Letters to the editor: June 25, 2017

As the trial attorney for Fran Keller, I was overwhelmed with thankfulness by the actions of Margaret Moore and Keith Hampton. While the dismissal of charges is a remedy, the recompense that the state of Texas is offering does not begin to compensate for the years of abuse suffered during their incarceration. Consideration should be given to the severity of what the Kellers endured, as well as the years that they served.

The unjust incarceration of Dan and Fran Keller has haunted me for years — and in my anger I ended my own legal career. Perhaps my anger on their behalf was selfish and not what they would have wished. I find myself in awe at the Keller’s ability to forgive those who prosecuted them. They have shown me what it is to move forward in this life — and for that I am thankful.


Re: June 18 article, “Texas police rarely faulted as 289 suspects died in their custody.”

I was surprised to learn 289 people had died in police custody between 2005-16.

Considering the number of arrests reported, by the same paper on a daily basis, there are large numbers of bad guys and gals breaking the law; many of whom do not or will not peacefully yield to the demands of a law enforcement officer. Under these circumstances, it becomes necessary for the officer to exert physical force to protect him or herself or innocent bystanders. Understand that in these circumstances the perpetrator may hurt themselves or be hurt by their own lack of cooperation.

If people breaking the law would comply with the law enforcement when arrested — as in, if you are pulled over, put your hands behind your back, be quiet and sit down — there would no deaths while in police custody. Police are here to protect and serve.


Re: June 18 commentary, “Abbott’s agenda isn’t Austin-bashing; it’s liberty-protecting.”

Thanks to Rep. Paul Workman for his editorial expressing what I and many Austinites feel. It expresses some common sense for a change. He simply states what should be so obvious to our city leaders. What must they be thinking when they convene?

Collectively, they should get a grip on reality and the rights of property owners to take care of their own issues. This city has become a city of many unpopular restrictions. I applaud the governor for demonstrating some common sense. Lord help our City Council. Bless their hearts! Thank you for printing Workman’s thoughts. I was shocked that you made such an allowance. Will the wonders ever cease?


Re: June 18 commentary, “Abbott’s agenda isn’t Austin-bashing; it’s liberty-protecting.”

State Rep. Paul Workman thinks local ordinances should not interfere with private property rights — and therefore Austin’s tree ordinance should be struck.

When you buy a piece of property, there are many entities that restrict your private property rights. The first is zoning; it tells you what you can build, the size, who can live there and what you can do with it. There are homeowner’s associations that tell you what color paint you can use — plus what type and height of fence, roofing material and landscaping design. I do not see potential laws addressing these entities that greatly limit your personal property rights — only Austin’s tree ordinance — because the governor had an issue with it.

When you buy property, you buy it with the strings attached. If you don’t like those strings, don’t buy it. Those strings are generally protecting the rights of your neighbors and community.


Re: June 20 letter to the editor, “U.S. can find better use of money than Paris accord.”

The letter writer makes reference to economist Bjorn Lomborg to justify President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement to address climate change.

I will actually quote Lomborg: “Trump richly deserves criticism for abandoning the Paris climate agreement without any alternative plan of action. But, by ignoring reality, the rest of the world is not doing much better.” This being the final paragraph from which Bjorn was arguing for more effective and efficient policy, not inaction.

He advocates removal of all energy subsidies and an increase in research investment to further reduce the cost of low carbon energy sources. Keep in mind that Lomborg is controversial in circles focused on climate change because he optimistically discounts future risks of climate change and ignores “tipping points” altogether. Pricing greenhouse gas emissions and letting market forces lead us to the most-cost-effective solution to the problem is a reasonable minimal step.


I tore down my old house that I rented in Central Austin and built a big duplex.

My property taxes went from $10,000 to $25,000 a year with almost no additional governmental services required. The $15,000 in additional property tax revenue means 150 families can pay $100 less each year.

Transportation is improved because there is one less family commuting from the suburbs to clog our arterial roads. The new construction is so energy-efficient that it uses about the same utilities as the old rent house.

Higher density and new construction is a win-win for Austin. Support CodeNext.


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