September 29 Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

As a council member for Marfa, one of the most significant concerns I hear from many residents is about housing, from affordability to safety and availability. One part of the solution to this problem is how we update our policies for short-term rentals (STRs), also commonly known as vacation rentals, AirBnBs, or VRBOs.

While STRs were originally meant as an alternative to traditional hotels, they have instead become a significant replacement of our community’s homes. Profit-minded buyers have cashed in while our hardworking teachers, emergency responders and other community members have been pushed out. We need to find a far better balance between supporting housing affordability and availability, empowering our long-term residents, and controlling vacation rentals and their effects. 

That’s why I have asked for us to revisit our short-term rental policies beginning this Thursday, September 29, at 5:30 p.m. (during our regularly scheduled City Council meeting and also Public Hearing on the Proposed Tax Rate and Budget). 

I encourage Marfa community members to consider coming to provide public comment or email me ahead of time at [email protected]. I am always open to all constructive, positive ideas regarding short-term rentals and other topics, and I appreciate the persistence of many in seeking thoughtful resolutions.

Jason Ballmann




It is somewhat disheartening to find that a person such as Mr. Gray, who is obviously intelligent and well-educated, cannot or will not see that we are in a battle against the forces of barbarism, as embodied by Mr. Trump and his minions (apologies to the cinematic Minions) for the heart, the soul, the very life of American democracy. I can understand that some would think that Mr. Oliver’s recent cartoon (others of which are always insightful and often brilliant) went too far. But I would remind Mr. Gray that, in terms that the barbarians will understand, you don’t bring a knife to a gunfight.

Ronald E. Parrish



Dear Editor,

The Children’s Advocacy Center of the Big Bend is very grateful to the customers and employees of the Presidio Dollar Tree Store for donations of school supplies for our program. The generous donation has helped us to provide basic materials to 28 students in low-income households, giving these children a great start for a year of learning.

The Children’s Advocacy Center of the Big Bend is a nonprofit organization serving child victims of sexual abuse and severe physical abuse in the counties of Brewster, Fort Davis, Terrell and Presidio. The CACBB conducts activities that benefit the children in the community.

Our special thanks to the manager of the Dollar Tree Store, Iliana Armendariz, who is always a supporter of the Presidio community.

Shanna Spence Sullivan, Executive Director and Guadalupe Carrera, Program Manager



Election Day is November 8.

Early voting is Oct 4 to Nov 4.

As we near our next opportunity to cast our votes for various local, state and national politicians, we realize that high or low “turnout” typically has serious impact on results.

It occurs to me that, at least for local races, each of our votes have more weight than they may have in more populous counties. So, my fellow eligible voters, we should not miss the opportunity to use our valuable votes for our chosen candidates. One great way to protect our democracy is to fully participate in it. 

I trust that most of us will vote for who will best represent our interests of living well with our families in a free and safe precinct, city, county, state and country. To make good choices, we need to have candidates tell us their intentions as to how they will serve us.

For example: Both Cinderela Guevara and Joe Portillo are popular with me, but I need to know more than I know now about their plans as county judge for this next term so that I can make a good choice. A good place to start is with informative ads in this newspaper. All candidates for office should inform us voters of their plans. 

Candidates: Talk to us!!

Citizens: With good information in hand we should “turn out” in record numbers to cast our valuable votes. We will all be proud we did.

H. A. (“H”) Cowan


To the Editor,

Sometimes I wonder what language we are speaking. Someone misuses our native tongue and, before long, everybody else picks it up.

One that I hear constantly now on news media across the country as they report on the crisis at our southern border is “Rio Grande River.” I occasionally heard it, and then more and more started using it.

As most in our area know, Rio Grande means Big River. Sure, you wouldn’t know that if you didn’t have a smattering of Spanish. But before going on national TV, I would look it up so I don’t sound stupid. But nobody, it seems, bothered to do so. Do they think Rio was somebody’s name and they named the river after them? What we heard them say is “River River.” Around here, many in second reference refer to it as “the Rio.”

Another is “fentanyl overdose.” An overdose is where one is accustomed to taking, say, 10 pills of something a day and then, for some reason, takes 15 or 20 and gets really sick or dies. But that’s not what happens with fentanyl. It is so powerful that only a tiny dose can be fatal. Typically, someone takes one pill of something he thinks is Xanax or something else and immediately dies. That is not an overdose. It is a poisoning. And how many times do we hear “one-year anniversary?” Anniversary simply means the date on which something happened in a previous year. Anniversary by itself means one year since.

You got married, signed a contract or something else a year ago so today is your anniversary, not your one-year anniversary. And it’s not the two-year anniversary or the ten-year anniversary. It’s the second anniversary or the tenth anniversary.

And I first heard this odd use of language on Sean Hannity on FOX News a year or so ago. He said something like, “The president, he said …” “Or Congresswoman Sludgepump, she said …” What’s wrong with “the president said …?” Then Hannity started using it more and soon everyone on national TV was using that verbiage.

Most of us used language property in the past. What has happened?

Jim Street



Last week Robert Gray wrote a letter chastising the Goliver cartoon in the September 15 Sentinel, specifically using the words “hateful, crude and demean(ing)” due to the reference to Governor Abbott in the cartoon. But since the cartoon was about a 12-year-old pregnant girl who under Abbott’s anti-abortion law would be forced to carry a rapist’s fetus to term, I submit the words “hateful, crude and demeaning” would be better used if directed to Abbott and all the other Republicans who either voted for or support such a horrendous law.

What I know is that if I had a 12-year-old daughter (or 10 year old as in Ohio recently) who was raped and became pregnant, it would be cold day in h*** before I would force her — a child! — to have that baby, regardless of what a bunch of old, white pseudo-Christians manage to pass into law. They want us to believe that their “pro-life” agenda is “Christian,” but I see absolutely nothing Christian about forcing girls and women to have babies conceived through rape or incest, or when the mother’s life or health are in jeopardy.

Abbott’s abortion law, in addition to his lack of interest in common sense gun control regardless of how many Texans are murdered in Uvalde, El Paso and other mass shootings, are actually proof he doesn’t care about democracy, only about power and control over the people of Texas. I shoudn’t have to remind readers that a strong majority of Texans are NOT in favor of his abortion law and ARE in favor of decent gun controls. So much for democracy in Texas…

And for Mr. Oliver: Keep up the good work!

Fred Gossien