Bill Bunch Sets the Record Straight!

RECEIVED Wed., June 29, 2005

Dear Editor,
   Thank you for giving significant ink to the proposed AMD move from East and North Austin into the Barton Springs Watershed [“Y Not?,” News, June 24]. Sadly, the crisp writing was diminished by “he said, she said” reporting and omissions of several of the most important points.
   You completely failed to mention AMD’s bad faith in ignoring their own pledge to sustainable development and cooperation with local “stakeholders” on major decisions (set out at length on the AMD Web site). There was no mention of AMD’s false claims of complying with the SOS ordinance nor of AMD’s withholding its alleged “independent” traffic study.
   With only 31% of AMD employees living southwest – and thus 69% living in other parts of Austin – it appears impossible that the move would reduce traffic in the Barton Springs Watershed, Oak Hill, or overall in Austin unless you assume that a substantial fraction of the 69% that live elsewhere will move into the watershed.
   You name OHAN as supporting the proposed AMD move, but the broad coalition of Austin Neighborhoods Council, Liveable City, SOS Alliance, Austin Sierra Club, Save Barton Creek Assossiciation, and Zilker NA that opposes the move is narrowed to SOSA and the anonymous “enviros.” And no mention of the online petition and information bank at www.moveamd.com where more than 5,000 citizens have already joined in asking AMD to find a different site.
   The one mention of Envision Central Texas suggested support for density nodes in the Barton Springs Watershed when more than 80% of ECT survey respondents supported minimal additional development in the Edwards Aquifer Watershed and steering new development into preferred growth areas.
   Equally disappointing, you let Mayor Wynn pretend he made a real effort to steer AMD to other sites and to act as if the AMD move was a done deal. Wynn’s keeping the proposed move secret and failing to enlist community support in finding AMD a better location tells a different story. Wynn’s close ties to the chief beneficiary of the move – Stratus’ CEO Beau Armstrong – and the continued threat of more Stratus-backed Austin bashing legislation tell us why the mayor is rolling over.
   Back when we had real leadership at City Hall, Mayor Watson refused to accept then Motorola executive and current AMD CEO Hector Ruiz’s decision to consolidate Motorola offices on Stratus’ land at Circle C. He jumped in, with the community behind him, and convinced Motorola to undo some of the damage done by Motorola’s move into the watershed in the 1970s by, instead, locating its new offices outside of the Barton Springs Watershed. Such a move was far more difficult than AMD simply avoiding the Barton Springs Watershed in the first place – something it has done quite nicely during the last 30 years in Austin.
   This is clearly another turning point when the people of Austin must lead before the leaders will follow. Please sign the petition at MoveAMD.com and join us in demanding that AMD find a site that meets its business needs that is also outside the Barton Springs Watershed.
Sincerely,
Bill Bunch
Save Our Springs Alliance
   [Rachel Proctor May responds: For the record, Envision Central Texas is officially silent on appropriate places for "nodes of density."]
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