Letters to the editor: Oct. 2, 2017

    12:00 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017 Opinion

I’ve concluded that the proposed CodeNext is just a land grab for speculators, not relief for the people who live here, pay taxes and vote.

Code revisions should reconcile conflict, like when we have one ordinance that allow permitting unlimited bedrooms for a duplex but another limits occupancy to four unrelated people. Data shows that the houses to be torn down are always cheaper than their denser replacements. A recently completed nine bedroom/nine bath “duplex” — with four required parking spaces — went on the market for over $1 million per side; new small-box apartments rent for $3,600 per month. Both stick out like sore thumbs in my older, already dense, mixed-use neighborhood.

The proposed CodeNext eases restrictions for developers but leaves homeowners with onerous burdens to convert existing garages into apartments for elderly parents or a student.

Like the old John Lennon song says, “Give me some truth.”

BARBARA EPSTEIN, AUSTIN

Re: June 14 article, “Parents can soon see how their kids answered on the STAAR.”

Our church, Iglesia Bautista Principe de Paz, celebrated Education Sunday last month and introduced dozens of families to Texas Education Agency’s new parent website portal. Our congregation includes many Spanish-speaking parents, so we are grateful that TexasAssessment.com includes Spanish resources and information. These tools help parents better understand STAAR test results, prepare for parent-teacher conferences and stay involved with their child’s education.

Hispanic parents are deeply committed to their children’s education. Churches often provide a bridge for parents not yet fluent in English, so we welcome the support and resources our state is providing in both English and Spanish. Bilingual resources invite and empower Spanish-speaking parents to become full partners in their children’s education. Together we are ensuring that all God’s children are prepared to be a blessing to our state and our nation.

NESTOR MENJIVAR, AUSTIN

Not long ago, I realized my feelings for the American flag were diminished. I started seeing anyone who had an American flag flying in the back of their truck or carrying the flag in negative rallies as a person that might advocate hate, racial prejudices, misogyny, and fear of anyone “different.”

A true patriot is someone that respects freedom of religion. Our country was formed on the concept that we are all free to have your own religious beliefs — or no beliefs.

I believe that a person is a patriot who will not allow an enemy country to jeopardize our wonderful democracy by hacking our voting system.

I believe that a person has a right to peaceful demonstration for a cause.

I want my flag back.

My flag stands for personal freedom, religious freedom, freedom from foreign intervention, and the right to peaceful descent.

I want my flag back.

LINDA SMITH, AUSTIN

How about renaming Robert E. Lee Road for someone that has done good for the Austin residents during our lifetime?

Like John Treviño Jr. the first Mexican-American/Chicano city council member; Gus Garcia, the first Hispanic mayor; Oswaldo “A. B.” Cantu, who during his lifetime guided at-risk youth to turn their lives around; or Gonzalo Barrientos, one of the first Mexican-Americans to represent Travis County in the Texas House of Representatives and Senate.

All the above have done great things for all the residents of Austin.

LEONARD DAVILA, BUDA

Let me first start by saying I agree with our right to protest. Our country had its beginnings in civil disobedience. I am of a generation who understands the power of protest, from the civil rights movement to the Vietnam War.

But today, what began as an individual protest to a social injustice has morphed into a kneeling, standing, locking arm, remaining in the locker room circus. For all the kneeling and arm-locking, the original protest has not been elevated to discussion. No, the discussion is about who is kneeling or locking arms.

So, to all the pro-athlete fence-straddlers: If you want to support the original protest in a meaningful way, go to the street and march. Do it on a Sunday. Give up that paycheck. If you truly support Colin Kaepernick’s intent. March each Sunday until the conversation he was willing to lose his job over begins.

MIKE KEARBY, LLANO

Re: Sept. 26 commentary, “Trump isn’t urging patriotism; he’s provoking a culture war.”

Special contributors Kevin Cokley and Germine Awad wrote: “We need a more critical patriotism. America should not allow Trump to dictate his narrow view of patriotism on our country.”

George Jean Nathan, co-founder of the literary magazine American Spectator, once said: “Patriotism is often an arbitrary veneration of real estate above principles.”

This is really ironic, given our current president’s background.

ANDY SALMON, AUSTIN

Freedom is love — an open-ended engagement. The NFL player protest instantiates this. It is the reaction itself that manifests latent hostility toward the military, because everyone knows that violence reproduces itself, as exhibited by still defiant Confederate states. Please have the audacity of hope to bend those knees until you break that vindictive response. Let freedom ring. Love trumps hate.

GENE GALVAN, AUSTIN

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