Readers weigh in on the recent Best Of Austin issue, and the Save Our Volente committe rebuts an article.

Free Radio, Free Speech

Dear Mr. Black:

The September 15 Best of Austin 2000 issue announced the Book Title of the Year, If the Gods Had Meant Us to Vote They Would Have Given US Candidates (p. 85), and mistakenly noted that Jim Hightower's radio commentaries are not aired in his hometown of Austin. Radio One Austin, 94.3FM, (one of two noncommercial microradio stations in Austin) has been broadcasting these progressive commentaries for almost two months. Listeners can hear Mr. Hightower's wry and veracious commentaries on 94.3FM Saturdays at 7am, Sundays at 9am, and throughout the week. We should thank the Gods for all the microradio programmers who have the courage to air sometimes unpopular, but honest political critiques.


Anne Handley

What a Little Moonlight Can Do

Dear Editor and Readers:

Thanks for the great award ["Best of Austin" issue, Sept. 15], but I cannot take credit for the Austin Moonlight Towers. We owe it all to Austin Energy (formerly City of Austin Electric Utility Department), for knowing they had a good thing and funding the restoration. And the true thanks goes to David Hoffman, FAIA, for his resourceful skills and profound knowledge on the subject. Coming soon is his new book on the origination and history of Austin's Moonlight Towers.

It was my privilege to hold the other end of the tape for David.

Best regards,

Emily Little, AIA

Get Your Red Hot Stickers!


What a pleasant surprise to see my "South Austin -- We're All Here 'Cause We're Not All There" sticker get get the Best South Austin Sticker award [Sept. 15]. I'm writing to let your readers know they are available at Oat Willie's and Armadillo Bazaar. They can also be adored and ordered from Thanks again. See ya at the Billion Bubba March.

Les Ross

Fighting Fires, Forming Families


As a longtime Austin resident and 22-year veteran with the Austin Fire Department, I wanted to thank everyone who voted for us this year for the "Best City Department" in the Best of Austin poll. It is most gratifying to again receive this recognition. We love our jobs, enjoy serving the public, and appreciate your support.

We would be remiss, however, in not sharing the credit for our success with the staff of the other city departments who make it possible: the mechanics at Service Center 6 who keep the wheels turning, the technicians at the City Radio Shop who keep our communication gear working, and the Water and Waste Water Department who provide the water with which we extinguish fires. Without them, we would be unable to provide the level of service which our customers deserve and have come to expect.

Special thanks are also due to our families for letting us live our dreams and for sharing us with our extended fire family at the stations.

Thanks again for your support!

David Belknap


Austin Fire Department

Outdoor Outrage


How disgusting. REI voted "Best Outdoor Gear" over Whole Earth?! REI does nothing to make Austin Austin. REI is to Whole Earth as Albertsons is to Central Market, as Dallas is to Austin, as Starbucks is to Little City. Boooooo Chronicle. Bad move.

Please ask forgiveness.

Paul T. Haygood

SOV Responds


As a member of the Save Our Volente Committee I was very disturbed when I read your one-sided and inaccurate article "Village People" by Mike Clark-Madison, in your issue dated September 22-28. Everyone quoted in the article is an anti-incorporation activist, not one person from the SOV Committee was quoted. In addition, there were positions attributed to the SOV Committee that are untrue.

First I'd like to correct the part of the article that is stated as positions of SOV. I quote from the article: "The Save Our Volente petitioners (and their legal advisors, including the omnipresent Richard Suttle), have read the State and Local Government Code differently from incorporation opponents (and the city of Austin), and argue that Austin must respond to their request within 45 days or call an election by default." This is not true, we have submitted a petition with signatures of about two-thirds of the registered voters of the proposed area to the city. The petition simply requests the city to temporarily release us from the ETJ in order to decide the issue of incorporation through an election. Along with this petition was a request to the city of Austin to please respond in 45 days. There is no ultimatum of an election by default. Secondly, the "omnipresent Richard Suttle" is not the SOV Committee attorney, but one of Mr. Shipley's attorneys. SOV has retained separate counsel.

I quote further: "In the opposing view, Austin has no time limit for deciding when or if to release Volente from the ETJ, and before the village can vote to incorporate it must petition the city to be annexed, which will likely never happen." While it is true that Austin has no time limit, it is not true that the only way that Volente can vote is to ask for annexation. We can simply ask for an election with sufficient community support, and Austin could allow it if the city wanted to. It has happened in the past.

Another quote from your article reads: "A new village would have its own half-mile ETJ, so much of old Volente could end up subject to the authority of neighbors who they may know but for whom they didn't vote." Do they mean like it is now with the Austin ETJ??? SOV is not asking for an ETJ, and if we did, it would be unlikely that Austin would allow it.

The statement that the village of Volente would provide a safe haven from Austin's onerous rules for the Volente Group is ridiculous. The example of the Volente Beach Club and its multiple red tags, and the relentless expansion with scant consequences as referred to in your article is accurate. So much for the "onerous rules"! The Beach Club has proven that ignoring them is a successful strategy. I assure everyone that this committee has no intention of providing any developer safe haven. This would ultimately be up to an elected city commission, and knowing the type of people we have in Volente, I'm sure it would be tough on any developer.

The quote from Mr. Thompson, "even though incorporation won't do anything about the Beach Club" if they try, he continues, "the Village will last as long as it takes for Volente Beach to file the first lawsuit." This doesn't make sense, I've dealt with city, county, and Fish and Wildlife officials for at least a year (hundreds of hours), trying to bring the Beach Club into compliance. I keep hearing the same things from Austin officials, "I wish there was more we could do. If you were in our city limits it would be different." Well, we're not, but we sure would like to be in our own city limits. We could use the same powers to control development that the city of Austin would use.

We know that a certain level of development is inevitable, but we can control it. Right now there is no control. The best way to control it is to enact planning and zoning regulations. The only way that can happen is to incorporate. I and others in Volente would prefer local incorporation, rather than being annexed by the city of Austin. We feel the citizens of Volente would have more of a vested interest, and would be more in tune to the needs of the community, than the distant citizens of Austin. It's as simple as self-determination, a tried-and-true American principle.


Roe Fleenor

Ozone Levels Getting Higher

Dear Editor:

Thank you for your recent feature articles on air pollution and social issues (wage/health). These issues should be featured more often. In my opinion, it is essential to articulate how air pollution and poorly addressed social issues specifically affect the health and well-being of individuals as well as continuing to discuss their significance in a broader context. Help from the state on these issues may only come from educated voters demanding change.

It should be noted that on Monday, September 18, a monitoring site in the Austin area recorded a 100 part-per-billion reading for ground-level ozone, averaged over eight hours. This is one of the highest eight-hour readings ever recorded in the Austin area. This level is unhealthy for everyone, particularly young children, the elderly and those with heart/lung conditions.

The community needs to do more to address regional air quality.


Scott Johnson

Chair, Air Quality, Austin Sierra Club

Influence & Imitation

Dear Mr. Black:

Once again, I have enjoyed the "Best of Austin" issue of the Chronicle. One note, however: In the brief desciptive article on Joe's Generic Bar, the phrase about the "SRV wannabes" was totally unwarranted. If you mean that all blues guitarists are like Stevie Ray, well, that's one thing. If the writer had spent as much time down there as I have, he or she would realize that there are many different facets to blues guitar. At least one of the regular players, Joe Richardson, began his career by playing on Bourbon Street at the age of 13 in 1963. Like all blues guitarists, Joe's style reflects many influences, just like SRV. Sorry to be so picky, but I found the statement to be extremely general.

Thank you for a 99% positive article about a bar that doesn't even advertise in the Chronicle. Keep up the good work.

Steven M. Allen

General Manager

Funhouse Studio

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