Point Austin: Beside the Point

Point Austin
The debate on the aborted Midtown Live loan proposal is not likely to subside immediately, as several speakers are signed up to address the issue during Citizen Communications at City Council today (Thursday), and Item 37 on the morning agenda is a resolution to appoint a "Blue Ribbon Committee" to assist in making recommendations concerning the "quality of life" for African-Americans in Austin. Let's hope the committee members are wearing not just ribbons but chain mail. The council is also scheduled to announce membership in the mayor's Bond Advisory Committee, a move that will require waiving some standard restrictions on commission membership (residency, multiple memberships, etc.). No word on whether the bond committee gets to wear ribbons.

Council is expected to sign off on the 10-year, $11 million incentive package for Freescale Semiconductor Inc., announced last Friday, part of what is projected as a $30 million package from city, county, state, and school district to keep the corporate headquarters from fleeing to Chicago. Perhaps the folks at Freescale can be prevailed upon to kick in a half-mil or so for their Eastside neighbors, Midtown Live, so those upscale high tech job holders promised by the corp will have somewhere to flash their bling on Friday nights. Don't hold your breath.

On the subject of bonds, at 2pm council also gets its initial briefing on the city's preliminary needs assessment for drafting the bond package, projected for presentation to the voters in 2006. Get your list ready.

Also on the 2pm briefing schedule, with the possibility of as much heat as light, are staff recommendations concerning the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organizations 2030 Mobility Plan (scheduled for a CAMPO vote in May; Council Member Daryl Slusher, among others, is calling for a delay and revision). If poured concrete is not to your taste, perhaps Austin Police Depart-ment Chief Stan Knee's briefing on the APD's revised Taser policy will get your attention (for a preview of the new policy, see "APD Tightens Taser Policy").

Less headline-grabbing issues under discussion include moving some Austin Energy money ($1 million) to accommodate incentive rebates for installation of solar energy or conservation systems at Lake Austin Marina, St. Gabriel's Catholic School, Southwestern Bell on Guadalupe, and the Downtown Marriott hotel. Annexations on the agenda include the 714-acre Goodnight Ranch in southeast Travis Co. The Rainey Street neighborhood rezoning of several tracts from mixed-use residential to central business district commercial, first approved last fall, is scheduled for confirmation. The 6pm public hearing will be a discussion of the city's action plan for next year's U.S. Housing and Urban Development funding as well as community development funding – presuming there's anything left after the Bush administration enacts its proposed budget.

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