Letters to the editor: Sept. 12, 2017

    Sept 11, 2017

Re: Sept. 3 commentary, “Viewpoints: City should look to proven models to address homelessness.”

As a taxpayer and volunteer working with our homeless neighbors, I appreciate the Statesman’s highlight of the issue of homelessness, an undeniable reality that impacts people of all ages, ethnicities and life circumstances.

However, this societal problem impacts all areas of Austin, not just downtown. The need for emergency shelter beds should exist in each of our districts with the required coordinated assessments easily available. Consideration of advancing a more collaborative approach among the various community-based and social service agencies with faith-based organizations and its leadership is imperative.

Community response to homelessness is strengthened when the faith community ministries are invited to contribute in a meaningful way to local responses. Effective partnership takes commitment, concentrated effort and patience as relationships are built to provide a safety net for this vulnerable population. Kudos to Community First, Foundation Communities, Family Eldercare and ECHO for their tremendous efforts!


Re: Aug. 26 commentary, “Two Views: Why your Confederate grandfathers would not be pleased.”

Yes, my grandfathers would not be pleased with the removal of Confederate statues — but not because they were sticklers to the 10th Amendment.

I remember back in the 1970s at Thanksgiving, I asked my paternal grandfather if we were going to watch the UT-A&M game. He said he did not watch football anymore because “It’s just our African-Americans against their African-Americans.” He didn’t quite use those specific terms.

Recently, reading through letters of my maternal great-grandfather, a former lieutenant governor of Texas, he lamented the number of African-Americans present on trains after World War II. He, too, used a different term for these American servicemen. He was particularly put out because he was unable to shave because “one had used the washroom before him.”

So, yes, my grandfathers would be opposed, but I can assure Youngblood their reasons would have absolutely nothing to do with the Constitution.


Re: Sept. 3 commentary, “On Sept. 23, let’s all turn our backs against prejudice.”

As a former longtime resident of Charlottesville, Va., who was stunned and saddened by events there last month, I sincerely agree with the Rev. Geno Hildebrandt.

His urging for well-meaning people of faith to turn our backs on white supremacy by not showing up at all in counterprotest at the Dixie Freedom Rally but rather to show up in houses of worship to pray and sing for peace and justice. In this way, we can take attention away from those who want to intimidate — and we can tap into real power to turn our backs on the lie of a superior race.


Click and Clack once called SUVs “stupid useless vehicles.”

Less aerodynamic, higher and heavier, SUVs are less fuel-efficient than the sedans they are derived from, unnecessarily adding to global warming. The increased space is of limited utility; SUVs lack the closed trunk space we appreciate in sedans.

SUVs are less safe with regard to accident avoidance; even if handling well, the high-seated driver is less likely to trust the vehicle in emergency avoidance maneuvers — and when hitting a pedestrian or cyclist, the high hoods are very dangerous. Traffic fines for SUVs and trucks should be higher than for sedans and station wagons, with zero tolerance when speeding.

Maybe worst of all: the extra costs. Rather than having a few thousand dollars in reserve, as responsible parents should, many live from paycheck to paycheck after buying one of these expensive, trendy vehicles they cannot afford.


Re: Aug. 31 article, “Austin schools prepare to enroll thousands of Harvey student evacuees.”

Thank you, Austin Independent School District, for welcoming kids displaced by Hurricane Harvey. The normalcy of school can be the support kids need for their personal recovery. Knowing they are not missing out on learning gives them hope for their future.

The same holds true for kids around the globe whose education is disrupted by natural disaster, conflict, fleeing their home as refugees, or simply the hardship of poverty. The Global Partnership for Education works with countries to create and implement plans to address education in all these situations.

I’m grateful that our state is stepping up for our kids. May the U.S. administration step up for kids around the globe with a bold pledge to the Global Partnership for Education. Our collective future is shaped by these decisions.


I have an idea that just might help those adversely impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

How about taking all the attorneys and their seemly unlimited financial resources our attorney general, the horrible Warren Kenneth Paxton Jr., is using to constantly wage battle against the federal government and locally elected governing bodies and use it instead to battle the con artists and price-gouging merchants who are taking advantage of this dire situation?