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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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Dinosaur Pee

RECEIVED Tue., June 18, 2019

Dear People,
    Did you know that you drink dinosaur pee? Water molecules from those days are still here, constantly churning around. You also breathe the same air as Julius Caesar. The Earth is pretty much a closed system, so everything just keeps recirculating.
    And gentlemen, did you know you only have half as much sperm as your great-grandpa? Male fertility has been dropping rapidly during the last century.
    So what do these two things have in common? It turns out that bits of plastic are going around and around and getting tinier all the time. Microplastics have even been found drifting in the air, high in the French Alps. Many plastics cause cancer, birth defects, and yes, sterility.
    The U.S. plastics industry is poised to have a record-breaking year. As we add thousands of tons of plastic garbage to the planet every day we're not just making an unsightly mess, we're possibly guaranteeing the extinction of most life forms. Including us.
Cheers,
Christopher Jones
Austin

Austin Losing Its Identity

RECEIVED Mon., June 17, 2019

Dear Editor,
    Historically, Austin has been the center point of many different cultures since the late 1800s. From the Anglicans to the Tejanos, Austin was one of the most diverse places in America. While reading The Austin Chronicle's article "Austin at Large: Money Changes Everything" [News, June 14], I realized Austin is essentially losing its identity. The families that have lived in Austin and surrounding areas are pushed out and rich businessmen and the upper class are flooding Austin. Sales taxes, such as the ones that were experienced by Wally's, are forcing small businesses to be replaced by larger corporations. Austin's history won't be one of a rich, diverse history of intercultural mixtures, rather the wealthy moving Austin like a puppet. However, the businesses do bring in millions of dollars for growth as well as developing Austin into a national powerhouse. The issue is that this rapid development is both not supported by the infrastructure and more importantly, is at the cost of the original Austinites that have been here for generations. I believe that your article best describes this growing issue and I hope that the balance between the upper, middle, and lower class is held and we can all thrive together.
Bhargav Annem

AIBA Did Not Form PAC

RECEIVED Mon., June 17, 2019

Dear Editor,
    I read with surprise your article from last week’s Chronicle, "Battle Lines Drawn on Convention Center Expansion," [News, June 14]. Specifically surprising is your assertion that the Austin Independent Business Alliance (AIBA) was one of the entities that formed Unconventional Austin. We were not.
    The leaders of AIBA voted to endorse the petition put forth by Unconventional Austin. As president of the Board of Directors, I can assure you that AIBA did not form Unconventional Austin or any other PAC and we would appreciate the opportunity to respond to such claims.
    This is the second article that The Austin Chronicle has written on the topic that misstates facts and includes innuendos. Both were written without talking to anyone at AIBA. Please work harder in getting your facts straight.
Jeff Heckler
AIBA Board President
   News Editor Mike Clark-Madison responds: The article states that "leaders of" groups including AIBA "formed" Unconventional Austin, precisely because we know, and have reported, that the organization as a whole has not taken a position on Convention Center expansion. To claim that leaders of AIBA have not engaged with this issue is silly – look at their website and see for yourself – but nor is it, in our view, unethical for them to do so (as a 501(c)(6), AIBA is allowed to engage in political action), so we're unclear what "innuendo" is being perceived here.

Feeling Left Out

RECEIVED Mon., June 17, 2019

Dear Editor,
    I always enjoy reading the Chronicle's special features because there is so much info to add to a person's idea of Austin. However, your First Plates insert on food really dropped the ball regarding North Central Austin. This is the most international district in the city, and so neglected in coverage by all of the media regarding our cultural events (except the Austin Asian American Film Festival, the same week). I would like to highlight the following (non-hoity-toity) restaurants of international diversity in our area: Arpeggio Grill (Mediterranean), Taco More (authentic Mexican), Santorini Cafe (Greek), Pho Van & Pho Dan (Vietnamese), Tropicana (Cuban), Bombay to Kathmandu (Indian), Din Ho Chinese BBQ, Ramen Tatsu-ya, Balkan Cafe. There is so much to enjoy in North Central Austin, don't leave us out.
Caro Dubois
   Food Editor Jessi Cape responds: Thanks so much for your letter. I agree the spots you named are great, and "non-hoity-toity" restaurants are often my personal favorites (hence last year's No. 1 spot Eldorado Cafe, and this year's No. 1 spot Home Slice North Loop). This year we inducted Ramen Tatsu-ya into the Virginia B. Wood Hall of Fame, and last year Din Ho was inducted. Those restaurants – 27 on the list now – are ones we believe define Austin always. Taco More has won First Plates three times, and others you mentioned have been included in past years as well. Because there are so many fantastic spots to eat in North Central Austin, we moved some of them into the Midtown area, and I think you'll really enjoy that list. All of that said, I certainly wish we could include so many more places, but we have to narrow the list to 100 restaurants and 30 trailers (plus Hall of Fame inductees) – a very difficult task! Every year we try to spread the love to restaurants, new and established, that deserve recognition but have never been included, which sometimes means others fall off the list for a year or so. I've made note of your suggestions and will take them into consideration for the Food section going forward. Thanks for reading the Chronicle! [Note: Winners from 2013-present and the Hall of Fame can be found at austinchronicle.com/first-plates.]
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