Page Two

How the city serves the public and the death of Rob Jacks

Page Two
Ah, Austin, City of Process, City of Light.

Last week at this time, all the buzz was about Auditorium Shores -- could the city really be so myopic as to be planning to close the Shores to all major public events once the revamped Palmer/Long Center opens up? Well, no, that's not what we meant, clarified City Manager Jesus Garza this week -- shortly after the city threw together their own 20,000-person party for Lance Armstrong at the Shores (because, of course, that's the best place in Austin to put something like that).

Oh, well. All's well that ends well, I suppose, but it gives one pause, at the very least, that Parks staffers saw this apparent decision from above as representing an acceptable level of public service. And, nobody, it seems, found it at all surprising that such a decision could have been made without consulting or notifying any of the people or organizations who are directly involved.

Austin has a hard-won tradition of insisting on public process in its decision-making, but it's hard to recall a time when that tradition has been in such disrepair as it is now. Public interest groups around town are running scared in the face of the upcoming budget process (see "Postmarks," p.6); advisory groups feel like they've been pissing in the wind (ditto, and shades of the backstabbed Citizens Bond Advisory Committee); and two years into the neighborhood planning process, there's a real question as to whether the council is really committed to it.

And let me lay out that equation really simply: Smart Growth minus planning equals developer pork barrel ...

News came in shortly before press time that local writer/performer Rob Jacks died on Tuesday. For more info, see "Short Cuts" and/or "Dancing About Architecture"...

Obituaries, fortunately, will be only one small part of the big 20th Anniversary issue we're putting together for Sept. 7. It'll be a sprawling history of the last two decades of the Chronicle in Austin, by current and former staffers, friends, and others. Maybe you have a story to add; contact us with ideas or memories ...

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 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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