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House approves controversial change to ‘sanctuary cities’ bill

Letters to the editor: April 16, 2017

Re: April 9 commentary,“Lawmakers could help avoid a Flint disaster here in Texas.”

Thank you for publishing Luke Metzger’s piece about protecting Texas children from lead in school drinking water. As a pediatrician, mother and member of Texas Physicians for Social Responsibility, I fully support House Bill 3695 and Senate Bill 1587, which would require testing water for lead, installing filters and replacing lead pipes in child-care facilities and schools.

Young children are the most vulnerable to lead poisoning. Early lead exposure — even at low levels — is linked to speech and motor delays, attention problems and difficulties learning. These effects are permanent: The longest study of adults exposed to lead as children shows that 25 years later they performed worse on intelligence testing, had higher rates of substance abuse and had lower socioeconomic status. Texans must protect our kids from lead exposure at school. The lessons of Flint, Michigan, must be learned, not forgotten.


Re: April 7 article,“Key element of Austin housing plan in jeopardy at the Capitol.”

In order to respond appropriately to the growing housing affordability problem in key parts of this state, we need to correctly identify its cause.

People are flocking to Texas in search of economic opportunity. Population growth is concentrated in and around Texas’ major cities.

Basic economics tells us that when demand for housing surges, prices for housing will increase if supply is unable to rise to meet demand. This is exactly the case in our major metropolitan areas.

Increased regulations and fees on construction — including linkage fees — make it even harder for supply to meet demand; this exacerbates the affordability problem. Cities should be making it easier for housing supply to meet demand, not harder.

The Texas Legislature should be applauded for correctly identifying that linkage fees are a solution that will worsen the affordability problem, not solve it.


Re: April 7 article,“Bills stalling or stopping bullet train pass Texas Senate committee.”

Our state legislators constantly yap about free enterprise and freedom of choice. However, when a rail company offers to finance and build a rail line offering Texans a choice in travel mode, these same legislators fall all over themselves to find reasons to oppose it. Our legislators also yap about the sanctity of human life.

Nevertheless, when offered a travel mode which is far safer than the car, they oppose it. Maybe they are only concerned with unborn babies. They have a point there. Unborn babies don’t write letters to the editor pointing out how silly they look.


Re: April 5 article,“Travis home values jump 8 percent for 2017.”

I am an Austin Independent School District teacher with 23 years’ experience. I teach special education and I absolutely love my job!

However, I feel that the property taxes in Austin are taxing me out of this city. After deductions for taxes, teacher retirement, insurance, and a contribution of $208 a month to medical withholding, I take home $2,891 a month. My property taxes after protest this year were $3,676. I received my tax appraisal for this year — and it is close to $4,100.

How is a teacher and single-parent family supposed to stay in his or her house? Add to this that Austin ISD just increased my copay to $60 per doctor’s visit and increased deductibles and premiums. Something has to give!


Re: April 8 letter to the editor,“Bigger needs than public broadcasting funding.”

The writer seems to think that cutting the budget for public broadcasting will somehow have this great effect in saving the U.S. money. The $450 million — or $1.35 per citizen per year — it gets pales in comparison to the $596 billion we spend on the military.

We spend more on the military than the next seven countries combined. More than half of what Americans pay in taxes goes to military spending. Cuts to military spending — instead of increasing the funding of it — and diverting the money elsewhere would much help more than cutting spending to public broadcasting.


Our president seems to believe that undesirable Mexicans keep oozing across the border and damaging our country and that we will be safer with a wall to keep them out. Yet our own young men commit acts of terrorism. A better safeguard is to better educate our own young, would-be terrorists: teach skills, reward progress.

Maintain our centuries of good relationship with Mexico.


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