Letters to the editor: Dec. 10, 2017

Re: Dec. 7 commentary, “Gerrymandering and the great Texas property tax swindle.”

Thanks to Mike Collier for bringing attention to the problem of gerrymandering in Texas.

Not only has gerrymandering enabled the Legislature’s property tax scam, it empowers religious extremists who drive policy to the far right. Lawmakers ignore actual crises in education and child welfare so they can patrol the bathrooms of Texas in search of imaginary predators.

It’s time to create an independent nonpartisan commission that will foster fairness in the redistricting process and make it possible to legislate around goals that Texans share.


As holiday shoppers abound in the Austin metro area, I would like to take a moment to remind readers of the humanity of laborers in the service industry who are working as our cashiers, our baristas and in many other roles.

Part-time workers in particular are experiencing low wages, a lack of benefits such as paid days off work for the holidays and grueling physical work. As you ask for an item at a store or order your coffee, please remember that these workers appreciate a smile, a kind word and a tip for their hard work.

It remains a long and difficult fight to gain fair wages, benefits and safe working conditions for many of these workers we rely on the most. This holiday season, please take the time to show your appreciation for their hard work.


Re: Dec. 5 article, “UT seeking 2 percent increase in tuition in 2018, and again in 2019.”

As a liberal arts major attending the University of Texas and not exactly having the most lucrative career options after graduation, the university has yet to show the student body these positive changes that come from increasing tuition. Even the graduate programs are affected. The increases seem small, but it adds up when students are already struggling to pay for tuition, rent, utilities, food, transportation, etc.

The university charges for every little thing, such as fundamental health care and parking, and yet they’re still planning to increase tuition?!

UT Austin says that it wants to make tuition affordable and provide a world-class education, but it’s all talk and little show. It’s unbelievable.


Re: Dec. 7 article, “Columbus Crew owners offer sketch of potential Austin soccer stadium.”

Dear Columbus Crew SC and Precourt Sports Ventures,

You obviously haven’t spent time here to learn about our town, so let me educate you on a few things.

We don’t have well-developed mass transit here, so don’t start comparing us to Portland just because we have cool cities with similarities in mindset. Most people who will come to games will drive in. Road infrastructure in the Butler Shores area is very problematic in regards to traffic without your stadium. (Drive around here in rush hour sometime.)

You mentioned 13,000 parking spots within 20 minutes walking distance to stadium. The only way I can figure you came up with that number is you’re counting on parking in front of my house and everyone else’s house who lives close by.

The people in your city love your team. Why don’t you make all of us happy and just stay put?


Re: Dec. 7 article, “Trump: Government may shut down this weekend.”

In referencing his travel ban to the U.S. from six Muslim countries, our president explained yesterday that “we don’t want to have radical Islamic terrorism in this country.”

Mr. President, according to the Pew Research Center, approximately 3 million refugees have been resettled in the U.S. since Congress passed the Refugee Act of 1980. In our history, zero of these refugees have committed acts of “radical Islamic terrorism.”

I know it is tough for you to consider the facts, Mr. President, but please, do the math.


What a horrible idea to build a soccer stadium at Butler Shores. That is sacred, invaluable green space.

Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever — just like the Triangle at 45th Street/Lamar Boulevard/Guadalupe Street, the former singular state-owned tract of land at 45th Street and Bull Creek, and several other priceless parcels that woulda/coulda/shoulda been turned into city parkland.

Amazing that back in the day Austin had the good sense to create Pease, Zilker, Town Lake hike-and-bike trail, et al. Obviously and sadly, that day is long gone.


Re: Dec. 4 commentary, “Two views: Austin sick-leave policy pushes entrepreneurs to suburbs.”

Turpin feels sick leave is not needed — providing it will cost too much and drive employers out of Austin. When I read his commentary the first thing I felt was that he views employees as a burden: The city’s decision to require employers provide paid sick leave was bad for the economy.

It seems that many employers consider workers a financial burden. With the help of our Congress they have successfully kept the minimum wage at $7.25 per hour, using the same pay rates as 20 years ago. That also follows the decades-old classification of employees as “part-time” to avoid having to provide benefits. And now the University of Texas has done this to professors by classifying them as adjunct professors, while they pay a football coach over $7 million a year and increase tuition. Yet, there is still no room for benefits for the part-timers.


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