I attended the Ted Cruz event held by Concerned Veterans of America in Austin on July 6. They billed it as a “town hall.” It was not a town hall; it was invitation-only and highly controlled. Questions had to be written and screened.
The first “question” allowed went straight to liberal-bashing, which delighted Cruz. You could tell it was highly scripted. If it had been an actual town hall, it would be open to the public – to all his constituents. And we would have been able to ask questions that weren’t screened. If it were an actual town hall, the 300 folks outside who are also concerned Americans would have been allowed inside to participate.
LYNN KURTH, AUSTIN
Re: July 10 article, “Proposed Texas annexation reform bill draws many city opponents.”
Smithville City Manager Robert Tamble believes letting Texans vote before annexation is a bad idea because it will “cost the taxpayers additional money and create an unnecessary financial burden on an already limited budget.” While it may be true that elections cost money, the current system promotes taxation without representation and tramples property rights.
Currently, cities annex Texans living on the outskirts without their consent, meaning those folks take on higher taxes, more regulations and big government debt — whether they like it or not. This scheme is simply a way cities bolster tax revenues and control land development through the regulatory process.
This process stands in contradiction to the representative government we proudly believe in. If annexation is beneficial for unincorporated areas, property owners should be given a chance to agree via a public vote. Participation in governance is at the heart of what this state — and nation — stand for.
KIRBIE FERRELL, AUSTIN
Re: July 7 article, “Perry touts importance of coal-fired power plants.”
Energy Secretary Rick Perry has revealed a great truth, noting, “You put the supply out there and the demand will follow that.”
Why hadn’t anyone thought of that before? Numerous examples of how profound that thought is come to mind: steam locomotives, Edsel cars, rotary-dial phones, Kodak film. It’s reassuring to see that Perry is functioning as energy secretary with the same mental acumen he showed as our governor.
PHILIP RUSSELL, AUSTIN
Re: July 6 commentary, “Austin needs public input on city manager search.”
Terrell Blodgett’s commentary about the Austin city manager search hit the mark on every point. Mayor Steve Adler and the City Council should heed his advice. The search for a new city manager must be open and transparent. Real citizen engagement in the search process is critical. Before it is too late, residents should be given additional opportunities to weigh in on the personal characteristics — as well as the professional qualifications — they expect to see in a new city manager.
Full public disclosure of leading candidates’ backgrounds and qualifications is critical as the search narrows to a select few. It should not be narrowed down to just to one take-it-or-leave it candidate from the search firm. Hopefully, the mayor and City Council will take charge of the underqualified search firm to wrest leadership back to elected officials.
As goes this search, so will go the managerial competency of our city government and its ethical behaviors.
JIM RAY, AUSTIN