Michael King, Stop Bitching!

RECEIVED Mon., Nov. 18, 2013

Dear Editor,
    I felt I needed to reply to Michael King’s latest column "Point Austin: It's a Map, Not a Revolution" [News, Nov. 15].
    I've known Michael for quite a while, and respect his journalistic abilities and skills, but still haven't understood his hostility toward the central city neighborhoods and us Southies. I think we all want engaged, knowledgeable folks to help guide this rapidly growing city, who keep up with issues and vote. So, what's the problem? The older, inner city neighborhoods often have folks that have been in Austin a while, are committed to it, and are willing to sit on boards and commissions and go to all those interminable meetings. Sounds like the kind of folks I want to represent me no matter what part of the town they are from. One of the reasons the inner city folks strongly supported 10-1 was hoping we would get engaged, knowledgeable folks from all over town. Although I doubt the folks in Circle C are going to like the drives!
    I guess we see different things; Michael sees big bad neighborhoods controlling the town, and I see the 1,000-pound gorilla at the party: the Downtown Austin Alliance and their associates. They're not bad guys, just a lot of money and influence, and we sometimes don't see eye to eye. One of those ongoing conflicts is simple zoning, and that is where the 'hoods often have to work together. Folks that live in platted suburbs, gated communities, HOAs, or other entities generally have deeds of restrictions, covenants, or other legal protections for their property. Older, inner city neighborhoods have only zoning – and that can get very flexible depending on the money and influence. So yeah, we work together supporting things like the affordable housing bonds, the 10-1 plan, our parks, schools, etc. Now with the new districts, Michael is just going to have to poke others, and Southies will adjust and still be able to beat y'all at a tug-of-war.
    Note that I realize South Austin culture is just a piece of Austin's fabric, but it's a good 'un! So, Michael, stop being jealous, quit your bitching, and come down for a brew.
Gary Hyatt
   [Michael King responds: I don't know why my friend Gary Hyatt believes I'm "hostil[e] toward central city neighborhoods." I live in one, and it gives me no reason to be jealous of the others. Maybe it's his limited definition of "central city" that needs some revision.]
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