Letters to the editor: May 15, 2018

Re: May 11 article, “On-duty police pack court as jury sentences man who shot SWAT officer.”

I am a police supporter and support Interim Austin Police Chief Manley, with no sympathy for Tyler Harrell. But allowing police officers on duty, in uniform, to attend the sentencing phase of the Harrell trial en masse was a mistake I hope will not happen again.

The judge should not have overruled an objection made by Harrell’s lawyer. I appreciate the officers are considered “family” of the officers in the raid — but real families don’t intimidate. However, in a trial involving one of them, packing a courtroom with on-duty, uniformed police officers with recognized power to learn the identity of jurors and possibly retaliate against them can be no less intimidating than one packed with publicly known La Cosa Nostra “family” members in a trial of one of them. Even the possibility of jury intimidation should be avoided.


Re: May 11 article, “On-duty police pack court as jury sentences man who shot SWAT officer.”

Great reporting by the Statesman’s Ryan Autullo and Sean Collins Walsh regarding the sentencing of suspected drug dealer and AK-47 shooter Tyler Harrell.

I’m very troubled by the judgment of interim Austin Police Chief Brian Manley and his decision to allow on-duty SWAT team members to attend the trial in their SWAT uniforms, as well as attending officer Lt. Katrina Pruitt’s quote, “I don’t see this as an intimidating uniform.” Manley and Pruitt need better counsel from the city manager, city attorney or wiser, close friends.

They couldn’t be more wrong in their decision to allow uniformed SWAT team members in court. It’s such an egregious error that I question their ability to serve, as well as the new city manager and city attorneys.


I have just finished watching the debate between Andrew White and Lupe Valdez and was happy to see we have two very good candidates wanting to replace Gov. Greg Abbott.

Even though I appreciate all the work Valdez has done in the past, as an old lady my vote will go to White because I feel he has youth, energy, the know-how to operate in this increasingly technology driven world and the ability to appeal to all moderate thinking people. Be sure to vote in this important runoff election.


Re: May 10 letters to the editor, “Mary Wilson is clear choice for Democrats.

“If you’re ready for change, get ready to vote for Mary Wilson,” says one letter writer.

The question is, do we want change from Lamar Smith to another Republican just like him, or worse? Or do we want a progressive and pragmatic Democrat, who will value personal liberty as much as corporate greed, and use the institutions our founding fathers gave us to protect our republic from wannabe tsars like Trump?

Unfortunately, District 21 has been gerrymandered to elect a Republican, though there are plenty of disaffected Republicans these days who may vote for a pragmatist like Joe Kopser, or at least stay home. Mary Wilson is a fine person who could doubtless win if District 21 were only Austin. But what about Kerrville, Blanco, Johnson City, Canyon Lake, Fredericksburg and points in between? They vote, too — and I doubt they’re ready for her.


I recently attended a public hearing held by the Texas House Human Services Committee to hear testimony on the satisfaction of participants and providers who are “managed” under the STAR, STAR Health, STAR Kids and STAR+Plus programs.

After listening to state officials, program participants (parents of disabled children), and providers (who actually work with the children), it is apparent that children are being denied services at an alarming rate. The managed care model may be saving the state money, but it is not due to increased efficiency; it is simply because fewer services are being provided. Apparently, the only ones benefiting are the managers, the administrative layer supposedly designed to ensure services for all who qualify.

The state must rethink this legislation that created the managed care model, accept all federal Medicaid dollars available to Texas, and provide the necessary resources to the kids who so desperately need these services.


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