Letters to the editor: July 15, 2017

Re: July 8 article, “Is Stubb’s changing its name to Liberty Lunch? Documents say ‘yes.’”

My reaction to that headline was, “No, that can’t be right.” Liberty Lunch created its own identity as an iconic music venue from the 1970s to the 1990s. For another business like Stubb’s, which legally acquired the right to use the name, it leaves me puzzled. Why don’t they create their own identity?

I remember when an Austin entrepreneur — the late Charlie Tesar — leased this languishing lunch and sometime music spot. Throughout the years, my family maintained a close connection with Liberty Lunch through work, friendship and fun.

Liberty Lunch became a popular, casual place at the west end of downtown. Liberty Lunch has its own place in Austin’s history and it should not become a pseudonym for Stubb’s.


Re: June 26 commentary, “Two Views: Special session offers opportunity for conservative reforms.”

In looking forward to the special session of the legislature, Matt Mackowiak decried what he called the “incredible” practice of the state deducting union dues from retirees’ retirement checks. Senate Bill 13, as passed by the Senate and resurrected for the special session, would not have ended that practice; it merely has stopped deducting union dues from the retiree checks of former school teachers and state employees. Deductions for firefighters and policemen unions would have continued. The bill would have ended the practice for only a portion of retirees.

In addition, those unions do not “harass private-sector companies” as claimed, but fight for the retirement and health care benefits those employees paid for through payroll deductions during their decades of working as public sector employees.

The most “incredible” things about the article are the misrepresentations by Mackowiak.


Re: July 6 article, “Texas Legislature to revisit property tax reform in special session.”

We have high property taxes, but that is not the whole story. We have no income tax. How do we compare to other states if all state and local taxes are considered?

According to taxfoundation.org (1 being the highest taxes in all cases):

For state and local tax collections per capita in 2014, Texas ranked 28.

For state-local tax burden per capita as percentage of income in 2012, Texas ranked 46 out of 50.

For state and local revenue per capita in 2014, Texas ranked 34 out of 50.

So, it seems we are right in the middle — 28/50 — for tax per capita. As a percentage of personal income, we have one of the lowest tax rates: 46/50).

So, our tax rate is not out of control, as Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick would have us believe. His information is deceptive. Our government entities use the revenue to provide needed services.


Re: July 1 letter to the editor, “What’s wrong with being skeptical of scientists?”

Tom Harris stated that “philosophers since ancient times have understood that observations cannot establish truth.”

Really? Observations are the only way to establish truth. Galileo observed three “stars” around Jupiter that moved in such a way that could only be explained if they were orbiting the planet. This observation led him to discover that everything — including the planets going retrograde — could be explained if we orbited the sun. There were also “Heliocentric skeptics” in his day to be sure.

Harris has an impressive title, but an internet search of the “International Climate Science Coalition” finds it’s endorsed by the Heartland Institute, whose donors include Exxon and the Charles Koch Foundation. The coalition states it’s “supported exclusively by private individuals” — yet in 2007, the Heartland Institute’s 990 form claimed it donated $45,000 to it.

Observation: Every skeptic apparently has ties to Big Oil. Seems to be another truth.


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