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Se­ton’s char­ity care

Re: Dec. 9 ar­ti­cle, “Pub­lic health, re­li­gion col­lide.”

I’m a physi­cian who came to Austin three years ago. I am im­pressed by the in­cred­i­ble value that Se­ton brings to lo­cal health care. The hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars in char­ity care that Se­ton pro­vides ev­ery year cost tax­pay­ers noth­ing. In con­trast, I have worked in or­ga­ni­za­tions that were not driven by a faith-based mis­sion. They called me­dia at­ten­tion to their un­re­im­bursed care, but af­ter th­ese pa­tients’ life-threat­en­ing con­di­tions had been sta­bi­lized, physi­cians might be told (in pri­vate) to send the pa­tient to the lo­cal pub­lic hospi­tal for a fol­lowup. That has never hap­pened to me at Se­ton, and it never will be­cause of the cen­turiesold mis­sion of the Daugh­ters of Char­ity. Se­ton saves the tax­pay­ers mil­lions of dol­lars; it will never aban­don the poor and vul­ner­a­ble; and it con­tin­u­ally seeks op­ti­mal ste­ward­ship of its re­sources. All Cen­tral Tex­ans ben­e­fit, not just those in Se­ton hos­pi­tals. What’s not to like?

True test of teach­ers

Re: Dec. 8 Es­ther J. Cepeda col­umn, “Rig­or­ous test­ing of teach­ers wel­come, and long over­due.”

I’d side with those who don’t fa­vor the test­ing of teach­ers, at least not di­rectly. The test of a teacher is how much their stu­dents im­prove in a given sub­ject dur­ing the course of the year/se­mes­ter. This is the only pa­ram­e­ter that mat­ters and can be de­ter­mined by giv­ing the same test to the stu­dents at the be­gin­ning and end of a course.

Low-in­come hous­ing

In our last elec­tion, Propo­si­tion 15, which would have pro­vided hous­ing for low-in­come fam­i­lies with no raise in taxes, was de­feated. I thought of writ­ing, “Shame on you, Austin vot­ers,” but my sense is that this de­ci­sion was born more of ig­no­rance than lack of con­cern for the poor. Per­ma­nent sup­port­ive hous­ing works. And it works best when it’s mixed in with other hous­ing. Look at the in­cred­i­ble work be­ing done by Foun­da­tion Com­mu­ni­ties to give fam­i­lies a hand up out of poverty and home­less­ness.

So long as there are jobs that pay be­low a liv­ing wage, there will be a hous­ing cri­sis. We have a wise and com­pas­sion­ate city coun­cil and it will take ev­ery ounce of courage and wis­dom to bring back to vot­ers new pro­pos­als to im­prove hous­ing in Austin. And when it’s time to vote, let’s re­mem­ber that Austin is a city for ev­ery­one.

Mes­sage to IDEA

IDEA Pub­lic Char­ter Schools will be the main topic of dis­cus­sion at the next AISD board meet­ing on Mon­day, Dec. 17. Please con­sider sign­ing up to speak. At least try to at­tend, to send the mes­sage that you want part­ner­ships with the lo­cal com­mu­nity, not with South Texas CEOs who have no re­gard for us. Oth­er­wise, too many peo­ple could show up with slick blue IDEA Tshirts and the school board might er­ro­neously as­sume that we don’t care.

With­out your help, a hor­ri­ble prece­dent could be set. Our pub­lic schools could be forced to en­dure fu­ture “part­ner­ships” with IDEA. This char­ter school al­ready an­nexed Al­lan and is try­ing to an­nex East­side Me­mo­rial. They gave up all of their li­brary books from the old Al­lan, hired most of their teach­ers from out­side of district, and op­er­ate with their own out-of-town board which is not pub­licly elected. All with our tax dol­lars.

Remembering A-bomb

Re: Dec. 9 ar­ti­cle, “Old A-bomb sites may be­come na­tional park.”

I read with con­cern the piece by Wil­liam Broad. It pro­filed a plan now be­fore Congress to cre­ate a na­tional park spread over three states to pro­tect the ag­ing rem­nants of the World War II U.S. atomic bomb project. Cyn­thia Kelly, pres­i­dent of the Atomic Her­itage Foun­da­tion, a pri­vate group in Washington that helped de­velop the preser­va­tion plan, jus­ti­fies this as “a way to ed­u­cate the next gen­er­a­tion” with an over­all goal of com­mem­o­ra­tion, not cel­e­bra­tion.

Just ex­actly what is worth “com­mem­o­rat­ing” or “pre­serv­ing” about a project to de­velop a weapon of mass de­struc­tion ... that was used to take so many thou­sands of lives? Should we elect to pre­serve the rem­nants of the Man­hat­tan Project, let us do so in the same spirit in which Europe’s no­to­ri­ous con­cen­tra­tion camps are pre­served ... with re­gret, re­morse, and a

com­mit­ment of never again.


The sec­ond para­graph in Wed­nes­day’s ed­i­to­rial sup­port­ing a South Texas med­i­cal school should have read: Study af­ter study of the South Texas econ­omy comes to the in­evitable and ob­vi­ous con­clu­sion: that most of the res­i­dents are poor, and poor peo­ple are the most likely to get sick. They are likely to get sick be­cause they are poor and be­cause they are poor, many South Texas res­i­dents are un­likely to have health in­surance. Un­like most hol­i­day sea­son of­fer­ings, wishes don’t cost any­thing. Do you have a wish for some­thing that would make this year spe­cial? Why don’t you share it with the rest of our read­ers? We’re so­lic­it­ing your hol­i­day wishes for this year for publi­ca­tion on Dec. 25. Please limit your sub­mis­sions to 150 words. Send your sub­mis­sions by Dec. 14 to let­ters@ states­ or to: Let­ters to the Ed­i­tor PO Box 670 Austin, Texas 78768 Please put “Christ­mas let­ters”in sub­ject line of emails or on the en­ve­lope. The Austin Amer­i­can-States­man en­cour­ages email and faxes from read­ers. Please in­clude a full name, ad­dress and day­time and evening phone num­bers.We edit let­ters for brevity, gram­mar, style and clar­ity. Edited let­ters ad­dress a sin­gle idea and do not ex­ceed 150 words.Anony­mous let­ters will not be pub­lished. Let­ters be­come prop­erty of the Austin Amer­i­canS­tates­man. Send emails to let­ters@ states­ Mail to: Let­ters to the Ed­i­tor, P.O. Box 670,Austin,TX 78767.

John El­ford


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