Local Issues Articles

Health partnership responds when parents react to fewer RNs in schools

Austin American-Statesman, October 1, 2017

Since the Gallup Poll began ranking “most trusted professions” in 1999, nurses have placed No. 1 every year with the exception of 2001, when firefighters took the spot after 9/11. People have depended on and trusted nurses through life’s most intimate moments: birth and dying and times in between of injury and sickness. And parents […]

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Immigrant scapegoating, roundups bear echoes of the Third Reich

Austin American-Statesman, March 7, 2017

When I was a girl, I was captivated by “Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl.” The aspiring journalist wrote her diary from 1942 to 1944 while she and her family were in Amsterdam hiding from the Gestapo. She wrote in such a way that I felt as though I were hiding there with […]

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Ann Richards warned us; now we march to protect women’s rights

Houston Chronicle and Austin American-Statesman, January 19, 2017

I’ll be marching in the Texas version of the Women’s March on Washington on Jan. 21. Why? Because women’s reproductive rights are being taken away, just as the late Gov. Ann Richards predicted. On a brisk night in October of 1990, many of us had gathered for a hastily called rally for gubernatorial candidate Ann […]

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Officer’s suicide shines light on complexities of mental health

Austin American-Statesman, August 21, 2016

After 32 years of service, the July 25 death of Travis County Deputy Sheriff Sgt. Craig Hutchinson made suicide real to our community at large. What better moment to try to better understand the complexities of suicide? News reports paint a picture of a respected, even beloved member of the sheriff’s department. Sheriff Greg Hamilton […]

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Uber: The case of the fox guarding the henhouse

Unpublished, April 28, 2016

[Author update: Uber and Lyft lost Austin’s May 7 election by a margin of 56 to 44 percent, making national news.]  As a casual observer, it looks to me like Uber and Lyft rode into town in 2013, operating outside the law. People liked the service, so the Austin City Council, taking seriously its responsibility for […]

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Planned Parenthood attack has nothing to do with women’s health

Austin American-Statesman, October 25, 2015

Now that Texas has officially alerted Planned Parenthood of their intention to yank Medicaid funding, that decision admittedly based on doctored-up videos taken by stealth anti-abortion activists, it’s time to get honest about what’s really going on here and in backward states all over the country. Make no mistake, it’s not about protecting the unborn, […]

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Why local prosecution of crimes by state officials is a bad idea

Austin American-Statesman, June 17, 2015

As Republicans pound their chests trumpeting the success of the 84th legislative session, many of us are left wondering which was the lousiest bill passed. Open carry? Guns on campus? “Repatriating” Texas gold bullion from Fort Knox to a depository in Texas — huh? Let’s not forget failing to pass a ban on texting while […]

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Vaccines, measles and the retreat from common sense

Austin American-Statesman, February 10, 2015

This thing of American parents refusing to vaccinate their children makes about as much sense to me as countries that don’t educate their female children. Both are choices based on ideologies that defy reason; both can cause irreparable harm. We all know by now of the measles outbreak of more than 100 cases since January […]

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Positives edge out negatives for staying downtown

Austin American-Statesman, December 31, 2014

My last column reflected on the ten years since my husband Ian and I became empty-nesters and moved downtown. I concluded, “despite the year-round drunks, car alarms, lack of decent public transportation, sirens, nightly loud amplified music played without permits and way beyond the legal decibel limits and cut-off times, distracted and aggressive drivers, deafening […]

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Downtown blues: Boozers, losers and cellphone users

Austin American-Statesman, December 30, 2014

This year marks the tenth anniversary since my husband Ian and I had three garage sales, sold his truck and downsized into a 1,500 square-foot space downtown. (My son Burton was prompted to write that we were in the prime of peri-geriatric, empty-nest decadence. But enough about Burton.) It seems like everyone has asked us […]

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