Letters to the editor: March 20, 2017


Re: Feb. 23 letter to the editor, “Short-term rentals bill bad for neighborhoods.”

I am not a short-term rental host, so I have no financial incentive to support the STR bill that has been introduced in the Texas Legislature. However, as a concerned Austin resident I feel I must weigh in. I believe the city of Austin overstepped its bounds with the STR ordinance.

Though the anti-STR folks are very vocal, I suspect they’re a minority. I live in a closed-in central neighborhood with many STRs and have never even heard of neighbors who are bothered by them. My neighbor across the street has an STR. I enjoy meeting guests from time to time. I’ve never had the slightest problem. Austin is a wonderful city and people love traveling here. I think it’s great that our visitors have this option. I dislike the idea of the Legislature overturning our local laws, but in this case I think it should.

KAREN BENNETT, AUSTIN

Re: Feb. 23 letter to the editor, “Short-term rentals bill bad for neighborhoods.”

The idea that STRs are “party houses” is simply incorrect. Additionally, Senate Bill 451 does not prevent cities from enforcing code enforcement violations.

STRs are the only temporary housing option that allows families to live in their own neighborhoods when they remodel their homes, have housing emergencies or need extra space for their visiting families. Staying in hotels with children or pets for months can be difficult. Also, many families like mine need the additional income STRs provide to continue to afford to live in Austin. To continue to have a vibrant city, we need to allow different types of people and uses in our neighborhoods. Housing options for Austinites should be protected. Texas should standardize reasonable regulations statewide.

PETE GILCREASE, AUSTIN

Re: March 4 article, “Ken Paxton praises Trump’s EPA as relations warm” and March 4 article, “Trump’s EPA plan slashes 25% of budget, 3,000 jobs.”

I must say that your front-page headline, which ran in print as “Texas warms to new style of Trump EPA,” struck me as particularly apropos. While the article actually discusses the new congeniality between Texas and the Environmental Protection Agency regarding fossil fuel emissions, my first thought was that, yes, under these administrations, Texas will indeed soon be warming — literally — and at an unprecedented, accelerated rate.

According to another article in the same issue, climate protection funding will be cut 70 percent once current proposals are enacted. Perhaps we should all just stop and take a deep breath while we still can.

TERRY CONLAN, AUSTIN

Re: March 6 commentary, “Two Views: Prohibitions on dues deductions punishes professionals.”

I just want state Sen. Joan Huffman to know that I’m putting her statement from this article on the bulletin board in our teachers’ lunchroom: [P]olice and firefighters weren’t being punished by her bill — to disallow voluntary, automatic, no-cost-to-the-state deductions to paychecks of the employees union for teachers, social workers and correction officers — because they do their jobs with “honor and distinction.”

I actually sucked air at this outrageous comment. I’m also forwarding this to all my co-workers — and we’ll see you Joan, or at least you’ll see us — on March 25 at the Save Our Schools rally at the Capitol.

BEVERLY CLARK, WIMBERLEY

Re: March 2 article, “Austin’s hottest February closes city’s warmest winter on record.”

Hats off to Marty Toohey and the Statesman for explicitly talking about climate change in this piece about our nearly-nonexistent “winter.”

With all the misinformation out there, it is vital that our media sources publicize what is widely known among scientists: global warming is real and it is progressing rapidly. Fortunately we do have powerful tools to combat it — one of the most elegant of which is a market-based solution perfectly in line with conservative principles. All we lack is political will, but we the people can change that with help from a responsible media that does not shy away from naming the cause directly.

ANNA GRAYBEAL, AUSTIN

What is it that people don’t understand about the term “illegal?” “Illegal” is a description for something that is in violation of statute, regulation or ordinance. Cross our border illegally and you are in violation of U.S. federal law. Break the law and suffer the consequences. It is time to get back to the rule of law, which sets our country apart from being a developing society. End of discussion.

JOSE EATON, AUSTIN

Re: Feb. 24 letter to the editor, “Trump’s Russia comment is backed up by history.”

Earlier, a writer opined that Donald Trump is a patriot. I cannot agree.

A patriot doesn’t use daddy’s money and influence to obtain five deferments to avoid the military draft. A patriot doesn’t belittle the sacrifice of Gold Star families. A patriot doesn’t minimize the sacrifice of American POW’s. A patriot doesn’t mock the disabled. A patriot doesn’t praise and defend our enemies while alienating our allies. A patriot doesn’t threaten and attack everyone who disagrees with him. A patriot doesn’t spew falsehoods and distortions of fact. A patriot doesn’t encourage fear and hatred in a multicultural society. And, a patriot doesn’t act like a spoiled rich adolescent, glued to his Twitter account.

The dossier other nations have compiled on Donald Trump probably includes language such as: malignant narcissism disorder; needs continuous praise for his insecurity; emotionally unstable; factually uninformed; severely biased; and easily manipulated through admiration. We need a patriot, not Trump!

LARRY J. MASSUNG, SAN MARCOS

Re: March 8 article, “Transgender bathroom bill draws hundreds to testify.”

I have two children who were “assigned as male” at birth. Both answered the call after Sept. 11 and served overseas with distinction. Both continue to serve. My oldest is 35 and my youngest is 30.

My oldest came out to me as a transgender female at age 30. She was married with two children at the time. She was — and still is — a great parent.

The National Transgender Discrimination Survey found that 41 percent of all transgender people have attempted suicide; 100 percent of transgender children are people. The Williams Institute found that adults who identify as transgender represent between .38 and 1.11 percent of the population in Texas — amounting to as many as 212,000 Texans.

Transgender people are just like any of the rest of us. Don’t demonize or discriminate against children who are just trying to be themselves. It is hard enough to be a child, much less a transgender child.

JAY CURLEE, AUSTIN



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