History, not politics
Historic preservationists will be surprised to read that Historic Fort Worth’s interest in buildings within a National Register Historic District, like Fort Worth’s Stockyards, is about politics instead of preservation (“Historic list deeply political,” May 8).
The Stockyards was designated a National Register Historic District in 1976. This grants the owners of those buildings access to historic preservation tax credits valued at up to 45 percent of the cost of their rehab.
Only 10 percent of the Stockyards buildings are local landmarks, the only designation that saves buildings from demolition. Without local historic designation we will see more demolitions like what happened to the Armour & Co. plant in 2011.
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Also, the iconic Will Rogers buildings and other key structures in Fort Worth’s Cultural District have absolutely no designation protection from demolition. A new hotel/motel tax-based TIF was recently established to benefit the Cultural District.
HFW is for the new arena, and we are also for using a tiny portion of the TIF funds to offset the parking costs to the arts and cultural venues within the district. The downtown TIF has funded free evening and weekend parking for years. It’s time for that to happen in the Cultural District.
— John Roberts, chairman, Historic Fort Worth Inc.
Public $$, private schools
In her May 12 op-ed, “Texas needs freedom in education,” Brooke Rollins asserted that “school choice is good for kids,” and she presented compelling evidence. However, Senate Bill 4 is about far more than “school choice.”
SB4 would divert state dollars to private institutions, in direct violation of the Texas Constitution’s directive that the Legislature “establish and make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of an efficient system of public free schools.”
School choice already exists. Parents may choose to home-school their children, enroll them in a private school (most of which provide robust systems of need-based financial aid), or enroll them in their local public school. Our Fort Worth school district has a well-established system of programs and schools of choice that are supported by public education dollars.
Rollins is correct that Texans have always taken seriously the duty to provide every child with the best possible education. But SB4 is not about providing every child with the best possible education, and it’s certainly not about “school choice.”
It’s about subsidizing select private institutions with public education dollars, and it’s simply bad public policy.
— The Rev. Ryan J. Baer, pastor, Ridglea Presbyterian Church, Fort Worth
Run to the right
Regarding the recent report on the Republican political project of taping GOP officeholders to make sure they are “conservative enough,” the implication is that if they don’t toe the Tea Party line, they will get the boot.
I am reminded of the line from Sinclair Lewis: “When fascism comes to America, it will arrive wearing a flag and carrying a cross.”
This was not a criticism of either patriotism or religion, merely his observation of the tactics used by right-wing extremists to gain acceptance by our more moderate citizens.
This insane run to the right will not cease until Lewis’ projection becomes reality, or until moderate Republicans punish radicalism with their votes.
— David Sanderford, Granbury
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