Shared from the 9/21/2019 Houston Chronicle eEdition


In defense of bullet trains





Potential rail benefits

Regarding “Texas bullet train has a builder, but it’s still far from the end of the line” (Front page, Sept. 14): Although we haven’t seen any survey results lately, it’s likely that the large majority of Houston and Dallas business owners, professionals and residents — millions of citizens — support the bullet train project that would bring international attention to Houston and Dallas and provide a convenient, comfortable, even exciting alternative to worsening airline and freeway congestion between the two cities. What is astonishing to anybody that has lived or traveled in Europe or Japan is the amount of resistance to high-speed rail on the part of farmers and ranchers and their elected officials based on the fear that the trains will disturb their livestock and way of life.

What is even more astonishing, however, is the apparent failure on the part of Texas Central management and state economic development officials over the last three years to utilize the most obvious means of convincing the naysayers of the quietness of modern high speed trains. That is to organize a tour of the Japanese or French track-adjoining countryside to allow the Texas farmers and ranchers to witness for themselves how quiet high-speed trains really are and how cattle are totally oblivious to the passing of a high-speed train. Let them talk to the property owners themselves to learn about their experiences and get their insights. Let them see how the farmers’ children enjoy the experience of watching the trains flash by. Such a tour would cost money of course. But considering that total project cost is over $14 billion, that cost is hardly worth mentioning.

Ray Lawrence, Houston

With the protesters

Regarding “With Modi’s visit, Houston’s Indians say ‘howdy’ to world” (Front page, Sept. 18): Lisa Gray describes Sunday’s rally as ashowcase for what Houston’s Indian community has achieved. The show will be stunning, and people whom I know and respect will be among the attendees and performers. However, when I think of my close friend who has been unable to reach her parents in Kashmir for almost six weeks now, I know my heart will be with those protesting outside the venue.

In August, Prime Minister Narendra Modi revoked constitutionally protected autonomy for the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir and imposed a lockdown on all its residents — forcing people to remain in their homes, limiting access to basic necessities, and disconnecting internet and cellphone services.

Elsewhere, in the state of Assam, almost 2 million minority residents are being stripped of their citizenship and made officially stateless.

The celebratory mood of “Howdy, Modi” has turned a blind eye to the tragedies unfolding for India’s minorities. I hope that Indian-Americans who have prospered in an environment that welcomes immigrants and protects minorities will fight for the same protections for minority groups in India and everywhere.

Afreen Ahmed, Houston

Supreme injustice

Regarding “Kavanaugh saga and the heresy of hearsay” (Outlook, Sept. 19): Kathleen Parker’s commentary is eyeopening, well-written and most appropriate. Hearsay is journalistic heresy. Unfortunately, however, the damage done to decent people’s reputation like that of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh will not be soon forgotten by his detractors. It was pure evil and mean-spirited.

Old uncorroborated accusations of an unproven allegation serve no purpose but to destroy Kavanaugh’s reputation, all for political gain. Sad.

Kudos to Parker for highlighting journalistic malpractice

Mike Gonzales, Houston

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