Letters to the editor: Aug. 18, 2017


Re: Aug. 12 article, “Activists say Austin plan for 65 percent renewable energy isn’t enough.”

If you had told me that Georgetown would achieve 100 percent renewable energy while Austin balked at making such a commitment, well — I guess pigs can fly!

The unforeseen consequences of going to all wind and solar have equaled — if not overshadowed — the initial benefits, which were prioritized as strictly financial. Now Georgetown is world-famous. Our mayor is an international celebrity. Left and right find common ground. Businesses are clamoring to relocate here because they can get great “green cred” by saying their products are made 100-percent fossil-fuel-free.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler has signed on to the Paris accord, but Mayor Dale Ross of Georgetown is the only Texas mayor signed on to Mayors For 100 Percent Clean Energy. Prices for clean energy technology are dropping dramatically while availability expands in Texas. Austin, don’t get left behind — be the biggest American city to do the right thing.

MARTIN BYHOWER, GEORGETOWN

Re: Aug. 13 commentary, “Adler: Resist lawmakers’ distractions from broken property tax system.”

I was surprised to learn from Austin Mayor Steve Adler’s editorial that most of the increase in Austin’s school taxes over the past four years has gone back into the state coffers under recapture, aka “Robin Hood.”

At a town hall meeting in April, Rep. Donna Howard told us these dollars are not even required to be spent on public education. The state instead uses a portion of the recaptured funds from school districts like Austin, Eanes, Lakeway and Round Rock to balance the general revenue budget. This amounts to a bait-and-switch for taxpayers in these property-rich school districts.

Taxing districts should be required to break out, on our annual tax bills, the actual dollar amount from our school taxes that gets sent to the state under Robin Hood. And we need a “truth in taxation law” requiring that all recaptured school taxes be spent on public K-12 education.

LOUISE NELSON, AUSTIN

It is more than unbelievable how out of touch the Austin City Council is in their over-the-top plans to raise taxes on already burdened Austin homeowners. Their aggressive and excessive targeting of businesses last year, which should have actually provided much-needed relief for home owners, isn’t stopping these politicians from pursuing and continuing their “tax ’em till they drop” stance against homeowners.

It’s high time to elect individuals who can grasp the meaning of service and support of Austin homeowners and businesses and not taxpayer servitude to these politicians and their personal agendas.

PAULA HARTMAN, AUSTIN

Trump’s handling of North Korea is yet another example of the stress this presidency is placing on Americans. In short order, he has managed to turn a revered institution into a reality show with bizarre, erratic behavior seemingly injected to keep ratings up. His lack of study of domestic and international issues contributes to the impression that he doesn’t care to exert the effort necessary to govern this country.

Americans are used to watching our presidents rapidly age from the burden of office. This time, it’s the American people feeling stress while Trump tweets away. Each week feels like a month — and just when one thinks it can’t get any worse, it actually does. Watching news is depressing; knowing Trump has the nuclear codes undoubtedly has more Americans reaching for the Xanax. Trump’s removal from office can’t come soon enough. Let’s urge Congress to vote him off the island.

DARIUS TERRELL, AUSTIN

The Texas Senate voted (21-10) to pass a “bathroom bill.” The House’s bathroom bill, House Bill 2899, was authored by 80 out of 150 members. Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick support a bathroom bill, as do the vast majority of Texans who elected them. Hundreds of religious leaders brought a letter to state legislators signed by 1,000-plus Texas pastors who support this bill. House Speaker Joe Straus has refused throughout both sessions to allow a House vote on a bathroom bill. One man is defying the entire state and destroying our democratic process.

The Texas House should do the right thing and protect the innocence, modesty and safety of Texas children and women. Texans should demand a House bathroom bill vote and the removal of Straus as speaker.

MICHAEL ELLIS, BELTON

President Trump addressed the events in Charlottesville last weekend. He condemned violence “on many sides.” Then, as if we doubted his sincerity, he repeated “on many sides,” as if those who stand against hate and violence are somehow just as bad as those who foster hate and violence. This shows President Trump has the moral courage of a playground bully who cowardly cannot admit the truth when confronted with it. Trump’s hero, the “late, great Abraham Lincoln,” would never have delayed one moment in calling out the perpetrators of this evil. But, I guess President Trump needs their hateful support.

President Trump’s moral leadership of this nation is obscene. He has abdicated that leadership.

JOHN WILLIAMS, MANOR



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