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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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Cali Recall Brawl

RECEIVED Tue., Sept. 7, 2021

Dear Editor,
    Regardless of the outcome of California’s current gubernatorial recall election, the state of California’s recall provision needs to be reformed immediately after election day, September 14th. And here’s why:
    Any completely unqualified attention seeker with $4,000 for the candidate‘s filing fee can be the largest state in the Union’s next governor, so long as they survive the Battle Royale runoff where dozens of depressingly dimwitted dolts compete to be California’s last political comic standing.
    No need for a democratic majority of the vote, if you’re one of this year’s 46 ridiculous replacement candidates. After all, Hollywood action hero Arnold Schwarzenegger only received 48.6% of the vote when he replaced Governor Gray Davis after the successful recall vote in 2003.
    Now in 2021, if California’s current Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom is recalled his Republican replacement will take over with at best half of Schwarzenegger’s percentage of the vote. Gov. Larry Elder? Yeah, I don’t think so. The only thing hosting a right-wing radio show qualifies loser Larry for is admittance to a local insane asylum in L.A. when Newsom survives the recall.
    For California’s sake, we must change the recall law to ensure that this is the final curtain call for the crazy clown car of recall candidates circus that has made a silly situation stupid!  (And we Californians are paying $276,000,000 for this malarkey?!)
    In addition to eliminating the clown car of recall candidates, the recall provision should be reformed so that if a future governor is recalled by the voters, the sitting lieutenant governor becomes the state’s next governor.
Jacob Pickering

Waterloo Accuracy

RECEIVED Tue., Sept. 7, 2021

Dear Editor,
    I am disappointed in Nick Barbaro’s puerile editorial on the re-opening of Waterloo Park ["What Have They Done to Our Park?" News, Sept. 3]. His trite and historically inaccurate summary fails Chronicle readers by reducing to a self-interested tantrum what should have been a thoughtful critique of this signature project.
    He makes the bizarre and false assertion that Waterloo Park was “jealously preserved ever since the earliest city plats.” L.J. Pilie’s first 1939 plat map of Austin shows the blocks of what is now Waterloo Park platted for homes and businesses. Waterloo Park didn’t open until 1975, after six blocks of homes were condemned and their residents displaced - a fact Barbaro seems to have overlooked in his ballyhooed exploration of Waterloo Greenway’s website.
    In misrepresenting the history of this space, Barbaro eschews the chance to be a scholar and settles instead to be a scold. The notion that the new iteration of Waterloo Park is somehow less of a park than it was 10 years ago is laughable and reveals Barbaro’s actual complaint: that it just doesn’t look like what he thinks a park should look like. This is evident in his histrionic description of the parks’ concrete walks (“buried under concrete”) that fails to recognize how they open the park to new users - including parents with strollers, children and the elderly, and persons with mobility challenges - who could not previously participate in the public life of Waterloo Park.
    Barbaro’s dismissal of the park as “a complete lost cause” illustrates an insensitivity to how people other than himself use parks and to the responsibilities of contemporary public space. He clings to a pastoral, autobiographical notion of parks, implying that the “undeveloped” Waterloo Park of 10 years ago should be cast in amber while ironically finding the gall to label the Waterloo Park of today as a “park museum.” In truth, the new Waterloo Park belongs to more people and must provide for the needs of a more diverse set of park-goers than Barbaro is willing to recognize.
    It is disappointing that Barbaro is so seemingly uninterested in the history, present, and future of public spaces. I encourage him to pass the task of this writing to someone who is.
Brendan Wittstruck
   Publisher Nick Barbaro responds: Dang, you're absolutely right about the history; I was confusing it with the long-gone "Public Space" that was down the street at 10th & Trinity (where First Baptist Church stands now). Shoulda just left that line out, but I stand by the rest of the review; you can't let the built environment so completely overwhelm the natural environment and have a great, or even adequate park.

Boost the Plans

RECEIVED Tue., Sept. 7, 2021

Dear Editor,
    I just learned through this article ["Council Gets Briefed on Controversial I-35 Plans," News, Sept. 3] about the I-35 expansion plan. I live in South Austin and rarely use I-35 because of the traffic. I imagine there are more people like me who don't even know this plan is in the works. I suggest Cit of A, if it is interested in public involvement, publicize this more. Perhaps they don't want our ideas but, certainly, more people need to know about this.
Kathy Hamilton

Quick Thank You

RECEIVED Sat., Sept. 4, 2021

Dear Editor,
    Just a quick note to thank Margaret Moser for her "Going Back to 'Lake Charles'" from October 1998. Beautifully said.
Teri
   Editor's Note: Margaret Moser, patron saint of Austin music and a longtime Chronicle staffer, passed away in August of 2017 after a four-year struggle with colon cancer. Three months before her death, the Chronicle published a special issue devoted to Margaret featuring tributes from 23 of her peers, mentors, and protégés, including her longtime friend/"Lake Charles" scribe Lucinda Williams.

Keep the Concrete

RECEIVED Thu., Sept. 2, 2021

Dear Editor,
    I'm not familiar with the previous version of Waller Creek Park, so I really enjoyed seeing the new one. I was surprised at the scathing critique Nick Barbaro wrote in your most recent issue [“What Have They Done to Our Park?” News, Sept. 3]. He used the word "concrete" five times. If you re-read the piece substituting the words "handicapped accessible" for the word "concrete," do you react differently? I certainly did. The same critique could be made of the recent addition of a long, constructed (not natural turf) walkway in Little Walnut Creek Park off North Lamar. And think how many more people can enjoy the park who couldn't do that if the trails were all natural turf.
Mary E. Milam

What's with Waterloo

RECEIVED Thu., Sept. 2, 2021

Dear Chronicle,
    Thanks to Publisher Nick Barbaro for calling out the travesty that is the newly reopened Waterloo Park. What a massive waste of money. The old park was perfectly fine. Fond memories of old Waterloo Park – lovely picnic w/former girlfriend; fabulous Patti Smith concert; et al. Don’t get me started on The Triangle and The Grove – two invaluable plots of land that should’ve/could've been preserved as city green space/park land.
Sincerely,
Marty Lange
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