Traffic study inadequate
Re: Dec. 24 article, “Traffic study paints bleak future for Austin.”
I assume the Texas A&M traffic study included such issues as HOV lanes, park and ride, toll roads, etc. Did the study look into other cities in Texas, the U.S. or other global cities that are facing similar situations to get ideas as to how they may have solved their traffic problems? I also note that the study apparently was limited to surface type of travel: road and rail.
Was any consideration given to subway travel, which exists in many U.S. and world cities. The study, which is based on a probable situation that may exist in 2035, is a very short-term approach for an area, which is subject to great population growth because of the nature of its economy. We need a study that is at least 50 to 75 years in the future with the thought of an underground system that will be able to transport more than 1 million workers per day.
The master of gridlock
The Interstate 35 lifestyle makes us all miserable. Whether stuck on a “flyover“ south of town or headed north to a family Christmas party, my wife (traveling under her new voter registration card name) and I have experienced nothing but gridlock anguish on I-35 this merry season. And now, a Texas A&M study has weighed in with its own Armageddon-like predictions for Austin’s “interregional” highway.
I am not saying that current reality is an Aggie prediction, but I am curious why Phil Wilson, who headed up the Texas Department of Transportation, was put in charge of the Lower Colorado River Authority and our critical water issues? His resume appears to be message control, not problem solving. Is Wilson just another chieftain from Gov. Rick Perry’s tribe of obfuscators? I think we have been down this road before.
Gun solution too easy
While I have to respect the right of anyone to self-defense, not only does it seem that many are resorting to firearms as a “first option,” but that many are doing so (as evidenced by the case of the 14-year-old girl shot and killed by her stepfather, as well as the shooting of the Burleson County deputy sheriff) without a clear assessment or understanding of the situation at hand. This seems to lend itself mainly to the needless loss of life in situations that could perhaps have been defused, short of the introduction of a gun.
These two cases sound like someone may have been a little too ready, looking for an opportunity to put a firearm to use. The rights of firearm use as outlined under the law should carry with them heavy responsibilities. With this in mind, all I ask is that we each take a closer look at the seriousness of this issue before ever picking up a gun.
Stop blaming race, others
Re: Dec. 22 article, “Inclusion is far from reality for black women in Austin.”
First, I am appalled that Joshunda Sanders’ story was even published in the American-Statesman. Her article is obviously one woman’s struggle blamed on skin color. Instead of taking the high road to write about the difficulty of fitting in when you are not a “home-grown” Texan, she chooses to bring race into the equation. Austin is a melting pot of so many nationalities. I don’t think any one race or sex is singled out.
I moved here four years ago from Wisconsin and will admit I have felt it difficult to be accepted. My search for kindred spirits has been difficult as well. I find that church is a great place to start. Bottom line: Texans are extremely proud of their heritage. It just takes them awhile to warm up to a Texas transplant.
Stop complaining, stop blaming others, become approachable and likeable and people will warm up to you. And when they do, it’s amazing. True Southern hospitality. If you can’t do that, then consider moving back to where you came from.
Chagra article unworthy
Re: Dec. 27 article, “A high roller’s demise.”
I am really curious as to how a story on gangster Jimmy Chagra and a book yet to be written by one of his daughters earned placement as a center front-page story? The feature did not even belong in the book section as it only has a title, and good grief what a title: “Dirty Darlings: A Story of Big Shots, Big Hair, Free Falling and a Texas-Sized Return to Grace.” I thought some grocery store rag had replaced my American-Statesman.
Lovely Christmas letters
On Christmas morning, I read all of the American-Statesman as usual, except the letters to the editor about memories of Christmases past, which I set aside for another time. I am glad I did as I read the letters in their entirety Friday morning in a more reflective and contemplative mood. What struck me was the thread expressed really in all of the letters you shared with us: The most cherished Christmas memories were not about extravagant gifts and feasts, but those of meager resources filled with love, generosity, family and remembering what Christmas is all about. That whole page was a wonderful Christmas gift to me.
Big bonuses not earned
Re: Dec. 23 article, “Pension funds’ officals due big bonuses.”
In a year that the market exceeded all expectations, we should not be paying public pension fund managers big bonuses for merely going along for the ride. These money managers are already grossly well compensated. The Teacher Retirement System will lose $6.7 million by paying bonuses for essentially investing in a market that did very well. This money could have been reinvested in the system, making it stronger for people who really worked hard for their retirement money and for the taxpayers who have stood behind them.