Re: July 8 commentary, “If Texas won’t give sick leave, at least let Austin do it.”
If paid sick leave was really about protecting income of workers, that would be one thing. Instead, the ordinance is about providing anyone who works, whether full- or part-time, paid time off.
Should a small business be required to pay a part-time high school student money to miss work whether he is sick or not? And how is it right that a worker could accrue paid time off for the next year?
It’s easy for a commentary writer to wax self-righteously about protecting the vulnerable and helping victimized workers. But did anyone read the ordinance? It is a sophomorically written ordinance weak on detail and strong on platitudes.
Most of the business community wants to take care of its people. Creating more bureaucracy and adding unnecessary costs demonstrates a real lack of business acumen. Austin could do much better.
TOM KENNEY, AUSTIN
The rain has subsided. But a gloomy cloud still hangs over Austin: City Council Member Ellen Troxclair’s announcement that she will not run for re-election, and a $925 million bond placed on the November ballot that even progressives are questioning, foreshadowing a grim future for the fiscally minded Austinite.
The City Council’s attempts to bring prosperity to Austin residents by taxing them muddies the innovative and forward-thinking image Austin projects to the world. Without Troxclair’s dissenting voice of reason, the council may shove Austin down the road of good intentions without any brakes.
MICHAEL GEARY, AUSTIN
Re: July 4 article, “With Austin’s Bag Ban Dead, Environmentalists Change Tactics.”
I am certainly glad to hear that Austin residents are petitioning businesses to uphold its local plastic bag ban.
Plastic waste is a major problem globally and locally. Plastic bags do not biodegrade but instead break down into small pieces that collect toxins and are ingested by fish and other marine animals, poisoning our ecosystem, according to Californians Against Waste.
As a resident of the city of Austin, I have the privilege of living in a place with beautiful waterways such as Barton Creek. If retailers reintroduce these bags, they will be directly contributing to the visual pollution of our beloved parks.
Polystyrene (Styrofoam) is another major source of waste that is not recyclable and never biodegrades. We should be petitioning businesses and our government to stop using polystyrene as well, as it is an urgent problem.
AIME POLIVKA, AUSTIN
Re: July 8 article, “How a natural gas group pushed for new energy curriculum in Texas.”
In answer to the Texas Natural Gas Foundation’s proposal to teach elementary children about the “benefits” of natural gas, fracking, pipelines and the like, I submit the following: If we don’t keep it in the ground, where it belongs, and concentrate fully on renewable energy by 2070, I would like all to observe what I have seen in Corpus Christi: the ugliest coast in Texas with toxic, smoke-belching refineries.
There is another way to obtain energy that doesn’t kill the environment — and that’s through renewable sources.
Unchecked, the dinosaurs are getting their revenge. They were destroyed, and their remains are producing another annihilation — and it is ours.
BETTY JAMESON, AUSTIN
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has offered to donate metal detectors to the Santa Fe school where the recent shooting sadly resulted in casualties. That is a magnanimous offer from the lieutenant governor.
However, anyone aware of this sequence of tragic school shootings across the country knows that no school has been victimized twice. Patrick’s offer seems to be a day late and a dollar short — or perhaps shutting the barn door after the horse is out.
It is essential that all schools in the state get those metal detectors — and that Patrick works as hard as he can to get the Legislature to fund improvements. School starts soon.
BEN LILES, SALADO
Do you remember the P.D. Eastman classic, “Are You My Mother?,” a book about a baby bird looking for its mother? The story has a happy ending: Mother and baby are reunited.
In light of the difficulties reuniting children and parents separated at the Texas border, I pray that there will also be a happy ending for each of these cases. Sadly, news reports have indicated that some 3-year-old children didn’t recognize their mothers or fathers when they were first reunited.
The tearing away of children from their parents is sickening. “Are You My Mother?,” published on June 12, 1960, 58 years ago, has a heartbreaking connotation for America in 2018.
E. BELL, HOUSTON
Somewhere, terrorists are planning the next 9/11 attack on our country. After Trump’s bullying and badgering of our allies, terrorists will be dancing for joy.
The safety and security of our country often depends on intelligence provided by our allies. After Trump cozies up to Putin, will Russia be so forthcoming? Will they come to our aid like they did after 9/11, joining forces in Afghanistan?
The fact is that Trump’s foreign policy endangers our lives and communities. His recklessness is done so at your expense. If you want to avert another 9/11, you need to speak up now.
FARIDA KHAN, AUSTIN