Letters to the editor, Jan. 27, 2018

Re: Jan. 23 article, “His son tried to kill him; now father tries to halt his execution.”

I read Chuck Lindell’s story on the Whitaker family with great sadness.

In our zeal for vengeance, we have crafted a death penalty that hinges on “future dangerousness,” but none of us can predict the future. If we could, Texans wouldn’t have sentenced over 13 people to death in the past that were actually innocent. We would also know that despite horrific crimes, redemption can be found and Thomas Whitaker seems a good example. Only the most cynical can relish in vengeance and fear.

Our governor needn’t be afraid of the concept of redemption. Take this young man off death row and have him live a life of penance by serving others — he has already started. Since he is clearly not a threat, killing this young man solely out of misplaced revenge would be a stain on this state. His father has forgiven him — why can’t we?


Why can’t Austin be the innovative city it professes to be in creating affordable housing? Instead of using CodeNext to propose letting developers put in nondescript boxes to supply multifamily housing, why not encourage homeowners to create a housing supply in established neighborhoods by easing the red tape costs to build garage apartments, now known as Accessory Dwelling Units?

This would accomplish several things:

  • ADUs would quickly increase the housing supply.
  • ADUs would be relatively affordable.
  • ADUs would integrate nicely in our beloved tree-lined, old architecture neighborhoods.
  • ADUs would give homeowners funds to pay their taxes.
  • Central-city renters might be more inclined to use public transit.

Did we really need to pay more than $8 million for CodeNext? All the city had to do was search Google for the website Curbed for some successful ideas.


According to AustinTexas.Gov, the city of Austin has bought out 806 properties at risk of flooding along Onion Creek. It strikes me that there is a better answer than forcing people from their homes: two dams.

Another feature of that website is the flood zone along Onion Creek. Why not build one dam just west of the McKinney Falls Parkway bridge and turn that park into a lake that would prevent flooding downstream while also creating a new water supply and recreational spot? Currently, there is a makeshift dam just west of Interstate 35.

While the topography there is not as conducive to a dam as McKinney Falls Park appears to be, there is certainly room to make that dam larger than it is to prevent flooding from that point down to the proposed McKinney Dam. Can someone please explain to me why this is not a viable option?


Re: Jan. 23 article, “Big washing machines, solar panels get tariffs.”

President Trump’s imposing a tariff on solar panels is ill-advised.

First, more costly solar panels will reduce demand, costing U.S. jobs installing solar. Most U.S. solar jobs are in solar deployment, not manufacturing.

Second, tariffs hurt American companies that make hard-to-outsource racks, tracking systems and electronics that are part of power systems.

Third, the tariff increases costs to individuals and utilities that purchase solar panels.

Fourth, if American solar manufacturers are already noncompetitive in the world market, after relying on tariff protection for years, they will emerge even further behind while others hone their manufacturing skills.

Fifth, China may institute retaliatory tariffs, as happened following the 2012 Obama tariffs on solar imports from China.

Finally, less solar power means burning more fossil fuel. This produces the greenhouse gases which cause climate change-induced floods, fires, droughts and strengthened hurricanes.


Re: Jan. 20 letter to the editor, “Disrespect liberals show Trump is appalling.

This letter writer must not have watched the news during the eight years Barack Obama was president. If you substitute “Republican” for Democrat in every sentence she wrote, all the statements are still true. She forgot the multiple times Republicans refused to work with Obama. They bragged that they would do “anything” to see him fail, whether it was good for the country or not. I guess she also doesn’t remember it was Donald Trump and fellow Republicans who started the whole “birther” nonsense.

Sadly, her letter is just another example of the serious cognitive dissonance that is affecting our society today. If I don’t agree with the information, I will simply discount it as false or forget it entirely. Polite discourse is no longer allowed. It’s “us vs. them” these days. This does not bode well for our great country.


So how many, if any, Norwegians might want to immigrate to the U.S.?

Who knows? Where just about everyone is Caucasian, Norway does not contend with very many social issues common in the U.S., except for drug abuse and alcoholism.

This reader has first-hand knowledge. Norwegians are spoiled.

Were it not for its vast-but-declining oil and gas reserves and the international oil companies’ expertise and capital to extract them, Norway would be a country dependent on fishing and shipping.

Since 1975, Norwegians have seen their standard of living increase in line with energy production.

Oil royalties have built a $1 trillion sovereign fund from which the government is already tapping generously to sustain its social entitlement programs as oil revenues decrease, unemployment fluctuates and cost of living increases.

Before President Trump leaves office, one may see many well-educated, out-of-work Norwegians applying for U.S. visas.


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