Public Notice: In Defense of Pedophilia
CM Don Zimmerman embarks on a new crusade
I was going to pile onto CM Don Zimmerman for his latest idiocy conflating gay marriage and pedophilial marriage (see "Zimmerman Not Celebrating Marriage Equality," July 3), but I see he has attracted at least one coterie of defenders in our online comments section – a group of internet trolls who appear to follow the North American Man/Boy Love Association and have fixed on Zimmerman as their new champion: Finally, a public official brave enough to declare that "there is no such thing as 'pedophilia,' only 'intergenerational love,'" and to question "why two people are denied the right to marry because of age discrimination," and why anyone has "the right to judge pedophilia as a crime." So, I don't know, now I'm thinking kind of differently about Don. Since he's become an outspoken spokesperson for man/boy love, I think I'll lay off of him for this week, see how that plays out, and roll right into the other news ...
Happy Fourth? Not for the Shelters
Summer is always the busiest time for animal shelters and rescues, but the recent floods have caused critical overcrowding issues, and the upcoming holiday weekend historically brings above average intake rates. So through July 31, Austin Animal Center, Austin Humane Society, and Austin Pets Alive! are coming together to offer $25 pet adoption fees at all three facilities. All pets are spayed/neutered, vaccinated, and go home with a collar, tag, and microchip. "If families are considering adopting a pet, now is the time," says Austin's newly installed Chief Animal Services Officer Tawny Hammond (who had her first meet-and-greet with the public this week).
• Austin Animal Center, 7201 Levander Loop. 11am-7pm daily. www.austinanimalcenter.org (or call 3-1-1).
• Austin Humane Society, 124 W. Anderson. Mon.-Sat., noon-7pm; Sun., noon-5pm. www.austinhumanesociety.org.
• Austin Pets Alive! at Town Lake Animal Center, 1156 W. Cesar Chavez. 11:30am-7pm daily. www.austinpetsalive.org.
And Speaking of the Fourth ...
Heading down to the Austin Symphony July 4th Concert & Fireworks Saturday at Auditorium Shores? Consider taking public transportation; Capital Metro is doing everything they can to make it easy for you. At least 10 different bus routes will offer service to and from Auditorium Shores that day and evening, MetroRapid Routes 801 & 803 will operate on a special 15-minute frequency from 8pm until midnight, MetroRail service is extended, with the last train departing Downtown Sunday morning at 2:30am, and Night Owl buses will run on their normal schedules, every 20 to 30 minutes until 3am, with all routes departing from Sixth and Congress. See more info at www.austinsymphony.org and www.capmetro.org.
And Speaking of Transportation ...
RideScout Route is a new free shuttle service providing east/west transportation Downtown, weekdays from 7am-1pm. The shuttles run every 5-10 minutes, in a loop between Trinity and Guadalupe – westbound on Sixth, and eastbound on Second. Look for electric cabs with RideScout's logo on them and hop in and out anywhere between the Convention Center and Republic Square. It's a pilot project, provided by the RideScout transportation app, in partnership with Electric Cab of Austin. More info at www.ridescout.com.
Don't Block the Box: APD and the city Transportation Dept. have moved this traffic enforcement campaign, to focus on these intersections during rush hours: Lamar/Rundberg; Hwy 183/Loyola; Riverside/Pleasant Valley; and RM 2222/RM 620. More at www.austintexas.gov/dontblockthebox.
And Speaking of Enforcement ...
As promised to City Council a couple of weeks ago, city staff will launch a pilot program for enhanced code enforcement of short-term rentals (STRs) in residential neighborhoods, focusing on over-occupancy, noise disturbances, illegal parking, and operating without a license. City teams will perform "proactive inspections" on weekends through July, beginning this holiday weekend, and will also respond to complaints; residents are encouraged to call 3-1-1 to report nuisance or illegal short-term rentals operating in their neighborhood. Staff will evaluate the effectiveness of the efforts, and share results with the City Council and public in August.
All STR owners are required to obtain an operating license if renting for less than 30 consecutive days. For licensing info, see www.austintexas.gov/STR.
We remain in Stage 2 watering restrictions, Austin City Manager Marc Ott announced in a memo this week to the mayor and City Council. May brought rains of historic proportions to the region, but, says Ott: "History shows that massive rains during a drought can be followed by more years of drought. Going back immediately to a schedule less restrictive than the one-day-per-week watering schedule could send a signal that concerns about water are over."
In fact, the memo goes on: "Austin Water suggests that it is time to consider adopting one-day-per-week watering permanently," which it notes is a "major change" that would require City Code changes.
And Speaking of City Programs ...
Applications are now open for the FY 2016 Cultural Heritage Festivals and Community Initiatives funding programs, which provide funding to local 501C nonprofits – to produce either a cultural festival, or a public "performance or exhibition," open to both residents and tourists. All interested applicants are encouraged to attend one of the workshops scheduled in July. See guidelines and applications at the city's cultural funding programs website: www.austincreates.com.
• Cultural Heritage Festivals Applicant Workshops: Tue., July 7, noon-1pm at Old Quarry Library, 7051 Village Center Dr.; Wed., July 8, 6-7pm at Manchaca Library, 5500 Manchaca Rd.; Sat., July 11, 11am-noon at Cultural Arts Division Offices, 201 E. Second.
• Community Initiatives Workshops: Sat, July 11, noon-1pm at Cultural Arts Division Offices, 201 E. Second.
And Speaking of Workshops ...
The producers of the Challenger Street Newspaper ("expressing the thoughts and experiences of homeless people and their allies") are offering a series of free writing workshops this summer at the Austin Public Library called Have Your Voice Heard. Learn about the writing process and the production of an underground newsletter or zine. The first session is Monday, July 6, 1pm, at Faulk Central Library, 800 Guadalupe. www.challengernewspaper.org for more info.