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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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Bees Under Attack

RECEIVED Wed., July 10, 2019

Dear Editor,
    We all know a few simple truths about bees. They’re yellow, they make honey, and sometimes they sting us. But when someone sees a beehive in their backyard, they take a glimpse into the hard work bees do for us all. Whether it’s our morning cup of coffee or the juicy watermelons we enjoy during hot Texas summers, these fuzzy little creatures pollinate so many of our essential foods. And right now, they’re under attack.
    Bee-killing pesticides called neonicotinoids, one of the leading causes of bee death, contribute to widespread colony collapse – a phenomenon claiming at least 30% of our honeybee colonies every winter, or twice the sustainable rate.
    Fortunately, it’s not too late to act. Just last week, thanks to the hard work of Environment Texas volunteers and canvassers, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department agreed to cease using these chemicals in state parks. This is a great victory, but we still have a long way to go. We can have a healthy future for generations to come, but that means a major effort by all of us to move away from these harmful chemicals, and shift to more sustainable farming practices.
Trent Hyatt

WHAT ARE WE YELLING ABOUT?

RECEIVED Wed., July 10, 2019

Dear Editor,
    BYOSC: Bring your own shopping cart. If you want to SHOP at Randall's, Dollar General, or Target, you now have to bring a shopping cart. These stores have NO-MO. The shopping carts are a ll located at Ben White and Manchaca Road. But they serve a purpose there; they're a perfect CATCH-ALL for all the TRASH flying around, and the carts are also a perfect trash receptacle. So Mr. Mayor and Mr. Casar, how about hopping on a bike or a scooter, head SOUTH to this intersection. Have a LOOK-SEE. This is what we, the people of this “HOOD” have to endure every “FRIGGIN DAY”! Don't forget to bring spray disinfectant for your shoes. Just in case you want to take a tour of the “BWM (Ben White Manchaca)” HOOD.
Thx's
J.J. Maldonado

Essentially Relevant Performance

RECEIVED Tue., July 9, 2019

Dear Editor,
    June 30, I had the good fortune of witnessing the performance of Sacred Earth Stories ["Saving Gaia," Arts, June 28]. I was dumbstruck! This performance was essentially relevant.
    The dancing was spellbinding, the music awesome, but it was so much more! This telling of this story, through music, spoken word, images, but mostly incredibly emotional and compassionate dance blazes through the heart and speaks directly to the soul. The story is known to us, but we’ve denied it as awkward and inconvenient.
    The story is that of the Earth goddess, bearing all from Her womb, nurturing, loving, providing fertility, life, and growth. We experience her love, heartbreak, shock, indignity, anger, and helplessness as jealous gods trick and abuse her and a dominating culture arises from her children claiming reign over all life, “divine” ownership of her resources, disempowering and vilifying her, destroying her forests, oceans, and air. Our hearts clench with anguish and our lungs grope frantically as her very life is being snuffed. Yet our breasts fill with joy at the hope for revival at the hands of our youth.
    The supremist myth that we are more important than any other life must end! We must bring back the Goddess, embrace this Sacred Earth Story, let it embody us and spread through our society. We must intend the outcome, not accept our demise. This story can save our planet.
    It is essentially relevant.
    I regret that I was unable to send anyone else to see this. Sacred Earth Stories had only two performances. Anuradha Naimpally stated humbly that more performances would take a bit of financial backing for artists, crew, and theater rental. But Austin Dance India is ready.
    So, this is my callout to the Austin public. Let’s bring this performance back for many more to behold.
    It’s essential!
Tom Mitchell

Love for the USWNT

RECEIVED Mon., July 8, 2019

Dear Editor,
    I read your cover piece about the soccer wars ["Shoot Your Shot," News, June 28], and my question is this:
    Why is there a dumb fight over two men's teams, when women's soccer (and women) are much hotter?
    That's really all I want to say.
    I'll add that personally, I've never followed a sports team, but I am almost ready to get Megan Rapinoe's come-at-me gesture tattooed onto my body. I'm in love with the WNT, and if a women's team came to Austin now, I'd be into that. So over men.
Ellie Winkelman

TravCo "Gerrymandering"

RECEIVED Mon., July 8, 2019

Dear Editor,
    Pot, meet kettle.
    Really enjoyed Michael King's essay on redistricting and mean ol' Tom DeLay ["Point Austin: The Victory of Tom DeLay," News, July 5]. I'm sure Mr. DeLay also had a hand in the history of other line-drawing in Travis County over the years. King might want to check the history of line-drawing for Travis County Commissioners Court precincts over the past couple of decades.
    For over 100 years, these precincts were drawn in simple squares, covering the four corners of Travis County (NW, SW, NE, SE). All that changed as soon as an avowed Republican (oh, the horror!) was elected in Precinct 3.
    The following election, when a second conservative candidate came close to winning the Precinct 4 seat in Southwest Travis County, the Democrats on the court went into full apoplectic gerrymandering mode. Precinct lines were redrawn again in 2011 in order to further tweak the Democrats' stronghold on the court, creating precincts which would even make Tom DeLay blush.
    To the left, gerrymandering is only bad when it is used by the other guys.
    Aren't you guys the ones who always preach that diversity is good?
Billy Newberry
   Staff writer Michael King responds: While I don't begrudge Mr. Newberry his complaints about Democratic redistricting, his local electoral history seems more than a little fuzzy. A Republican (Gerald Daugherty) has served off and on in Precinct 3 (which is Southwest), and in 2010, Commissioner Margaret Gómez defeated her sole opposition (a Libertarian) with 84% of the vote, in Precinct 4 (which is in Southeast Travis County, not Southwest). While the Democrats on the Commissioners Court have not been shy about jockeying voters among each other – indeed, that's made Precinct 3 more Republican, not less – there is simply no comparison between the Travis County precinct boundaries and the extreme GOP gerrymandering of the Austin/Travis County congressional map.

Celebrating Crime Month

RECEIVED Fri., July 5, 2019

Dear Editor,
    First the soccer stadium sneaked through City Council. Now the crooks are back with a plan for an $800 million park heist ["New Plan Reimagines Walter E. Long Park," News, June 28].
    What dark forces control Boss Adler and his cronies? Smokescreen blame has been placed on the Parks and Recreation Board. In our swamp, the dysfunctional guardian of the public interest is making deals torn from the scripts of cable TV municipality melodramas. Here the deals are real and taxing beyond cable cutting.
    Amusement parks are the specialty of the private sector. Planetariums are the specialty of educational institutions. All taxpayers do not need to share the cost of fun for a few. Any other way is fodder for a media circus, about the Crime of the Century, even though the crooks always get away.
    Buy the land. Build a playground. Put up a sign. Voila! A park.
Chris Gallo
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