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    Letters

    04/01/2001
    on 4/1/01.

    Austinites can help Mexican Indians

    Austinites can help Tarahumara Indians by buying their arts and crafts at the International Pavilion of Texas Wildlife Expo, an annual event held in Austin the first weekend in October. The Tarahumaras who come to Texas Wildlife Expo also provide tourism information about their community ecotourism projects.

    This is a small but significant contribution, given the dire conditions described in the March 18 article, "An ancient tribe's desperate days." Bosque Modelo de Chihuahua, a nonprofit organization, brings a different group of people every year. The crafts sold are from cooperatives to try to spread the benefits throughout the community.

    This Texas-Tarahumara association began in the mid-'90s when the state of Chihuahua and Bosque Modelo invited Texas Parks and Wildlife to participate in various ecotourism training workshop in Chihuahua.

    MARIA I. ARAUJO

    Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept.

    AustinCASA is grateful

    CASA of Travis County is honored to be a beneficiary for the Austin American-Statesman's Capitol 10,000. This is a gift beyond words.

    The abused and neglected children CASA serves have been taken from their homes and placed in temporary care until a permanent placement can be secured. CASA has volunteer advocates who serve children 24 hours a month or more. Judges listen carefully to them as they bring to light information that might not have been uncovered and deliver what they feel is the "best interest" position for the child.

    I am grateful for all the sponsors and all of the participants. Thank you for your great action of kindness and generosity.

    On behalf of the CASA of Travis County volunteers, board of directors, staff and the children we will now be able to serve, I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you for your part in bringing us closer to our goal.

    KAREN COX

    Executive director, CASA of Travis County

    A long impact

    Kudos to the writer of the March 25 letter, "Many children helped," praising the American-Statesman for 16 years of publishing the "With love to spare" column.

    During the first half of the 20th century, many children grew up in institutions because most married couples came seeking babies to adopt and few older children found adoptive homes. The concept of informing the public through the media about the needs of older children was slow to develop. The use of special staff to recruit families for children finally disproved the myth that only babies were suitable for adoption.

    The staff of the American-Statesman or the letter writer may not be remembered for long, but the positive impact on this community and on the lives of the children growing up in stable homes cannot ever be measured.

    Thank you for a job well done.

    RUTH HOWARD

    Austin

    Need for law

    I once thought that a hate crimes bill was superfluous. They should just enforce the laws on the books. Then I read historical accounts about white men who killed black people and got off scot-free despite the laws on the books and about a judge giving two men a slap on the wrist for murdering a "pervert" (the judge's words).

    Then I read how there are already laws on the books that give preferential
    treatment: If you strike a police officer, you face stiffer penalties than if you assault a private citizen. There are other enhanced crimes where penalties are based on the identity of the victim.

    As far as the assertion that "all crimes are hate crimes," that motive is always considered in criminal cases: Knowing motive helps build the case and decide the sentence.

    I wish hate crimes laws were not needed. Unfortunately, it appears they are.

    THOMAS NICHOLS

    Nolanville

    Establishing boundaries

    Where does Kathleen Parker think these "absurd policies" come from that attempt to provide boundaries to limit the opportunity for the sexual abuse of children ("When paranoia trumps common sense," March 28 column)?

    Children have been sexually assaulted on airplanes, on buses, at movie theaters, at school, in their bedrooms, in their kitchens and in their yards. Which of these would she ignore to save the embarrassment of the man who is asked to change seats or another man to not accompany his 8-year-old daughter into the dressing room?

    Changing seats or helping an 8-year-old daughter establish boundaries for her own body is appropriate, not embarrassing. That father was given an excellent opportunity to discuss with his daughter how appropriate personal boundaries protect her.

    Do we value saving adult men from "embarrassment" over the well-being of our children?

    MILLY GLECKLER

    Austin

    Unrecognized work

    Here we go again. A child is killed, and she "fell through the cracks" of Child Protective Services.

    There is, of course, little publicity about the thousands of children this agency saves every year as it tries to maintain an impossible balance between unwarranted intrusion and reasonable inquiry into Texas families.

    This is a thankless job that deserves all the support we can give it.

    DAVID PARSONS

    Austin

    First 60 days

    "Compassionate conservatism" was a cynical ruse to co-opt centrist votes while concealing a blatant right-of-center agenda. In just more than 60 days in office, we have seen carbon dioxide and water arsenic level rollbacks, cancellation of repetitive motion workplace rules, planned budget cuts in child-care assistance, the shelving of negotiations with North Korea, the agitation China with advanced military sales to Taiwan and saber-rattling expulsion of Russian diplomats for FBI security failures.

    Bush has been lobbying for an inequitable, overblown tax cut when his previous tax cuts in Texas are now painfully coming home to roost. Concerns about the remaining 46 months of his term are significant.

    STEVE PORTNOY

    Austin

    All are involved

    Contrary to your editorial ("A sobering image," March 22), Public Strategies has no reason to apologize for being "racially insensitive."

    Last time I checked, all races were involved in drug and alcohol crimes. Recently, however, depicting minorities as anything other than victims of drugs and alcohol has become politically incorrect and even "racist."

    I suppose the only way to be truly PC is to show four minors on the postcard: an African American, a Latino and an Asian, all being "oppressed" by an evil white perpetrator.

    JENNIFER MARTIN

    A bad regulation

    The ergonomic standard was not voided because businesses do not recognize the value of protecting employees. It was voided because it was a bad regulation, not from the occupational protections it provided workers but because of several late amendments to the regulations unrelated to protecting employees. The most odious was the creation of a new class of benefits only for employees with ergonomic injuries and beyond what is provided in workers' compensation statutes.

    Industry has been working on a voluntary ergonomic standard through the American National Standards Institute for several years. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has copied many of the ANSI standards dealing with employee injury prevention.

    None of the news or commentary in the American-Statesman that I have seen has addressed this issue, only the various cost factors that are highly speculative and unprovable.

    DENNIS C. DOHERTY

    Austin

    'Behavior' not indicator

    It came as a surprise to read in the March 25 story, "Analysis of traffic stops fuels racial profiling debate," that searches of 28,641 white drivers by Texas Department of Public Safety troopers during a nine-month period last year resulted in contraband being found only 25 percent of the time and searches of 25,854 minority drivers resulted in contraband being found only 15 percent of the time.

    These numbers clearly indicate what attorneys have been arguing to the courts for years: Searching drivers for so-called "suspicious behavior" does not make it likely the person is carrying contraband. The numbers suggest just the
    opposite: The chances are great that a person does not have contraband just because he or she is exhibiting what the officer perceives as "suspicious behavior."

    Judges should have the courage to put a stop to these types of detentions and searches.

    CHRISTOPHER M. GUNTER

    Austin

    Immigration paranoia

    The March 22 letter, "Telling the truth," contains hateful statements directed at illegal immigrants, including this one: "It will be a shame for the Mexicans, the largest-growing segment of society, when one day there won't be anyone left working to feed and clothe them."

    The majority stay out of trouble. They pay far more in sales taxes, fuel taxes, government fines and fees than they receive from governmental services, schools and hospitals combined.

    Implying that Americans of Mexican decent will be incapacitated in the future is paranoia. There are millions of successful English-speaking Hispanics. American Hispanics are as necessary to this country as Social Security checks and 401K earnings.

    RAMIRO MOLINA

    Austin

    Common sense result

    Three cheers to President Bush for his decision not to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant. It is the only common sense result he could have reached.

    Trees, plants and grass inhale it, and people exhale it. It is a necessary part of life. The logical path followed by regulating it as a pollutant would be to eventually allow people only to inhale and require them to find another way to dispose of the gas in their lungs.

    Another problem with the desire of many environmental alarmists to regulate carbon dioxide is that there is no hard science showing that anything man does contributes to global warming. Citizens for a Sound Economy reports that according to the Department of Energy, carbon dioxide regulations could cost nearly $400 billion per year as businesses are forced to cut production to decrease energy use to meet a problem that doesn't exist.

    ANGEL ABITUA

    Round Rock

    Apparent conflict

    Kudos to the American-Statesman for providing news to Williamson County and to the Georgetown community.

    In particular, members of Citizens for Georgetown appreciate the March 17 article, "Georgetown officials see no conflict," in which it was clear that by directing the discussions of what service areas to sell in exchange for the approval of Chisholm Trail's plan to become a water control and improvement district, two members of the City Council, Clark Lyda and Sam Pfiester, must have understood that land belonging to them and/or their relatives would substantially increase in value. If this isn't a conflict of interest for Lyda and Pfiester, what is? It is our hope that the district attorney will thoroughly investigate this matter.

    The Williamson County edition and the Williamson County This Week section are vital to keeping our community informed about critical issues.

    N. WEST SHORT

    Citizens For Georgetown

    Quality of time

    In an ideal world, both parents would be available to stay home with their children. We, as parents, should realize that it is the quality of time, not the quantity of time, that we spend with our children. Some of the most loving stay-at-home mothers have children who turned to drugs, alcohol and crime.

    Children raised in homes where spirituality and respect are not top priorities are the ones who find themselves in trouble. Working parents have to make the most of the time they spend with their children. You must also stay involved past the formative years.

    Children benefit from loving caregivers. They are socially and academically prepared for life. I plan to to be the one who discusses sex, responsibility, drugs and their consequences with my child. But it is the responsibility of both parents to raise their children in a quality environment.

    C. IKELS

    Austin

    No tax cut, no raise

    On behalf of all the state workers who are not going to get a pay raise, I'd like to thank George W. Bush for depleting our treasury with his billion-dollar tax that he used to pad his national resume. Frankly, I didn't get a penny of the tax cut, and now I don't get a pay raise.

    Also, now that the people and not the politicians need her, where is Carole Keeton Rylander with the mysterious surpluses that she discovered during the presidential campaign?

    BILL LEWIS

    Buda