Urban Forest Being Stripped Bare

RECEIVED Thu., Feb. 16, 2012

Dear Editor,
    Our urban forest is being stripped, bare – except for the aesthetic live oaks plagued by oak wilt: can’t have enough concrete parking lots for theatres and fast food we don’t need. What’s the benefit of a shade tree in July; why continue to accelerate the heat-island effect? Get out of your goddamn car and take a walk in the God-given woods – best time's at dawn or dusk. Experience what your grandchildren will not feel or hear or smell, only see on a screen.
    Which mayor to support? Better invest in rain barrels, gutters, and water-conservation gardens. Read the Texas Water Development Board’s "Rainwater Harvesting Potential and Guidelines for Texas" (the Legislature produces some articles of value): It’s a municipal crime that the water utility has not aggressively acted on this research. Add that to the water utility not making sure all leaking pipes were sealed before pushing through an unnecessary Water Treatment Plant No. 4 – million$ of gallons of processed water could be saved. Anti-boondoggle former Council Member Daryl Slusher of the Water Conservation Division, along with Utility Director Greg Meszaros, should/could be fired for sucking up to Austin developers by failing to create a conservation program mirroring San Antonio's.
    One of the cruel truths about your skyrocketing city taxes are the documented yet unexamined cases of misuse or lost federal low-income housing funds (questions of corruption in the million$ causing legal fees and bureaucratic waste).
    Finally, I know what Willie was smoking, but what was he thinking to full-page endorse Lee Leffingwell? Does Mr. Mayor think they’ve got the vote of the tokers and the veggie-fuel crowd when he openly promoted the billion-dollar mistake on the lake, the Formula One track fiasco, and limited citizen communication and free speech access? Maybe he’s stoned on his own ego.
Bill Stout
Travis County Green Party
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