Re: Feb. 11 article, “Statesman program raises more than $1 million for local charities.”
Let me say thank you to publisher Susie Gray Biehle, writer Nicole Villalpando and all the staff at the Austin American-Statesman for their continuing efforts to make the annual Season for Caring campaign such a success.
Each year, they identify some of the severest of needs among our friends and neighbors — and they make it easy for the rest of us to help.
Thank you also to this entire community for always caring enough to help when asked. Service is leadership — and I was once again proud to follow your lead.
KEN LONES, AUSTIN
Re: Feb. 7 commentary, “Herman: A GOP candidate explains her vote for Hillary Clinton.”
In the interest of fair and balance reporting, Ken Herman should now provide an explanation on why many Democrats voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.
Go ahead, Mr. Herman, make my day and make me proud that I’m a subscriber to the Austin American-Statesman.
MIKE GONZALES, HOUSTON
Re: Feb. 11 article, “40 years on, Crime of Century still binds FBI director, prison snitch.”
After reading the interesting story about Johnny Spinelli and the part he played in the Judge John Wood saga, I was left with two questions:
Why was Spinelli ever granted parole for his heinous crimes? And how did this man, who spent over 20 years in prison and led a life of crime outside prison walls, become eligible for $1,600 per month in Social Security benefits?
JOHN NUGENT, GEORGETOWN
My granddaughter spent the day with me this week as her mom traveled to Houston for a meeting in her new job. Her mom was very excited to have employer-provided health insurance available, starting in March.
Unfortunately, my granddaughter came down with an ear infection the night before and I was instructed to pick up her ear drops from the pharmacy. With no insurance, the ear drops were $300 after being discounted $100 by the pharmacy.
What possibly could be wrong with our health care system?
DENNIS DICKSON, LEANDER
It’s no secret that Texas is trying to wash its hands of the terrible tax burden of free public schools. The team of Greg Abbott, Dan Patrick (send him back to Maryland) and Ken Paxton are leading the way to the sink and soap.
Yes, local taxes go up when the state cuts funding for programs and tells local districts to pick up the slack. That’s why your taxes went up — not to give a teacher a raise.
Come November, hopefully the people of Texas will remember how much time was spent making sure everyone went to the correct restroom, alleged voter fraud, the Jade Helm 15 in Bastrop and other really important issues. Time to clean house!
TIP GILES, AUSTIN
Re: Feb. 10 commentary, “Replacing property tax with higher sales tax doesn’t add up.”
Why is every suggested fix for property taxes in Texas ignoring the elephant in the room: a state income tax?
A sales tax increase is regressive because it hits the poor hard.
A state income tax would tax people based on their ability to pay. When you lose your job, you still have property taxes to pay — but with a state income tax, you would owe nothing while unemployed. Retirees on a fixed income would also benefit.
But saying “income tax” in Texas causes irrational retorts. Perhaps it’s time to stop having a knee-jerk reaction and consider the benefits.
STEVE CANNON, AUSTIN
So, now Donald Trump wants a massive military parade to stroke his ego and feed his overwhelming desire to rule absolutely. This request comes from the same Trump who demonstrated his disdain of the military and lack of patriotism by using his father’s money and influence to obtain five deferments to avoid the military draft. Will he request having his title changed to “Dear Leader”?
Throughout his first year in office, Trump has demonstrated a penchant for irrational actions and emotional tirades. His childish tweeting to denigrate those who disagree with him is troubling and shows a great insecurity. Highly regarded psychologists around the country have demanded that Trump be independently tested for psychological and emotional instability. Members of Congress who support Trump are reminiscent of the lawmakers who supported Hitler. Trump and his supporters are a clear and present danger to our Constitution, democracy and way of life.
LARRY J. MASSUNG, SAN MARCOS
As the state of our climate goes, so goes the state of our union. Higher temperatures caused by the extra blanket of carbon dioxide that covers our home planet resulted in disastrous weather events that cost nearly $400 billion in 2017. They are likely to be more numerous and destructive if we do not act. Our health is at risk. Lung and heart disease, cancer, birthing problems and dementia are all related to breathing dirty air.
Fortunately, more members of our Congress are hearing our directives to make sure our grandchildren’s children will have a livable world. Congress must create a policy of placing a fee on carbon that results in a dividend to all Americans to help the market transition to safe energy.
Call, write or visit those you hired to work for you in Congress. Remind them they have children and grandchildren, too.
JULIE JOHNSON, AUSTIN