Letters to the editor: Nov. 7, 2017


Re: Nov. 3 article, “Council may have broken open meetings law with ‘secret’ city manager search.”

I am stunned by the lack of judgment on the part of our City Council members in the actions they took while interviewing prospective city manager candidates. Leaving “the posted location of a meeting and (being) rushed away in vans that took them to an undisclosed place” sounds like scenes from the current White House. Maybe council members have been watching too much TV.

This is Austin, where we pride ourselves on open government and avoiding even the appearance of impropriety. When we were considering folks to fill our last police chief and city manager positions, inviting citizens to sit in on public meetings with candidates was a reassuring and brilliant move.

Our council blew it by putting the desires and “protection” of a few applicants way ahead of the well-being of our citizens. I am grateful to the Statesman for pursuing this issue.

MARY GORDON SPENCE, AUSTIN

Re: Nov. 3 letter to the editor, “Teal pumpkin effort bizarre for Halloween.

The writer clearly misunderstood the article on the Teal Pumpkin Project. Putting a teal pumpkin out on your front porch for Halloween does not replace candy with “kale, parsley and a tomato or two.” It simply signifies to children with food allergies that your house has non-edible treats such as spider rings, plastic frogs or stickers.

For children with life-threatening food allergies, a lot of candies are deadly. Teal pumpkins on Halloween indicate that we want all children to have a safe and inclusive way to celebrate the holiday. If this reader is in need of candy, we have a lot left over at our teal pumpkin house as we offered trick-or-treaters either candy or a glow stick. Every child, save a few teenagers, chose the glow stick. Visit tealpumpkinproject.org to see how easy it is to be kind to our little goblins.

BETH MARTINEZ, AUSTIN

I got to check out the new Central Library this past week and was thoroughly impressed with the facilities. It is beautiful and it holds so much potential within its walls, but I am incredibly disappointed with how little planning was made for access via public transportation. I want everyone to be able to use this amazing new facility, not just the few who are willing to deal with parking, or the able-bodied who can reach it by bike or post-run.

Eighth and Guadalupe streets is a CapMetro hub, making Faulk access possible from all over the city without transfers. The nearest bus stops to the new library seem reasonable until considering 100-degree heat — or individuals who use walkers, or families with strollers and kids. City leaders talk about improving access and affordability, so show me the bus route/stop changes that will create access for all to our magical new Central Library.

NELLY PAULINA RAMIREZ, AUSTIN

Re: Nov. 3 letter to the editor, “Placing Jewish people in Palestine made no sense.”

I am amazed at the level of ignorance displayed in this letter. The writer says that “Muslims and Christians had lived there for at least hundreds of years,” and refers to the resettled Jews as foreigners.

There were also Jews there for thousands of years; in fact, Jesus was a Jew — and so were his early followers, your “original Christians.” Those “foreigners” were returning to ancestral homelands, a goal that had been part of the culture since the original diaspora. It’s even part of the Passover Seder — which, incidentally, was Jesus’ Last Supper. The Balfour Declaration didn’t give away someone else’s land to the Jews; it helped them return to their own land.

RONA DISTENFELD, AUSTIN

Re: Nov. 1 articles, “Health Care enrollment period begins,” “S&P 500 closes seventh straight month of gains,” “Aetna issues strong forecast as profit soars,” and Oct. 14 article, “Nearly 4 in 10 U.S. adults now considered obese, CDC says.”

You couldn’t make this up if you tried. Wednesday’s front page states, “Health care enrollment period begins.”

Then, there are some interesting stories that day’s business section. First, the S&P posts a strong day thanks to the makers of Kellogg’s cereal and Oreo cookies. Next, it’s the Aetna story, proudly announcing profits soar and deciding they’re going “sit this one out” in 2018 — “this one” meaning the Affordable Care Act marketplace. Ready for this? They had no idea there was a sicker-than-expected population. Oh, and I almost forgot, recently the Centers for Disease Control announced four out of 10 adult males are obese.

So, let’s recap: We’re bursting at the seams, literally. Opioids, aging boomers, cancers, elderly, disasters, on and on it goes.

So, with a smiling, profit-induced straight face, a major insurer says “we had no idea.” They’re going to stick to just the healthy ones that don’t cost us.

Wow.

ROBERT MARCHAND, AUSTIN

Our democracy continues to be subverted by a hostile foreign government. President Trump continues to use the Russian playbook on how to divide people and destroy democracy. We were attacked using cyberwarfare. We were — and continue to be — unprepared at the onslaught. Country after country has lost its democracy, be it at one year or one term.

Republicans have full control of all branches of government. It is way past time for Republicans to put “country” before “party.” We fought a world war against a fascist regime — yet they would allow it to overtake our democracy because they think it benefits their “party.” Republicans need to step up and protect our democratic republic and our American values before we, too, fall to autocratic rule.

SANDRA BLANKENSHIP, KILLEEN



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