On March 1, I voted in the primary. After casting my vote for my party’s candidates, I was appalled at the propositions that were included on the ballot.
When leaving the polling place, I picked up both the Democratic and Republican sample ballots to compare the propositions. I was prepared to vote in my party’s primary. However, I was not prepared to vote on propositions — since I had not seen any information about propositions prior to arriving at the polling location. Including these propositions on the primary ballot was an absolute waste of the voters’ time.
It was attuned to answering questions on a survey, each set of propositions independent of the other party’s. It is no wonder there is no bipartisan progress in our Legislature. Texas has a long way to go to providing the public with reasonable voter information before stepping up to the ballot machine
JOAN KLING, AUSTIN
Re: March 3 commentary, “More than new rules, Texas State Greek life needs a culture shift.”
Fraternities are intrinsically sophomoric. Their local “leadership” is barely 21. So, who should be held accountable for alcohol involved hazing deaths at fraternity sponsored events? Answer: The presumably adult leadership at the orders’ national organizations. Until these sponsoring organizations implement a zero-tolerance policy prohibiting hazing, especially involving alcohol — a policy with teeth — these senseless deaths will not stop.
“Teeth” could mean that a local affiliate fraternity found in violation of its national organization’s policy would be closed for the school year and the boys sent packing. A second violation should result in the local fraternity being permanently closed and the property shuttered and sold — if not forfeited. At the same time, universities should not permit fraternities or sororities that do not have such zero-tolerance policies in place.
GREG DAVIDSON, CEDAR PARK
Re: March 4 article, “Brazil’s retirement system showing cracks.”
Don’t upset the cart and spoil a hard-earned benefit for state and public-school employees in Texas. They don’t want public outrage possibly calling for a change in their retirement systems.
Yes, earning more than 70 percent of one’s final salary at the age of 55 — the amount highlighted in the article on Brazil’s retirement system — is possible when employed by the state. Imagine 81.5 percent for someone starting at 18 and retiring at 55. For every year of employment, state (via the Employees Retirement System) and public school employees (Teacher Retirement System) get a lifetime annuity multiplier of 2.3 percent.
Reduce the annuity a little, and the retirement fund continues providing financial security throughout the life of the spouse should the state employee die first. It’s not as good as federal employee retirement, but good enough. Finally, state employee and retiree spending provides a nice chunk of Austin’s economy. You’re too close to home with the Brazil article.
PAUL HILL, ROUND ROCK
Re: March 2 article, “Congress leaves with no action on gun control or school safety.”
I just read in the American-Statesman that our Republican-controlled Congress has adjourned while doing absolutely nothing about school and other shootings which are making our country a dangerous place to live. Apparently, the lives of our children are worth less than payments they receive from the National Rifle Association.
While the public is overwhelmingly in favor of background checks, not selling guns to anyone under 21 and banning bump stocks, Congress does nothing.
If you vote the same Republican congressmen back into office, you are agreeing with them that your children’s lives are less important than allegiance to the National Rifle Association. Your congressmen receive payments from your taxes for doing absolutely nothing — yet they have the nerve to call welfare recipients “freeloaders.”
ALLAN WILLIAMS, GEORGETOWN
Imagine Lexington and Concord as gun-free zones in 1775.
Imagine New Orleans as a gun-free zone in 1815.
Imagine Texas as a gun-free zone in 1836.
Imagine Waterloo (now Austin) as a gun-free zone in 1839.
Imagine Texas settlements as gun-free zones in the 1800s.
Imagine the U.S. as a gun-free zone in 1941.
Imagine the U.S. as a gun-free zone in the future.
H.G. Wells showed us the future of gun free zones in “The Time Machine.”
Gun-free zones are not the answer.
RICHARD BATTLE, LAKEWAY
• “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
It is far better to prevent the bad guy from obtaining the gun initially. Otherwise, many people may die before the bad guy is stopped. Further, law enforcement and military are good guys well-trained in firearms.
• “When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.”
No proposals to regulate firearms call for an outright ban or strip weapons from law enforcement and military.
• “Guns don’t kill people. People do.”
The slogan makes as much sense as saying “Screwdrivers don’t drive a screw. People do.” A gun is a tool used to kill. The act is far more difficult with a different tool.
The absurdity of these slogans indicates the weakness of the National Rifle Association position. Sensible firearm regulations save lives.
NEIL COHEN, AUSTIN