With all the talk and legal wrangling over voting by mail – wham! – the time is upon us, and if you're planning on exercising your hard-won right to safely cast your ballot by mail for the July 14 election, you'd better get moving, because it's a two-step process, and the first deadline is coming up soon. You must first download a ballot application form, print it, and mail it to the County Clerk's office; and they must receive it by this coming Thursday, July 2, so it needs to be in the mail by Tuesday at the latest. Get started right now, at the Travis County Clerk's website, or with the interactive form at webservices.sos.state.tx.us/forms/5-15f.pdf. (You can fill it out online, but it still has to be printed and mailed in.) Questions? They're answered here.
The Travis County Commissioners Court held a public hearing Tuesday on a proposal to grant tax rebates to Tesla as an incentive to locate a new plant in the southeastern part of the county (on the Colorado River at SH 130), instead of in Tulsa, Okla., reportedly the other finalist in Tesla's site search. The city of Austin has a moratorium on these sorts of handouts, but the county doesn't. Commissioners heard over two hours of often-impassioned testimony, before closing the public hearing without taking action. They'll consider the incentive package again at next week's meeting, Tue., June 30, 10am, and may vote on it then. The county's tax rebate proposal totals about $14.6 million – which would come on top of a $68 million rebate the company will likely get from the impoverished Del Valle ISD, which would in turn be reimbursed by the state's Chapter 313 economic incentive program. With a deal like that, Tesla would almost certainly choose Austin over Tulsa, despite the snappy alliteration. Then again, even without a deal like that, Tesla would almost certainly choose Austin over Tulsa, despite the snappy alliteration. So ...
Threadgill's Farewell: At 10am this Saturday, June 27, Burley Auction will be selling over 500 items from the restaurant and from Eddie and Sandra Wilson's private collection of memorabilia from the Armadillo World HQ. OMG! The posters, the signs, the Burton Wilson photos, the "Howdy Strangers" neon at the back door! Kenneth Threadgill's platinum record. The "Tickets" hostess podium. The Rock-Ola juke boxes. The Bevador!
Say it ain't so.
This will be a live auction on location at Threadgill's Old No. 1, 6416 N. Lamar, with internet and phone bidding available if you can't attend, and online bidding already underway; see www.burleyauction.com for info.
NB Update: For the health and safety of all concerned, and "due to the governor's mandate," the auction has been postponed to Saturday, Aug. 29. The inventory and online auction remain active, and make really fun browsing.
The Austin Transportation Department has installed temporary protected bicycle lanes on Congress Avenue from Riverside Drive to 11th Street, "to ensure enough physical distance for all people using the Avenue and the Ann Richards Bridge," and to complement the Shop the Block initiative, which repurposes public space for outdoor seating, queueing, and retail. Though the lanes are considered temporary, a city release notes that "transition to a more permanent installation is envisioned as part of the Congress Avenue Urban Design Initiative." See more info at www.austintexas.gov/congressave.
The UT-Austin College of Liberal Arts Diversity Committee – consisting of the Department Chairs of the Black Studies and Latino Studies departments, plus the directors of the Center for Women's and Gender Studies, LGBTQ+ Studies, Center for Asian American Studies, and the Native American and Indigenous Studies Program – sent a letter to UT-Austin's upper administration, calling on them to "dismantle the anti-black and racist systems that enable state violence at UT, in Texas, and throughout the US and that are strengthened by a President who advocates for white supremacy." More specifically, they have seven specific proposals, intended to "Ensure Community Well-Being and Safety," and to "Promote Justice-Oriented Research and Diverse Scholars." See the full statement at utexas.app.box.com/s/pw3hfysn92l6dtr1da1t2slht836yogz.
Congrats to Grads: Austin ISD graduate Shakey Graves and the Austin Ed Fund, AISD's nonprofit public education foundation, have sent out a special congratulatory song and message to all AISD 2020 graduates; see it on YouTube, or on Austin Ed Fund's Facebook page, www.facebook.com/austinedfund, where Mr. Graves shares a tender moment, concluding, "You don't gotta listen to people like me, just because I have a microphone in front of me, you know. There'll be a lot of people with a lot of microphones in front of you, as time goes on. You've got to listen to yourself, and everyone around you. But just remember, a lot of advice is bad advice. This could even be bad advice right now.
"Congratulations, guys. Go kill it out there."
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