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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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Is Democracy Slipping off the Lege?

RECEIVED Wed., April 24, 2019

Dear Editor,
    The Texas Lege is in full swing. Our legislatures are voting on and enacting hundreds of new laws – many of which cripple our communities, our environment, and our democratic rights. 
    Companion bills House Bill 3557/Senate Bill 1993 could seriously “impede” our ability to protect the beloved Hill Country from the Permian Highway Pipeline or any other critical infrastructure corporate America says is vital.
    Here’s the quick and dirty.
    HB 3557 & SB 1993 are attempts at fascist capitalism that quash resistance to “critical infrastructure” projects (aka eminent domain ploys) by mercilessly throwing second-degree felony charges, the equivalent of a murderer or rapist, at folks who step foot on property or block roadways, aka interfering, impeding, or inhibiting operations/construction. It applies to landowners protecting their property from damage just as easily it penalizes a protester standing there holding a sign. Does the punishment equal the crime? Eighth Amendment violation?
    To further hogtie folks, an organization or business, regardless of relationship or knowledge, who has at some point “compensated” an individual who happens to get arrested at critical infrastructure site can be fined $1 million. So, churches, schools, unions, clubs, NGOs, community organizations, etc. … better vet all your members, affiliates, and employees and watch them 24/7 because you never know who is going to do what on their private time. First Amendment rights violation? 
    If you don’t want you or other folks capriciously fined a million bucks “regardless of relationship” or imprisoned because you dared to protect your property or your community, CALL or EMAIL your representatives and senators today!
    Without our participation, there’s no accountability, there’s no democracy – simply greasy handshake deals, corporate buyouts, and demoralizing compromises.
    Who's got your back? Not the Lege.
Lori Glover
Alpine, TX

Brussels Sprouts Save Lives

RECEIVED Mon., April 22, 2019

Dear Editor,
    In the foodie city that is Austin, not everyone gets to enjoy the mouthwatering pleasures of this delicious city. In fact, most of the low-income communities in Austin aren’t even within walking distance of a grocery store. Their next best option? Their local convenience store.
    What can be done? What can YOU do? First, ask the members of the community – they experience this every day and will be able to tell you what is sustainable and what is not in their space. Advocate for more grocery stores to be built in low-income neighborhoods, particularly where they are accessible without having to cut their grocery list down due to transportation costs. Five ZIP codes in Austin do not have a full service grocery store as of 2016 – entire ZIP codes!
    We need long-term solutions. We want everyone to be able to know the comforts of a good, nutritious, home-cooked meal, the ones that make your mouth water thinking about them. The long-term effects of good nutrition and even having accessible full-sized grocery stores can alleviate the societal cost of health care, dependence on welfare programs, and the costs of crime. I invite you to search the internet to learn more – a simple search can help enlighten all of us about how critical this issue is in our city and the health of our future communities. Yes, Brussels sprouts can save lives!
Bethany McNamara
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