Letters to the editor: March 15, 2017


Texas and Mexico are friends. Going back and forth frequently for many is necessary. How would a wall improve the quality of life on either side?

Drug traffickers and other undesirables fly or sneak over on their own devices anyway, while the negative effects of a border wall could delay transportation and cause massive expenditures with construction of facilities and enhanced personnel. Who needs complications like a wall?

ELIZABETH TEST, AUSTIN

Re: Feb. 25 commentary, “Arts programs show cities have enough fat to waste.”

In the column, James Quintero claims that the arts program shows Austin among the cities with enough fat to waste. Unfortunately, he’s wrong. It’s not that there’s fat to waste; it’s that the city chooses to spend its money on “feel-good” arts projects over needed-but-boring fundamentals.

The Financial Literacy Coalition of Central Texas, a nonprofit organization, uses an annual total budget about the size of the city’s nine-month embedded artist pilot program to bring needed personal finance classes to Austinites. When I looked for possible city funding for this basic educational service, I found grants for “cultural funding,” “technology opportunities,” and “nonprofit home sales.” Nothing for teaching people how to budget to make ends meet in this housing-burdened city.

OK, we’ll continue to fund it ourselves, since we believe that understanding money is the path to financial security.

LORRAINE BIER, FLCCT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AUSTIN

Re: Feb. 25 commentary, “Arts programs show cities have enough fat to waste.”

I love the arts; I love helping the homeless; and I love the proper use of “literally.” James Quintero is wrong on all three counts.

San Antonio is not “literally flushing tax dollars down the toilet” — they are providing a basic service for a basic human need. Whether or not people are homeless, using drugs or engaging in prostitution, they still need a toilet. You and I can afford a home, or a hotel, or a bar — but the homeless do not have access to any of those places. Denying them access to facilities is forcing them to break the laws, which they have no desire to break.

City officials in San Antonio — and, soon, Austin — understand that having a 24-hour public toilet will prevent crime, not increase it. My thanks to those officials — and my sorrow to the Texas Public Policy Foundation for their short-sighted opinions on the helpful use of city government spending.

WIN BENT, AUSTIN

Re: Feb. 2 article, “Abbott cuts Travis County funds as ‘sanctuary city’ battle intensifies.”

True colors are exposed in peculiar ways. Gov. Greg Abbott showed his ambivalence of vets by defunding the veterans court program. As a Vietnam vet, I am personally offended when my brothers carrying the awesome burden of PTSD are ostracized yet again by Gov. Abbott’s latest act of betrayal of all vets.

I assure you, all Vietnam vets are offended, regardless of political affiliation. Our government evaded helping vets for years. Now Abbott wants to shut another door of help to these men and women. For what? To collect on a threat issued to our new and independent sheriff.

Only in recent years has the invisible injury of PTSD been broadly accepted as an affliction of war and finally seen through optics of compassion. The good governor’s political fidelity is exposed. All this to prove a point to our new lady sheriff.

ROBERT WHITE, ROUND ROCK



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