Austin's McCracken and Leffingwell Rhyme Off At Mohawk

Austin's McCracken and Leffingwell Rhyme Off At Mohawk

Lil' Leffy v MC Crack

You’ve heard of Lil’ Wayne?  How about Lil’ Leffy?  On April 21st, the Austin Chronicle is sponsoring “The Hustle For Mayor” candidate forum at Mohawk in downtown Austin.  Will we get to witness Lee ‘lil leffy’ Leffingwell and Brewster ‘Micky Crack’ McCracken grab the mic and spit the illest, most hunker-downest, sustainabilitized, verbal gymnastics ever heard in a mayoral election?

DJ Mel will be breakin’ necks from the tables.

This is happening.

Lil' Leffy v MC Crack

Lil' Leffy v Micky Crack

No Development Permit Extensions Says Austin City Council

According to the ABJ, Austin City Council has voted against one-time development permit extensions which would extend the time frame real estate developers had to commence with their project from three to five years.  Sponsored by the newest Council Members on the dais, Randi Shade and Laura Morrison were not around in 2006-2007 to vote on urban infill projects.

Development permits will likely expire before any rebound in the capital markets.  If the land where the development was to occur has already been razed (Marriott), then the outcome of this ruling is most likely blight – empty lots, not generating property taxes, and often surrounded by chain link fence.

A far better solution would have been to levy fines or taxes on undeveloped land.   Because, you know, that could have generated money for the city!

Link to agenda item

Coordinated Urban Candidate Forum – April 4th

In what could become the most attended and media covered of all the candidate forums, mark your calendar for the coordinated Urban Candidate Forum.

On Saturday, April 4th the Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association will co-host a forum to learn where the city council and mayoral candidates stand on the issues that affect Austin and its urban core. The major candidates will debate such issues as economic development, the livability of the downtown neighborhood, public spaces, urban rail, and parking.

DANA is combining forces with:

-Downtown Austin Alliance (DAA),
-Congress for New Urbanism (CNU),
-Alliance for Public Transportation,
-Old Austin Neighborhood Association (OANA),
-Austin Parks Foundation,
-Austin Metro Trails and Greenways,
-6ixth Street Austin,

Complimentary coffee, water, and light breakfast items will be provided.

WHEN: Saturday, April 4th, 10 am – 1:30 pm

WHERE: St. David’s Episcopal Church @ 304 E. 7th Street (map)

Paid parking will be available in the St. David’s garage. You may also plan your trip using Capital Metro’s trip planner. Enter the church at the intersection of 8th & San Jacinto.

Downtown Austin Car Share – Smart Car Pilot Program

How do you increase parking?  Shrink the cars, of course!

How do you increase parking? Shrink the cars, of course!

Daimler will partner with the City of Austin to operate a car-share pilot program, Mayor Will Wynn announced yesterday morning.

From the Statesman:

“The city will set aside urban-core parking spaces for 200 of Daimler’s “Smart” cars. Rather than paying for the spaces, Daimler will let city employees use the cars for a number of hours that’s equal to the monetary value of the spaces. (That amount hasn’t been determined yet; it will be negotiated over the next few weeks, city officials said.)…The program will start in October and run for six months. Daimler will pay for fuel, maintenance and insurance during that time, said the city’s transportation director, Robert Spillar.”

The car share program is a proven model in many cities, and the Smart Car program specifically is already smashing success in Germany.  Austin mayoral city council candidate Chris Riley is responsible for Austin Car Share – a small but well utilized car share program in Downtown Austin.

Thanks to Austin Contrarian for picking up on this story.

Austin Medical School Courtesy of Carole Strayhorn?

Here is an intriguing idea courtesy of Carole Strayhorn!

1) Build a medical school, 2) enhance the medical/bio-tech industry in Austin, 3) create jobs, 4) create revenue for the city.

“This Council Spent $2.3 Billion for Biomass Energy in Nacogdoches. For less than half that cost, we could build this medical school, create $1.5 billion a year in revenue, and create 14,400 permanent jobs.”

If built in close proximity to Brackenridge, which I assume it would be, this could bring much needed life to the northeastern quadrant of downtown Austin.

Refreshingly, this makes good sense.


A Vision For Austin Rail

Imagine you work in Austin, but you live in San Antonio.  Rather than enduring Interstate 35 each morning, in a more perfect world you would have a rail system that drops you off into a downtown terminal.  Imagine if our city leaders could design a “Grand Central” of Austin.  This short homemade video makes Austin appear to be an international city.  It’s incredible to see the city come into view.

These days CapMetro can’t seem to tie its own shoes.  I do hear Amtrak is getting stimulus money, though.

link [via skyscraperpage]

DAP phase II approved!

Great news!  According to our knowledgeable members of DANA, the vote passed 7 – 0 this morning.  Laura Morrison moved to postpone the vote but there was no 2nd.

Just in from the ABJ

“The Austin City Council approved a a professional services agreement with San Francisco-based Roma Design Group for planning services to complete the Downtown Austin Plan.”

City Council to Vote on Phase Two of Downtown Austin Plan

On today’s city council agenda, item #4 is a vote to fund phase two of the Downtown Austin Plan.  The city and downtown Austin stakeholders have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in time and money to design a downtown befitting a world class city.

Laura Morrison, Lee Leffingwell, and Mike Martinez are expected to align themselves against downtown.  After all, if you study the Statesman you’ll realize that it’s en vogue to hate on downtown.  Though, these council members will vote against downtown under the guise of fiscal responsibility.

Dont’ be fooled!

Politically they are posturing themselves to support a comprehensive plan for the city.  Something that could take years, will certainly require more expensive consultants, and just as easily could be thrown out as they seem to want to do with the Downtown Austin Plan.  The City’s shelves are thick with research studies and improvement plans which have never been implemented.

I hope I’m wrong.  We should know by lunchtime how each council member voted.