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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The People Make the Place

RECEIVED Wed., Jan. 25, 2017

Dear People of Austin,
    We recently spent a weekend in your incredibly great city and wish to convey our thanks to you, the people of Austin, for being such gracious, wonderful and weird hosts.
    Both of us are Irish and chose Austin as a destination for the simple reason that one of us, Austin, shares a name with your great town. The purpose of the journey was to have fun and we put our collective shoulder to the wheel from the outset; we had a blast from top to bottom in the following incredibly great places: Joe’s Cafe, Austin Motel, Home Slice Pizza, Peter Pan Golf, the ABGB, Sixth Street, Magnolia, public parks and Barton Creek, Gospel Brunch at Stubb's … too many great places to mention. But the best thing about Austin is undoubtedly you, its people. What a great lot you are from the fabulous Felstead family to the many strangers we met traipsing around your walkways, highways, and byways. We laughed, we cried, and we laughed again during our two fantastic life-affirming and fun-filled days with you.
    The highlight of our wonderful weekend was undoubtedly a Saturday evening spent in costume plucked from the rails of Marsha Laine’s Flashback Vintage store. The people our costumes attracted and the sense of shared joy the evening provided (we were playing a game whereby we had complete artistic freedom to dress the other person) lightened the load of living in a crazy world.
    People of Austin, we love your blessed town and your luminous souls. You are all incredibly great. Keep Austin weird and if you get a chance to bring some of your easy livin’ over to the Emerald Isle get in touch at and
Lots of love,
Doireann and Austin

Dedication to the Blues

RECEIVED Tue., Jan. 24, 2017

Dear Editor,
    As the widow of Lightning Red, I was very disappointed to not see my husband's name listed in those musical artists that died in 2016 ["Critics Poll," Music, Dec. 30, 2016]. Lightning Red wasn't famous, but he played music for over 50 years in the U.S. and Europe. He had seven albums of original music and was very respected in Europe for his blues-rock style. He was not able to play much the last five years due to his cancer. He died July 6. I sent an obituary after his death last summer to Raoul Hernandez and Kevin Curtin several times and called several times. I was ignored. Maybe both Raoul and Kevin never heard of my husband – that is possible, because we moved away for seven years and returned in 2015, but we've lived in Austin most of our lives since 1977 (20 years). The Chronicle published reviews of several albums – I believe Margaret Moser was the reviewer.
    I think my husband at least needs to be acknowledged that he was an Austin artist playing the blues and helping to keep it alive for many years. That's all I ask. Hear his music and read more about him at and see for yourself if he's worthy of a mention.
Deborah Vanko

Missing MLK Events

RECEIVED Tue., Jan. 24, 2017

Dear Editor,
    The cover of the Jan. 13 Austin Chronicle featured a roll of toilet paper inscribed with "We the People." It was placed next to a white toilet crammed full with the Texas Capitol building. “Hard Pass” was printed on the bowl as a heads-up reminder about dangerous bill movements the 85th legislative session will soon face. Though clever and timely, I had expected some reference to the coming week of national tributes to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s transformative legacy.
    Next, I checked inside for the many events taking place in and around our capital city. I looked and looked and looked and looked. Finally, I discovered two small ads. The first, on the page 24 Calendar, erroneously listed Huston-Tillotson University as the starting place for the 9am MLK Community March – not the the MLK sculpture on the UT campus. Nothing else was provided. The second ad was included in the Community section (p.34). This one gave a tiny bit more info, but also printed the same (wrong) starting place. Alas!
    The AC news coverage whiteout for the MLK holiday celebrations and Day of Service is a disappointing, deeply disturbing, and telling wake-up call. How is it that so many citywide MLK-related events operated so far below editorial radar as to become invisible?
    If ever there was a HARD PASS, this one certainly qualifies. I truly hope we do better next year. There is too much at stake for We the People.
Luanne Stovall

Health Care Is Not Political

RECEIVED Mon., Jan. 23, 2017

Dear Editor,
    In 1973, the Supreme Court guaranteed our constitutional right to safe, legal abortion. And 44 years later, I am one of the majority in this country that supports protecting this right. Unfortunately, we face extreme anti-abortion measures in the Texas Legislature, and as a country we are preparing for a hostile anti-abortion administration. Attacks on our rights are imminent, which is why we must declare once and for all that abortion is an essential component of health care, and it should be treated as such.
    Abortion is one of the safest medical procedures, and laws prohibiting abortion and targeting the doctors that perform them have far-reaching implications, affecting more than just the besieged abortion clinic on the corner.
    When Texas regulates abortion providers or makes laws that prohibit family planning funds from going to any doctor that would dare provide their patients information about abortion, patients are harmed. Families are harmed.
    Contraception fails. The best plans do not always work out. And when that happens, abortion is an essential part of health care. Abortion allows women to plan and space their pregnancies, which improves their physical, psychological, and economic well-being. Evidence shows that people who are able to obtain an abortion are better able to maintain a positive future outlook and achieve their aspirational life plans. Conversely, evidence clearly demonstrates that if a pregnant person seeks an abortion and access to that care is delayed or denied, they are at greater risk of experiencing adverse health and economic outcomes.
    Abortion should be driven by evidence-based standards developed and supported by medical professionals, not political opinion. Abortion is health care. It is lifesaving. And when it is needed, it must be accessible. Texas’ anti-abortion policies are harming us and they must be halted and overturned.
Taylor Borgfeldt

Not Buying It

RECEIVED Mon., Jan. 23, 2017

Dear Editor,
    Regarding the story run in print as “Can’t Hardly Wait” and online as “CodeNEXT Leak Stirs Up Drama” [Jan. 20], we respectfully take issue with the statement, “The source of both the leak and the tweets remains unclear, though circumstantial evidence points to Mike Lavigne, an outspoken critic of Central Austin development ….”
    Mike flatly denied the accusation. We know and trust Mike, as do many others. It does not seem plausible to us that the Planning Department would leak a CodeNEXT draft to one of their most vocal critics. It doesn't serve the department's interests.
P. Michael Hebert
Fred I. Lewis

Not My Representative

RECEIVED Sun., Jan. 22, 2017

Dear Editor,
    Rep. Lamar Smith, one of five Republican representatives the GOP has gerrymandered into Austin, said recently in a televised interview ( that Donald Trump, in his inaugural address as president of the United States, "spoke directly to" the American people, and told them, "I'm on your side and I'm against Washington." How does Rep. Smith think Americans reacted to this message? "I think they heard exactly what they wanted to," he claims.
    As a constituent of Rep. Smith, I have to say I did not hear what I wanted to in Trump's address. I heard aggression, narcissism, blame-shifting, egotism, and bluster. I heard a direct threat to the values America holds dear: peace, prosperity, truth, open debate, courage and compassion. At least 50,000 Texans heard the same things I did ["Women's March in Austin Does Its Part in Historic Day of Protest," News, Jan. 21]. We came to the state Capitol the next day to let our elected officials know exactly what we "want to hear" – and what we want them to do. We want leaders who actively seek out, listen to, and include the disenfranchised, not crybabies who whine about others' divisiveness. We want leaders who take responsibility for their actions, not cowards who blame the media for reporting facts. We want leaders who see health care as a universal right, not a privilege for the wealthy. We want leaders who have the basic decency to admit that our current president is unfit for office. We don't want toadies and bootlickers who assure us that the golden shower of Trump's presidency is actually rain.
    "I think he's going to keep his promise to put America first," Rep. Smith said of Trump. "I'm not sure too many people disagree with that."
    Look around you, Rep. Smith. Answer your phone. Come to your Austin office and talk to your constituents, if you dare. Pretty much everyone disagrees. If you still aren't sure, we'll make it abundantly clear in 2020.
Susan Schorn
Austin, Texas

Sad to See

RECEIVED Fri., Jan. 20, 2017

Dear Editor,
    There's only one female on the ballot for the Hall of Fame [Austin Music Awards Poll], which is sad to see after the awesome article posted about sexism in the Austin music scene ["Safe Space," Music, Jan. 20].
Mireille Hattie Blond
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