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Letters to the Editor – Short-term rentals, gun violence, the Supreme Court, Texas grid

Strict solutions on rentals

Re: “Dallas dances around short-term rentals — Inaction is a disservice to industry and residents,” Sunday Editorials.

Your editorial does a good job of stating the problem residents have with short-term rentals but misses the mark on a solution. Zoning is the first step the city must make. Short-term rentals are hotels and they should be excluded from operating in residential zones within the city.

Once it has been determined where short-term rentals can legally operate, then strong regulations need to be put in place. Your editorial leaves out the most important elements of a solution, which include platform accountability, prohibitions on using short-term rentals as event venues and banning outdoor assemblies from 10 pm to 8 am

Short-term rentals should also be required to provide sufficient onsite parking for guests. There should be guest limits of two guests per bedroom with a maximum of 10 guests. Short-term rentals should be required to obtain a business permit, which is revocable if two or more infractions occur in one year.

Only by taking short-term rentals out of our residential neighborhoods and by putting strict guidelines on the ones that remain can we reasonably hope for a solution that protects residents while ensuring responsible short-term rental operations.

Tom Forsyth, Dallas/Oak Park Estates

Salute to honest Jefferson analysis

Re: “Declaration of Independence: Christian or secular?” by Thomas S. Kidd, May 13 Opinion.

Here is my tip of the hat to Kidd on this op-ed. It was amazing to me that a professor at a major Christian university (Baylor) would write such a reasoned and documented analysis of our founder Thomas Jefferson. Whether you agree with Kidd’s analysis of the Declaration or not, it is important to know the facts about its author. Kidd should be saluted for his unemotional and unbiased approach to Jefferson and his Declaration of him.

Gerald E. Bunger, Sunnyvale

Backward priorities in Texas

Once again, there are mass shootings across the country — in Buffalo, Laguna Woods, Houston. Once again, politicians will wring their hands, offer thoughts and prayers and do nothing, except to advocate for the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

Virtually every single day in the Public Safety Briefs section of The Dallas Morning News, there is at least one item on another killing by gunfire.

It’s a puzzle to me. The Texas Legislature spends an inordinate amount of time passing laws to make it easy for almost anyone to obtain and carry a gun in public. At the same time, it spends an inordinate amount of time passing legislation making it difficult for a substantial segment of the state’s population to vote in elections.

Ben M. Brown III, Eugene, Ore.

Firepower would shock gun rights creator

If James Madison could have foreseen how his Second Amendment to the Constitution would be hijacked by different Supreme Court rulings, he probably would have had second thoughts of even proposing a Second Amendment. Madison’s reasoning for his amendment was to create a militia that would serve the newly created country instead of a standing army.

Somewhere along the historical and legal path, his amendment was interpreted to give the citizenry access to firearms, notwithstanding any membership in authorized militias. Were Madison to witness the carnage citizens with firearms have inflicted on their fellow countrymen from Buffalo to El Paso, from Las Vegas to Orlando, he surely would recoil.

I’m sure he would not believe how one civilian in today’s America could have more firepower than a platoon of 18th century English soldiers.

Tony TorresGarland

Justice Thomas lost our trust

Re: “UPDATE: Thomas calls leak ‘an infidelity,’” Sunday News & World item.

Think of the irony of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas suggesting that the nation’s highest court has lost “trust” because someone leaked a draft document that hints that the court is poised to overturn a landmark ruling that legalized abortion in this country.

Justice Thomas spoke to a judicial conference in Dallas. “When you lose that trust, especially in the institution that I’m in, it changes the institution fundamentally. You begin to look over your shoulder. It’s like kind of an infidelity that you can explain it, but you can’t undo it,” he said.

Excuse me for laughing out loud. The court also lost trust when one of its members, Thomas, chose to take part in a ruling involving Donald Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 insurrection. His wife of him, Ginni Thomas, took part at the start of the demonstration that day which turned into an assault on our democracy at the US Capitol.

Trust? Justice Thomas has no standing to talk about whether the Supreme Court has lost it. Whatever loss it has suffered is largely because of the associate justice himself.

John Kanelis, Princeton

Power grid, governor failing us

Earlier this year, our governor said that the Texas power grid is more reliable and resilient than it has ever been. But just last week, six power plants went offline and ERCOT’s chief executive officer asked Texans to set thermostats at 78 to avoid further grid loss. It’s May. What’s going to happen in August? It’s time for our governor to stop playing politics with our lives.

Marsha Fishman, Lantana

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