Public Notice: Angry Hornets
Happy ending to Grove saga leaves questions
I do love poking the hornets' nest from time to time, and a brief item in last week's column – gigging the Friends of Austin Neighborhoods internet group for the fact that their City Council Voting Record summary of key votes shows the FAN positions tightly aligned with the more conservative GOP members (Ellen Troxclair, Sheri Gallo, Don Zimmerman, in that order) – certainly provoked some angry hornets in the online Comments section.
For the record, I'll go ahead and deny that this makes me a "fascist climate-denier" (because, really, how often do you get a chance to deny something like that?). But really, I wrote that not just for the fun of it, but to point out a disconnect, and suggest an actual question to those who set the FAN agenda, and shape the FAN rhetoric: You claim the moral high ground in that your preferred land use policies represent a struggle for economic justice, desegregation, urban re-renewal. And I do not for a second doubt the sincerity of those goals. Yet in practice, when it comes down to specific votes on specific issues, you find yourself allied with the most conservative members of the City Council, and 100% opposed to the voting records of the council members who have the longest and strongest histories of working for social justice issues in every field other than land use. Truly, does that not give you pause? Because Kathie Tovo, Leslie Pool, Ora Houston, and Ann Kitchen most certainly are voting their consciences, and they're all on your side on those big-picture goals. They do have a very different view of what it will take to get us there, but it's a viewpoint worth considering.
Meanwhile and for instance, hooray for the Grove at Shoal Creek settlement. The devil is in the details and all that, but clearly, this final(?) compromise will create a better development, and a stronger and safer neighborhood, than anything that was on the table without the strenuous perseverance of the neighbors organized as the Bull Creek Road Coalition (founded by 0%-er Leslie Pool). Remember this settlement the next time you hear it claimed that neighborhood advocacy groups are nothing but NIMBY obstructionists, or (especially) that a development needs its answer right away, and it better be yes, or we'll miss this opportunity. The first claim is usually worth a closer look, but the second one is always false.
Prepping for Spring Learning
Are you sick of 2016? Ready to turn a new leaf, for real? As it happens, several fine organizations are currently offering opportunities for people who might be looking to learn some new shit in the new year.
"From Culinary to Robotics" is the theme of the AISD High School Showcase, a free event for prospective students and their families to sample the various programs AISD high schools offer at their different campuses. It's 9am-noon, this Saturday, Dec. 10, at Austin High School, 1715 W. Cesar Chavez, with free shuttle service to and from all AISD middle schools, and the Carruth Administration Center, 1111 W. Sixth.
"1-on-1 answers about college" is what Austin Community College promises through Dec. 16 to help students register for spring classes. Advisers are providing "personalized guidance from applying to registering for classes and getting financial aid" for prospective and current students – in person at the College Destination Center, 5930 Middle Fiskville, or at 512/223-7747 or www.austincc.edu/startnow. Classes begin Tuesday, Jan. 17.
… and Beyond Education
The Center for Public Policy Priorities does great work researching and promoting health, education, and economic equity in Texas. And as they gear up for the 2017 legislative session, they're looking to hire at least one paid intern to start in January as a Legislative Communications intern. Candidates must be currently enrolled graduate or undergraduate students. The deadline to apply is Dec. 16; see more info at www.forabettertexas.org/workatcppp.html.
The 20th annual Cine Las Americas International Film Festival is coming up May 3-7, 2017, and the nonprofit organization that runs that event, plus a ton of other programming through the year, has openings for a marketing coordinator and sponsorship coordinator, plus several internships, and of course volunteers before and during the event. See more info at www.cinelasamericas.org.
"Stuff the Bus," now in its fifth year, has a goal of filling two Capital Metro buses with nonperishable food items, and providing 50,000 nutritious meals to folks facing hunger over the holidays. This Friday through Sunday, Dec. 9-11, two Capital Metro buses will be parked at the Downtown and Domain Whole Foods locations. They'll be open from 10am-6pm, accepting food items and monetary donations benefiting the Central Texas Food Bank. Bonus: KIND is giving 5,000 bars for people who donate at those two Whole Foods locations. And you can also make donations to the program through Dec. 14, by adding $1 to your purchase, at any of the five Austin-area Whole Foods locations. See more at www.capmetro.org/stuffthebus.