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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Etiquette Won't Save Lives

RECEIVED Wed., Dec. 30, 2015

Dear Editor,
    In response to Susan Cook's letter "New Etiquette for Firearms" [Feedback, Dec. 25]:
    Susan comes to the (all too common) conclusion that relaxing the limitations on where, and how, CHL holders can carry their handguns will result in numbers of careless people "playing Cowboy or Soldier," firing their weapons recklessly among the general public. She asks CHL holders to leave our guns at home.
    The new law only allows licensed CHL holders (all of whom have voluntarily subjected themselves to a background check) to carry openly.
    I won't open carry because I don't want to make myself the obvious first target of a criminal shooter. However, in the event Ms. Cook is ever in a mass shooting situation, she will pray for someone like me to be near, and she will pray that I did not leave my gun at home on that day.
Rand McDonald

Same Rules for All

RECEIVED Tue., Dec. 29, 2015

Dear Editor,
    In response to Uber Austin's open letter found in The Austin Chronicle, Dec. 18, 2015:
    Despite the complaining and marketing by Uber, at its core it is a cab company. Like any other cab company it uses vehicles to pick people up and take them somewhere else for a fee. The major difference from other cab companies is how Uber cabs are summoned. As a friend of mine said, "Uber is a phone app."
    The number of vehicles used and the number of drivers employed doesn't alter the fact. To read Uber Austin's letter you'd think that anyone riding in any other cab company's vehicle is taking their lives in their hands and other drivers are on the verge of going on the dole. To the contrary, cab rides in Austin, as with almost everywhere else in the U.S., are relatively safe for both riders and drivers, and drivers manage to make a living.
    Uber, Lyft, nor any other company wishing to do business deserves preferential treatment. All similar companies should have to abide by the same rules. Government should not make laws, rules, or regulations that favor one business over another without a significant and compelling reason which benefits the public. The "bribes" paid other companies that have come to town should never have been paid. One of the world's largest and most profitable companies, Mercedes-Benz, should never have been given monies either real or in kind to bring their rental cars to Austin. And how do local businesses that rent out bicycles feel about the city spending hundreds of thousands of the tax dollars they pay to do business for a competing company to be given an unfair advantage?
    The city should make one set of rules for all competing businesses and apply them evenly. That means that all cab companies should operate under the same set of rules where applicable, whether the vehicles are cars, trucks, driverless vehicles, pedal cabs, rickshaws, boats, or whatever. The doling out of favors, economic and/or political, to add even higher profits to the pockets of wealthy upper-management types is one of the factors that motivated me out of Austin after 33 years.
    Also, Uber is not without its faults. The people I know who drive for Uber have mentioned how Uber has cut fees paid to drivers. And the people I know who have used Uber have talked about the oppressively high fees charged during peak periods, such as a $100 minimum to go anywhere Downtown during South by Southwest.
    It seems what's really being fought for here is continued high salaries for those at the top, at the expense of those who work for, use, and/or are taxed to support Uber. What almost all businesses want when they say they aren't afraid of competition is a flat playing field, not a level one. That's what Uber Austin is after.
Clifford Wilkes

Utterly Adequate

RECEIVED Tue., Dec. 29, 2015

Dear Editor,
    In response to Michael King's “Point Austin” article [“Getting From Here to There,” News, Dec. 25] describing the local Metro system “utterly inadequate” ...
    Do you ride the bus, Mike? I do. I rely on it almost daily. And it isn't bad at all. And very affordable.
    So what's your solution?
Justin McCarty

No Free Lunch

RECEIVED Tue., Dec. 29, 2015

Dear Editor,
    I’m delighted City Council voted for homestead preservation districts [“Council Approves Three Homestead Preservation Districts,” News, Dec. 25]. However, I’m disappointed that Mary Tuma, in reporting the event, insulted our intelligence by declaring the districts “do not establish new taxes or increase existing taxes on other residents.” Diverting tax money to new uses (rehabilitating or constructing affordable housing) inevitably means either forgoing a citywide tax decrease (imagine that!) or a tax increase sooner than would otherwise have been necessary. As the old saying goes, “There’s no free lunch.”
Philip Russell
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