Letters to the editor: Aug. 15, 2018


Re: Aug. 10 article, “Texas’ VW emissions settlement: $209M. Austin’s cut: $0.”

When Austin residents purchased more compromised Volkswagens as a percentage of state population, why is Austin to receive no share of the $170 million pollution mitigation funds? This smacks of political shenanigans — and it is so unfair that a lawsuit should follow.

We breathe the air in Austin, too, and you are supposed to represent the greater Austin metro area, as well as other parts of Texas.

Show a little fairness and good judgment for heaven’s sake.

MARY AND BILL LEY, AUSTIN

Re: Aug. 10 article, “Texas’ VW emissions settlement: $209M. Austin’s cut: $0.”

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s inequitable decision is just the most recent punishment of Austin by our heavy-handed, Republican-led state government.

For many years, Austin has been an island of reason, humanity, and democracy in an increasingly gerrymandered sea of misguided Republican “leadership,” seeking to spread it’s true-believer gospel from diminished women’s health services to weakened educational curricula to repressed voting rights.

Since Republican officeholders such as Rick Perry and Ted Cruz never carried the city of Austin in an election, we clearly need to be shown the errors of our ways, over and over.

Having successfully diluted Austin’s Democratic voting heritage with six pie-wedge Congressional districts stretching from Austin in all directions, the “death by a thousand cuts” campaign continues with the latest financial jab at our fair city. Oh, well. Onward through the fog.

STEVE CARTER, AUSTIN

Re: Aug. 10 commentary, “Colleges are at forefront of attack on American values.”

Wow, what possessed the Statesman to publish a column by Walter E. Williams? This is the first column by a real conservative in the Balanced Views in a very long time.

As usual, Williams was spot on in his commentary on colleges at the forefront of the attack on American values. I’m sure this column will be attacked unmercifully by most Austin readers, but the truth is still the truth.

Kudos to the Statesman for publishing it — and if you really want to be radical, publish a column by Thomas Sowell.

GARY JOHNSON, CEDAR PARK

Re: Aug. 10 commentary, “Colleges are at forefront of attack on American values.”

Talk about ironic. Columnist Walter E. Williams feels colleges are attacking American values.

According to him, they don’t agree with him that hate speech is protected by the First Amendment. He doesn’t agree they should be allowed to protest speakers who promote offensive, usually racist views which encourage violence. He says contempt for the Constitution by school teachers — really? — brainwashes and indoctrinates students.

He is outraged Georgia middle-school teacher Johnetta Benton told her sixth-graders how most white Americans originated in Europe, and that we are here because our forefathers took this land by violence and murder from Native Americans.

That’s called history. And he believes Benton should be fired. Her First Amendment right of free speech doesn’t extend to something Williams disagrees with. First Amendment, Second Amendment? Sacred. Fourteenth Amendment? Rubbish. That is the GOP far right all over, isn’t it?

P. M. RAY, BUDA

The sidewalks of downtown Austin have turned into playgrounds for tourists on motorized scooters, weaving and wobbling among startled pedestrians. The discarded scooters are everywhere, lying on sidewalks, curbs and landscaped areas.

These “toys” are also multiplying on the roads, slowing the traffic and unnerving car drivers who find themselves behind or next to these unsteady, vulnerable scooter riders in shorts and flip-flops, no helmet, swaying inches from their cars. Who made the decision to add scooters into the stew of Austin traffic?

What’s next? Motorized pogo sticks? Motorized stilts? Motorized Radio Flyers? Motorized grocery carts — anything to cater to tourists who find walking uncool.

Let’s reconsider this scooter decision — and this time, let’s include the people who are most affected: those of us who live and work downtown.

MARY WILLIS, AUSTIN

Re: June 12 article, “Ousted principal at high school in Taylor fights proposed termination.”

Under Rosemary Kelly’s leadership, Legacy Early College High School added high-level AP and dual-credit courses. Nineteen of 24 in the top 10 percent of Taylor Independent School District’s graduating class are “legacy seniors.” Legacy’s standardized scores lift Taylor ISD’s scores.

In February, a Legacy student threatened to kill everyone at the school. The student was charged with making a terroristic threat.

In March, Kelly signed next year’s contract. Within weeks, Taylor ISD readmitted the student who made the threat. Kelly resisted, feeling that this decision was harmful. Superintendent Keith Brown and the board initiated termination proceedings.

The reasons for termination cannot possibly outweigh Kelly’s good work. Her hearing is this month. We must retain her while we still can.

JANE M. HENSEY, TAYLOR



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