Dolly Parton birthday hoot w/ Jackie Venson, Mélat, Else Cross, Kalu James, Walker Lukens, Carson McHone, & more
"...How badly are things going for the Republicans these days? This bad: even Democrats down in Circle C are beginning to assert themselves. Here's a press release we received announcing the formation of the Circle C Area Democrats:INAGURAL MEETING OF CIRCLE C AREA DEMOCRATS Congressman Lloyd Doggett and State House Representative Valinda Bolton to Speak As the Heated Primary Race Continues All Circle C and surrounding area Democrats are invited to this opportunity to meet with two of their most dedicated and well known representatives..."
"...Since its creation two decades ago, Circle C Ranch -- one of Austin's most visionary and most controversial developments -- has operated under what has come to be known by both observers and residents as the "Bradley oligarchy." That is, the people who served as developer Gary Bradley's allies and business associates in Circle C's early days are the same people who run things today (see chart). But that may be about to change...."
"...Bexley Road looks like any other street in Circle C, a gentle curve lined with tall homes of limestone and brick. The garage doors are all neatly closed, and not a blade of grass grows taller than six inches..."
"...For decades, the citizens of Austin have demanded protection for the Barton Springs Contributing Zone. For just as many decades, politicians have promised that protection, and have repeatedly fallen fall short on those promises. Meanwhile, a seemingly endless string of subsidies to private speculative investment have poured into the area..."
"...State District Judge Lora Livingston will hear arguments Tuesday in a case that could ultimately alter the way the Circle C Homeowners Association does business. Or, it could be business as usual for the tightly controlled and largely secretive CCHOA board of directors, which oversees a $1 million budget drawn from homeowners' membership fees..."
"...The first cool day of fall saw Chip Gist, general manager of the Golf Club at Circle C, touring his grounds in a white golf cart and mirrored sunglasses. He zipped along a concrete track that rings the gently rolling greens, praising the weather and hollering hearty to the polo-shirted, baseball-capped players he passed..."
"...The Democratic candidates for Travis County judge – Andy Brown and Sarah Eckhardt – met Monday evening in a forum hosted by the Circle C Area Democrats, in a packed and lively event that contrasted the candidates’ leadership styles and approaches to problem solving – and perhaps heralded a surge in Southwest Democrats...."
"...illustration by Doug Potter Every time I hear the words "Circle C," I cringe. Guaranteed, what follows will be a full regaling on the topic, complete with jargonized references to laws and lawsuits, legislation and legislators, land deals and watersheds -- to say nothing of fat cat developers -- each of which act as secret passwords keeping the uninitiated from understanding this most complex of news stories..."
"...The Circle C Homeowners Association has been led by the same cast of characters since Gary Bradley conceived of the project in the early 1980s. The cast includes:..."
"...Missed shows haunt you forever, especially when opportunity stood on your doorstep with Lammes Candies and a floral arrangement...."
"..."When my mind didn't know how to get there, I trusted my heart, and I swear, my soul came to welcome me home."..."
"...photograph by Todd V. Wolfson The two young women sitting in front of a pile of cocaine in the South Austin duplex probably should have been enemies..."
"...Amber Case is very much the 21st century digital native, living a life fully integrated with technology and looking way beyond common thinking about the Internet and social media. She's a guide to the new world of the digitally transformed human..."
"...illustration by Doug Potter The courtroom scene on December 30 before a three-judge panel headed by federal District Judge Sam Sparks left tongues wagging at city hall for days. Gary Bradley, developer of the Circle C Ranch, was clearly seen whispering into the ear of Jose Garza, the attorney representing a group of minority plaintiffs who are trying to shut down the city's recent annexations for allegedly violating the federal Minority Voting Rights Act..."
"...It's my guess that there are plenty of Chronicle readers who would rather ponder Stephen Moser's Botox injections than anything more in this space about local enviro-politics. (They're gonna need double shots of Botox down at City Hall, what with all the frowning and furrowing over Stratus -- although I've found that sitting through Austin public hearings paralyzes my facial muscles quite effectively.) But there's more, always more, that needs saying...."
"...Imagine this scene. Circle C developer Gary Bradley is leafing through the blue pages of the telephone book and discovers that there is a taxing entity he hasn't hit yet, one that hasn't provided subsidies to his development..."
"...Residents in the Circle C community last week capped a 14-month revolt against their homeowners association board with the election of a new and expanded cast of directors, effectively overthrowing the old guard that had run the politically powerful CCHOA since the late Eighties. Only Jim O'Reilly, who served as president of the ruling triumvirate, remains with one year left on his term..."
"...Ritz, Village, Lake Creek, Lamar and now Parkside: It's official, construction is about to begin on the latest Alamo Drafthouse. According to company CEO Tim League, the new all-digital eight-screen Parkside Alamo near Circle C in South-West Austin will play a pivotal role in the company's growth...."
"...Okay, let's accept, for the sake of argument, that everyone in Austin wants to save Barton Springs. But what exactly does that mean? Below, and in a series of maps and aerial and historical photos on the following pages, we've tried to lay out a non-scientific, visual primer on the ecosystem and the development pressure it's been under for the past couple of decades, along with a timeline detailing Barton Springs development and the SOS movement...."
"...While the city's on an annexation rampage, any takers for Circle C? The MUD's surrounding it are already slated to join the city. Austin is on the annexation warpath..."
"...illustration by Doug Potter Several of my neighbors said they felt a cold chill right about noon on Friday," jokes Ken Rigsbee, foreman of the Circle C Homeowners Association committee on annexation. High noon on Friday was the hour Austin's annexation of the four Circle C municipal utility districts (MUDs) took effect, and it will long be known as the hour that launched a thousand lawsuits..."
"...Stratus Properties hit a snag on its way to City Council last week with the grim discovery that thousands of Circle C-area residents were unaware of development plans for a hodgepodge of tracts bordering their neighborhoods...."
"..."I hope we can proceed tonight with respectful dialogue and respect for everyone who's here," Daryl Slusher announced at the start of the City Council's June 27 public hearing, "and I hope we can have a constructive discussion ... on the challenges we all face in trying to save Barton Springs."..."
"...illustration by Doug Potter Who would have thought, during the afterglow of the May 1997 elections when the Green ticket swept the City Council races, or during the long trudge of annexation hearings last fall while the environmentalists stood beside their council and the newly annexed cursed their oppressors, that the Green Council would soon have an opportunity to facilitate the very urban sprawl it had vowed to squelch? Last week's emergency meeting of council was, in fact, an unavoidable part of the unprecedented annexation of 13,000 acres which was completed in December 1997. But inevitability doesn't take the sting out of watching the Green Council give the go-ahead on hundreds of new homes to be built over the Edwards Aquifer - homes that not only should be built to conform with the strict Save Our Springs water quality ordinance, but which the council could have forced to be built to that standard..."
"...If FDIC lawyers need a road map to pursue fraud claims against Gary Bradley to collect on a $73 million debt, they would likely turn to the lawsuit that First Gibraltar Savings Bank brought against James Gressett in 1995...."
"...Two years ago, Jim Bob Moffett and Gary Bradley were on the same side. Today, the two are squaring off in court...."
"...The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority has opened the door to taking road projects out of its $2.2 billion Central Texas toll road plan, but Circle C Ranch residents shouldn't cheer too loudly. The CTRMA's largesse comes with a caveat: Those who pay will be those who play..."
"...illustration by Doug Potter Gary Bradley spends more time at the courthouse than Lance Ito. While Bradley, the flamboyant developer of the about-to-be-annexed Circle C Ranch development in southwestern Travis County, has proven his skill at developing real estate, he has also shown himself to be a lawyer's dream..."
"...Environmentalists and other citizen groups have just gone too far. Sure, they have some worthy goals, but they're wrecking the city treasury and simply must be reined back in before they destroy the city. This is becoming the dominant orthodoxy..."
"...Proposed settlement between Stratus Properties and the City of Austin The City of Austin and Stratus Properties are discussing what development regulations should apply to several parcels of land, totaling approximately 4,000 acres, owned by Stratus in Southwest Travis County...."
"...Councilmember Eric Mitchell often complains that his council salary ($30,000) is too low. He must not be counting the fringe benefits..."
"...It's a huge victory for the city."..."
"...In late August, the Austin American-Statesman's new editor Richard Oppel used his column to pose "A few questions from a newcomer." In something of an odd style of construction, Oppel then proceeded to answer the questions himself, or at least to elaborate on the thinking that led to his asking. In those answers, or elaborations, Oppel lashed out rather nastily at some local citizens, in particular those of the environmental persuasion..."
"...A plan by Stratus Properties to develop its Circle C property has received the all-important blessing of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, laying a significant piece of groundwork for an overall development that could be the size of a small city in 30 years..."
"...Annex 4,600 acres and what do you get? In the City of Austin's case, a little bit bigger and deeper in debt. The 4,600 acres in question are within the four municipal utility districts at Circle C, the upscale development southwest of Austin that has, so far, been able to escape the city's annexation plans..."
"...Gary Bradley has had a heady, 25-year run as a real estate rainmaker with a reputation for finessing his way in and out of elaborate business deals. Yet, in Bradley's equally elaborate bankruptcy trial, now in its second week, he and his lawyers insist that finances and mundane business details were simply not Bradley's natural strengths hence his lamentable collision with Chapter 7...."
"...In their adamant haste last Thursday to approve Stratus Properties' 1,253-acre development proposal for Southwest Austin, the City Council endorsed the controversial deal hours after it had undergone yet another round of revisions on which the public had no opportunity to comment. Only Raul Alvarez voted no, with the other six members seemingly married to the settlement, which takes effect Aug..."
"...A Save Our Springs Alliance lawsuit against the city and Stratus Properties could further delay final action on a proposed development deal that has been in the works for a couple of years. At a public hearing on the Stratus agreement and zoning case tonight (Thursday), the City Council is expected to cast a first-reading vote on the matter..."
"...This week, during yet another slow spell, let's take a look at another front on which the development war -- supposedly settled by the peacekeeping force of the Green Council installed in 1997 -- is still raging. Raging in the courts, that is..."
"...I think you're reading a lot more into the response you got from city council staff to your request for predictions, etc., than you should ["Council Watch," Vol. 17, No..."
"...The following is a compilation of candidate endorsements from area Democratic clubs, unions, and professional organizations in contested local races in the March Democratic primary. Endorsements are sourced from candidate websites and Facebook pages...."
"...Now Bradley is returning the favor. In a pleading filed in Travis County District Court on June 18, Bradley's lawyer, Eric Taube of the Austin law firm of Hohmann & Taube, asks that the court find Moffett's local real estate company, Circle C Land Corp., guilty of fraud and negligent misrepresentation...."
"...On May 29, city attorney Andy Martin signed an agreement which ends a lawsuit brought against the city last year by the developers of a project called Deerfield. But by settling with Deerfield, the city now faces a lawsuit from the Save Our Springs (S.O.S.) Alliance..."
"...You described a "revolt" at Circle C Ranch in your Feb 28 Chronicle ["A Revolt Brews Among the Circle C Masses"]. What is happening here is a latter stage in the "evolution" of our homeowners association from developer-controlled to resident-controlled..."
"...Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton once pledged to stay out of any community where the company wasn't wanted. If that's still true, then the nation's largest retailer and employer might want to reconsider its plans for MoPac and Slaughter Lane..."
"...When developer Gary Bradley singled out Mary Arnold in this space two weeks ago, he was acknowledging something that members of the city's environmental community have long known: Mary Arnold knows things. Currently the vice chair of the Save Our Springs Alliance (SOSA) board of directors, Arnold has served on both the Parks Board and the Planning Commission, has run for City Council, and is a determined gadfly on issues such as preserving the Sand Beach Reserve tract from commercial development. As a longtime fighter for Austin's right to self-determination, she has the clout and the institutional memory to take on the big issues of the day..."
"...Annexation is an adversarial process, just ask Mayor Watson. While there are a few areas which have requested annexation, they are very much in the minority..."
"...There's a mood that's unique to council meetings -- a kaleidoscope of moods really -- spun by surges of hope and failure, of regret and relief, and propelled by sundry other passions that escape comprehension. Life-or-death importance is attached to things quickly forgotten, and the preferred order of business is progress..."
"...Austin's SafePlace has partnered with the U.S. Dept..."
"...Quote of the Week: "I ... find that Glasgow's use of deadly force was justified, as he had a reasonable belief that his life was in imminent danger." Austin Police Chief Stan Knee, in his Feb..."