In general, Austin's government services have far more strengths than weaknesses, largely due to the mostly excellent city staff. Growth has created all kinds of problems, overtaxing much of the city's current government services. Traffic is a mess and basic services are stretched. The quality and vision of the staff, along with their ability to work with this council, will go a long way toward determining the quality of life here in Austin over the next couple of decades. The council must set rational guidelines and all must work together to achieve them. The current development plan is a heartening sign of compromise coupled with vision. This issue the politics staff focuses on Garza and the city staff.
The best Chronicle party of the year is always the anniversary show (the Awards show is in a wholly different realm). The opportunity to spend a Sunday afternoon lounging around the grounds of the Art Museum at Laguna Gloria with both Chronicle staff (current staffers and various alumni) and readers, all relaxing listening to music is its own pleasure. The lineup this year includes Don Walser's Pure Texas Band, Trish Murphy, Jon Dee Graham, Kathy McCarty, Lucky Strikes, and the Bells of Joy. This is a family affair, of course, with a children's stage hosted by the legendary Joe McDermott and featuring Carl Anderson, Peter the Adequate, and the Hand to Mouth Puppet Theater (with arts and crafts activities also available). The event is co-sponsored by our old friends at Balcones Fault Red Granite and 107.1 KGSR-FM.
It's put your talent where your mouth is time. The deadline for the Chronicle's Triangle Property Design Contest is September 12 (though if you're a day or two late it probably won't matter (see ad on page 23 for details). Drive by the property, walk over the property, and think about what should be there. Put it down on paper; send it in to the Chronicle. We'll pass it on to distinguished judges and they'll pick the winners. In real time, this has no meaning, it is as unofficial as you can get, in no way connected to developers or the state. But in theoretical space, who knows?