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I read with interest Nick Barbaro’s comments about FAN’s alignment with conservative GOP council members, his response to the subsequent outcry of FAN advocates, and their online response to his response, including their vilification of progressive City Council members ["Public Notice: Angry Hornets
," News, Dec. 9]:
“Austin's progressives will continue to experience cognitive dissonance until they start to realize that one can't be progressive everywhere but their own back yard. … Every right is also an obligation. If we believe that everyone has a right to affordable housing in decent neighborhoods, then it is our obligation to make this happen, and obligation is always an inconvenience.”
Perhaps FAN advocates need to look closer to home?
Pete Gilcrease, a founder and board member of FAN and advocate of more and affordable housing, owns three multi-unit structures in Hyde Park: a house plus triplex on Duval, a triplex plus garage apartment on Avenue F, and a duplex on East 48th Street. He lives in one unit and rents the others as STRs. When questioned about the STR issue on Nextdoor, he protested that renting units as STRs was the only way he could preserve the property. That justification might work fine for one property, but when someone continues to buy multi-unit properties and rent the units as STRs, it’s obvious he isn’t doing it to preserve the properties.
After the ADU vote, CM Casar said, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have just eight more ADUs in 78751!” He could have had them overnight if Mr. Gilcrease had converted his own properties to long-term rentals. After all, if we believe that everyone has a right to affordable housing in decent neighborhoods, then it is our obligation to make this happen, and obligation is always an inconvenience.
Perhaps the FANies should clean up their own act before attacking others for shortcomings that they themselves exhibit.
Philip Drexler's Nov. 28 letter (“No Thanks for COA
”) demonstrates just how vulnerable people with disabilities already are – and would further become under the Connections 2025 plan. ADAPT and other organizations which are allegedly supposed to fight for our rights dropped the ball decades ago. They do not mind that Capital Metro is eager to delete what already exists of public transit in this city. Or how lack of access to jobs, medical care, food, and even our own houses especially adversely impacts people with disabilities because of driving restrictions. They were not picketing when Linda Watson and her thugs “consolidated” bus stops away from county-designated polling sites. Ramps on buses mean absolutely nothing if transit access itself is destroyed throughout this city.
Larkin Skinner's letter about the article "Point Austin: Hours to Burn" ["Missing the 'Point'
," Feedback, Dec. 9], while well-intentioned, contains at least two economic fallacies that lead him to mistakenly conclude that mandating time-and-a-half pay for a vastly expanded pool of workers will increase overall employment and reduce suffering.
Fallacy #1: Job creation is a zero-sum game, and so there is a fixed number of hours of work available, or as Larkin put it, "If I, as an employer, have two employees working 60 hours per week, I could just as easily hire a third employee" (presumably reducing everyone's hours to 40 per week).
Actually, the amount of potential work is nearly limitless – the population in the U.S. has roughly doubled since about 1960, yet everyone is not scraping by with half the food, half the housing space, etc. Quite the opposite – how many PCs and iPods did the average person own back then?
Fallacy #2: Employers and employees do not change their behavior when an employment law is passed, or as Larkin put it, "If all employers obey the law, the costs are passed equally to consumers no matter who makes the good."
In the real world, if you meddle with voluntary interactions between employers and employees, hours of work that used to make economic sense can vanish. Instead of two employees working 60 hours per week, you might, for example, wind up with two employees working 40 hours a week, and fewer goods or services being produced, even though the intent of the law was to produce three 40 hour per week jobs. Or the employer might decide to move the business from a business-hostile state like California to a more business-friendly state like Texas.
There's plenty of things you can legitimately dislike about Governor Abbott, but Abbott opposing Obama's attempt to impose economically harmful time-and-a-half rules on our thriving job market is not one of them.