Letters to the editor: Nov. 5, 2017

    Nov 04, 2017

I have been fortunate to work in the justice system for 15 years. When I heard President Trump refer to it as a laughingstock and a joke, I was angered and saddened. Lawyers and judges dedicate themselves to honorable service in that system. Litigants rely on that system to arrive at a just outcome to disputes and protect their rights. Many of us nonlawyers serve in supporting roles in that system and believe deeply in what we are trying to accomplish.

We know it isn’t perfect; we can all do better. But the American system of justice is neither a joke nor a laughingstock. For Trump to malign the hard work of the thousands who strive to uphold the basic tenets of the Constitution is conduct beneath the dignity of the presidency and does a disservice to yet another constituency of that office.


One can debate what a library, from the Latin “liber” for “book,” should be when electronic text has overtaken the printing press. I easily stretch my vision to include computer stations, reading nooks, meeting rooms and even a three-story grackle sculpture. But a purposed venue for cooking shows, wedding receptions and an upscale restaurant seems as much a multievents center as a library in any sense. Perhaps we should call Austin’s newest landmark a grexary, from the Latin “grex” for “flock.”

Whatever its name, this truly splendid — if overbudget — architectural wonder is an item of civic pride. It will delight tourists and be a walk-to perk for high-rise district residents. But with limited, expensive parking and a location in downtown Austin, it will be difficult to access for ordinary Austin families and their school-aged children — an occasional tool and treat, not a frequently used library site.


There are times when professional sports are just another business to make money. There are times when pro sports are just a silly diversion from the problems of real life. Then there are times when professional sports are much more.

The New Orleans Saints’ Super Bowl Championship brought joy and pride to an area devastated by Hurricane Katrina. This year, a new National Hockey League team has brought civic identity and a bit of healing to people of Las Vegas still stunned by an incomprehensible event. Now, the Houston Astros have brought the first World Series championship to a city facing years of rebuilding after serious floods.

Professional sports can lift the spirits of an area badly in need of hope. It’s in those times when sports acts as a balm and bond to inspire a region. It’s in these times when professional sports find the highest purpose.


If Congress and the president want to help the middle class with taxes, just reduce the threshold for a medical deduction from 7 1/2 percent to 5 percent for ages 65 or older, or maybe lower, of adjusted gross income. I am 90 and can’t walk. My medical expenses are overwhelming. I need help and so do others just like me.


Re: Oct. 28 article, “Trump administration disavows Puerto Rico power contract.”

After reading the report about the Whitefish Energy contract for $300 million, I would like to get in on the game. My wife and I will form a two-person company, and we would like to be awarded the next MoPac contract. The current one cost $233 million, but heck, we would have done it for $200 million. No, we don’t have any experience, but we will be hiring people for $300 an hour to work for us.

If it sounds absurd that a two-person operation from Austin can do this, I simply paraphrase Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke — who hails from Whitefish, Montana, so he should know. Only in elitist Washington, D.C., would being from a town like Austin be called a crime.


I am one of the many victims of the recent leak of personal information by Equifax.

Being worried about someone opening accounts in my name, I learned that I should “freeze” my credit. Then, I learned that I will have to pay Equifax and the other bureaus for that service. And then if I want to buy a car in the future, I will need to pay them again to “unfreeze” my reports.

So, to summarize, Equifax leaks my information, then expects me to pay them to protect myself from their failure?

In America, I would expect that Equifax would pay all these fees, since it was their mistake that caused the problem. Perhaps our senators and members of Congress should do something to encourage this.


Imagine my father or grandfather stole a lot of money from a man — and passed that money on to his posterity. So, there I am, rich, while the man’s descendants are poor. Do I owe nothing to the man’s children or grandchildren?

Or maybe my father or grandfather kept the man chained, took the fruit of his labor, denied him an education and his ability to better provide for his own posterity. Again, there I am, well-fed and educated, able in the world and prosperous, while the man’s posterity struggles. Do I owe nothing to the man’s descendants?

The palaces of Europe were built on the backs of Aztecs, Incas, the people of India, the people of Africa. Vast land and its riches stolen from Mexico; Native Americans massacred and dispossessed; generations of Africans enslaved.

Surely a better memory and a little intelligence and understanding is the least that is owed.