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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'Killer State Texas'

RECEIVED Thu., June 14, 2012

Dear Editor,
    Re: “Evidence Missing in Skinner Case” [Newsdesk blog, June 13]: Anyone surprised? Killer state Texas – corrupt to the core.
Diet Simon
Queensland, Australia

Hats and Books Don't Mix?

RECEIVED Wed., June 13, 2012

Dear Austin Chronicle,
    With the heat index rising, now is as good a time as any to remind everyone about the hat-wearing policy of the Austin Public Library system. In short, hats and books mix together like oil and water – specifically in the context of the oil gushing from the bottom of a BP deepwater well into the water that is the Gulf of Mexico.
    Must we be reminded that we live in a time of eroding values? Where our urban landscape is a scourged battlefield of sex, drugs, and violence? The innocent and impressionable amongst us (i.e. the children) must be protected from this reality – especially those children who have decided to spend a modicum of their summer break inside a public library.
    How dare a 41-year-old ne'er-do-well (such as myself) subliminally challenge an innocent and righteous upbringing by emulating some dirty "gangsta" lifestyle? Wearing a ball cap representing a big city team is, indeed, an act of "flashing colors." Social scientists have deemed this behavior as not only potentially offensive, but also as an aggressively overt action displaying rampant and tribal senses of gang allegiance. Little separates the battles of Bloods and Crips, from, say, the conflicting loyalties of Rangers and Yankees, Cowboys and Redskins, Shiite and Sunni.
    As the caucasian sexagenarian librarian commented to me, "Leave that hat in your car." Or, if you rode a bike or took the bus to the library, be sure to place your hat in your backpack or European shoulder bag before being asked kindly to go back home and start your journey all over again. Sure, it may feel like it's 100 degrees out there with a sun suitable for the Sahara desert, but these are our children, and the children are our future. We must teach them well, and help them lead the way. We cannot afford to gamble their wherewithal by avoiding all meaningless, blanketed, and neo-draconian attempts at doing so.
    Thank you for being aware and doing your part.
Asher Garber

Berry Story a Shame

RECEIVED Wed., June 13, 2012

Dear Editor,
    The story of Octavis Berry is as much about the League of Extraordinary G'z as it is about the horror of health care without insurance [“You Can't Bury Me,” Music, June 8].
    He was a victim of failure to diagnose and treat; medical malpractice. What a shame!
Kim Blackson
San Marcos

Prevent Toll Road From Happening

RECEIVED Tue., June 12, 2012

Dear Editor,
    In response to the supposed big savings regarding the proposed toll road on MoPac.
    The Texas Department of Transportation and the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization didn’t have “found” money of $130 million for regular road improvements and maintenance until they started pushing the toll project. The proposed toll road will help special interests, not average commuters.
    They're basically using tax money to build a toll road … it's a huge double tax that they're spinning into a some kind of “taxpayer savings” by reducing the toll authority's borrowing costs. So since CAMPO has turned this taxpayer subsidy into a “loan,” they're trying to make double taxation look acceptable. It's not. This shady business of creating some “infrastructure account” and paying CAMPO double the money over time is bribery. It's also Robin Hood … it steals toll money from MoPac users to pay for road projects elsewhere. This creates an unaccountable slush fund!
    People using MoPac need to smarten up and prevent this toll road from happening. Talk about your conspiracy theory!
Peter Stern

Tell Council To Do the Right Thing

RECEIVED Tue., June 12, 2012

Dear Editor,
    Isn't it ironic? We’ve got some capitalist speculators in Austin that want bailouts – for themselves. At your expense.
    They want you to be forced to accept inserting commercial businesses into your neighborhood, possibly right next door to you. These commercial businesses are boutique hotels, aka commercial short-term rentals – homes bought as investments to use as hotels that rent out for less than 30 days, often for a weekend at a time. This is illegal and always has been. But, there was a public hearing on this topic at City Council last week and five council members voted on first reading to allow this. We need to speak up and halt this.
    More irony: Their vote undermines the city's new master plan because CSTRs violate multiple tenets of the plan. Other new plans ban CSTRs – the new condo towers Downtown do not allow short-term rentals.
    Having short-term renters displace residents who are committed, long-term neighbors is disruptive and harms the quality of life. And, again, it's illegal. It's not fair to change the rules after we’ve already purchased our homes.
    It's a land use/zoning issue:
    1) Stability of neighborhoods, schools, and churches – CSTRs reduce the number of citizens in a neighborhood who create the fabric of society.
    2) Citizen safety in neighborhoods – CSTR's customers are not residents. They constantly come and go, so residents no longer know who belongs in the neighborhood, and neighborhood crime watch programs are weakened.
    3) The loss of voting, contributing citizens of Austin.
    4) Housing costs increase for all Austin citizens as CSTRs reduce the supply.
    CSTRs destroy the quality of life and existence of a neighborhood by converting homes into boutique hotels. CSTRs remove neighbors from neighborhoods. You lose the potential to have a friend, crime watcher, and/or neighborhood volunteer.
    CSTRs are banned from New York City to Chicago, Telluride, San Francisco, and Napa. From Oahu to Portland, Santa Monica, Phoenix to the Florida Keys. Even right here in Rollingwood they are illegal. But our Austin neighborhoods will be turned into commercial boutique hotel zones. There are currently between 2,000 and 3,000 short-term rentals in Austin and the number is increasing dramatically.
    Just ask yourself: do you want a commercial short-term rental property next door to you? Do you want strangers next door?
    Tell City Council to do the right thing—keep commercial short term rentals illegal.
Kevin Wier

What Happened to 'This Modern World'

RECEIVED Tue., June 12, 2012

Dear Editor,
    What happened to This Modern World? Just wondering. Thanks!
Mike Nassour
   [Editor's note: We ran out of space in our last issue but are happy to report that This Modern World returns this week.]

'Accidental' Designed To Join in Dialogue

RECEIVED Sun., June 10, 2012

Dear Editor,
    The Palindrome Theatre Company is proud to celebrate with the city of Austin, and commends the Austin Police Department for adopting the Preservation of Life standard into their Policy 202 "justification of force" code. This issue is what moved Artistic Director Nigel O'Hearn to produce Accidental Death of an Anarchist ["Exhibitionism," the Arts, May 25], inspiring a group of young Austinites to explore the relationships between police, media, and community and share their findings through artistic production.
    Palindrome is honored to join with other civic organizations and community leaders who are similarly dedicated to encouraging the adoption of the preservation of life standard.
    Dan Solomon reviewed Accidental, calling the play's political commentary "half-baked" and a failure. Palindrome revels in this failure, because we are wary of what would be considered a success. We believe that engaging aesthetically with difficult questions should not produce fully baked examples of success, but rather should leave rough edges and create room to explore and imagine.
    Paulo Freire wrote, "If the structure does not permit dialogue the structure must be changed.”
    With Accidental, our goal was not to define and solve, but rather to encourage our neighbors to join in a dialogue, examining certain power structures that define relationships between citizens, police, and the media. We are appreciative of his review and for the signatures and letters we have received and for the stories that have been shared with us as a result of this production. We appreciate the opportunity to also enter into a dialogue with the Chronicle, encouraging its readers to seek out examples of art that are authentic, inspired, and focused on true community engagement and responsiveness.
Best regards,
E. Ashley Moore
Director of finance and administration, Palindrome Theatre

Loved the Article

RECEIVED Thu., June 7, 2012

Dear Editor,
    Love this article [“Talkin' 'Bout a Generation That Sexts,” Screens, June 8]. What a great movie idea and great story on Ericka Marsalis-LaManna's desire to get to the finish line. Secondly, her choice of cast to represent all is a great inspiration to embrace. Best wishes and blessings on Ericka's talents and motivation.
Lynn Tanner
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