Reducing lot size has minimal benefit; more measures needed

The recent City Council discussion of lot size reduction to affect housing affordability is at best fluff, a baby step in what is a marathon problem.  Impact on cost is negligible.  If the value of a standard lot is $10,000, a reduction of 33 percent in value yields a $6,666 lot. An appraised value (with $10,000 lot value) of a 1,200-square-foot home is $120,000.  Take $3,333 from that total and you have absolutely no impact on affordability.  

If a developer has acreage to develop and can reduce lot sizes, is he/she going to build entry-level homes or multi-story homes that would sell for more?  Business is not altruistic. Profit is the reason to be in business.  

So, what can be done?  

• Economic Development Corp. participation with developers, providing incentive to develop affordable homes.

• Increase in Federal funding for USDA’s Rural Development Program … a program assisting the 80-percent income bracket, AND increase the population threshold of rural communities, currently 25,000. Many rural communities are indeed rural by characteristic but exceed this threshold, therefore eliminating them from this valuable program.

• A property tax exemption for homes defined as affordable.  Local property taxes greatly impact affordability, very often eliminating eligible families from the purchase market because the payment is no longer 32 to 35 percent of gross income.  Define “affordable” and once a house is given that determination, it does not change based upon: 1) an increase in appreciation (unless the home is expanded) or 2) a future owner-occupied sale.

• Increased public and private support for affordable-housing programs. 

Karen Quanstrom, Ingram 

Road to end all oppression includes ending animal slaughter

This Sept. 1 will mark 80 years since Hitler invaded Poland and started World War II. Three years later, he launched the Holocaust that murdered six million European Jews.

A key question facing historians is how could an enlightened society that produced our civilization’s greatest philosophers, poets, painters, and composers also produce its most notorious mass murderers, along with millions of ordinary, upstanding citizens who just went along. Was the Holocaust a peculiarly German phenomenon, or are other enlightened societies capable? How about our own American society?

Jewish Nobel laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer gave a clear answer when he wrote: “To the animals, all people are Nazis.” Singer’s message is that we are all capable of oppressing the more vulnerable sentient beings in our midst, frequently without even thinking about it. 

Our own enlightened society has translated the arbitrary Nazi dictum “the Christian lives, the Jew dies” into an equally arbitrary “the dog lives, the pig dies.” Only the victims’ names have been changed. The blissful, self-serving ignorance of the death camps and slaughterhouses in our midst remains.

Our very first step on the long road to end all oppression should be to drop animals from our menus.

Kendal Darby, Kerrville

Thank you for article on breastfeeding

Thank you for the beautiful story about normalizing breastfeeding. When I was having my babies in the 70s the practice was so unsupported and, yes, stigmatized, not only did I not do it in public, I was never able to do it at all. My own mother thought it was foolish of me to struggle with it when a bottle was “so much more convenient.” I am glad that times have changed, and that my own daughters breastfed my grandchildren.

Also, congratulations on the new graphical appearance of the front page. Whoever is doing the photos and layout, give them a bonus! And keep it up. 

Jill Wiggins, Kerrville

Bring back Non Sequitur

One of the few bright spots in the Daily Times has been found on the comic pages for several years. Unfortunately, upon returning from vacation I found the “Non Sequitur” was nowhere to be found. Its humor was thought provoking and required more intelligence than some of the inane strips that remain. Please reconsider your decision to no longer publish this fine comic strip. 

Tom Brayshaw, Fredericksburg

 

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