Naked City

Off the Desk

The long and winding runway leading to the redevelopment of the old Mueller airport property takes another turn Aug. 3 when City Council members try to remember where they left off on the matter before they took their respective summer holidays. It has, after all, been almost a whole month since they sat down together. One of many items on their plate will be the appointment of nine representatives to the Mueller Municipal Airport Implementation Advisory Commission (a mouthful, that one). As of Wednesday morning, no one at City Hall felt comfortable going public with the names yet because the list of nominees is still in the tinkering and whittling process. At any rate, there'll be three neighborhood leaders, four appointees representing various professional fields -- urban design, commercial finance, real estate, and business -- and two at-large reps. As the group's name implies, appointees will be charged with implementing the master plan for the 711 acres...

In other City Hall concerns, we can expect some Austin homeowners to raise a stink at the next council meeting over proposed new rules for the estimated 7,000 septic tanks in the city's jurisdiction. The new rules would carry a lot more bite than the existing state regs. So far, the city's Water and Wastewater Commission -- the bunch that Statesman editor Rich Oppel loves to hate -- has been up to its elbows in this mess. Now it's time for the council to weigh in...

Chalk up another loss for the Statesman editorial department. This time, longtime reporter Suzanne Gamboa has left the newsroom for a gig with the Associated Press, which next month transfers her to her new post in the Beltway. Word among local scribes is that other daily staffers are preparing for takeoff, too...

Brigid Shea woke up one morning and realized that the most important nonprofit in her life was her growing family. Working for the cause was all well and good, she reasoned, but she needed to start bringing home something more than bacon bits. So, drawing on her activist roots with the Save Our Springs Alliance, her penny-pinching tricks honed while managing a shoestring budget and her experience as a City Council member, Shea decided to launch a "green" consulting business -- Brigid Shea & Associates. Her focus will be on advising growing tech companies in their relocation decisions and encouraging them to steer clear of the Barton Springs watershed. Shea points to her past work with former SOS chair and business owner Robin Rather as an example of how they were able to convince three major employers -- Motorola, CSC, and Tivoli -- not to build their new facilities in the watershed, despite real estate brokers' attempts to lure them onto property over the aquifer...

Austin's own Emerson Tiller, a UT business professor, has been nominated for a prospective seat on the board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. Say what? Say ICANN; it's easier. It's the organization that manages the domain name assignment system for the Internet. The U.S. has granted ICANN control over who is on and off the Internet by giving and taking away domains such as That's the Web site Tiller has set up so we the people can register to vote for ICANN's board of directors. The site also provides more details on the elections, which take place in October via the Internet. Registration deadline is July 31.

After laying low for months, the Triangle development project showed up on the Planning Commission agenda the other evening, but the action item -- to approve funding for roads and other infrastructure -- never made it to the dais; commissioners postponed it for one week to allow for further mulling.

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    The University of Texas announces the finalists for the design of its new art museum (after rejecting the original design as too modern) and everyone on the list, with few minor exceptions, hews closely to the classical or neo-classical tradition.

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    Finalists for Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art
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    Mark Tschurr, former head of a successful Austin technology company, is unanimously chosen as board chairman of the Save Our Springs Alliance.

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    A public forum over Austin Energy's proposed "secrecy resolution," which will allow the utility to keep some financial information under wraps in response to competition, yields plenty of discussion but little agreement.

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Mueller Municipal Airport Implementation Advisory Commission, Water and Wastewater Commission, Statesman, Rich Oppel, Suzanne Gamboa, Brigid Shea, Save Our Springs Alliance

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