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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Don't Know What You've Got …

RECEIVED Tue., June 5, 2018

Dear Editor,
    Andrew Zilker donated the land Zilker Park sits on for use as parkland. Later, the construction of Stratford Drive removed some of that parkland. Following that, MoPac sliced the park in two. Now the Austin City Limits Festival wants to dump gravel on part of the park to convert it into a parking lot [“Zilker Park: Paved Paradise, or Vice Versa,” News, June 1]. If we continue catering to cars, eventually we won’t have any parkland left.
    My suggestion: Rent buses to take folks from Barton Creek Square Mall to music venues. And if the Parks Department is having trouble growing sod on the site, I suggest they contact David Mahler. He’s the one who converted a former garbage dump into the wondrous space now known as Wild Basin.
Philip Russell

A Plea for Pools

RECEIVED Mon., June 4, 2018

Dear Editor,
    Thank you for highlighting the issues facing Austin’s aging but beloved pools ["Shall We Dive In?" News, June 1]. Just like our trail around the lake, Austin’s pool system is an invaluable amenity for residents.
    As Austin grows, we need to remember what makes this an attractive, livable place, and our pools are definitely part of that mix. Pools offer inexpensive outdoor recreation for all ages, ethnicities, and incomes in our sub-tropic climate. They provide swim lessons and teams that build skills and camaraderie, and offer responsible jobs. Neighbors can walk or bike to local pools, decreasing traffic. Pools serve as community hubs, keeping neighborhoods friendly at a time when the city is rapidly expanding. Having public pools conserves water more efficiently than would a plethora of backyard pools, and placing new pools in historically underserved neighborhoods would improve equity and livability.
    Please email your City Council reps your story about Austin pools, and encourage them to budget appropriately for operations and maintenance. In the upcoming bond election for long-term projects, keep in mind that we have an opportunity to perpetuate a legacy that makes Austin special.
Laura Cottam Sajbel
Love Austin Pools

King: A Rare Treasure

RECEIVED Fri., June 1, 2018

Dear Editor,
    This is about Michael King's long-continuing gifts to my education as a citizen of Austin.
    My family just returned to Austin from a break in Colorado. Temperatures were in the mid 70s there, and the traffic was mostly light. But Austin came as a refreshing relief when we returned. Have you noticed that our population, segregated as we are in many ways, has a more robust diversity than lots of places, and seems to be working pretty harmoniously? Maybe, if we keep lurching along, we might find we already have the makings of a new and democratic Texas.
    And have you noticed that we have in Michael King a rare treasure, an observer of our civic life who reports our political and social lurchings (and harmonies) with an eye as sharp as his heart is warm, a reporter whose principles are as clean as his judgments are practical and inclusive?
    On returning from our vacation I checked out King's pieces on Democratic politics and on CodeNEXT issues. I came to both pieces with my usual lefty prejudices, assuming moderate Democrats and real estate developers are smelly at best. King's writing made me think harder about both. I can't imagine I'll want to cozy up to any mod Dems or developers soon, but King persuades me that they'll both be there in the new Texas, and had better be enlisted in the common progress rather than demonized.
    Michael King has, for more than two decades, pieced together such stories from looking hard at the facts and the people, week after week. I suspect his politics may be as progressive as I could wish for, but I get something better than feel-good strokes from reading his analysis. I get the feeling that this guy is mostly looking for a reasonably good way forward for the Austin community. And because of his long, intelligent commitment to the details and to the big picture, gross as they may be, I am willing to check my own pre-judgments.
    To have a public voice like Michael King's over a sustained period is miraculous, but more astonishing is his stubborn refusal to become cynical. If you had seen what he has sat with in the Council chamber and other tough rooms, could you find the stamina to be so fair, or so committed to even the possibility of common progress? And do you think this guy couldn't vent some lethal snarking if he decided to?
    How many cities are so lucky? Where are the journalism prizes for civic benefactors like Michael King?
Paul Sullivan
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