Horse Gone; Barn Door Debate Continues

Hindsight is 20/20

Back-to-back Statesman editorials Tuesday and Wednesday "urge the City Council to amend the [Formula One] contract at the earliest possible date" (editorial board, July 5), and acknowledge that "that is backward. You negotiate terms upfront to get the best deal possible. Doing that after the fact weakens one's negotiating position" (Alberta Phillips, July 6).

One wonders: Where was that strong editorial voice when the issue was still in the balance, before council rushed to approve the contract with the Circuit Events Local Organizing Committee last week on an emergency timetable? More to the point, one also wonders: If all this is so blindingly obvious now, just how did city government allow itself to be railroaded into signing the deal as it stood – among other things, allowing CELOC to act on the city's behalf in contracting with the Texas Comptroller's Office, as well as with race organizers, with little or no public oversight or disclosure? (Speaking of disclosure, I should note that both editorials cited my wife, Susan Moffat, speaking for the citizen volunteer advocates who worked on the contracts and got council to adopt several last-minute amendments to them.)

Regarding CELOC and Formula One, this is probably all moot; there's little chance at this point of amending a signed contract. Regarding the performance of City Council and city legal, however, there's nothing but more questions: How could city legal allow a contract to come to council allowing CELOC to change any of its "obligations and responsibilities" simply by notifying the comptroller and the city that it is doing so? That's one of the sections council had to amend from the dais. Why was no outside counsel brought in after repeated council requests? (Or, conversely, why do we need to hire outside counsel to get legal representation that actually advocates for the city?) Why would Mayor Lee Leffingwell insist on signing such a poor contract, language be damned? And as for the remaining four council members who held their noses and voted to approve the contracts as they stood ... well, they're probably left wondering why that seemed like a good idea at the time.

Got something to say on the subject? Send a letter to the editor.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Formula One
Playback: Fan Fest Upgrades
Playback: Fan Fest Upgrades
Fan Fest finally books locally; Housecore Horror co-founder Corey Mitchell dies

Kevin Curtin, Oct. 31, 2014

Statewide Candidate Filings Trickle In
Statewide Candidate Filings Trickle In
A slight attendance dip and only a couple of traffic hiccups in event's second year

Richard Whittaker, Nov. 22, 2013

More by Nick Barbaro
Dog Toys and Puppy Sports Lead Our Recommended Community Events
Dog Toys and Puppy Sports Lead Our Recommended Community Events
Bucking broncos, drag vampires, and more highlights

Feb. 9, 2024

Zilker Revamp Plan Dead in the Water(shed)
Zilker Revamp Plan Dead in the Water(shed)
Mayor Kirk Watson calls it off

Aug. 11, 2023


Formula One, Lee Leffingwell, Austin American-Statesman

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle