Austin's 'festival fatigue'
Re: Oct. 27 article, “As tourism booms, town faces ‘festival fatigue.’”
I find it ironic that the American-Statesman reports on Michaganders getting fed up with too many events in their town, while many long-time Austinites feel the same way, yet get no press. It’s great that Austin City Limits, Formula One, South by Southwest, etc. bring in tourism money, but they also reduce the quality of life for those of us who actually live here and pay taxes. Auditorium Shores may be completely closed to dogs to accommodate ACL promoter demands, roads are closed almost weekly for races or festivals, and the influx certainly does not improve traffic. When do we say enough?
Compost animals, too
Re: Oct. 26 letter to the editor, “Composting fowl.”
Composting dead animals is indeed possible and recommended. The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, in their bulletin “On-Farm Mortality Composting of Livestock Carcasses,” states that by definition, composting is a controlled biological decomposition process that converts organic matter into a stable, humus-like product. There is no mention of plant matter. It concludes, after giving a how-to guide on composting an entire cow, with, “When properly managed, composting livestock mortalities is a safe, effective option for producers to consider, while producing a valuable soil amendment.” Several other state and regional extension services publish similar guides if the author wishes to learn more about composting.
A recycling oddity
With my utility bill this month, I received a very nice guide for the city of Austin recycling cart. I also saw a recent news story on what to recycle and problems the city is having with people putting the wrong stuff in their recycling carts. There was a good list of what items can be recycled and a list of what not to recycle.
The one item I have questioned for a long time, cardboard milk cartons, was not listed in either list. I had to call 311 to find out that cardboard milk cartons cannot be recycled. Considering that almost every house in Austin buys milk and a lot of it comes in cardboard cartons, you would think it would be listed.
What does Prop. 6 help?
Re: Oct. 27 commentary, “Drown red tape in order to confront state water challenges.”
If Arlene Wohlgemuth and her lobbying organization — Texas Public Policy Foundation — are supporting Prop 6, then you can be certain that Prop 6, if it passes, will favor the interests of big business over the needs of the citizens of our great state.
Protect foster children
Red alert to Gov. Rick Perry: Come home from Israel immediately to protect foster children in Texas, who clearly are in grave danger due to your neglect. The buck stops at your desk. Get every last foster child in Texas into a safe place now. Don’t tell me and all Texas taxpayers this is impossible. If we can build giant toll roads and fancy race tracks, we can take care of children. Shame on you, governor, if you do not hear the cry of these innocents.
Not feeding child is abuse
Re: Oct. 27 article, “Hispanic Shift.”
Why is it the responsibility of the schools to feed students breakfast? If a parent cannot or will not feed their child, that child is abused. Food stamps are there for the indigent. Our children should be our priority.
Protect SNAP from cuts
Re: Oct. 25 letter to the editor, “Taking care of the children.”
The letter supporting increased funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program was right on target. Of the 1 in 6 Texans who benefited from this program in 2012, over half were working but not making enough to provide the food their families need. Federal SNAP funds also directly benefit local retailers and businesses. SNAP benefits pumped $6 billion into the Texas economy in 2012, and every $1 in SNAP benefits generates $1.70 in local economic activity.
Friday’s letter mentioned how hard it is for children to learn while hungry or sick and that well-educated children “become the adults who are our workforce, leaders, voters and our future.” I urge U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul of Austin and U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz to protect SNAP benefits from cuts in the final farm bill and insure a healthy future for Texas families.
Health law needs time
Temporary website problems do not mean that Obamacare doesn’t work. My family applied for an individual health insurance plan around 1997. The applications were long and took days to fill out. I had to provide proof of denial due to preexisting conditions by three separate health insurance companies before I was allowed to buy extremely expensive, high co-pay health insurance through the state-supported Texas High Risk Health Insurance Pool. Give the Affordable Care Act a chance. Don’t listen to Texans with short-term memory loss who forget how difficult and expensive it was to obtain individual health insurance policies before the Affordable Care Act.