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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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Against 'Chronicle' Being Stapled

RECEIVED Wed., Feb. 15, 2012

Dear Editor,
    Unlike Jack Bishop [“Postmarks,” Jan. 9], I am not pleased with the unwarranted invasion of staples in The Austin Chronicle. Generations of people have somehow managed to read their newspapers without staples. And they have done so without runaway pages escaping at any given chance. What is this, a late-night infomercial in which the simplest of tasks are portrayed as unnecessarily difficult? Maybe you should go one step further and attach the Chronicle to a big wooden rod like libraries and newsrooms do. I, for one, enjoy the ability to neatly fold my newspaper in half, thus allowing me to read all the text of the articles. Please free the pages again from the shackles of the staples.
Sincerely,
Ram Hinojosa

Huber Responds

RECEIVED Wed., Feb. 15, 2012

Dear Editor,
    It is important that voters have facts, not the assumptions and incorrect information offered by Mr. Aleshire’s error-riddled letter to the editor [“Postmarks” online, Feb. 13] regarding my treatment of the Shady Hollow neighborhood:
    1) I never promised the Shady Hollow neighborhood that I would support 45 SW. My statement, “You will probably get your road,” does not indicate my unequivocal support or nonsupport of 45 SW. My position all along has been based on solving Brodie’s congestion and funding priorities. I alone cannot make or break the construction of 45 SW. I am one of 19 votes on the CAMPO Policy Board who makes that decision. My policy positions on 45 SW are well documented – including the position that building 45 SW will not substantially improve the traffic congestion on Brodie. I have led Travis County in dealing with improvements to help the Brodie Lane traffic congestion, including intersection improvements, sidewalks, and capacity improvements to Frate Barker and FM 1626, for a total well into the millions of dollars.
    2) Some Shady Hollow residents claimed they voted for me in 2008 because my predecessor, Gerald Daugherty, did not do what he said he would do – close Brodie. Furthermore, Mr. Daugherty did not move 45 SW forward during the six years he was a commissioner.
    3) There have been no other alternatives offered to 45 SW since I was elected, except the current Hays County proposal which is still on the table. The “lone vote” at CAMPO that Mr. Aleshire notes is incorrect. The only time I was a lone “no” vote on a 45 SW vote was in early 2009 when the policy board voted to remove the “construction” funding for 45 SW in the [Transportation Improvement Program] and I alone voted to keep that funding in the TIP.
    4) Sadly, the closing of the Manchaca Fire Hall was a loss to all of us, but Mr. Daugherty allowed, during his tenure as commissioner, for the proprietor to frequently pay late and reduced amounts for the lease, thereby resulting in Travis County taxpayers effectively subsidizing the operation. By the time of my election, the fire hall was in arrears to multiple taxing jurisdictions including the state of Texas, and as the owner of the property, Travis County had no choice left but to close it. The vote at the court to close the fire hall was 4-0, with Commissioner Margaret Gómez absent.
    5) Travis County spent $2,787,119 purchasing right-of-way for 45 SW, using bond money approved while Aleshire, who lives in Shady Hollow, was the Travis County judge. I ask, should taxpayers spend tens of millions of dollars more of taxpayer money – the estimates range from $22 million to $100 million – for a road that has not been proven to solve the Brodie problems and which begs answers to the potential for setting dominoes falling for even more mega-costs to taxpayers in future MoPac capacity improvements?
    I understand the frustrations of the Brodie commuters. I believe integrity in elected officials is important, and while my position on 45 SW is unpopular with some folks in Shady Hollow, I stand by what I think is right for our Travis County taxpayers – which is setting priorities for our road projects and fully vetting their impacts before constructing them.
Karen Huber
Travis County commissioner

Questions About Huber

RECEIVED Mon., Feb. 13, 2012

Dear Editor,
    In Mike Kanin’s review of the upcoming November election contest between Gerald Daugherty and Karen Huber [“Precinct 3 Race Likely a Rematch,” News, Feb. 10], he cites Huber as claiming she “never promised that she’d support [SH 45].” That’s false. She told our neighborhood, Shady Hollow, “You’ll get your road” referring to the restricted, carefully engineered, parkway connection we want between SH 45 and FM 1626. As a result, Shady Hollow provided about 2,000 of the 3,000 vote margin she got precinct-wide over Daugherty in 2008. But Huber lied to us. After the election she not only didn’t support any alternative for building that SH 45 connection, she was the lone supporter on CAMPO to completely remove that essential connection from the regional transportation plan.
    The way Huber has treated Shady Hollow (including shutting down the historic community gathering place of the Manchaca Fire Hall cafe and then leaving it vacant) stands as a warning to every neighborhood about whether they can trust her or work with her. It’s also a warning to taxpayers tired of waste in government, because Huber could care less that taxpayers have spent millions of tax dollars purchasing the right-of-way for this SH 45 link after more than 60% of voters specifically approved the project in 1997.
    That’s why, if you drive through our neighborhood, you’ll already see Gerald Daugherty signs in the yards of Democrats – Obama Democrats – who will not vote for a Democrat who is a liar and who has goofy excuses for ignoring this neighborhood’s concerns. I see that Huber’s major contributor is Red McCombs, the Formula One racetrack guru. Apparently, Huber supports building a race track for fast hoity-toity race cars to go round and round, instead of facing the reality of the transportation system that regular folks need to get around this town.
Bill Aleshire

Occupy Austin

RECEIVED Thu., Feb. 9, 2012

Dear Editor,
    How can I explain in less than 400 hundred words that Occupy Austin is an important asset to our community? How do I convey in 3 column inches the good that we have done for those involved in our movement and those who are not yet involved? What would impress the average Chronicle reader enough to not celebrate the heavy-handed eviction we faced at the hands of the overzealous police?
    Is the $1.5 million we have moved from major banks to local credit unions proof of our action? What about the hundreds of native trees we planted in Zilker Park? How about the anonymous letters from silenced teachers we read to the school board in opposition to the privatization of Eastside schools? Are the public gardens we create weekly evidence that we aren't afraid of work? Are the millions of dollars worth of business we blocked at the anti-union, anti-environment, pro-globalization (read: off-shored jobs), and corruption-ridden Port of Houston not a demonstration of our conviction? Is the resignation of the CEO of the Port of Houston the day after our blockade not evidence of the effectiveness of our tactics?
    This list is not even a full accounting of our work, and it neglects our single greatest accomplishment, which was to get people out of their houses, out from behind their TV and computer screens, and into the real world where we came together – first as strangers, now as a family – to devote ourselves to the nag of our consciences. And we aren't going away. A fire lit in the heart of man is not so easily extinguished, especially not by the incendiary tactics of the brutish hand of the state. Understand, the Occupy movement is not political, it is cultural. For those tired of the toxicity of consumer culture, of war culture, of propaganda culture, of a culture that promotes and congratulates the worst in people – find us. We take all comers. We hear all concerns. We respect all viewpoints, so long as that respect is reciprocated.
John Duffy
Occupy Austin member

Deep Green Resistance Responds

RECEIVED Thu., Feb. 9, 2012

Dear Editor,
    After reading the Feb. 3 Austin Chronicle article “Strange Bedfellows” [News, Feb. 3], one comes away with the impression that historian Edward Eggleston’s quote “journalism is organized gossip” may in fact be accurate.
    In the recent article by Michael King, there are multiple quotes from email chatter leaked by Anonymous, multiple quotes taken from Stratfor CEO George Friedman’s official response, and quotes taken from Kit O’Connell of Occupy Austin. We see the alleged confirmation of an unnamed source(s) from Occupy Austin that an earlier Stratfor source mentions (involving a dispute between Occupy and Deep Green Resistance). We see attempts made by the journalist to talk to Texas Department of Public Safety and the local police department. But nowhere in the entire article do we see any quotes taken from DGR Austin, nor any mention of DGR’s public response to the leaks which were easily accessible on DGR Austin’s website.
    If the author of the piece had done his homework, he would realize that DGR Austin was not present at the Nov. 4 assembly, is not aware of any DGR “manifesto” posted on Occupy’s website, and has absolutely no clue what the “broader disputes over which group was more ‘serious’” are even remotely about. King and/or his alleged sources are confused, lying, speculative, or giving disinformation, and most importantly, they are just plain wrong. It would have been both ethical and courteous for King to contact DGR Austin, which he did not do.
    DGR Austin does agree with O’Connell’s assessment that the Stratfor authors seemed clueless in the surveillance endeavors of Occupy and DGR. And much like O’Connell, we do share an immense concern over the alleged collaboration between a DPS agent, Stratfor, and potential ties to local police. A corporate intelligence organization that funds the surveillance and attempted infiltration of local activists and works to share it with government-funded entities is a deeply pressing issue.
    Legality issues aside, it is very clear that local activists should think very hard about beefing up their security culture and should keep an eye out for undercover agents and Stratfor personnel.
    We hope that local activist groups take a good look at the photo of Stratfor “Watch Officer” Marc Lanthemann so that they may recognize him and make sure he stays exiled from any local activity. To see his photo, and DGR’s official response, please check out www.deepgreenresistance.org/stratforandgovernmentinfiltration.
Josh Hinnenkamp
Deep Green Resistance Austin

Conflict Not With Students but Developers

RECEIVED Thu., Feb. 9, 2012

Dear Editor,
    Re: "A Plea for 'Balanced Density'" [News, Feb. 10]: In the article, Mr. Michael McHone tries to characterize those of us in the neighborhood association as recent arrivals, who are causing conflicts with students:
    "Right now we're in a period, and we have been for several years, where we have people moving in with families, and that is creating conflicts with the students that have been there a long time."
    This is simply untrue. I've lived in my single-family house since 1976, and I'm not the longest-residing member of our neighborhood. I knew and welcomed the fact that there were students here when I moved in, and I have for the most part happily coexisted with them for 35 years.
    The conflict is not with the students. It is with developers who, in my view, have no regard for anyone or anything except maximizing their profit.
Ronald M. Sawey
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