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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Fluoride Is Dangerous

RECEIVED Wed., March 5, 2014

Dear Editor,
    I was shocked to learn that City Council recently approved a new contract with Mosaic to supply four more years of fluoride to add to the city of Austin's drinking water.
    They must not be aware of the new study published in the March 2014 journal Lancet Neurology, in which medical authorities newly classified fluoride as a developmental neurotoxin. The authors point out that 27 studies of children exposed to fluoride in drinking water found an average lowering of IQ by seven points; twice that of the effects of secondhand smoke on children. The majority of these 27 studies had water fluoride levels which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency currently allows in the U.S. – less than 4 milligrams per liter.
    This is not "junk science" or a conspiracy theory.
    Therefore, given the overwhelming evidence linking fluoride to developmental toxicity, why would the city continue to focus only on protecting children's teeth rather than their brains?
    The city claims fluoride is added to the water for the potential public health benefits, yet no other medication or supplement is added to our water supply for health benefits. Why not force citizens to take other supplements like folic acid, iron, or calcium?
    Naturally occurring fluoride is already present in our water. In addition, it is present in many of the foods we eat. Furthermore, topical administration via toothpaste and dental treatments provide more than adequate amounts of additional fluoride in the proper way. Ingestion of the chemical is both harmful and unnecessary.
    Adding fluoride to the Austin water supply should be stopped. We should be free to make our own health choices about what supplements we ingest.
    And if the city thinks there is public support for water fluoridation, why not let the citizens of Austin decide whether or not we want this neurotoxin in our water?
    And by the way, I am a lifelong Texan, graduate of UT-Austin, a fortysomething mother of two, and I voted for most, if not all, of the current council members.
Rebecca Cody

'Grossly Inaccurate Financial' Reporting

RECEIVED Mon., March 3, 2014

Dear Editor,
    We couldn't help but notice the grossly inaccurate financial figures along with the inaccurate timeline in your "Flipnotics Closing" story [Earache, Feb. 24]. The figures were laughable at best. The Kamburis brothers sold Flipnotics in April, 2009. The corporation which held this interest later filed for bankruptcy months later, after the sale of Flipnotics. The figures are again not indicative at all to the interest of Flipnotics, especially the Barton Springs Flipnotics. The reason the corporation filed bankruptcy had to do with the fiasco known as the Flipnotics Triangle location, wherein the landlords sued us for the remaining balance of the lease. In doing that, we had no choice but to file bankruptcy, again after we sold Flipnotics Barton Springs, months later. The figures are also, as said, completely inaccurate and a misrepresentation of the Kamburis brothers and Flipnotics in past, present, and future. So your attempt to discredit Flipnotics is disheartening and insulting. If you want accurate figures and exact info, probably best you contact those who were actually involved. This is yellow journalism at its worst, guys. On another note, with the final closing of Flipnotics, it is a sad day for the Kamburis brothers, many past employees, and all the fans and customers, past and present. It would have been nice with Flipnotics' rich history of almost 22 years to get your facts straight, especially after, during the Kamburis reign, we advertised in your paper weekly for 17 years and spent over $250,000 to my estimation. And I did check my math.
    To all those customers, musicians, and Austinites, we thank you for your unreal support over the last few decades!
Mark Kamburis

'Losers in Bars'?

RECEIVED Mon., March 3, 2014

Dear Editor,
    Congratulations for another successful short story contest [“Mad Men,” Arts, Feb. 28]. Having now read the top three selections, I agree wholeheartedly with the judges’ choices. Mr. Garza’s submission was completely compelling, and both of the runners-up meritorious, as well. One quibble (full disclosure: I had a dog in the hunt, and my friends will attest that I am no stranger to alcohol): I read all three stories in short consecutive order and came away with the feeling that they could be bundled and subtitled “Losers in Bars.” Anxiety, angst, and anger muddled with booze have been a tried and true cocktail for a host of admirable literary efforts across time (authors too, by all accounts), but three in a row left me uncharacteristically ready for closing time. Whether this redundancy was the penchant of the authors or the judges I cannot guess, but my hope is that next year we might lift a glass to greater diversity.
Terry Conlan

Kind Words About Austin Aquarium

RECEIVED Mon., March 3, 2014

Dear Editor,
    I'm writing in response to Gwen McKenna's letter in the Chronicle criticizing the Austin Aquarium [“Appalled at Aquarium,” Postmarks, Feb. 28]. I have a different opinion, as apparently do the hundreds of people whose cars crowd the parking lot on weekends. Children – and adults – are reminded constantly to wash their hands before touching the animals and then to touch them with only two fingers. There are several stations for hand washing and they even provide cloth towels which can be washed rather than creating litter with paper towels. The workers are knowledgeable and help the kids to understand the animals. My granddaughter loves feeding and petting the rays and has declared that she wants to be a veterinarian.
    They are careful with the animals, recently halting allowing kids to feed the rays for a couple of weeks to evaluate their health. So I believe the animals are being treated well. Given all of the negative publicity the aquarium received before opening, I think the city of Austin is looking for reasons to shut the aquarium down, and they haven't found any.
James Smith
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