Letters to the editor: March 17, 2017

Re: Feb. 26 commentary, “Healing won’t begin until LASA represents all of Austin ISD.”

The Statesman has published yet another misguided screed about the racial makeup of the Liberal Arts and Science Academy. LASA is a nationally recognized school with a race-blind admissions policy. If blacks and Hispanics are underrepresented at LASA, it is because too many Austin Independent School District students fail to obtain the primary school education needed to prepare for an academically advanced magnet high school.

As the parent of three LASA graduates, I know the work required to succeed there. Austin ISD’s focus should be on preparing students in elementary and middle schools, and not relaxing LASA’s educational standards. Smaller classes and the active support of parents and the larger community are needed to improve outcomes at the elementary level, resulting in more diversity at the end of the pipeline. Focus on the root of the problem, not the natural consequences of failing to do so.


Re: Feb. 26 commentary, “Healing won’t begin until LASA represents all of Austin ISD.”

Thanks for Yasmiyn Irizarry’s powerful editorial about the Liberal Arts and Science Academy. She used specific data to shed truth on how LASA is “reminiscent of apartheid.”

From the start, the Austin Independent School District separated magnet teachers and students from those in the neighborhood. No wonder LBJ’s population never integrated with LASA students. Now one area has two principals, two graduations and two senior proms. Can we say “separate but equal” here?

If the district bows to the LASA parents, it will continue to push the LBJ students further away. We should connect and integrate, not disconnect and separate.

During the Oscars, Mark Rylance said, “Sometimes, the most supportive thing is to oppose,” but we also should try as he said, “opposing without hatred.” When we mix with others who are different, we have a chance to learn from opposition. I hope that Austin ISD figures out how to reach out to the LBJ community instead of running away.


Re: Feb. 25 article, “Cornyn unveils bill to protect domestic violence housing.”

The article explains that the SafePlace program received about $625,000 in Housing and Urban Development grants last year. It notes a recent HUD rule change that endangers that funding. Sen. John Cornyn’s bill will require HUD to prioritize funding grants for domestic violence survivors over those for all other homeless groups, including veterans, families and others living in the street.

Though I agree domestic violence shelters should receive funding, the senator’s bill will not provide more money. It merely flips the deck and prioritizes domestic violence shelters over all other homeless people and programs. The result will be that a veteran with PTSD will go unserved — or a family whose breadwinner has been laid off will remain on the street. Homeless programs need more money, not more legislation.


Re: March 1 article, “Democrats in speech rebuttal say Trump will ‘rip’ away care.”

The Democratic Party response to President Trump’s congressional address was very telling. First, they selected an out-of-office Democrat who would not need to worry about losing his next election due to his pre-scripted negative harangue that all things Trump are evil. Second … well, there is no second as he never once responded to Trump’s address in this so- called Democratic Party response.

This Kentucky ex-governor lost his last election to his Republican candidate while his state voted by a large margin for Trump. It is clear he and his party still do not know why or do not care why.


Re: March 1 article, “Sessions hints Trump may crack down on pot.”

Regarding Attorney General Pete Sessions’ remarks about potentially cracking down on recreational marijuana use, one question: What problem do you have with weed that you don’t have with alcohol, tobacco and firearms?

Alcohol is sold “at every corner grocery store,” and factors in the loss of many thousands of lives annually. Tobacco is a poison that degrades health and kills people by the tens of thousands annually. Firearms cause tens of thousands of deaths annually. Marijuana? Uh, not a whole lot there. In fact, it’s proving to be medically useful. Who knows what good it might do if shackles were taken off researching it?

So how about some consistency in what threats to public health you pursue? When we see a meaningful limit on gun ownership, then maybe you’ll have license to question smoking weed “recreationally.” Oh, and while we’re talking consistency, about that “this should be left to the states” thing — hypocrite much?


I’m really tired of Trump supporters telling me to “get over it.” I won’t. I don’t need to wait any longer to see how he does. Every action he’s taken goes against all I believe. Ken Herman can say whatever he wants in his column because we still have a free press in spite of Trump. And I can say whatever I believe because of free speech.

We don’t need to make America great “again.” It’s always been great and will continue to be great as long as these two institutions are in place. What are you afraid of? That we might hit on some truth you can’t deny? Are you feeling buyer’s remorse yet? Do you miss Obama now that he’s gone? I do. I’m not going to be quiet. In the words of Sen. John Lewis, I’m going to “get in the way!”


Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Opinion

Letters to the editor: March 19, 2018
Letters to the editor: March 19, 2018

Since the 19th century, scientists have been warning us that continued and increasing burning of fossil fuels, which emit carbon dioxide into the earth’s atmosphere, will eventually make life for humans all but impossible. I wonder if the folks who don’t choose to believe these warnings would be happy if we didn’t have pasteurized...
Opinion: Podcast much more than economics

There are so many things to lament about the modern world — fracturing families, the rise of authoritarianism, the rage for torn jeans — but there is also much to celebrate and savor. One is the abundance of great conversation available through podcasts. There’s my own, of course, “Need to Know,” and then there is the...
Opinion: Springtime for sycophants

When Donald Trump came to office, many feared that he would break up our close economic relations with Mexico and/or start a trade war with China. So far, neither has happened. It’s true that our free trade agreement with Mexico and Canada is still under threat, and Trump has placed tariffs on some Chinese goods. But his trade ire seems increasingly...
Bombings show why Austin no longer can afford a small-town attitude
Bombings show why Austin no longer can afford a small-town attitude

Three package bombings this month, which have left two Austin residents dead, another seriously injured and much of the minority community in fear, have raised questions about how the Austin Police Department handled those tragic events and whether it did enough to help safeguard the public. Those are legitimate concerns that Austin interim Police...
Herman: She’s 93. He’s 43. She loves Trump. He doesn’t. Road trip!
Herman: She’s 93. He’s 43. She loves Trump. He doesn’t. Road trip!

While researching a book about his family, Austin journalist Bryan Mealer learned he had a hitherto-unknown-to-him cousin in Scottsdale, Ariz. They met for the first time on Aug. 19, 2014. A St. Patrick’s Day baby, Frances Varner turned 93 this year. The cousins are separated by 50 years and something that separates lots of American families...
More Stories