RECEIVED Tue., Feb. 7, 2012

Dear Editor,
    Chase Hoffberger's article ["We Built This City," Music, Feb. 3] left out one of the great new Eastside live music venues with the omission of the Frontier Bar (2421 Webberville Rd., just off of East Seventh) in his piece. This place has been open for less than a year and has already become one of my favorite haunts on the Eastside. It sports a comfortable patio, a large interior space, and a great sound system (not to mention old-school Street Fighter II tournaments). The staff are friendly and the clientele diverse. I would make this a “must-add” to any Eastside club crawl.
Greg Schroeder

Free Speech, My Ass!

RECEIVED Tue., Feb. 7, 2012

Dear Editor,
    Free people need to compare the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 and the NDAA of 2012. Anyone who chooses to peacefully act against the corruption of our corporate-controlled (now “persons”) militarized government does not have the right to a fair and speedy (or even to have a) trial: Any trumped-up charge could find you disappeared.
    The Cheney administration revoked habeas corpus with the Military Commissions Act of 2006. The Obama administration has not reinstated habeas corpus; it went further by legislating indefinite detention. The fascists aren’t traitors to their masters; only the Constitution they swore to uphold.
    It is clear we do not have a majority of representatives and judges to hold accountable those bankers and unscrupulous speculators (Sen. Gramm’s 1999 repeal of the Glass-Steagal Act) regarding the Bush financial psyops of 2008. Justice for all is not preferential treatment and widespread theft by the well-connected few.
    The ultrawealthy, avaricious bastards that they are, have gone too far – they’ve bought the system and manipulated the theft of elections, banks, financial markets, the military, the media, industrial manufacturing jobs, the education system, and medical and pharmaceutical companies, as well as the Congress, Supreme Court and presidential administrations. The successful brainwashing of the population continues via television and gadget advertising, sports, and media distractions including what passes for news/information. Combined with the dumbing down of universal education, we are medicated. The revolution is being televised, happening in other countries where thousands are dying; here in the Roman Empire 2012, dissent is hosed down for cleanliness, pepper-sprayed on campus, or “free-speech” zoned to limit the effect of democracy.
    Free speech, my ass. Capitalism is a war of the wealthy few conducted by and on the ignorant masses. You are what you eat: right now it’s genetically modified shit! Go organic or die.
Bill Stout

Austin ISD's Partnership With IDEA

RECEIVED Mon., Feb. 6, 2012

Dear Sara Stevenson,
    Thank you for your letter to the editor [“It's a Bad Idea,” "Postmarks" online, Jan. 31] regarding Austin ISD’s partnership with IDEA Public Schools. I would like to take this opportunity to respond and clarify some misinformation.
    Austin ISD pursued a partnership with IDEA because it wanted to provide a college preparatory choice to the families of Austin’s Eastside. IDEA has a proven track record of results and a commitment to preparing all students, including those of underserved areas, for college and citizenship. For the past five years, 100% of our high school graduates have matriculated to the college or university of their choice.
    Unlike the siphoning process that other charter programs may adopt, IDEA is an open-enrollment, tuition-free public school. What makes the IDEA system successful is our Whatever It Takes – No Excuses! philosophy. IDEA believes that every child can and will succeed if the adults in the system get it right and that is why all of our middle and high school students follow a rigorous college preparatory curriculum and why every IDEA teacher is dedicated to their students' success.
    For those who are unfamiliar with TEA ratings, an "acceptable" rating means that 25% of students do not meet minimum academic standards. In the 2011 academic year, Allan Elementary, O. Henry Middle School, and Eastside Memorial, all schools you mentioned, had a combined population of approximately 2,400 students. That equates to 610 Eastside students not meeting minimum academic standards – a statistic that is unacceptable. In contrast, IDEA schools were awarded an exemplary rating. In addition to that honor, IDEA has been added to the Texas Business & Education Coalition Honor Roll for 2011. TBEC honors schools that have the highest percentage of students performing at the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills “commended” level in every subject. Without aligning IDEA with AISD to form IDEA Allan, an opportunity of this caliber would not be available to East Austin students.
    To clarify conflicting reports, IDEA Allan will offer the arts to primary students by incorporating art-based lessons into its daily curriculum. At IDEA, we have found that our campus pride, student motivation, and culture is derived from a singular goal of college readiness and that is more exciting than any football rivalry. We believe that IDEA’s culture of high expectations combined with investing time with IDEA families creates an unmatched sense of unity.
    We understand that some may be uncomfortable with IDEA’s culture of high expectations, rigorous academic program, and commitment to get each and every student to and through college. This is why parents will have an opportunity to learn about IDEA’s instructional model and culture before making a choice to enroll their child. Once informed, we trust they will make the best decision for their family.
Sincerely,
Alejandro Delgado
Assistant principal of operations
IDEA Allan

Conservatives' Beliefs

RECEIVED Mon., Feb. 6, 2012

Dear Editor,
    There's a bewildered tone that runs through Jordan Smith's Feb. 3 article [“The Destruction of Texas Health Care,” News] and much of the Chron's coverage of this issue. That's because you're looking at it from a standpoint of logic and compassion while many conservatives look at it from a standpoint of belief. I've worked with a couple of strongly anti-abortion people, and here's what I've gleaned:
    Many conservatives blame the Warren Court and Roe v. Wade for triggering much of the societal upheaval of the last four decades. They believe if they could “return the fear of pregnancy to young women” (their words), then this country might return to something like the paradise they imagine the 1950s were. There are multiple problems with this theory, but three are: 1) the 1950s were actually a time of great fear and paranoia as the two superpowers prepared to annihilate each other (mutually assured destruction). But parents shield their kids from the horrible realities, so it's easy for today's adults to imagine those as “simpler times.” 2) The 1950s were hardly paradise if you were black, Asian, Hispanic, Native American, or gay. 3) Societal changes are one-way streets, you can never retrace steps.
    With a goal of reforming society, many conservatives are quite willing to sacrifice many women and allow many unwanted children to achieve that. If they succeed in repealing Roe v. Wade, Griswold v. Connecticut and legal contraception would be next.
David Horton

Legendary White Swan Left off List

RECEIVED Mon., Feb. 6, 2012

Dear Editor,
    Hello, my name is Ray Buhay (aka Sweet Ray Valentine) and I currently manage and book bands at the Legendary White Swan (1906 E. 12th, near the corner of 12th and Chicon). It was nice to read Margaret Moser's article [“1, 2, Tres, Cuatro,” Music, Feb. 3] about the new and upcoming venues on the Eastside, as well as Chase Hoffberger's article [“We Built This City,” Music, Feb. 3]. My only complaint is that the venue that I manage and book for, the Legendary White Swan, was left off of your list of "new venues." Yes we are located in the same spot as the legendary L.D. Davis' White Swan, and yes, the new venue is owned by Randall Stockton (Beerland, Rio Rita, etc). We've received a few words in the much-missed "Off the Record" column, but don't receive any recognition at all in your latest article(s).
    We are about to celebrate our one-year anniversary later this month and host many great bands and so much more. The Little Elmore Reed Blues Band (former Monday night staples at TC's Lounge) play here every Monday night. The Soul Happening DJs host parties here once a month, Roxy Roca (kickass ninepiece soul band) plays here every Wednesday night, and we always host great punk/indie shows thoughout the week and weekend that rival any show on Red River and beyond.
    I'm not here to "toot my own horn" or draw attention away from the bars/venues that were mentioned in the articles; I just feel like we were overlooked. Whether intentionally or not. Margaret Moser's article mentioned something to the effect of Eastside bars reminding people of places on the Lower East Side in New York, and says, "Where is your city?" Well, you can't get more "city" than 12th and Chicon.
Xoxo,
Ray Buhay

Energy Proposal 'Offensive and Absurd'

RECEIVED Sun., Feb. 5, 2012

Dear Editor,
    Austin Energy's proposal for Austinites to subsidize out-of-city ratepayers with a 6.1% discount is both offensive and absurd. We can all thank Mayor Lee Leffingwell, since he was the first to float the idea on his blog. So in his honor, let's call it the Leffingwell subsidy.
    Not only is it blatantly unfair to Austin ratepayers, but Austin Energy also recently signed a 10-year agreement to pay a 3% franchise fee to outside communities served by it. So why do they need an additional subsidy?
    As is often the case with Austin political decisions, this one would set a terrible precedent. No municipal utility in Texas offers a discount for out-of-city electric customers. In fact, with water rates, it is common practice nationwide to charge higher rates for outside residents. Does Leffingwell want us to give an upside-down subsidy there as well?
    Imagine the future annexation battles if the residents were suddenly told that their electric rate subsidy would go away. Maybe it's Leffingwell who needs to go away. I guess we'll see about that in May!
Bill Oakey,
Former member, Austin Electric Utility Commission

A Society of Presumed Equals

RECEIVED Fri., Feb. 3, 2012

Dear Editor,
    I was perturbed by Lorraine Atherton's letter in last week's Chronicle [“Postmarks,” Feb. 3]. Atherton seems to imply that minority candidates (by this I presume she means first-generation Vietnamese-Americans or transplanted !Kung tribespeople) are only supposed to run for two particular seats on the Austin City Council. Let's be clear that minority candidates are not only allowed but encouraged to run for any City Council seat they like, including the mayor's. Atherton also appears to be confused about how the highly democratic system of run-off elections works. Allow me to explain. If one candidate doesn't gain majority support in the initial election, a subsequent run-off election is held between the Top 2 finishers. Perhaps Atherton is unaware that one can prove mathematically that any other system is unfair in some way. Atherton laments the fact that the unqualified, chamber-of-commerce-selected Manuel Zuniga lost a run-off election to the highly qualified and well-liked populist Bill Spelman. She appears to be focused on the candidates' skin color rather than their qualifications. Frankly, that's weird. Like many baby boomers, Atherton is unable to grasp that post-baby-boomers care about a political candidate's ideas, values, and qualifications and couldn't care less about their ethnicity. Unfortunately, the baby boomers are the ones who vote, so they get to continue to frame the discussion and we non-baby-boomers have no choice but to continue to suffer their blather.
    Regardless of the merits of single-member districts, Atherton's arguments are unacceptable in a society of presumed equals.
Patrick Goetz
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