Letters to the editor: Oct. 11, 2017

I am a long time Red Cross volunteer.

Over the years, I have worked disaster relief operations in Texas and around the country — and no place does a better job of taking care of folks when disaster strikes than we do here in Austin and Travis County.

During Hurricane Harvey, I observed city and county operations in the Emergency Operations Center, the Austin Convention Center, numerous Austin Independent School District shelters, and at the Met Center, which was the consolidation shelter after the school sheltering ended. Not only does city and county staff do a really good job, but they do it for a really good reason — it’s the right thing to do.

My experience has been that it’s not like that most places. We should be proud of Austin. I am.


The new Republican tax plan proposes that the standard itemized deduction be almost doubled for a married couple, to about $24,000, reducing the number of people using itemized returns, but there is a cost: the loss of medical deductions and standard exemptions.

All medical deductions are deleted from being itemized expenses in all proposed GOP plans, as are the standard individual exemptions ($8,100 for couple in 2017), being nondeductible for the first time in most of our living memories.

At present, all medical deductions over 10 percent of adjustable gross income are deductible without limit, which is crucial, considering the debate over increasing health care premiums, as well as increasing costs for actual medical expenses paid.

With these deletions, many families will be hit with catastrophic medical costs and left without the protection of the medical deduction.

Increase the standard deduction, but allow medical expenses to be deducted.


Re: Oct. 7 article, “90 years of topping the best at Texas Hatters.”

My friend Gideon was good friends with Manny Gammage. I remember spending an afternoon giving away puppies outside Texas Hatters when it was on South Lamar.

His favorite story about Manny was when Bob Dylan came in and saw a hat on the top shelf with a hatband that read “Your Name.” He had to have that hat. I wonder whether he ever wore it at a performance.


Whether you like or don’t like Christopher Columbus, it’s amazing to me just how short-sighted most of his critics are.

How many of those very shallow people who bash him wouldn’t be here today without him? The Americas would not have electricity or modern medicine. We wouldn’t even have the wheel. No computers, no smartphones, no air conditioning, no retirement, no modern medicine, no grocery stores. Most children would die during their first year of life. Very few people would reach the age of 50 years.

Maybe that’s the way some people would like to live — but here I am at 66 wearing glasses, alive only because of something as simple as antibiotics, with a full refrigerator, typing on my computer, sitting in my air-conditioned home with very clean running water, planning to watch my fiber TV later today. Thank you, Christopher Columbus! I have and will continue to celebrate Columbus Day!


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