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Letters to the editor: July 5, 2019

Austin American-Statesman - 7/5/2019

More to story about

prison job vacancies

Re: June 30 article, "Need a job? Texas prisons have vacancies, pay raises pending" The story on job vacancies in Texas prisons suggested that it was something other than low salaries that was a problem. How about Texas prisons are not air-conditioned?

In the Hutchins Unit, it has been documented that the heat index at times has reached 149 degrees. While inmates must live there, the guards have to work in that miserable heat as well. Then there are the untreated mental health issues. Texas prisons offer very little in the way of treating mental illness, and since Texas often arrests the mentally ill instead of treating them, it is the guards that are left to deal with their behaviors. This can include screaming day in and day out, self-harm, and threatening behavior that guards are ill-equipped to handle.

Throwing $90 million dollars at salaries (from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's$3 billion budget ) doesn't begin to address the severity of the chronic problems with Texas prisons.Shannon M. FitzPatrick, San Marcos

Trump, Putin laughed

and the joke was on us

Ha ha! After a long meeting with Putin in which he made no mention of Russian interference in our elections, Trump, in response to a reporter's question, grinned and told Vladimir Putin, "Don't meddle in the election, President." They chuckled at their televised shared joke as people across the world watched.

In the face of this shocking behavior, Trump supporters, Sens. Cornyn and Cruz, will, no doubt, maintain their usual silence, as will Rep. Chip Roy. It makes me despair to know our president and elected officials care so little about our elections, the American public's sacred right to a voice in the running of our country. The joke is definitely on us, but I will vote in 2020, and I'm not laughing!

Mary Ley, Austin

Treatment of detained

migrants is inhumane

I am shocked and appalled at the reports coming out of the detention centers of the humiliation of immigrants and asylum seekers. It's inhumane to force people who come to our country to drink from toilets. The Facebook group of U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials reported on by ProPublica today is also beyond disturbing. Our Border Patrol officers should be acting with compassion and providing excellent care, rather than making sexually explicit jokes about members of Congress and callous jokes about the deaths of human beings trying to find a better life in this country. What do Sens. Cornyn and Cruz, and Rep. Roy plan to do to address this crisis along our great state's border?

Rebecca Elder, Austin

Anti-abortion crusaders,

you don't want this fight

To Ken Paxton and all other anti-abortion, pseudo crusaders: You do not want this fight!

Think about where you will stand when the first woman who self aborts is sentenced to 99 years in prison, leaving behind two or three motherless children.

Do you really think women, who for 45 years have had the freedom to make their own pregnancy decisions, are going to hand over their lives to satisfy your personal beliefs? Do you not remember the women's march on Jan. 21, 2017, when hundreds of thousands of American women, joined by women all over the world marched to protest a president elected by catering to your self-righteous, antiquated notion of what women are allowed and not allowed to do with their own bodies?

Do you not remember how many women were elected to office in 2018? Believe me, you do not want this fight.Rosayn Curry, Austin

Congress's job to deal

with gerrymandering

Most would agree that gerrymandering is not in anyone's best interests. The best laws are made when people with different points of view work together to compromise for the greater good. This has been readily apparent to me in Austin recently. Within our 10-district city council representatives, there is no voice for Austin's conservative-leaning citizens.No one to even give a little push back or question the city's leadership that keeps moving left, all the way to California.Gerrymandering works both ways and there are far too many districts that are safe for both Democrats and conservatives. That said, it is not the job of the Supreme Court to legislate change. It is the job of Congress, which has been woefully remiss over the last decade to do much about anything. We should do away with gerrymandering, but not by legislating from the bench.Laurie DeField, Austin

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