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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What About Austin?

RECEIVED Mon., Jan. 8, 2018

Dear Editor,
    Michael King's article about Adler's 2017 Austin Checklist is puzzling ["Point Austin," News, Jan. 5]. He lists accomplishments as defending Austin on "climate change" and "immigration," which are more national than local issues, and yet does not mention in his article Austin's three big challenges which are traffic congestion, homelessness, and affordable housing. I think it is fine that the mayor had a cameo in a rap video, but I would challenge him to do more. Austin has real issues that need real plans with results that can be measured. The mayor could start by solving the traffic problem on Highway 360. It would be rather simple to get that fixed within a year. Then check that off the list as a real accomplishment.
    Let's start fining drivers again who litter our highways. The Don't Mess With Texas campaign worked. Let's try it again for two years and see if we don't improve the situation measurably.
Anne Johnson
   [Michael King responds: Not to quarrel with Anne Johnson's opinion of the mayor, but the "Point Austin" column in fact does cite progress on traffic congestion ("mobility infrastructure" that indeed includes funding for Highway 360) and homelessness (the Downtown Puzzle). The mayor's much lengthier list also notes several initiatives addressing housing affordability. For the full list, see "Mayor Adler's Year in Review" at]

Do the Right Thing

RECEIVED Sun., Jan. 7, 2018

Dear Editor,
    As one of Austin’s residents that asked the city to allow the existing police contract to expire until a new contract includes the policing reforms sought by Austin Justice Coalition and Campaign Zero, I believe we are safer for having done so because some of the previous contract’s terms that were favorable to concealing or minimizing misconduct have lapsed as we transition back to state law. Other cities that have adopted reforms like those proposed by Austin Justice Coalition and Campaign Zero have been made even more safe and just.
    Although the path from here to an acceptable police contract is a little uncertain, uncertainty shouldn’t be confused with risk – in this case, the risk of public harm.
    Let’s do the right thing here. Yes, it’s a little uncertain and requires a little more effort, but we’ll all be better off for it. I look forward to the city and police union resuming work toward a contract that includes the policing reforms sought by Austin Justice Coalition and Campaign Zero.
Darren Huff

A False Dichotomy

RECEIVED Fri., Jan. 5, 2018

Dear Editor,
    You published an article titled "'A Bitter Pill': APD begins life under Chapter 143," [News, Jan. 5] which described Austin City Council's decision to reject the most recent draft of its meet-and-confer agreement with the Austin Police Association (APA). The article portrayed Council's decision in a very negative light, implying that the decision was hasty and uninformed, and failing to give Council credit for representing and supporting the needs of the community. The author observed that in the days following the vote, council members explained their decision, expressed disappointment in the APA's choice to leave negotiations, and suggested the possibility of an interim contract that would serve some needs of both parties. However, instead of praising Council's transparent communication and openness to compromise, the author dismissed these actions as efforts by council members to "save face" after having made a decision without "considering the consequences." The article also implied that Council was pushing the APA into treacherous legal territory by suggesting further negotiations, noting that the APA could not extend negotiations if the two sides were no longer making progress. This implies that the APA's only options were to leave negotiations or violate the contract, but this implication is a false dichotomy.
    If the APA had been willing to adequately address the community's calls for transparency and oversight, there's no reason further progress couldn't have been made. And finally, while depicting Council as naive and solely responsible for the contract's demise, the article failed to highlight the immense relief and hope Council's vote provided to many in the community. While there are clearly drawbacks to reverting back to Chapter 143, there is also a lot to be gained from investing our resources into other community initiatives. Whether the APA and Council come back to the table and achieve a truly progressive contract, or whether Council chooses to reallocate those funds toward mental health services, substance abuse treatment, programs for the homeless, or other crime-reduction projects, many Austinites are very happy about Council's decision, viewing it as a step forward for our community.
Mandy Blott

Categorically False

RECEIVED Fri., Jan. 5, 2018

Dear Editor,
    As a male bystander on the issue whose heterosexuality has never resulted in an abortion, I'm responding to Jeremy Daniels' December 28 letter ["It's True, Google It"]. I've Googled as he suggests, and quickly found a 2017 Pew Research Center poll whereby 59% of women say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, and 38% of women say it should be illegal in all or most cases. Daniels' assertion of a vice versa situation is thus categorically false. See the Ninth Commandment.
    The law to which he refers is adjudicated by the U.S. Supreme Court. Its decisions approve abortions in some situations, and have done so since 1973. The Pew Research Center website cites similar approvals from some religious groups. The United Church of Christ, Unitarian Universalists, most of Judaism, and the Presbyterian Church USA support abortion rights with few or no limits, and several other religious groups support abortion in some cases. The United Methodist Church considers it a matter on which to seek prayerful guidance from doctors, families, and ministers (not politicians and not pro-lifers with no connection to Methodist pregnancies). Other religious groups oppose abortion, and while I agree that sex, and parenting or non-parenting, should be exercised responsibly, the First Amendment makes it unconstitutional for the law to prohibit the free exercise of more pro-choice religions, or for the law to effect an establishment of more pro-life religions.
    The pro-life movement would earn more respect if abortion-related "baby killer" vitriol were absent from the internet and elsewhere; if doctors, receptionists, and security guards at clinics operating according to the law had not been murdered by so-called pro-lifers; and if pro-lifers would stick to inviting and encouraging pregnancy responsibility rather than trying to impose their religions or ethical philosophies, applicable to their own pregnancies, on the pregnancies of other Americans with differing religions or ethical philosophies.
Chris Kuykendall

Movin' Blues

RECEIVED Fri., Jan. 5, 2018

Dear Editor,
    While sympathetic to the plight facing Carolina Sanchez ["Life After Gentrification," News, Jan. 5], it was disappointing to read her comments regarding the efforts of Susana Almanza to assist her and other residents of the Thrasher Lane Mobile Home Park.
    Ms. Almanza "was able to convince the owner [of the property] to agree to a 90-day move-out period [instead of 30], to pay $7,000 in relocation assistance for each of the 17 households, and to waive two months of rent." Her efforts, in my opinion, were very beneficial for those being forced to move. If I were the recipient of such help I would certainly have been thankful.
    The response from Ms. Sanchez was that she did not feel Almanza made enough of an effort to represent the community and was more on the side of the owners. That seems more than a little ungrateful.
    Since the residents of this mobile home park have known for almost a year that the property was going to be sold, there has been time to decide, as Ms. Sanchez said "… what we wanted to do." Where any of these displaced folks decide to live now is not the responsibility of Susana Almanza. These folks will, like it or not, have to "figure it out on [their] own."
    Having to move – while never fun – is always a possibility when you live in a mobile home and don't own the property on which it sits.
    Best of luck to all of these individuals.
Joe Pastusek

The Real Hypocrites

RECEIVED Fri., Jan. 5, 2018

Dear Editor,
    It was good of you to provide so much space to Jeremy Daniels and his contention that the "pro-life" movement is not about controlling women ["Feedback," Jan. 5]. He closes with "don't be a hypocrite."
    The term "pro-life" is the most hypocritical label in modern politics. As so many have pointed out, the movement advocates nothing for the already living. They are silent on issues of domestic violence, homelessness, even hunger. Their focus is very narrow. It has nothing to do with children, men, or even women except for those that are pregnant.
    For accuracy's sake, they should be referred to as the forced-birth movement. It is their single issue, that all women must be forced by law to carry every pregnancy to term.
    I have long advocated accuracy. Pro-choice is accurate. So is forced-birth.
Sheila Sorvari
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