Public Notice: Life Goes On
Gotta keep believing that Love Trumps Hate
Oy, what a week to be doing our "Best of Austin" issue. That section went to press Tuesday evening, before any election results had started to come in. The News staff and photographers headed off to cover the local races – because local is what we do, right? – and I suspect the scene was similar at all the candidate events: early catharsis because early voting results decided most all the local races by 7:20pm, followed by a long, slow buildup of fascination (and horror for most), as we realized what Donald Trump was managing to pull off elsewhere in the country. Truly, the world is different after this election, a lot of assumptions are different today than they were yesterday, and the enthusiasm level around the office today was, well, subdued.
Locally, though, Austin voters reaffirmed their values in this cycle: voted staunchly for progressive candidates, delivered a general thumbs-up to generally progressive City Council members, a clear thumbs-down to the contentious Don Zimmerman, and a "not so fast" to the kinder, gentler Republican on the dais, the developer-friendly Sheri Gallo, who faces a Dec. 13 run-off against an opponent who will draw sharp differences in policy and style. And most notably, whatever reservations various factions may have had, we the people gave a surprisingly strong thumbs-up to the largest bond package in Austin history, an ambitious eight-year transportation and urban makeover plan that, whether it "fixes" traffic or not, is going to substantially transform the way we see and use our major thoroughfares. Nor was it just a matter of pulling out the checkbook and writing a big check. As city leaders reiterated, and I think the public largely understands, this was a commitment to embark on a long-term, not-fully-defined project that will involve a long series of policy decisions, made over the course of multiple city administrations. Combined with the build-out of the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan, realized through a completely rewritten land development code (changing everything from building codes to zoning classes), this is going to be a wild ride, and with this bond vote, we've pushed off and there's no turning back. And while there will be plenty of contentious decisions to be made along the way, there are signs of reasonable buy-in from all parties as we try to balance building this brave new Austin with preserving the essential spirit of the old Austin. There better be, because we just put a lot of parts in action, and if we don't make it work right, who will?
Donald J. Trump may be our president, and Dan Patrick may run the Capitol, and we can't do anything about that. But they can't change Austin. Only we can do that.
So anyway, enjoy the election results. And also the "Best of Austin" awards section. This remains a pretty cool city to live in, and herein are a lot of the reasons that remains true.
Heart of the City: An Exhibition is the opening exhibit introducing this ongoing art project celebrating the local music industry, and benefiting the SIMS Foundation, which does such good work delivering health care to Austin musicians who can't otherwise afford it. Monday, Nov. 14, 6:30-9:30pm, upstairs at Antone's, 305 E. Fifth, featuring portraits of 12 Austin music industry professionals by photographer Carlos J. Matos. Find details at www.fb.com/events/213652189069621 and www.simsfoundation.org/hotcportrait.
A Community Approach to Tackling Homelessness is an interactive community forum at the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition's fall meeting. Provide input along with Mayor Adler, elected officials, and community leaders. Attendance is free, but space is limited; RSVP to www.eventbrite.com/e/a-community-approach-to-tackling-homelessness-tickets-29029864105 to attend. Tuesday, Nov. 15, 7:30-10am, St. David's Episcopal Church, 301 E. Eighth.
There are a couple of Parks & Recreation Dept. public planning meetings this week that are of particular interest, due to the importance of the properties being considered:
• Duncan Park: PARD and the Shoal Creek Conservancy have been collecting public input in trying to "identify site opportunities, and define a landscape vision" for this important Downtown park, sitting along Shoal Creek just east of Lamar, between Eighth and 10th streets. They'll present the results at a Visioning Workshop, Wed., Nov. 16, 5:30-7pm, at Austin Rec Center, 1301 Shoal Creek Blvd. See www.austintexas.gov/duncanpark.
• Bull Creek District Park: PARD has likewise been gathering input to develop a Bull Creek District Park Master Plan, including "defining what recreational uses are appropriate and desired while balancing the existing constraints of the park." The final public meeting in that process is Thu., Nov. 17, 6:30-8pm, at St. Matthew's Church, 8134 Mesa. www.austintexas.gov/bullcreekplan.