The total solar eclipse this month should serve as a reminder to all about the importance of science to understanding our planet and its place in the cosmos. Science allows us to precisely predict the path of the eclipse and the time it will be seen at specific locations.
It’s never a good idea to deny something that a great majority of scientists predict, but in the case of climate change our state and federal governments are denying that humans are warming the planet by injecting more carbon into the atmosphere. And why? Because doing something about it would reduce corporate profits. What sane society risks degrading our ability to exist on this planet for such a minimal and transitory benefit? Our grandchildren will not judge us kindly.
RICHARD HARTGROVE, AUSTIN
Re: Aug. 4 commentary, “Consumers should know the cost of low wages, factory food.”
Thank you, Adam Orman, for pointing out the reality of low wages for restaurant service employees and cheap, factory farm workers.
In Texas, those wages put us in the 20-plus states that pay employees under $3 an hour. That’s shameful! Your concept of making sure employees of L’Oca d’Oro are paid a minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, even if their tips don’t boost their wage to that level, is outstanding.
I think every customer should tip at least 20 percent, and even more, if the food quality and service is above average. My wife and I rarely dine out — but I’m putting L’Oca d’Oro on our list of places to dine.
FLAVIUS HARKRIDER, LIBERTY HILL
Re: Aug. 8 article, “Here’s why you can’t swim in Lady Bird Lake. Wait — you can’t swim in Lady Bird Lake?”
Even if you could swim in Lady Bird Lake, you wouldn’t want to. The city’s own measurements rate its water quality as “below average.”
Dirty runoff is a big cause. Rain picks up chemicals, oil, litter, and animal waste when it flows over roofs, streets and yards. It then carries these pollutants into creeks and lakes. But we can cut runoff by keeping rain where it falls, and we can do that by using rain gardens, green roofs, permeable pavement and rain harvesting.
These features are called green stormwater infrastructure. In June, the City Council voted unanimously to support their increased use. The city should now follow up by improving its GSI policies, including in CodeNext.
Lady Bird Lake shouldn’t just be pretty to look at. By using green infrastructure to cut runoff pollution, we can make it clean enough for swimming.
BRIAN ZABCIK, ENVIRONMENT TEXAS CLEAN WATER ADVOCATE, AUSTIN
Re: Aug. 3 advertisement, “Why are local government and local control at the center of the debate in the Legislature’s Special Session?”
The full page ad in the Statesman from the Texas Public Policy Foundation is a typical Republican attempt to put lipstick on a pig. The Republicans are all in favor of “freedom” — except when someone besides them wants to exercise it.
Very simply, the GOP needs to realize that the 10th Amendment allows the people to regulate their own affairs — as long as that is not in contradiction to an specific federal power. Many conservatives realize this and are honest enough to support this concept, even when it does not always act in their favor.
Yes, the state can try and overrule cities — and maybe this needs to be decided in more detail by the Supreme Court. But in the United States, all state power originates from the citizens — even those who don’t agree with the Republican Party.
MARK MCCARTHY, ROUND ROCK
Re: Aug. 10 commentary, “Why the U.S. doesn’t need Canada’s immigration system.”
Delisa Bressler lauds our family-based system of immigration because we’ve always done it and it’s better for families. The question raised by the GOP proposal to move to a merit-based system is: Which system is better for the U.S.?
Canada has several pathways to immigration. Canada favors family ties; it just doesn’t weight them as heavily as the U.S. has done. Given quotas and admitting relatives in preference to merit reduces the number of more-qualified immigrants who can be accepted, clearly a less rational choice.
Australia, Germany, UK and France have systems like Canada’s. Maybe they’re on to something, maybe not. But if we want immigration to make the U.S. stronger, then we should at least consider different ways to achieve that goal. The GOP proposal is a start; Bressler’s superficial defense of the status quo is not.
LIN HUGHES, AUSTIN