Point Austin: Beside the Point

Council notes

Point Austin
Today's City Council meeting may be shadowed by the spirit of the late Dorothy Nell Turner, and not only because the session will recess at 11:30 so that members can attend Turner's funeral services at St. John's Tabernacle over on Blessing Avenue. Before the recess, the council is scheduled to consider (postponed from last week) the "Blue Ribbon Committee" to be appointed to make "quality-of-life" recommendations based on the problems identified in the city's African American Community Scorecard. Officially, the committee has only an indirect relation to the still-simmering Midtown Live controversy, but if they ride over that speed bump in Item 20 (Danny Thomas may have something to say about that) there are several speakers waiting for post-funeral, 2pm Citizen Communications – including the NAACP's Nelson Linder – to remind the council of its memory loss. (Also on the morning agenda is a resolution regarding the 2006 Cultural Arts Council process, always a barrel of laughs.)

The council continues to hold executive session discussions on the Seaholm tract and Block 21, but the buzz concerning the Downtown redevelopments hasn't yet returned to the dais. Item 27 is a resolution adopting the Thomas/Raul Alvarez Eastside revitalization project, aimed at redevelopment, including affordable housing and small business promotion from Manor Road south to Riverside.

Several of the zoning cases involve Westside historic zoning proposals, with none looking to be like the marathons that occurred last week over Dr. Fernando Loya's dentist's office in Swede Hill (a zoning dispute transformed surrealistically into a revival meeting) or the Rainey Street district rezoning, at long last, to Central Business District, on the road to high-density multiuse infill.

The evening's entertainment – after a live music performance from "Solid Waste Services' Sergeant Bin" – include a public hearing on the proposed commercial and retail design standards (still headed for Zoning and Platting Commission and Planning Commission down the line, so they will undoubtedly return). Could be diverting – with lots of pretty pictures – although nothing on the scale of last week, when the council heard from staff on CAMPO's 2030 Mobility Plan (run for your lives) and the city's preliminary bond needs assessment. The latter was whittled, we were told, from more than a billion dollars to a mere $800 million ("substantially more than we have the bonding capacity for" – Toby Futrell). Of that, more later. And the same for Austin Police Department Chief Stan Knee's briefing on the revised Taser policy, statistically persuasive and mostly self-congratulatory: "We believe that the Taser is an effective tool in reducing situations where police officers and suspects come in violent contact, and has reduced the number of serious injuries to both officers and suspects."

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Austin City Council, Dorothy Nell Turner, City Council, African American Community Scorecard, Midtown Live, Danny Thomas, NAACP, Nelson Linder, Cultural Arts Council, Seaholm, Block 21, Raul Alvarez, Eastside revitalization project, Westside historic zoning proposals, Dr. Fernando Loya, Swede Hill, Rainey Street, "Solid Waste Services' Sergeant Bin", commercial and retail design standards, CAMPO's 2030 Mobility Plan

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