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Should a police officer indicted for using excessive force serve as law enforcement regulator?

Here are your responses:

Editor’s note: Gov. Greg Abbott has appointed an indicted Austin police officer accused of using excessive force to the state’s regulatory law enforcement agency. Officer Justin Berry was among 19 Austin police officers indicted earlier this year on charges of using excessive force against people protesting the murder of George Floyd in 2020. This week we asked readers should an officer under indictment serve in such a state oversight capacity?

Abbott only appealing to his base

Abbott has just given up appealing to any voter that is not his base.

This move is just throwing red meat to his supporters in the hopes that it will be just enough for him to beat the Democrats at the polls.

How many people in his administration under are under indictment for breaking the law? Oh wait there is the attorney general of the State of Texas. That alone should tell you what he thinks of the rule of law.

M Blanchette, San Antonio

Abbott doesn’t stand for law and order

Gov. Abbott’s so-called party of law and order is a sham with Abbott’s appointment of an indicted officer and into the seventh year of Attorney General Ken Paxton’s felony indictments that have yet to go to court. Justice denied for Texans by Abbott and the republicans.

A few days ago the Statesman published a story from The Texas Tribune about Abbott redirecting funds meant for juvenile detention centers four times during the pandemic and the deplorable conditions those funds would help alleviate. Disregarding proper care for the incarcerated kids leads to more traumatizing, not rehabilitating. 

Republicans also call themselves the party of family values, another obvious misnomer. Greg Abbott is showing himself to be petty, mean spirited and disgraceful.

John Nugent, Georgetown

Is this the best Abbott could find for the job?

Texas has a population of over 29 million people and over 78,000 police officers. Certainly Greg Abbott could find a police officer who is not indicted to serve on the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, which sets minimum licensing and training standards for police.  

We already have an indicted attorney general. Isn’t that enough? Pretty embarrassing. Just another reason to vote for Beto. 

Michele Missner, Austin

Editor’s note: Some readers weighed in on other topics. Here are some of their letters.

Texas abortion law puts women’s health at grave risk

I am fighting for the safety of my granddaughters who are facing their childbearing years. I have witnessed the erosion of their right to adequate reproductive healthcare at the hands of state legislators who should be protecting their rights and making this state a safe place in which to rear their children. The opposite is what I have seen transpire.

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I am horrified that one of my granddaughters could potentially face the trauma of receiving inadequate care in the event of a pregnancy complication. My family has been in Texas since the mid-1800s and my preference is for all of us to remain here.

However, I recently advised my oldest granddaughter to move to a state where she could receive 21st century reproductive healthcare in the event of an unsustainable pregnancy. This is advice I should not have been required to give.

Sharon Reed-Miller, San Marcos

Mass shootings are driving teachers out of profession

As a former teacher, I’m not surprised by the escalating teacher shortage. And yes, I imagine that some teachers quit because of unruly students, low pay, burdensome paperwork or overreaching schoolboards. But I believe that the main reason is simply because those teachers read about the 27 school shootings so far this year. They’ve also learned that active shooter drills only terrify children and won’t stop a gunman with an AR-15 from shooting through doors, walls, windows or desks and then massacring a classroom full of little children. 

I’m afraid that teachers will continue to quit teaching until Republican lawmakers finally decide to ban military-style rifles and high-capacity magazines. Otherwise, not only will they have the blood of future children on their hands, but also history will likely hold them responsible for killing the entire teaching profession.

Sharon Austry, Fort Worth

EPA inquiry of TCEQ fully justified

Re: Aug. 5 article, “EPA to probe air quality in Permian Basin.”

In a recent article it was reported that Gov. Abbott is pushing back against Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to reduce pollution in the Permian Basin. Abbott is purposefully ignoring that fossil fuels come with a real price tag in the form of pollution that is environmentally damaging and harms our citizens’ health. While Abbott is quick to say the EPA is overstepping their bounds, the fact is that when Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is unwilling to do what’s right for Texans, the EPA must take action.

Ideally, having access to more resources like the EPA’s aircraft would be welcomed to help identify irresponsible producers to help us conserve resources for the future. The EPA is currently working to reinstate methane regulations that were rolled back under the Trump administration. I hope that they work quickly and decisively to reduce methane pollution in our state.

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Michael Lewis, Environment Texas clean air and water advocate, Austin

Lets make sure our schoolchildren are fed

All across Texas, kids are headed back to school. Unfortunately, many kids are struggling with hunger as they re-enter the classroom, making it harder to start the school year ready to learn.

With inflation at a 40-year high, many families are finding it harder to buy food and pay the bills. School meal programs play a crucial role in ensuring kids get three meals a day and have the nutrition they need to thrive in and out of the classroom.

But this school year, school meals won’t be free for all students. Parents and caregivers may need to submit an application to determine their child’s eligibility for free or reduced price meals.

As you prepare for back-to-school, be sure to visit your local school or the district’s website to complete a school meal application. After all, nutritious school meals are as important to students’ learning as notebooks and pencils.

Mia Medina, No Kid Hungry Texas Program Manager, Austin

GOP’s unsubstantiated claims undermine FBI, elections

The Republicans are once again using the circular argument that was so handy when casting doubt on the 2020 elections.  The common claim was that the American public had real doubts about the integrity of the the 2020 elections. 

But why did the public supposedly have these doubts? It was because Trump supporting news outlets told the public that they should have doubts.  Now we seeing a repeat with Republicans claiming that the public has doubts about the integrity of the FBI. And again why do these doubts exist? Because conservative media are telling there viewers that there should be doubts.  In both cases, no factual claims are made. There was no factual discussion about any actual problems with the 2020 election, despite seemingly endless claims that evidence was forthcoming, and there are no factual claims about any overreach by the FBI.

David Belsheim, Austin

Democratic Party not perfect, but prioritizes ordinary Americans

I support the Democratic Party, but am the first to acknowledge its imperfections. Its policies are tainted by special interest money, which will be ingrained in our political system until Congress commits to a legitimate campaign finance reform bill.

However, the recent Senate-approved Inflation Reduction Act is proof that the Democratic Party advocates for consumers, senior citizens and ordinary Americans. Its most significant component addresses climate change, the effects of which are more likely to burden lower income Americans. It also addresses health care costs, which will be reduced by funding health care subsidies through 2025; a $2,000 cap will be placed on out-of-pocket Medicare drug expenses; Medicare will begin to negotiate some drug prices. The Act would also create a 15% tax for corporations with more than $1 billion in profits to address economic inequities.

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What did the Republican Party contribute? They voted down a $35 cap on insulin for those with private insurance.

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Robert C. Gibbons, Austin

Editor’s note: The letter about the Inflation Reduction Act was received and edited before the House voted on the Act, which was expected Friday.

Women flexed political muscle in Kansas abortion vote

Throughout America’s history, all her foundational documents have been created, enacted and enforced by white men.

Women were denied the vote until 1920.  

This male-dominated system was sidetracked on Aug. 2, when legislators in Kansas offered their voting public an amendment to the Kansas constitution that could have taken every Kansas woman’s right to personal control of her body.

And then the women of Kansas came out to vote. The outcome was an overwhelming defeat of the amendment and a humiliating lesson for the clever white males instigating the process. More significantly, it enforced women’s understanding of their own power. Many men voted with/for women, but this is not their story. America’s past has been white-male dominated. America’s future will not be. 

Billie Reaney, Georgetown

This week we’re asking readers: On Aug. 8, the FBI searched Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida seeking classified documents. The search triggered fierce reaction from many of the former president’s supporters who said it was politically motivated. Was the FBI’s search appropriate? Send letters of no more than 150 words to [email protected] by noon Thursday. We welcome your letters on all topics.

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