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 [email protected]. Thanks for your patience.
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Now Is the Time

RECEIVED Wed., Nov. 9, 2016

Dear Editor,
    When I was a kid growing up in the Sixties, I was taught that crying was not okay, which might seem weird because I was a young girl. My mom even gave me a reminder to not cry at my dad's funeral when I was 8. I have had lots of knots in my throat since then, but I'm reluctant to shed tears. I avoid sad news or sad movies because I don't want to cry.
    Since the presidential race was announced last night, I have been sobbing. Sobbing for my first grade students of color who are worried about being sent back to their ancestors' countries, even though they were born in the USA; sobbing for those of us who lived through the Seventies turmoil and saw so many positive changes, reflected in President Obama's love and care for our nation; sobbing for the hatred that Trump has incited, sobbing for the work Hillary Clinton has done. I'm also afraid of what the future holds, especially for women, people who have the freedom to have anyone as their partners, and people who love our country and work so hard to make it our home.
    If anyone has any words of wisdom, now is the time to share them.
With love,
Gretchen Farris

Turning Fear Into Friendship

RECEIVED Wed., Nov. 9, 2016

Dear Editor,
    While I was confident that Hillary Clinton would win the 2016 Presidential Election, I started this Wednesday morning in fear like many others. However, being a Muslim, my faith is my means of attaining positive thinking. It teaches me that “Love for your country is part of Islam” and America is my home. This is not a mere teaching but a duty I have to put into practice to really ascertain my love and loyalty to this nation. Even though practicing one’s right to vote shows one’s commitment and loyalty to his or her country but I believe that by taking the bigger step of embracing friendship will overcome fear and achieve greater heights.
Touba Khurshid

Carry On the Struggle

RECEIVED Wed., Nov. 9, 2016

Dear Editor,
    Millions of people voted [Tuesday] to “Make America Great Again.” There is not a fixed point in history that you can point to and say, "That is when America was great,” for there have always been low points to go with the high. The Great Recession and the financial meltdown, assassinations of leaders here and abroad, slavery, and genocide of the native population are among the black marks on our country’s past.
    But what makes America great is the constant struggle and work for becoming our best selves and a testament to the American ideal that we all hold. [This election] may go down in history as another black mark or the turning point – only time will tell. It is time we come together as Americans, as neighbors, as humans to rise to the challenge and continue that struggle which makes America the greatest nation on earth. As a Muslim American I pledge to obey my commander-in-chief while also holding him accountable, to speak louder and fight harder against oppression, and carry on the struggle to achieve the ideal of America that forms the basis of our constitution.
Bushra Zafar

Apprehension Confirmed

RECEIVED Wed., Nov. 9, 2016

Dear Editor,
    Your Page Two editorial in the Nov. 4 Chronicle ["We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us"] was right on the money. As I read it two days ago I realized the apprehension (fear) I've been feeling the last two weeks was not just my imagination. I am a big Hillary fan and was glad to see my concern about the treatment she has received confirmed (I watch late-night talk shows). All this doesn't help the pain I feel for my country today, but I am convinced that Hillary has gotten the best of this deal: She can go back to her life knowing she has accomplished much.
Nancy Keller

Disheartening Maneuvers

RECEIVED Mon., Nov. 7, 2016

Dear Editor,
    I was one of the attendees at the Sept. 26 meeting of the Historic Landmark Commission ["A Historic Lack of Compassion," News, Nov. 4]. My case, along with Reedy Spigner's and 10 others, was requested by Ora Houston to, once again, be postponed. My case was eventually heard at midnight and approved, but it would not have been if Reedy had not spoken out.
    The real travesty at the meeting was the fact that the entire HLC voted, without hesitation, to uphold CM Houston's demands to deny that our cases be heard. It was only AFTER they voted and denied us a hearing that Reedy Spigner vocalized his objection. Had he not spoken out, once again, we all would have been at the mercy of the ludicrous decisions that HLC is making that affect so many homeowners in 78702. Therefore, I don't think it is fair to vilify just CM Houston.
    There is a story to be told regarding the effects of the quasi-governmental nature of the unelected officials of the HLC and the Neighborhood Associations. There's a dictatorial nature in the process, and it is disheartening for a liberal small developer like myself who supports Austin's commitment to neighborhood preservation. As one well-known public relations person told me, "If you think you are going to build or remodel a house in Austin according to city guidelines and what the city permits – you are wrong. You are going to have to deal with a whole group of committees that you've never even heard of. They will not let you do anything with your property that they do not like."
Leticia Phillips
L. Phillips Investments

A Neighborly Cause

RECEIVED Sun., Nov. 6, 2016

Dear Editor,
    I was reading your article recently on Reedy Spigner's attempt to sell his home ["A Historic Lack of Compassion," News, Nov. 4]. I feel the real problem is not the city's desire to preserve small urban homes, but the inability of fellow Austinites to make a financial investment to benefit the lives of all Austinites.
    Like many neighborhoods in Austin, my street also rapidly increased in value since my childhood. My parents were able to invest in repairing and remodeling our home, and eventually sold the house to pay for my college education. If we, as Austinites, want to create a future where this is an option for all homeowners, then we need to invest our tax dollars in all neighborhoods.
    While Austin does have several home repair programs to aid low-income residents, such as NHCD [Neighborhood Housing and Community Development], we have never done enough to truly fight the housing inequalities in our city. We, as taxpayers, should give individuals the ability to improve their own homes instead of being forced to leave the city. Programs that give money to homeowners to repair their dwellings also create more job opportunities in our city. Hopefully those homeowners we invest in will support local business by hiring local contractors to improve and repair their housing.
    Furthermore, Austin needs to invest in better infrastructure in our lower-income neighborhoods, maybe finally lobby the state to move many of their offices closer to the people who work in them? There are several different ideas to help establish a historic district that also meets the needs of its residents. Why not work with Austin Community College to expand its campus to new locations, and provide adult education classes to underserved communities? Instead of investing in public housing, we should be spending our tax dollars on successful programs like Section 8 vouchers and having a comprehensive citywide rental registration program. We could also fight sprawl by transforming our urban prairies into public parks, or shopping centers in food deserts.
    Large- and small-scale improvements in our poor neighborhoods is a better long-term strategy than demolishing the structures we want to preserve. Large-scale improvements, like the ones mentioned earlier, increase the value of homes, while small-scale incentive programs give residents the ability to maintain their homes, despite the rising property taxes. Maybe we should invest in these ideas, instead of another animal shelter?
Hank Morgan
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