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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Auto-Centric Suburban-Type Development

RECEIVED Wed., Aug. 21, 2013

Dear Editor,
    Auto-centric, suburban-type development with little sense of place is multiplying at Mueller. Retro isn't cool when we repeat the mistakes of spreading asphalt far and wide that dominated the post-World War II period. Are there any impervious cover limits on any part of Mueller? Will folks ride their bike or walk to the new H-E-B from the Airport Boulevard side of the site?
Scott Johnson

Obamacare Is Already serving Me Well

RECEIVED Wed., Aug. 21, 2013

Dear Editor,
    Obamacare is already serving me well. For a couple of years now, the elderly on Medicare have been able to get an annual, comprehensive wellness visit without a co-pay. All labs are included. Even my bone density evaluation is covered. I've taken advantage of this feature of the Affordable Care Act for my doctor to see what has changed in my overall health, and to prescribe or adjust medications accordingly. Please don't mess with my Obamacare!
Marsha Correira

Problems with Plastic Bag Ordinance

RECEIVED Tue., Aug. 20, 2013

Dear Editor,
    While I'm happy to do what I can to reduce the amount of garbage I produce, the execution of our single-use plastic bag ban ordinance leaves a lot to be desired. One nasty side effect is that H-E-B, which clearly accounts for the majority of grocery sales in Austin (and therefore bag usage) is using the measure to add to its bank account. Not only have they eliminated a cost in no longer giving away bags, they have added a revenue stream in the form of bag sales.
    Furthermore, and more appalling, it seems that on occasions when H-E-B fails to stock the thick plastic reusable bags, customers who have forgotten their bags at home or would otherwise be buying the 25-cent bags are forced to pay a $1 fee to use – guess what – the old-style single-use plastic bags that are still given away free in other cities. This fee is regardless of the size of your order, so in many cases it costs more than what the 25-cent bags would have cost. The fee goes not to the city or any kind of charitable fund, but right into H-E-B's coffers.
    So customers end up paying extra, and H-E-B pockets extra profit, as a direct result of a mistake they made in stocking. Or was it a mistake? There is nothing stopping them from intentionally creating this situation by not ordering the reusable bags they need. Bottom line: Corporate entities need to be contributing to the monetary cost of reducing waste, just like customers do, not profiting from it. And profiting from one's own mistake due to a city ordinance is simply unethical, greedy, and symptomatic of bad lawmaking. Is there now any wonder why H-E-B supported the bag ban?
Roger Topham

Leave Neighborhood Pools Free

RECEIVED Mon., Aug. 19, 2013

Dear Editor,
    The Austin Parks and Recreation Dept. is gathering information about citizens' satisfaction with aquatic programs ["Austin Parks: Trying to Fill the GAP," News, Aug. 16]. One proposed change would close the free neighborhood pools and replace them with municipal pools. Around 30% of Austin's children are living in poor families. Another sizable percentage are children whose families are getting by, but who are by no means affluent. For these children, municipal pools are both unaffordable and inaccessible. Where are they going to play all summer when the weather is hot? Those who are most likely to be affected by this change are also those who are least likely to hear about it and make their feelings known to Parks and Recreation. That being the case, the rest of us must speak out on their behalf. This week.
    If our aquatic programs need more funds, raise fees at municipal pools. Leave neighborhood pools free and open to everyone.
Jan Edwards

Emperor's New Clothes?

RECEIVED Fri., Aug. 16, 2013

Dear Editor,
    Having read the article on Katie Rose Pipkin (aka "the Great Collaborator") several times, I confess that I fail to find evidence of 1) collaboration, 2) original thinking, or 3) actual talent [“Techno-Artistic,” Arts, Aug. 9]. To say that the Internet offers creative possibilities now available to the few artmakers capable of plumbing its mysterious depths gives me pause. To assert that Ms. Pipkin will put Austin on the map, ranking it with New York and L.A. as a true visual arts mecca, is nothing short of disgusting, and insults the hundreds of working artists in the area who continue to struggle with recognition and sales long into their middle years. Her ascension into the top tier of creative types via the Texas Biennial prompted me to take a long, hard look at her work. Gotta say: It's the emperor's new clothes all over again. Where's the beef, dear?
Eva M. Olson
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