Letters to the editor: Jan. 13, 2018

Re: Jan. 10 article, “Despite rules, former Hays commissioner to remain at CAMPO board.”

Will Conley, former Hays County Commissioner, was re-elected on Jan. 8 to continue to serve as chair of Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, although he is no longer an elected official. Conley stepped down to run for Hays County Judge, but was chosen by the CAMPO board to keep his chairmanship.

The rules for membership on the CAMPO board clearly state that you must be either an elected official from one of the participating counties or cities, or the head of one of the local transportation entities. Conley is neither.

Conley is just a private citizen who seems to have made some powerful friends within Travis County and Austin political circles, and is using his former position as a Hays County Commissioner to continue to make decisions for citizens he no longer legitimately represents.

Will Conley represents only himself.


Re: Jan. 8 article, “Homeless under South Austin overpass could face police citations.”

The attempt by Austin to seek authorization to cite and arrest homeless people under the elevated portion of U.S. 290/Texas 71 is such an egregious miscarriage of justice that I find it difficult to articulate my distaste.

If this action is to provide services, set up a schedule to provide services at the overpass. If this scheme is to reduce trash, provide trash barrels so that the “residents” can self-police their trash.

Receiving a citation is the first step of entry into the criminal justice system. Is that the life change that we wish on people who are already struggling to stay warm, dry, clothed and fed on the fringe of our affluent society?


The tax “reform” being now law, the Speaker of the House pivoted to the issue of what he calls “entitlement reform” with, what seemed to me, the indelicacy of a creditor mentioning at graveside a debt owed by the estate. As I watched, I imagined that if they were sentient beings, those two words he used would blink frantically in the caption block to signal they were being held hostage.

The recent tax bill, which we are told will add to the deficit at least $1 trillion dollars, would make the word “reform” blush at what its good name had been attached to in the tax bill and in the “entitlement” bill to come.

And “entitlement” would also be embarrassed at being called upon to stand in for more precise terms like “Social Security” and “Medicare.” Will future beneficiaries pay for the tax cut?


Re: Jan. 9 article, “Democrats pursuing coverage for all in new health care push.”

The best health care is not access to the most expensive medicine, nor the most advanced procedures and research. It is not figuring out ways to redistribute the ridiculously expensive price tag of our high-tech, pharmaceutical and surgery centric model. The best health care is giving everyone — pediatrics to geriatrics — tools for self-care to keep them out of our very effective crisis-care medical industry.

Self-awareness, breath work, mindful movement, nature immersion, safe and nourishing relationships, and nutrition provide gentle, self-empowering answers without negative side-effects. They are not only effective for our broken health care system, but also the penal system, education and mental health. Why can we not see that giving people tools to take care of themselves is by far more compassionate and more efficient?


Designing a reasonable tax code is noble service. Sadly, the approach by the current GOP is opposite of noble. Enriching corporations, shareholders, landholders and trust-fund babies is not public service. Conversely students, teachers, fledgling startups and many lesser-abled are offered the short end of the stick.

Beyond this, the GOP have now amplified the sellout by adding provisions to get votes. This shameful add-on to boost real estate income will further enrich people like U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, President Trump and others. What about the millions in our county who can’t afford exorbitant rent with stagnant wages?

Voters have made a mistake to put such corrupt politicians in charge. We are lied to every day when flowery speeches express concern. In reality, the only concern is for donors, lobbyists, land barons and Christian fundamentalists.

The GOP is on the wrong path with any tax code that clearly favors the rich.


Re: Jan. 4 article, “Trump disbands vote fraud panel.”

The White House recently dissolved the controversial voter fraud commission and transferred the responsibility to the Department of Homeland Security.

This is yet another effort by this administration and its colleagues to make false accusations, intimidate people and disenfranchise those who have the legal right to vote. Many studies have shown that voter fraud is infinitesimal in the U.S. Efforts should be made to register qualified people to vote and get voters to the polls, instead of continuing to make it more difficult for older Americans, students and others to vote. The U.S. has a very low voting percentage compared to most developed countries in the world.

What has been done — and what are our elected officials doing to fix our system that enabled external parties to hack into and interfere with our elections? That seems to be an important problem that has not been repaired in advance of future elections. Let’s fix that now.


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