"...Bill BunchWhat do you think was in the knapsack?..."
"...It is a dilemma that environmental attorney Bill Bunch faces daily, surely when he's sitting on the Barton Springs hillside, as he often does, overlooking the once-immaculate showpiece of the watershed he has struggled for nearly a decade to preserve. He knows the aquifer is increasingly on the brink, as the evergreen coat of juniper in the hills west of Austin is slowly being replaced by strip malls and asphalt...."
"...A visiting judge from Seguin who ran on a tough-on-juvenile-crime platform in 1994, and was publicly reprimanded by the state bar two years later, is now a hero to many Austin developers for cracking down on their nemesis Bill Bunch. Short of sending Bunch up the river, visiting Travis Co..."
"...The following is a capsule version of opposing views on the proposed Stratus development agreement, as presented by two former environmental allies: Council Member Daryl Slusher (for) and Save Our Springs Alliance director Bill Bunch (against). Their comments are drawn and summarized from their respective analyses of the proposal, edited for clarity and brevity..."
"...Dear Editor, Just one question for Bill Bunch and the SOSA. Since, according to you and your group, every time someone paves a driveway or builds a house, Barton Springs is destroyed, how many times have you and your group saved Barton Springs? It's so fragile, I imagine it's been brought back from the brink of destruction dozens of times because since I've been here in Austin, according to SOS, Barton Springs has been destroyed at least a dozen times..."
"...Whatever side of the aisle lawmakers were on for the school finance reforms in Senate Bill 1811, there was one shared opinion: That no-one really knew what was in it. Tomorrow sees the first real public debate about the bill, and a whole bunch more, as the House and Senate convenes their first committee meetings of the special session...."
"...The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is – unsurprisingly – a very sober bunch, not much given to licensing exceptions. Austin Sen..."
"...Dear Editor The Chronicle became my window on Austin after my wife and I moved from Falls Church, Va., to Hays County in 1999. I came to trust your reporting and then your judgment because I believed "you got it." Having grown up on a Dallas County farm during the Forties and Fifties drought, my memories of Austin were certainly idyllic of when it was a "sleepy college town." Sometimes SOS Bill Bunch is his own worst enemy, but I shudder to think what Austin would be like today without this unique organization and its single-minded focus on protecting all aspects of Barton Springs. Recent "Page Two" comments by Louis Black [April 7], and Michael King's "Point Austin" [April 21], bring to mind how "Establishment" the Chronicle has become in just six years when it comes to Barton Springs and what it takes to preserve that Edwards Aquifer canary. Isn't anyone at the Chronicle listening anymore? Twelve thousand plus citizens created an Envision Central Texas paradigm that includes preserving the Aquifer, its watershed, and a lot more of what we need to retain that special quality of life that attracts so many of us..."
"...Even as it was happening, I knew it wasn't iterative. I knew what I was trying to do, but I had to go around this track a bunch of times before I got there."..."
"...Lazy Nine Municipal Utility District, the Austin-based non-profit conservation group today filed for reorganization in federal bankruptcy court. Save Our Springs Alliance executive director Bill Bunch says, “SOS Alliance will continue to advocate in the court of public opinion and the courts for preserving our Hill Country water and wildlife for today and for future generations..."
"...The crowd of 25 to 30 citizens wearing bright green “No PUD” stickers were advocating a “no” vote that night on the Planned Unit Development zoning request, and they’d come prepared to present evidence against it. (Over 90 signed up to speak; only Robin Rather got the chance.) After the council action without a public hearing, SOS’ Bill Bunch yelled angrily at the council, followed by others..."
"...The City Council Notebook's going to be a little sparse this week – seeing as how there's no council meeting Thursday. It's just as well, as the things up last week – the financial forecast presentation and Lee Leffingwell's water-conservation plan – were massive, omnibus measures both. The most controversial comment regarding the recommendations – which cut peak-day usage by 1% each year – came from Save Our Springs Director Bill Bunch..."
"...Bunch Sticks to Core Values To the Editor:..."
"...Conspicuous by his absence in the financing discussions, and at the Tuesday night public hearings on the deal, is SOS chief counsel Bill Bunch. (He's been on vacation in Virginia this month.) The main instigator of early opposition to the deal, Bunch was in large part responsible for fomenting demand for public scrutiny, which in turn put the brakes on long enough for someone to notice that the financing deal was bad for the city..."
"..."During the drought last summer," says Powers, "it became obvious that we needed surface water." Pipeline opponents, as represented by the local Hays County Water Planning Partnership and Austin's SBCA and the SOS Alliance, maintain that scrapping the massive pipeline in favor of smaller, more rural alternatives would prevent the rush of development and degradation of the Barton Creek watershed that they believe will follow the utilities. "There are going to be a few people who live in Sunset Canyon who are going to get water," says Bill Bunch of SOS, chief counsel for the environmentalists, "but they are also going to suffer the nightmarish side effects: the complete loss of their rural life."..."
"...Given all that, why has there been so little to-do about Green's (and, in the other chamber, Ken Armbrister's) late filing frenzy thus far? According to SOS general counsel Bill Bunch, people simply didn't have time to blink before the bills had sailed through to Local and Consent. "I'm sure [special districts have been carried on the Local and Consent calendar] before, but I've never seen such an onslaught in the way the bills were introduced after the filing deadline," Bunch says...."
"...The announcement of the SOS lawsuit generated a round of loud ridicule from interested parties around town. Much of the abuse was heaped upon the SOS Alliance's indefatigable executive director, Bill Bunch, whose legendary intransigence on matters connected to Barton Springs consistently earns him beaucoup political scorn from the moderating voices of dealmaking and compromise..."
"...I don't mean to put y'all off your food or anything, but I'm sitting here thinking about Gerald Daugherty and Bill Bunch miraculously producing children, and ... man, those would be some ugly babies..."
"...Supporters of these incremental "compromises," like the just-concluded Stratus agreement, insist they have been the best among worse alternatives. Yet opponents, such as SOS Alliance leader Bill Bunch, see this strategy of rearranging and recalculating impervious cover levels on various tracts as nothing more than "an excuse for granting zoning changes that drastically increase density, and thus both traffic and pollution." Strict application of the law allows for such "clustered" development in exchange for open space, but only on a site-by-site basis, while holding developers to 15% to 25% impervious cover levels..."
"...In another highlight of last week's LCRA water hearing, SOS attorney Bill Bunch was publicly criticized by attorney John Pitts of the the law firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, the city's outside legal counsel on the water deal, for implying that Pitts and his team grossly misunderstood a key provision of the 1987 adjudication of Austin's water rights. According to Bunch, Austin "subordinated" to the LCRA its "hydro" rights -- that is, the right to pass water through the Tom Miller Dam in order to generate electricity for Austin's use..."
"...She also covered lots of ground on ordinances to secure the watershed ("They were a little bit watered down, but they made a difference"), along with tree preservation, parkland dedication, and landscape ordinances. In the early 1990s, Arnold worked with SOS Alliance leader Bill Bunch on the SOS water-quality ordinance, whose 1992 passage marked the crowning moment in Austin's environmental history...."
"...Memo to Bunch: Lay Off Jackie and Daryl..."
"...In all, it was a good show, punctuated by whoops and hollers, several thwacks of a gavel meant to restore order, and an updated version of Bill Oliver's "Barton Springs Eternal." Some of the evening's highlights -- there were too many to name here -- included Council Member Daryl Slusher's heated response to Save Our Springs Alliance leader Bill Bunch: "Anybody that doesn't agree with you on any point, even on the point of whether you ought to talk for 30 minutes or 40, [you accuse them of] not wanting to protect Barton Springs!" Similarly, Bunch raised City Manager Toby Futrell's ire with his criticism of how the Stratus deal came together. Bunch hastily tried to make amends, telling Futrell: "A lot of folks, myself included, are extremely pleased that you are our city manager, and that you're very different from the previous city manager ....."
"...Yes, the anti-Stratus turnout surprised me; I expected about 100 people, which is still a lot but not unusual. (Since only 59 actually spoke last Thursday, by the time the hearing continues July 11, the total turnout may grow, or it may shrink.) And yes, I was also surprised by how close not just Daryl Slusher but other members of the City Council -- and Toby Futrell! -- came to calling Bill Bunch an asshole..."
"...More or less on the spot, City Manager Jesus Garza presented LCRA General Manager Mark Rose with two checks for a total of $100 million, in return for a fixed water supply of 325,000 acre-feet per year until 2050, with an optional extension to 2100. Austin will receive a continuation of the terms of the city's 1987 contract with the LCRA, and LCRA will get money with which to pay off its purchase of the Garwood water rights on the Texas coast, as well as certainty regarding the future of the bulk of its water supply. In the end, neither the questions raised by Save Our Springs Alliance attorney Bill Bunch, nor the uncertainty of several city boards and commissions, nor the warnings of water/wastewater rate advocate Birny Birnbaum, could dissuade council members from securing the water they believe Austin needs, at a price they believe isn't going to dip any lower...."
"...Sometimes SOS Bill Bunch is his own worst enemy, but I shudder to think what Austin would be like today without this unique organization and its single-minded focus on protecting all aspects of Barton Springs...."
"...In last week's letters, Bill Bunch alleged that City Council put "non-developers in the role of second-class citizens." Animal advocates are often treated as "second-class citizens" by those who view animal issues as unimportant. But Jackie Goodman has always understood that animal issues are people issues because many of us care deeply about our companion animals...."
"...Let it never be said that the tone of debate in this city was elevated by the invention of e-mail. In several letters, Mark Tschurr and Bill Bunch, the board chair and chief counsel, respectively, of the SOS Alliance, label Slusher's letter and subsequent responses as "misinformation," "spam," and apparently the work "of either Bruce Todd or Ronney Reynolds." Not to be out-last-worded, Slusher's e-mail responds that Bunch and Tschurr's comments are "intentionally insulting" and "devoid of any facts" to back up SOS's criticism of him...."
"...Finally, I suggest you take a good look at the list of people and organizations you refer to as "Bunch Davidians": www.cleanaustin.org/endorsements.php. When I look at this list, I see a lot of folks who have worked long and hard for many years trying to make Austin a better place for everyone..."
"...Even as those deemed "stakeholders" by Green were meeting to discuss the legislation, others -- including the Save Our Springs Alliance, which opposes any legislation creating a special district -- were raising a stink about the ongoing negotiations. In a letter to the mayor and council dated April 9, SOS general counsel Bill Bunch pointed out that the legislation would still benefit Bradley partner Lowe Enterprises, and thus still violates the city's agreement with Bradley, which requires Bradley and his partners to receive prior city approval before moving forward with any special district..."
"...According to SOS director Bill Bunch, the agreement the city is considering -- that will give Stratus Properties the right to develop some 4,000 acres on the environmentally sensitive Edwards Aquifer recharge zone west of the city -- is not much different than the development plan that started the SOS fight 10 years ago. "After all the triumphalism of the New Green Austin, did we win or lose?" Bunch asked...."
"...On the other side, S.O.S. Alliance general counsel/stakeholder Bill Bunch argued, "We've been talking about this from the standpoint of what it means to your side, but what about our side? Why should we protect a strip center in 1996 if the market wasn't ready for it in 1991?" It began to appear as if the only alternatives were to enact 1704 locally or enforce S.O.S..."
"...On May 22, Bill Bunch, the chief lawyer for the S.O.S. Alliance, notified the city that the Alliance was seeking to intervene in the Deerfield v..."
"...S.O.S. legal eagle Bill Bunch and his old pal Slusher are no longer speaking to one another..."
"...I have a good track record on a number of things, even to the community that is opposed to me. I stood with Council Member [Laura] Morrison – I have a quote from Bill Bunch that verifies that I was instrumental in making sure that the Wildflower PUD did not get developed over the aquifer..."
"...And of course the Statesman spins it as "growth versus no growth," but that's bullshit. It was never really about a bunch of people trying to stop growth..."
"...Bowie High School, the jewel of the Circle C Ranch subdivision, was built in 1988 on 64 environmentally sensitive acres, right in the recharge zone of the Barton Springs section of Edwards Aquifer. Another site southeast of present-day Bowie, out of the recharge zone, had been selected -- but that was not to be, laments Bill Bunch, director of the SOS Legal Defense Fund. Instead, Circle C developer Gary Bradley swept in and made AISD an offer on another parcel too good to refuse -- a nice chunk of land right on his tony residential development...."
"...If you want to hear the amazing details of what happened in between, come to the Springs, under the tent by the back gate, for a watermelon social and great story telling, this Tuesday and Wednesday, Aug. 7 and 8. Bill Bunch..."
"...After this exchange, the Kim campaign circulated a letter signed by five "Austin environmentalists" (Gus Garcia, Bill Bunch, Brigid Shea, Robin Rather, and Ann Kitchen) denouncing Shade for, as they put it, telling the forum, "She thought the City should have compromised with developers instead of passing the SOS ordinance." The first problem with that declaration is that even in their own attached "transcript" (see the whole letter online) of her forum statement, Shade said no such thing. Indeed, Kim's transparent attempt to trap Shade into taking such a position failed miserably..."
"...It was also boom times, then driven by savings and loan deregulation. "The whole thing about Water Treatment Plant 4 is, if you go back toward the beginning when they bought the site, everybody thought Austin was gonna double not in 20 years, but in five, 10, or even less," says Save Our Springs director Bill Bunch, an opponent of building in the BCP, and moreover, strongly skeptical of any need for the new plant at all..."