Letters to the editor: Sept. 26, 2017

Re: Sept. 21 article, “Kitchen calls to name Robert E. Lee Road for only black U.S. treasurer.”

As a resident of the Zilker neighborhood, I applaud Austin City Council Member Ann Kitchen’s proposal to rename Robert E. Lee Road for Azie Taylor Morton, who by all accounts was a patriotic and honorable local resident. Lee, most assuredly, was neither patriotic nor a resident. The name change will demonstrate to Austinites and Barton Springs Pool visitors alike that who we memorialize — with monuments, Capitol plaques and road names — matters to our community.


Re: Sept. 21 article, “Kitchen calls to name Robert E. Lee Road for only black U.S. treasurer.”

I grew up and still live on Robert E. Lee Road, and I offer that it should be renamed after cross-dressing lawyer, peace activist, mayoral candidate and embodiment of Austin’s now-lost Weird Era, Leslie Cochran.

Ann Kitchen’s submission of Azie Taylor Morton is a very well-intentioned, timely and politically savvy choice. Replacing a symbol of racism, slavery and treason with a prominent local female African-American is an appropriate offering. Morton’s accomplishments, though, appear largely to have had more national importance than local significance, and adjacency to Barton Springs heightens the urgency for a selection with local significance.

I feel that Leslie’s notoriety, association with Barton Springs and personification of all that built the foundation of Austin’s identity as a creative, inspirational place with what author Billy Lee Beamer described as having “room enough to caper” is a fitting tribute to a past Austin we knew and loved.


So, you are proposing to remove the Robert E. Lee street sign because there is no documentation he walked down that street when he was in Austin.

What hypocrites you are. Be honest. The real reason is the city has jumped on the bandwagon demanding everything about the Confederacy must be removed from view because some believe it symbolizes slavery. And anyone who owned a slave is evil.

So, please tell us why the name of your town and county isn’t being changed? Stephen Austin gave new Texas settlers 80 acres of land for each slave they brought to the colony. Both Austin and William Travis were slave owners. Travis defended slave holders and those who sought recapture of runaway slaves. He took his slave Joe to the Alamo. “The principal product that will elevate us from poverty is cotton and we cannot to this without the help of slaves,” Stephen Austin wrote in 1824.


Re: Sept. 20 letter to the editor, “Government needed to pay for benefits, projects.

The writer seems to think that Social Security, Medicare and the GI bill are paid for by the government. Please allow me to tell her that I paid Social Security tax and medicare tax by deduction from paychecks or by check for earnings from self-employment. I served a three-year enlistment in our nation’s army; part of my compensation for that service was a monthly stipend if I chose to go back to a school that charged tuition.

The writer also said that our nation would fail without these programs. These programs were enacted into law in 1935, 1965, and 1944, respectively. I would say that our great country had done pretty doggone well from the 1780s until then without them.


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