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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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Sustainable Transit Solutions

RECEIVED Wed., May 13, 2015

Dear Editor,
    I’d like to clarify a few details about the MoPac South project, featured in the May 8 “On the Waterfront” ["Public Notice"] column.
    The Mobility Authority, working with the Texas Department of Transportation, launched the MoPac South Environmental Study in April of 2013 to provide a reliable transportation option to the more than 130,000 vehicles that travel the corridor daily – one of the most congested corridors in the state. In order to respond to community concerns over the proposed connections to Downtown over Lady Bird Lake and other questions, we extended the study period to conclude in 2016. In the months ahead, there will be numerous opportunities for the community to learn more and provide feedback. So what are we proposing? The addition of two, variably priced express lanes in each direction on MoPac South from Cesar Chavez Street to Slaughter Lane. Express lanes will provide Capital Metro Express buses, registered vanpools, and emergency vehicles with a reliable, uncongested, nonstop, toll-free route. To keep the express lanes from becoming congested, individual drivers would be charged a variable toll that increases when traffic is heavy and goes down when traffic is light. The primary goal is not to generate revenue, but to keep the express lanes free flowing as much as possible – which greatly benefits transit options. It is expected that the initial toll rates will be similar to what is anticipated for the MoPac North express lanes currently under construction. Those tolls could range from $0.25 to $4.00 per trip.
    We need to work together as a community to develop sustainable solutions to our ever-growing congestion problem – from improvements such as the MoPac South project to innovative technology solutions such as our recently launched Metropia app that rewards drivers for making trips at nonpeak travel times.
Mike Heiligenstein
Executive Director
Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority

Disgusted, but Amused

RECEIVED Mon., May 11, 2015

Dear Editor,
    Looking over the full-page "Corporate Battle of the Bands 2015" ad in your May 8 issue, I am reminded of the classic Elvis Costello line, "I used to be disgusted, now I'm just amused." Am I the only one in this town both disgusted and darkly amused that a band (appropriately) named "Frackenstein" would be raising money for a "health alliance" and sponsored by a corporation calling itself "drillinginfo" with a fracking drill as its logo? The "better, faster decisions" referred to under this planet-eater's logo (for the one or two folks on the planet noticing it) refers (quoting their website) to, among other things, "Uncover Open Acreage: A team did 3 months of work in 3 hours to secure open Eagle Ford acreage" (read: It took these guys a whopping three hours to open up that much more of Texas to perhaps the single biggest environmental threat to Austin musicians, every other Texan, and the state of Texas itself). It is a sad day when HAAM or any other "health alliance" has to go begging to frackers for handouts, but I guess it's an amusing day when our "lefty, alternative" newspaper goes along with this disgusting, but amusing, corporate greenwashing. HAAM and the Chronicle should both be embarrassed.
Sam "Hambone Littletail" Mitchell

Quality Care for All

RECEIVED Mon., May 11, 2015

Dear Editor,
    Both sides in the divisive, emotional debate over state supported living centers ["Guardians Fight On to Save SSLC," News, May 1] have the same goal: quality services and supports for people with disabilities. SSLC supporters talk about great care of their loved ones, yet multiple monitors report serious deficiencies, and the Austin SSLC alone has been placed on Immediate Jeopardy probation over 30 times since 2009, indicating failure to meet minimum levels of care. The disconnect is jarring. Not in dispute is the 75% decrease in resident population in Texas' 13 SSLCs.
    Keeping all the SSLCs open at 25% of their former capacity is driving skyrocketing costs and choking off funding for over 100,000 Texans on the community services wait list. Right-sizing the SSLC network, ensuring that all who choose an institutional setting can get it, and redirecting appropriations to community services is overdue. Though the Austin SSLC has the lowest ratings in the state, we should not discount that closure would be a hardship for the 96 Austin families with a member residing there, and should be sure that relocations at another SSLC or a community placement are done well. Then we need to address the hardship faced by more than 4,000 Austin families waiting for community supports.
Dennis Borel
Coalition of Texans With Disabilities

Predatory Practices

RECEIVED Fri., May 8, 2015

Dear Editor,
    For what it's worth, there is at least one mobile home park in my own neighborhood, Montopolis, that is much worse than the North Lamar Community Mobile Home Park [“Casar Calls Out Landlords,” News, May 8]. I've been complaining about it for 13 years now. I'll be happy to take any member of the City Council or one of their staff members on a tour.
    And just as an FYI: I lived in a mobile home park for almost 15 years. During that time I learned the mobile home manufacturers have an incredibly strong lobby at the state and federal level that ensures local municipalities have very little control over the moving, placement, regulation, and/or manufacturing quality (or lack there of) in mobile homes. There are actually federal and state laws that prohibit enforcement by local authorities.
    The people who make these homes are sort of in the same category as payday or title lenders; extremely predatory.
Delwin Goss

Bait N Switch

RECEIVED Fri., May 8, 2015

Dear Editor,
    The city is in the process of removing parking spaces from West Fourth Street. They have put plastic wrap over machines to pay for parking and have signs up saying No Parking – Bus Stop. However, they failed to remove the PAINTED PARKING spaces right next to the bus stop. They are ticketing folks who park in the painted spots whether they pay for parking from a different meter or not.
    Fine to remove the parking spaces, but the city actually needs to REMOVE THE PAINTED SPOTS so as to stop unknowing citizens who have been using those spaces for some time. It’s also unclear if the meter machine was broken, out of order, or what. There is plenty of room for the buses – they were stopped in the nonpainted parking places. Does the city really need to stoop to baiting its citizens?
Ben Golden

Unheralded Service

RECEIVED Thu., May 7, 2015

Dear Editor,
    I want to commend Chase Hoffberger for an impressively researched and thorough article, "High Stress at EMS" [News, May 8]. This kind of reporting will help to make the public aware of the difficult, but unheralded job these men and women do every day around the clock for us. I would like to hear that their leadership is trusted and relied upon, but apparently this is not the case. It is to our city's shame that their service to us is made even more difficult and thankless by inept leadership.
Nancy Webber
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