Shameless Accusations

RECEIVED Wed., May 10, 2006

Dear Editor:
    In your reprint of Mike Clark-Madison's PR piece [“Austin@Large,” News, May 5], he shamelessly accuses SOS Alliance, Sierra Club, Save Barton Creek Association, and other supporters of Proposition 2 of both promoting sprawl and “declaring a large chunk of the city of Austin ... off-limits to any kind of meaningful public investment or planning.” In fact, Proposition 2 is an antidote to the actions of the corporate and toll road clients of Clark-Madison. These corporate interests have sabotaged decades of democratic planning efforts by citizens to limit development in the Barton Springs Watershed – such as the Austin Tomorrow Plan, the SOS Ordinance, and Envision Central Texas. It is this sabotage – abetted by the City Council – that has led to sprawl, not the planning conducted by Austin citizens.
    In the recent Envision Central Texas referendum, Austin-area residents voted to limit all new development in the Barton Springs recharge zone to one-tenth of a square mile – far less than would be allowed under Proposition 2. ECT and Proposition 2 embody the scientific consensus: even moderate-density development throughout the watershed will destroy Barton Springs and the aquifer upon which 50,000 people depend for drinking water.
    Rather than barring public investments, Proposition 2 would limit city subsidies to private developers and for toll roads, and prioritize investments in street improvements for existing residents. By limiting the city's ability to use taxpayer funds to subsidize new private development in the watershed, Proposition 2 would increase the likelihood of significant public investments in parks and nature preserves.
    Audaciously, Clark-Madison asserts that Proposition 2 “removes people from the process.” Instead, Proposition 2 attempts to restore some local democratic control in response to developers and corporations like Lowe's who have convinced the Texas Legislature to intervene in local land-use matters and allow high-density polluting development that overrides local planning and ordinances.
Brad Rockwell
Save Our Springs Alliance
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