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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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Cemetery Troubles

RECEIVED Mon., Nov. 21, 2022

Dear Editor,
    It is hard to deal with this publicly, but I feel the need to add to recent submissions regarding Austin’s cemeteries.
    My family was devastated by the death of my 5-year-old grandson in 2021 following a two-year battle with pediatric cancer. We buried our beloved little superhero at Austin Memorial Park. Seems unimaginable, but the cemetery administrators managed to add to our already tremendous grief. The worst incident involved the chopping down of the gentle tree that stood directly at the head of my grandson’s plot and that led us to that spot. I contacted the staff to replace the tree and offered to cover the expense. All evidence pointed to the cemetery staff mistakenly thinking the tree was dead and chopping it down. The staff rejected my plea and said the stump would remain. It was a heartbreak every day to see the little stump at the head of the grave, and as the date marking one year from his death was approaching, it was a terrible, terrible time for our family. The callous and unreasonable action of the staff was reversed only after I got the attention of the PARD director who immediately acted to plant a new tree. We are very grateful to her, but there is no excuse for the behavior of the cemetery staff and no reason to believe they do not treat other families in the same way. In particular, random enforcement of rules that are unclear to begin with have hurt ours and other families.
    The proposed rules do not ensure proper functioning. One glaring omission is a process to appeal decisions of the cemetery administrators.
    Everyone who thinks they may ever wish to bury a loved one in an Austin cemetery should pay attention to the process underway. Know what you are getting yourself into.
Sandra Reynolds

From the Shadows

RECEIVED Sun., Nov. 20, 2022

Dear Editor,
    I am an avid Chronicle fan. Without any social media accounts, I partially rely on Chronicle staff to be well informed & connected within the diverse Austin communities, so that I can stay well informed & connected … mainly within the queer/trans community.
    With that said, my heart sank & was angered upon reading the Qmmunity section in the Nov. 18, 2022, issue. Nov. 20 is Transgender Day of Remembrance. As someone who volunteered countless hours to organize Austin TDOR events for four years, I found a deep connection with the Austin trans community. These years were pre-Bathroom Bill, pre-ally influx … the years where maybe 3-4 people in Austin had the luxury of being "gay for pay"/being paid for queer labor. Thus TDOR was always a labor of love. A ritual for our community.
    The Nov. 18 Chronicle could have showcased that love. Lifted the spirits of our community. But instead the current Qmmunity editor boasted about themselves, not once mentioning the vibrant trans community & the legacies of our community. Appalling!
    Austin now has a strong "gay for pay" population – Qmmunity editor being one of the most visible. Thus, these people have a responsibility to our spotlight those who don't have the luxury to have such a platform … especially those who aren't compensated for their queer labor … not to spotlight themself.
    Please have your editor step aside immediately & [be] replaced by someone who understands leadership from the shadows. Sees leaders in the shadows. Uplifts the shadows of our community.
Anonymous
   Qmmunity Editor James Scott responds: I apologize for not acknowledging Trans Day of Remembrance in my Nov. 18 column. As a trans man, honoring the losses our community has suffered is very important to me, and so I do regret not adding any mention of TDoR. However, I will not step down from my post as editor nor will I refrain from being an active presence in Qmmunity's coverage of Austin's LGBTQ community. Instead, I'll take your comments as a learning opportunity for future columns. Thank you for your feedback.

Art and Science

RECEIVED Thu., Nov. 17, 2022

Dear Editor,
    Austin has so little in the way of art and science. It is shameful that we pride ourselves on noisy street music and neglect the real Arts and Sciences. As a city of culture we lack in every way, even our fine classical music is not treated well. The Austin Opera is dismal and the symphony does not measure up to other cities' standards. It is shameful.
Saundra S. Ragona
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