The Daily Hustle: 3/23/11
The Chan Dossier
By Wells Dunbar,
1:25PM, Wed. Mar. 23, 2011
With all the South-By hubbub last week, we didn’t get to unpack Roger Chan’s surprising Place 1 announcement with any aplomb. We get to rectifying that right after the jump.
How’s this for a trip down memory lane: Both Chan and Place 1 incumbent Chris Riley appear in this 2002 article deconstructing the controversy that came to dominate Chan’s time as Assistant City Manager: the city’s belabored bid to build a new Convention Center parking garage.
Chan was named ACM over economic development in 2000. The honeymoon lasted until 2001 at least, when Chan was named “Friendliest New Face At City Hall” in the Chronicle’s “Best of Austin” issue. But by that time, conflict was already souring the garage project, with the city at odds with landowner cum Dick Cheney’s buckshot buddy Harry Whittington. The city failed in their attempted taking of the Whittington plot – but built the garage anyway – setting off a legal battle that didn’t reach any closure until last year.
The 2002 article pairing Chan and Riley addressed the garage project from a different issue, noting that Downtown residents – like Riley – opposed the project on urbanist grounds. "Instead of creating a cool, urban space with a lively streetscape, we plunk down a parking garage and a chilling plant,” said Riley. “It just makes no sense." In March of 2002, Chan was reassigned from his ACM duties. (Grudge match, anyone?)
We didn’t hear much from Chan until late last year, when he made the news for an unfortunate reason: an accident in November that took his left leg. The Statesman’s Tony Plohetski recounts the incident in purple prose, describing how Chan “remembers being dragged along West Cesar Chavez Street as his foot was grinding away, then looking down to see nothing but mangled flesh, bone and blood.”