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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 mail@austinchronicle.com. Thanks for your patience.
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Representation Matters

RECEIVED Wed., May 9, 2018

Dear Editor,
    Three days after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., Wilhelmina Delco became Austin’s first African American elected official. From the School Board to the House Higher Education Committee, she spoke up for the education of all our children.
    So some may ask, why is it so important that House District 46 remain as an African American seat?
    While it might not matter to the Chronicle, it apparently did matter at one time to the candidate they endorsed for Ms. Delco’s seat, Chito Vela. In his testimony to the Senate Nominations Committee, Vela asked, “Why is there not a Chicano regent?” and shared his frustration with the Statesman: “Could they not find a qualified applicant?”
    The lack of Hispanics on the Board of Regents should be no less upsetting than the lack of African Americans in the entire Central Texas legislative delegation. There is only one African American on the City Council, only one on Commissioners Court, and now the Chronicle and Mr. Vela believe there should be none in our state legislative delegation.
    Ask the families whose unarmed children were shot by police if representation matters. Ask the families being priced out of their homes, or the children of incarcerated parents serving time for nonviolent offenses, if representation matters. From health care to affordability, education to job opportunities, there are issues that hit the African American community disproportionately, and why should we expect that to change when our allies believe representation doesn’t matter?
Sincerely,
Nelson Linder
President, Austin NAACP

Responsibilities of Freedom

RECEIVED Tue., May 8, 2018

Dear Editor,
    [In "'Til Death Do Us Party," News, April 27,] Kate [Groetzinger] pointed out Black Market Investments plans to build two 300-person wedding venues next to three long-established residential communities. She did not mention there are also three spiritual communities that will be impacted by this business venture.
    A Meditation community and building, a Hindu temple, and a Native American spiritual center each share property lines on three sides with the proposed venues. These spiritual centers have 30- to 40-plus years in this location, many people have built their homes and lives around them, and now we are all concerned our ceremonies and prayers which, in most cases, are practiced on a daily basis, will no longer be possible. The loss of these places of worship should be tangible to everyone. It is difficult for me to imagine anyone taking vows before their creator and beginning the most significant relationship of their lives in such a place knowing they are ruining other families' homes as well as destroying places of worship.
    The property is part of one of the most significant Native American historical sites in Texas, and how it came to be owned by the Blacks has its own story. The longtime owner of the tract, mindful of its historic and cultural importance, as well as the sensitive nature of both its neighbors and geology, sold it to a developer after being promised he would build three or four estate homes there. The developer then flipped it to the Blacks after realizing the land had a 12% impervious cover limit due to being an integral part of the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone.
    Lastly, yes, property rights are part of the freedom we enjoy, but freedom requires certain responsibilities, part of which is respect and consideration for each other. Otherwise, none of us can be free.
Thanks,
Bob Logan

Endorsement From Houston

RECEIVED Tue., May 8, 2018

Dear Editor,
    Below is the email that I will be sharing with my personal email list of people who live in and/or have contacts in Congressional District 25.
   
   Dear Friends:
    If you live in Congressional District 25 I want to share why I am supporting Julie Oliver for Congress. She has the lived experiences that many in our community face, including me. She was a teen mother, who had to use the Women, Infants, [and] Children (WIC) Program, Planned Parenthood and other support services for unwed mothers. 
    Julie knows how important access to health care and financial support is to getting on your feet. She knows that education is the key to becoming a productive, contributing citizen. She finished high school, college, and law school. Married. Worked for an accounting firm, a law firm and has been employed by St. David's HealthCare system for many years. She was recently appointed to the Central Health Board of Managers.
    This email of support is a first for me since my election to public office. However, it is extremely important that the person who is elected to represent this Congressional District, must be willing to meet with and engage all constituents throughout the District and listen to 'their' concerns and critical issues. 
    Regardless of who you are, Julie Oliver has the heart, willingness, and the ability to listen to, work hard for, and reach out across the aisle, to insure that federal legislation will produce positive impacts and outcomes for the people of Congressional District 25, from Burleson, to deep East Austin, down south to Wimberley. 
Respectfully,
Ms. Ora Houston

In Defense of in.gredients

RECEIVED Mon., May 7, 2018

Dear Editor,
    In his diatribe about the demise of in.gredients (Letters, May 4), the writer manages only to come up with the owners’ home ZIP codes and some vague association with a real estate enterprise as evidence of greed and lack of interest in community. His most damning evidence is that its prices were “inaccessible” to residents of the neighborhood. Sure, gentrification is a complicated issue, often positing quality of life against affordability. But price-wise, what do you expect from a small, independent business that attempts to sell unique, locally produced, organic goods on a small scale? How can it compete with the H-E-B, Randall’s and Whole Foods business models that depend on high volume turnover of mass-produced merchandise to keep prices “accessible” (or maybe not, in WF’s case)? Perhaps you’d rather see another 7-Eleven or Starbucks in that location, but how would you rate those corporations’ commitment to local community and culture? At least in.gredients was a nice place to sit outside with neighbors and enjoy a beer, eat healthy, uniquely prepared food choices and listen to local musicians, with kids running around playfully.
    As a 13-year resident of the neighborhood, I’d pick that any day over 7-Eleven, even if it costs me a bit more. But maybe I’m part of the problem.
Scott Stark

CodeNEVER?

RECEIVED Mon., May 7, 2018

Dear Editor,
    There was a recent measure before the California Legislature to override local zoning and permit eight-story apartment buildings at transit stops. The rationale for this measure was that existing zoning regulations restrict supply, causing a spike in prices. This forces lower-income workers into long commutes. These long trips cost commuters both cash and time and generate greenhouse gases.
    The forces of the status quo prevailed, and the measure was defeated.
    Austin’s current zoning has produced low population density and long commutes for the less affluent, just as in California.
    It looks like if CodeNEXT goes before the voters it will go down [in] defeat, just as the California measure was defeated. Those who commute into Austin from other municipalities will continue their long commutes without ever having had the chance to have their voices heard.
Philip Russell

Where's the Love?

RECEIVED Fri., May 4, 2018

Dear Editor,
    I am so dismayed that the Chron’s food issue this week [First Plates, May 4] did not include a section on Southwest Austin restaurants. Are we not part of Austin’s restaurant scene? We have several nice restaurants in this area that deserve mention, such as Cafe Malta, Cypress Grill, and Crema Bakery to name a few.
Lois Schubert

Cut the Corporate Welfare

RECEIVED Thu., May 3, 2018

Dear Editor,
    People now agree that giving Precourt a prime piece of parkland is not so smart. But giving them any taxpayer-owned land is wrong. The McKalla Place property is not [a] burden on the city; the Crestview Station area was an EPA Superfund Site very successfully remediated. Any piece of prime taxpayer-owned land should not be given to a private profit-making enterprise – no matter how the deal is dressed up. Even Precourt’s supporters describe the project as “an amenity.” With an upcoming city bond election, I hope Council does not ask voters to pay higher taxes when they are giving away city assets. I am very happy for taxes to pay for schools, public infrastructure, health care, and social services. These could use more funds. But let’s cut the corporate welfare. Finally, with the Precourt lawsuit in Ohio [see "At Court With Precourt," News, April 27], how can our Council seriously suggest dealing with these people?
Gary Price
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