Letters to the editor: Dec. 16, 2017

    11:18 a.m. Friday, Dec. 15, 2017 Opinion

Re: Dec. 11 commentary, “Two Views: This was the year Texas bucked restrictive local policies.”

James Quintero’s commentary is a lot of hogwash and jibber-jabber.

It was not cities, counties and school districts that came up with the issue of local control, but the tea party Republicans. This position is not that local governments know best; it is the people who elect their local leaders that know best.

To say that abandoning local control is liberty is the jibber-jabber part. It is plain and simple. Locals elected representatives that did things the majority wanted — and Republicans didn’t like what some locals wanted. Here’s where the hogwash comes in: Only then did they begin to talk about liberty.

Quintero turns liberty inside out. Surely, there is liberty when local jurisdictions decide differently from one another on what ordinances they want. It is authoritarianism when the state says “no.”

LONNIE HAZLEWOOD, WEST LAKE HILLS

Re: Dec. 5 article, “Farenthold: I’ll repay taxpayers for sexual harassment settlement.”

Rep. Blake Farenthold’s offer to refund his $84,000 sexual harassment settlement to U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan is meeting the practice of government management employees of “pay to play.”

Since Ryan is not the U.S. Treasury or an agent for deposits, the money seems to be a bribe for his job or even a campaign contribution. Taxpayers pay the representative’s salary, so taxpayer money is still being used for unethical purposes as use of position for personal gain.

MARIE PFAU, AUSTIN

Re: Dec. 11 article, “Insurance shoppers face hard choices.”

What’s really wrong with Obamacare?

Certainly, the GOP replacement proposals all fall short. Without question, Obamacare benefits low-income people.

What about those who don’t receive subsidies? The sad truth is they have been badly hurt by Obamacare driving costs up.

The Associated Press article states this vulnerable population includes the self-employed and small-business owners. “These customers can face monthly bills that climb past $2,000 for a family plan and then a big deductible before most coverage starts.” Who can afford that?

This is the dark underbelly of Obamacare never mentioned by Democrats or Republicans. It drives some previously insured people to drop their health care insurance. Maybe Republicans and Democrats should work together to help the middle class by fixing this instead of fighting each other. Wouldn’t that be a welcome change?

LEE CANTRELL, AUSTIN

Re: Dec. 10, “The water cooler from facebook.com/statesman.”

A university education teaches one to understand the mistakes of the past and avoid repeating them. This is called “progress,” as opposed to retreating to a 1930s mindset. The best and brightest of our youth understand this.

Universities in the U.S., including the University of Texas, are the envy of the world. Many in our country have forgotten this and enjoy reciting mantras like “Stick taxes to those liberal buttercup students.” Not all are liberal, by the way.

Graduates are paid about $11 an hour. They’re financially poor. Your short-sighted convictions will undermine this nation for our children — including yours. The U.S. became great by investing in its future stars, not by maligning them or making the rich wealthier at their expense.

DON BATORY, AUSTIN

I’m writing concerning the gentrification of Austin. It’s welcoming innovative businesses and new houses and apartments, appealing to upper-middle-class young professionals, drawing in residents from across country. I understand the appeal of cute coffee shops and trendy housing, but is this new environment worth the destroying of lower income communities?

Austin wants to be a thriving city with more businesses and residents, but to make room, the first to go are old, financially burdened communities. Money is offered to residents for their land, but it’s not enough for them to comfortably relocate. Additionally, you’re asking families who’ve been in those communities for generations to remove themselves, like that land means nothing. Our efforts should be in improving these communities to serve the residents already there.

Though Austin is moving up on the list of the best cities in the country, I urge readers to consider at what cost.

MONICA MIRELES, AUSTIN

Re: Dec. 8 letter to the editor, “It’s time media treat first lady with fairness.”

The writer thinks the media treats Melania Trump unfairly. Perhaps it is because when her name is mentioned, many reporters cannot see beyond that picture of her posing naked on a bearskin rug.

I myself would like to have a first lady whom our young woman could look up to and emulate, not one who has made money by posing naked.

EILEEN THOMPSON, AUSTIN

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