Letters to the editor: June 4, 2018

Re: June 10 commentary, “We’re still missing the full score on McKalla soccer stadium.

The Austin City Council needs to put the brakes on Precourt Sports Ventures’ demand for an end-of-June decision on building a soccer stadium at McKalla Place. One should never trust someone who sets an unrealistic deadline to pressure you into accepting a deal before all, or at least most, of the details have been worked out. Committing to a stadium now is potentially buying a pig in a poke, and the city of Austin should not only resist it, but refuse it.

If that means the Columbus Crew SC won’t be able to begin its 2019 season here, so be it. If PSV is serious about moving to Austin, they will be willing to wait until 2020. If not, it will be their money — not ours — that they’ve thrown down a rat hole for the past several months. They can stay in Columbus, Ohio, or find another city to court.


Precourt Sports Ventures presumes to use city-owned McKalla Place land without paying for it.

Because the land and its proposed improvements would remain city property, Precourt would pay no property taxes, ever. Instead, Precourt offers a hodgepodge of “contributions” for affordable housing, selected organizations and self-serving infrastructure improvements.

Why should for-profit Precourt pay no property tax when thousands of longtime Austin residents are fleeing the tax burden that has besieged them in recent years?

Why should Precourt get to squat on city land when hundreds of local businesses fail because they cannot bear the skyrocketed cost of the land they occupy?

Why should a deal be so complicated and value-laden?

The city should do the simple thing: Sell the land that Precourt actually needs for a fair market price, and let Precourt improve the property and pay taxes on its ongoing market value like any other business must.


Re: June 10 article, “Putin: ‘The ball is in America’s court.’”

Vladimir Putin states that even though Trump’s actions are criticized, “he is still a reflective person, and he is able to listen and react to another person’s arguments.”

Anyone who follows the news knows that this statement is not remotely true, and in fact preposterous. Putin is not stupid, however, and knows that the best way to manipulate Trump is through his ego.

As the article states, in public appearances, Putin has been praising “Donald’s” acumen. No wonder Trump wants his buddy Putin to be invited back to the G 7.


While Donald Trump did write “The Art Of The Deal” some years back, he is now being lured into the arms of the sleeping giant that wrote “The Art Of War” almost two centuries before we even became a country.

China will always coddle North Korea and align with Russia when chips are down as America tumbles. They know patience is a virtue and a key weapon.

However this turns out, I expect Trump portends visions of trumpets announcing his triumphant return in a golden carriage drawn down Pennsylvania Avenue, flags all aflutter, horses clomping in unison.


Pundits and mental health professionals on television have been commenting on the death of Anthony Bourdain and what might have been done to prevent this tragedy.

Bourdain had commented openly about his past addiction to heroin — and while he appeared to have moved past those dark days, no one seems to be concerned about his use of alcohol. As a specialist in addiction medicine, I can tell you that addiction is a chronic brain disease. While different classes of addictive drugs have different mechanisms of action and different receptor systems, they all end in the final common pathway of release of massive amounts of dopamine in the mesolimbic dopamine system.

People with addictive disease are vulnerable to all addictive substances — and they can induce or exacerbate a severe depression. Often, friends and health professionals fail to see this while the seemingly happy person quietly ends his own life.


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