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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Bastards Not Blues

RECEIVED Mon., June 15, 2015

Dear Editor,
    Thanks to the Chronicle for the coverage of Heartless Bastards [“Restless One,” Music, June 12], one of my favorite bands. Their sound is original and highly distinctive. I've never missed a chance to see them play, from the first time I saw them open for Lucinda Williams at Stubb's long ago, and I have all their records.
    Nothing against the blues, but they are not in any way "blues-rock" (as is said in the article). There are no blues phrasings, feel, or flavors in their music, period. The review of their new album also makes that mischaracterization, referring to "the psychedelic blues overload" of the first song. Many music fans with no interest in any form or permutation of blues would love the Heartless Bastards. And people looking for any kind of blues fix are not going to get it from seeing Heartless Bastards live or listening to their records.
    The last sentence in Jim Caligiuri's record review got it right: "Wennerstrom's singular vocal style and the Bastards' multilayered guitars remain both lyrically commanding and musically transcendent." Chronicle writers should stop referring to the Bastards' music in any way as blues; that is misleading to people not familiar with their music, and a disservice to a great band.
Joe Dickie

Keep Austin Affordable

RECEIVED Mon., June 15, 2015

Dear Editor,
    I am writing to express disappointment in the Chronicle's coverage of Accessory Dwelling Units (aka garage apartments, granny flats) at the Planning and Neighborhoods Committee ["Public Notice: Planning Is Doing," News, June 12]. Specifically, the misrepresentation of AURA and other proponents of ADUs. I’m one of those "new urban" AURA members who testified, a 27-year-old renter who has lived in Austin for almost 20 years. I have no association with RECA or any other real estate group. I support ADUs because they can help with affordability. To utilize the full potential of ADUs we need to ease the rules mandating excessive minimum lot size, parking, and setback requirements.
    ADUs are great on many fronts: For struggling homeowners who can use the rental income to offset property taxes. For renters looking for a relatively affordable place to live. For families looking to create extra space for children or elderly parents without having to tear down their old home to build a bigger one. For neighborhoods where ADUs can help prevent old homes from being torn down. And on a city level, for traffic and the environment, because they help prevent urban sprawl.
    The Chronicle bills itself as a progressive paper. If it is truly progressive, it should enthusiastically support ADUs and more housing in general so that Austin, and especially Central Austin, is accessible to the working and middle class. We are facing an affordability crisis, and a failure to address the housing shortage quickly and aggressively will result in Austin increasingly being accessible only to the wealthy.
Timothy Bray
   Nick Barbaro responds: I do support ADUs. Fortunately, all of the wonderful ADU uses that Mr. Bray envisions are, in fact, already allowed under current regulations, and will be made simpler and less expensive in a number of ways (such as reduced and/or eliminated entrance, setback, and driveway requirements) under the new proposed regulations which the Planning Commission has forwarded to City Council for approval.
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