Letters to the editor: Feb. 4, 2018

    12:00 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018 Opinion

Re: Jan. 31 commentary, “How cellphones are connecting teens with danger.”

Thank you for the article by Dr. Adrian Gaty regarding smartphones and children’s mental health.

The relation between screen activities and teen’s mental health is disturbing — and good reason for parents to play a more active role in their children’s use of smartphones.

I do think that smartphones, used properly, can play a useful educational and safety role. The admonition “get rid of them” may be excessive, but Dr. Gaty’s article is food for thought for all parents.

TOM STRAMA, AUSTIN

I just came back from the protest rally to save the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge from getting decimated by the proposed border wall. What a shame this would be for our grandchildren and great grandchildren; this park provides numerous positives.

For one, if you only think of the financial gains for Texas, more than 165,000 tourists flock to South Texas to see this crown jewel of a park. They come to see 450 types of plants, 400 species of birds — the second-largest count in the nation — and half of all the butterfly species in America.

A lucky visitor could ride a bike, hike or ride the park tram through the 14 miles of the trails of the park. Along the way, you could sit and enjoy the numerous bird feeder or blinds.

It would be better to save this park and use technology for border patrolling. Call Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn today.

KAY SMITH, AUSTIN

Again, the right to a free public education is being attacked. Leading politicians at the state are pushing their ideology of school choice by trashing our public system. The Texas arm of the National Education Association found Texas spent $10,017 per student in 2016-17, while the national average was $12,572. Texas provides fewer than needed resources to schools even with a booming economy. Shameful.

The Legislature wants to take taxpayer money and give it to private schools thus systematically killing public education. Who loses? Poor students, struggling students, students with disabilities, educators and communities will lose.

What do we do? We vote. The GOP primary is March 6. On the ballot for lieutenant governor are Dan Patrick and Scott Milder. Milder supports public education, while Patrick does not. Unfortunately, in Texas, decisions are made in the primary; so as a Democrat, I am going to vote in the GOP primary for Milder. Democrats should consider doing the same.

CANDACE THREADGILL, TOMBALL

Re: Feb. 1 article, “Texas lawmakers react to speech along partisan lines.”

Sens. Cruz and Cornyn are reported as happy with President Trump’s state of the union.

Someone needs to remind them that Texans received no federal help with rising health care costs — and that Hurricane Harvey victims haven’t received a fraction of the help needed. Large corporate tax cuts did not help ordinary folks with student loans, diminished retirement savings and the lack of affordable housing.

Mostly, someone needs to tell these Texas senators that if they are pleased with the budget deficit created by their large tax cuts for corporations and wealthy estates, they better not dream of cutting Social Security and Medicare to make up the difference. We want basic economic things like being able to pay for our homes, retirement or sending our kids to college. Spending billions on a wall is not a Texan priority. Texans need senators focused on us, not the wealthy or the president.

ALICE LONDON, WEST LAKE HILLS

As a Texan and someone who deeply cares about the strength of our democracy, I think it is time that you elected officials do your jobs and hold the Republicans in Congress and the White House accountable to the American people, not just to your preferred constituencies.

Legislation must be drawn up and passed that prohibits gerrymandering, so that a true accounting of the will of all Americans can be made — and not just the wealthy elite. We must protect those from other countries who are coming here looking for a better life. We must stop discriminating in our policies on religious grounds. We must honor the separation of powers enumerated in the Constitution. We must stop kowtowing to the big business and corporate interests that have turned our legislative system into a highest bidder free-for-all.

Do your jobs and do them now, or you will not be re-elected.

CLINT HYSLOP, AUSTIN

He chooses to use the name “Ted.” But his birth name is “Rafael.”

This man insults the 37.6 percent of Texans of Hispanic heritage he claims to represent.

More to the point: Why did he find the need earlier in his life to separate himself from a group making significant contributions to the state of Texas and to the United States of America?

You have a lot to explain to Texas voters, Sen. Rafael Cruz.

LORIS ESSARY, AUSTIN