Voters should look behind the ballot language and notice a real stinker among the seven constitutional amendments on the Nov. 7 ballot.
Deceptive language has often been used to sneak outrageous things into our Constitution. Proposition 2 on home equity loans is one of the sneakiest ever. It would change the fee cap but would raise — not lower — consumers’ total costs.
While it would lower the overall cap on fees, it would also exclude major charges from the cap calculation that borrowers would still pay but with no cap —such as appraisals, surveys, title insurance or title examination reports. Lenders could then have room under the cap to raise or add upfront fees. Taken together, costs to borrowers could easily be higher than current costs under the 3-percent cap. Higher fees going to lenders could incentivize approval of loans by originators interested in the fees. Vote “no” on Proposition 2.
REUBEN LESLIE, AUSTIN
Re: Oct. 22 commentary, “Push pause button on CodeNext until concerns are addressed.”
I attended the CodeNext community meeting at Anderson High School tonight — and it was one frustrating mess! People around me were complaining that no one could read the graphics that were on the screen because: (1) the lights were over the screen and dulled the viewing, and (2) the print was so small that the staffer just glanced over the information.
I agree with the Statesman that the whole thing needs slowing down. I defy anyone to explain to me how this is going to help the city in the future. It seems to be designed to squeeze the most out of available land for developers and provide very little quality of life for the existing residents of Austin.
BUD MCMULLEN, AUSTIN
According to the research by the World Health Organization recently published in the The Lancet medical journal, there are nearly 56 million abortions every year worldwide. The WHO study also found that about 17 million of those abortions were unsafe.
This is of concern to national and international family planning organizations, especially now because of the Trump administration’s reimposition of the policy that forbids U.S. funds to any organization that counsels women on abortions. The recent Republican effort to eliminate coverage for contraceptives in women’s health insurance will, if enacted, exacerbate the problem in the United States.
JUDITH MCDOWELL, GEORGETOWN
The recent flap regarding President Trump’s call to a Green Beret widow is disgusting.
Gen. Kelly’s remarks to the press corps — despite a minor error — should have provided closure.
Instead he, a Gold Star father, was called racist, which seems to be the automatic response to any disagreement with a person of color.
This soldier was not only part of the one percent who volunteer to put themselves in harm’s way to protect our freedom, he successfully competed for and became a “Green Beret” — the best of the best.
Having had to make a similar call, I can assure you that there is nothing you can say that lightens the burden or heals the hurt.
The late Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s obsession with communists in government led to a courtroom confrontation in which the opposing attorney famously said, “Sir, have you no shame?”
This response is applicable to all who are intruding on this family’s grief.
CHARLES BAKER, GEORGETOWN
Trump assaults the First Amendment daily. His speech writer tells us the president should not be criticized. Trump’s press secretary declares that citizens should not question a four-star general. These are our rulers.
On a parochial level, the Republican candidate for the Senate declares that Muslims should not be seated in Congress; a Georgia legislator declares HIV-positive people should be quarantined and that those same people are living too long. The list of pernicious and oppressive statements by Republicans masquerading as conservatives gets longer and longer.
Anyone who doesn’t realize that we’re on the road to fascism just isn’t paying attention or is complicit. Silence is consent.
JOHN DAVID HENGST, AUSTIN
I am appalled at the ranch in Uvalde that ships in exotic animals to bring joy to hunters. They get to mount the poor animals’ heads on their walls.
The ethical “gray” area is more akin to dark and disgusting. I hope the Fish and Wildlife Service will re-evaluate its extremely minimal regulation on this issue.
Good luck to Buttercup, the giraffe. I hope it does not get taken down by an overzealous hunter or a stray bullet.
KAREN BLEVINS, ROUND ROCK
Re: Oct. 22 article, “After fires, vineyard owners, workers in same struggle.”
Disasters affect everyone. Hurricane Harvey also struck businesses and workers. An exceptionally warm Gulf and unusually hot California summer intensified, if not caused, both Harvey and the California fires.
Climate scientists have long predicted more heat waves, wildfires and flooding. Businesses and workers everywhere will foot much of the bill as the insurance companies and federal government pay out billions and pass the cost on to businesses, consumers and taxpayers. Wouldn’t it be smarter to prevent — instead of rebuild — over and over?
Wouldn’t it be smarter to shift energy to cheap, clean solar and wind with a solution like carbon fee and dividend that doesn’t even cost us anything or increase the size of government? Wouldn’t it be smarter to insure ourselves against scientists’ predictions, which keep coming true and, with more warming, envision even worse disasters?
ROBERT HENDRICKS, AUSTIN