off the desk
Clearly, the Bradley negotiations worked a lot of nerves in the SOS camp (see "Council Watch" for more details), so it's safe to say that the emotionally straining episode will go down in SOS history as the jumping-off point for some, and a restructuring point for those staying behind. From what we can surmise, SOS in the end will be made up of the same kind of folks that were there in the beginning: those who are more apt to throw their necks on the line and agitate and litigate for Austin's environmental cause. Exactly what direction SOS will follow from this point is uncertain. "The board will have to sketch that out," offers SOS attorney Bill Bunch. "I think SOS has always been interested in working cooperatively, where that is possible. And SOS will continue as a principled organization that will serve as a watchdog for Austin's environment. I don't think that's such a radical concept." George Cofer, another former SOS board member who also supported the Bradley deal, says SOS will survive with or without Rather. "I remain the eternal optimist," says Cofer, executive director of the Hill Country Conservancy. "I believe that SOS will be stronger, but different." ...
Now about that tree we wrote about last week. To summarize: Some Town Lake Park advocates wanted to save what was thought to be a 300-year-old live oak standing in the path of a planned driveway as part of the Palmer/City Coliseum makeover. Turns out the tree may be closer to a youthful 40, despite its striking bulk. KEYE reporter Dan Robertson wanted to do a story on the tree, so he went to the Austin History Center to pull an old photo of the oak to run with his story. He sifted through some photos and, alas, the tree was in none of them -- until he came across a Sixties-era photo, and there stood a small sapling. His story moved to the back burner. Town Lake Park stakeholder Larry Akers observes that the age factor "certainly makes the story less compelling." He says park advocates will decide whether they want to save one tree or raise funds to plant and seed 100 trees. "We need to figure out what's best for the park," he says.