“Congracklations” to your staff writers and photographers, and the outside contributors who did such a great job of giving voice to the daily avian experience that unites Austinites of all neighborhoods, newcomers and old-timers alike.
One reference was overlooked though. In the fine comic novel “The Boyfriend School,” set in 1980s Austin, the name of the slightly subversive alternative newspaper — which figures heavily in the plot — is the Austin Grackle. And the author is Austin’s own Sarah Bird.
MARIANNA GOLDRICK, AUSTIN
The Texas Legislature limits school funding to $5,000 per student. That means that every dollar over that amount raised by a school district from property taxes must be sent to the state for distribution to districts that raise less.
This coming year, the Austin Independent School District will send as much or even more money to the state as they get to keep. Those are our tax dollars — and Austin is almost the only city paying out.
Austin ISD can’t lower our property values, but why can’t they lower the rate at which they tax us?
This would significantly lower property tax bills (since Austin ISD is almost 75 percent of the total), not reduce local school funding (since they can’t keep the extra), and help make housing in Austin more affordable with one simple move.
RONA DISTENFELD, AUSTIN
Re: July 23 commentary, “Two Views: Liberals eager to pounce on Kavanaugh. Or anyone, really.”
I read with interest Ryan Brannan’s piece about Brett Kavanaugh in the July 23 edition of the Statesman. I kept expecting him to stop poking fun at liberals at some point and address some of the substantive concerns some on the left — or, in the center, and even on the right — have regarding Kavanaugh’s positions on stare decisis, Chevron deference and women’s rights.
He gave a passing mention to originalism, which, when I read the opinion he pointed to, I found less than convincing. Making the Founding Fathers into ventriloquist’s dummies for spouting right-wing ideology seems to be popular these days, but I feel it should disqualify one for a seat on the Supreme Court.
It’s a shame Brannan wasted his opportunity to address these substantive concerns in favor of ridiculing liberals, but I guess that’s something that’s easy to sell without needing to put a lot of thought into it.
KEVIN HICKS, LAKEWAY
Should a Martian land in America tomorrow and ask to know the difference between the Democrat and Republican parties, the fastest explanation would be to show him a political cartoon from each. The Republican’s would convey humor using facts; the Democrat’s would convey anger using imagined scenarios. Case in point were the two here on July 23.
The Republican’s cartoon shows their party scoffing at the comical attacks from a donkey at Trump’s Supreme Court nominee consisting of his first name, his mention of a keg in high school and that he buys tickets to baseball games. The Democrat’s shows Putin as horned-and-tailed Satan whose power has enamored Trump, while all Republicans condone their evil union sedated by their political power while the nation is aghast.
The ability to use facts with humor versus imagined hyperbole to elicit anger would enlighten the Martian.
LARRY VOLKENING, HOUSTON
Re: July 23 commentary, “Two Views: Liberals eager to pounce on Kavanaugh. Or anyone, really,” and
It’s an all-too common conservative ploy: List two or three stupid things that you pretend represent the left’s position, and dismiss them, thereby dodging any serious talking points that might expose the flaws in your stance.
If Ryan Brannan is really interested in engaging with the left’s objections to Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, I suggest he look just to the left of his own column, where columnist Glenn W. Smith eloquently enumerates how Kavanaugh’s appointment would be catastrophic for civil rights, women’s rights, the environment, health care, voting rights and other critical issues.
None of those topics, of course, get even a casual nod in Brannan’s column, leaving him free to have his own uncontested opinions hidden in a cloud of smug and smirk.
SCOTT STARK, AUSTIN
Whenever, I see or read about killings on our university campus, I reflect on our granddaughters who have attended and graduated from major schools in the U.S. It seems as if females are more prone to assaults, than male students.
This beautiful young woman, Haruka Weiser, will truly be missed by her relatives and others. I salute the hard-working members of law enforcement and prosecutors for their excellent cooperation.
MOSES P. SALDAÑA SR., AUSTIN