Page Two

Page Two
The "Best of Austin" ballot appears again this issue giving you yet another opportunity to vote. This really is your chance to honor the businesses, people, parks, and places that make Austin special. Naturally, you don't want to give away well-kept secrets (though a business that is a well-kept secret is often not around for very long) but there is a shared body of knowledge about what is great about this city. This is an ideal time to share that knowledge, for our readers to construct through a wide range of choices a detailed guide to some sense of the whole of this city.

Belated congratulations to Kirk Watson, our mayor-elect. In the next few years, the issues facing this city are going to become more complex. The old environmentalist-vs-developer positioning simply won't work; the issues are not so easily defined. What is needed is a vision of what the city wants to be like in the future and a plan to reach that goal. Given its new majority, if this council doesn't seriously approach this responsibility, the members will have no easy excuse. The historic deadlock should give way to a new consensus, but Watson does have his work cut out for him. The deep ideological factionalism and longtime traditional hostilities combine in a stew that is choking the city. The voters have now given a clear mandate as to the council's responsibility to bear in mind environmental concerns and the cultural identity that defines Austin as Austin, while dealing with the practical issues of growth, economic responsibility, and stronger support for basic city services. Inherent in this mosaic are the contradictions of expanding needs and budget control. That's a tall order but Watson is riding into office with an unusual amount of goodwill and a strong, experienced council. This bodes well for the city.

No movie rant this week, but I will note that Chasing Amy and Grosse Pointe Blank are pretty wonderful movies, though in different ways. Both showed at SXSW Film '97 but Annie and I caught them again more recently and both were filmgoing experiences. Seeing them was what got me so stoked and geared-up for Sam Fuller's White Dog and the Roger Corman/Robert Thom collaboration, Bloody Mama, which I raved about in the last two issues. Both the films deserved the attention, but the reason I went on was that Chasing Amy and Grosse Pointe Blank both reminded me of how exciting movies can be and how they can charge you up.

And if you've had a good or even great experience at a local theatre recently, see page 31. There's doubtless a category for it in the"Best of Austin" ballot, and if not, we invite you to write one in.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

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