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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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Economics, Not Politics

RECEIVED Wed., May 30, 2012

Dear Editor,
    Donald Trump, instead of finding more efficient solutions to the problems of the U.S. economy, said that President Obama supposedly does not deserve to be the president, questioning the legitimacy of the long-form birth certificate released by the White House. Trump suggested recently that he should be considered as a vice-presidential candidate. Very interesting to see that on the one hand Trump accuses President Obama of false accusations and on the other hand pushes himself to politics. Trump's focus should be more about economics, and not politics.
Avihai Aizic Schwartz
Rishon LeZion, Israel

Austin Rail Planning 'Off-Track' Again?

RECEIVED Wed., May 30, 2012

Dear Editor,
    Almost 40 years after the first “urban” passenger rail was proposed for Austin (presented to Austin City Council in 1973!), why is planning for urban passenger rail serving Austin so delayed (and, to be honest, screwed up)? (And Austin is certainly far behind other Texas cities – Houston and Dallas – considered much less progressive.) Two years have passed since there should have been a 2010 referendum ready for voters; and now there is a “rushed” attempt by a group given just six short months – called the Transit Working Group – that is tasked with both helping develop a long-range regional transit plan and “rubber-stamping” (because that is all they have time for), this June, an ill-conceived route for urban rail prepared by local transportation planners. I, and other concerned citizen transit advocates, have been attending every single meeting of the TWG; and the completely layman body of this group has struggled to digest the enormous amount of information being fed them (in weekly ubiquitous PowerPoint presentations) by professional transportation planners, with very little actual opportunity to “evaluate and provide input” (wording from the group’s mission statement) in a meaningful way on either a regional transit plan or what might be put before voters in November. Meanwhile, the required federal public-input process on urban rail is being delayed almost to the point of being ignored – with the city of Austin Transportation Department stating the “draft” (not even the final) of the Environmental Impact Statement will not be published until Fall 2012 (and not March 2012 as previously stated). This provides no time for required public comments (since 45 days are required), much less responding to comments already furnished, before any early November vote – meaning the required federal process for public input on the urban rail route likely can’t be finished before a November referendum!
Andrew Clements

Giving Thanks to Rain on 4th

RECEIVED Tue., May 29, 2012

Dear Editor,
    I was hoping you might publish this letter so that I can properly thank the kind folks at Rain on 4th, Henry and Robert.
    On the first night of my stay in Austin, I discovered the many, many wonderful bars that your town contains. I enjoyed them so greatly that while stumbling home to my bed, I dropped my wallet on the ground with all my identification and cash in it.
    I was completely devastated the next morning – wondering how I would return home to Canada with no ID.
    The next afternoon, I received a call from my bank informing me that my wallet had been found, and they connected me on the phone to Robert. He told me that Henry had found my wallet on the side of the road that morning, had brought it into the bar and tried to find my phone number inside the wallet. With no contact information to be found, they began calling through the business cards in my wallet and finally placed a call to my bank in a last-ditch effort to find some relevant contact information.
    Not only did I get my ID back, but every last cent that was in it was still there.
    I tried to offer them a reward, but they flatly refused. I know it's not breaking news, or even the feel-good story of the year, but I would truly appreciate if you could publish this letter – in whole or in part – to enable me to repay them by publicly declaring them as the nicest guys in Austin!
Best regards,
Ron Deschênes
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Gentrification Is Cultural Genocide

RECEIVED Mon., May 28, 2012

Dear Editor,
    Re: “The Ghosts of Developers Past” [News, May 25]: In the 1920s, my parents, grandparents, and many other Mexican-Americans were relocated to East Austin from their old neighborhood in west Downtown. In the 1940s, my family moved to Rainey Street, which soon became predominately Mexican. In the 1980s we were cheated out of our property by a greedy, conniving land speculator/developer. He razed our entire block. Then came Smart Growth, and Downtown "renewal" plans to push the poor completely out of the Downtown area. It seems that success and happiness for companies and elitist entrepreneurs has always meant poverty and misery for natives; their dreams came at our expense! Where's the integrity and praiseworthiness in such achievements? Our community is losing its rich, colorful culture, its traditions and family unity. To us, gentrification is cultural genocide!
Anita Quintanilla

Acevedo's PR Piece

RECEIVED Mon., May 28, 2012

Dear Editor,
    I just finished reading Jordan Smith's 5,000 word PR piece on the greatness that is Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo – and I feel compelled to add a few thoughts ["Trying To Fix the World," News, may 25].
    There is a widely held belief, (repeated by Ms. Smith), that Chief Acevedo always calls the families of the victims in officer-involved shootings. That is false. When Byron Carter Jr was killed in May 2011, Chief Acevedo never called his parents – even after he told certain community leaders he would do so. In fact, the only call Byron's parents received was from an APD detective telling them that their child's body was at the morgue. To this day, Chief Acevedo has never called the Carter family or explained to them why their son – who was an innocent passenger in a car – was shot four times.
    Further, while APD has improved in several areas, the painful truth remains that Chief Acevedo's police department kills two to three African-Americans per year. That is a fact – and it is statistically much higher than cities with comparable populations.  Obviously, Acevedo doesn't want these shootings to occur – but they continue to do so at an alarming rate. I was really surprised to see Ms. Smith gloss over this in her celebration of all things Acevedo. Until these shootings decrease, I cannot join with her in the deification of Chief Acevedo.
Thanks,
Adam Loewy

Now Two of Us Aware of Tashlin

RECEIVED Sun., May 27, 2012

Dear Editor,
    I hugely appreciate the Tashlin review [“New in Print,” Screens, May 25]. At least two of us are aware of this guy.
    Two things you didn't mention which may or may not be in the text when I read it.
    One, discussions of Jerry Lewis invariably combine Lewis and Tashlin as a single entity whose auteur is Lewis when the Tashlin directed features are clearly superior. You often find instances of Tashlin directed by Lewis. Tashlin, hugely critically unappreciated.
    Two, Tashlin was our premier cinematic satirist in the '50s and nobody notices. Television, advertising, celebrity, "Rock Hudson" is like Mad Magazine on film. Viewing the early Mad Men episodes you imagine Tashlin trashin' these easy Mad Avenue targets. Tashlin, Stan Freberg, Ernie Kovacs, Bill Gaines, the difference between then and now is these guys didn't sell out. Now we're stuck with Seinfeld. A mad, mad, mad world.
Terry Schnell

Get Naked and Ride

RECEIVED Sun., May 27, 2012

Dear Editor,
    World Naked Bike Ride is about sustainable transportation, safety on the streets, and freedom of expression. This message is brought to you live, June 9, by all the smiling faces taking part in this rolling community! By putting a smile on your face, we build bridges between our communities. The separation between driver and rider will slowly dissolve. Share the road June 9, and every day.
Stephen Bosbach

Defending Ron Paul

RECEIVED Thu., May 24, 2012

Dear Editor,
    Last week you published a letter from Tim Pipe that brought me back to my days in elementary school – hanging out by the bike rack listening to kids verbally attack one another without reason or substance [“Fair Coverage of Paul,” “Postmarks,” May 25].
    Here's the letter in its entirety:
    "Seems to me the Chronicle's coverage of Ron Paul is very fair. As soon as Paulies acknowledge their candidate's bullshit positions on civil rights, church and state separation, etc., maybe the Chronicle would be willing to acknowledge their bullshit candidate."
    It's hard to believe that the Chronicle actually chose to publish that letter, as it contained zero substance, but was instead based entirely on … "bullshit.” Did you publish it because he complimented you? Or is it because you agree with him? Can we expect to see more letters like this published in the future? Do you think you'd be raising the level of discourse by doing so, or would you be dragging it into the mud?
    As for your unsubstantiated and childlike attack on Ron Paul, Mr. Pipe, we can go toe-to-toe anytime and compare where Paul stands on defending our rights and liberty versus the blatant assault on them by the Obama administration, or versus the positions of Obama's twin, Mitt Romney.
Steve Michener
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