Sixth Street fire: updated photos & link roundup

Sixth Street fire: updated photos & link roundup

KXAN
MyFoxAustin
KVUE
Statesman

Blind Pig

Blind Pig

Blind Pig looks to have paid the biggest toll in this fire.

Exterior of Vice appears unscathed

Exterior of Vice appears unscathed

While there didn’t appear to be much damage to the exterior of Vice, it was clear the fire department had been inside.

View from San Jacinto - GOD SAVE THE ALAMO!

View from San Jacinto - GOD SAVE THE ALAMO!

Fire rips through Vice and other Sixth Street venues

Fire at Vice

We heard the alarms over night, and just woke up to the news of two 3-alarm fires on the 300 block of Sixth Street.  Apparently, the fire was centered at VICE on the North side and Blind Pig on the South side.  Investigators are uncertain if they are related, (though it would seem unlikely to me that they weren’t).  Sixth Street is blocked off from Red River to San Jacinto.  The extent of the damage is still uncertain.  Photos and details to come.

Link

Downtown Crime: the solution is not more light

Downtown Crime: the solution is not more light

Krimelabb.com

Krimelabb.com

KVUE and FOX 7 news are reporting that the Public Safety Task Force is proposing to cut down on Downtown crime by… get ready for it… adding more light. 🙁

This is a misguided effort to thwart a much bigger problem.

There is a BIG elephant in the room, and it’s called the ARCH.  Drug dealers come from all over the city and prey on those with addiction and/or have mental illness.

According to the article, “Austin police call the area bordered by 8th, 6th, Red River and Trinity, a hotspot for crime.  Forty-two percent of all drug arrests in downtown happen here.” Adding more street lamps is only going to disperse the problem, and will make the understaffed police force’s job more difficult!

As I’ve said before, the ARCH doesn’t belong across from a major liquor store and a block from Austin’s biggest party – Sixth Street.    The way to cut down on crime in Downtown Austin is to: 1) expand the day-time uses of the historic Sixth street buildings, east of Neches St. 2) move the ARCH and its support services away from Sixth Street – though, NOT out of Downtown 3) Revitalize Waller Creek, because right now drug dealing and drug use is hidden from view below the banks of the creek.

Yes, the ARCH should remain Downtown.  Doing so relegates to ‘bunk’ status the argument which demands the ARCH remain centrally located, and the NIMBY-ism arguments against moving the ARCH at all.   Downtown Austin is a big place with plenty of under-utilized land and buildings.

Club FUZE – citizen stakeholders want it gone

Club FUZE is the next venue on the Downtown stakeholders’ list of night clubs identified as hosting recurring criminal activity.  A letter was sent on behalf of several Downtown stakeholders (including DANA, Capital Metro, and multiple residential buildings) to Don Garner, the owner of 505 Neches where Club FUZE is located.  According to the letter:

“In the past year the criminal activity inside and surrounding Club Fuze has escalated considerably. Reports obtained from the Austin Police Department data base reveal a serious escalation of violence, public drunkenness, prostitution, and illegal drug activity both in the club and on the adjoining street.”

The letter goes on to state,

“The club’s dangerous and illegal activities have reached the point that visitors are now being warned to not walk down Neches during peak club hours, hotel guests are being encouraged to avoid the area, and local residents have been forced to avoid the area and to warn their friends to not park near the club.”

Part of the challenge for the Police is coping with venues that have recurring problems.  According to data found at Krimelabb.com you might want to avoid club FUZE and the area around it.  Below is a list of criminal activity inside or in front of FUZE in December.

  1. 2008-3432326      2008-12-08      POSS OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA
  2. 2008-3360157      2008-12-01      AGG ASSAULT
  3. 2008-3360157      2008-12-01      CUSTODY ARREST TRAFFIC WARR
  4. 2008-3500238      2008-12-15      DISTURBANCE/OTHER
  5. 2008-3360157      2008-12-01      ASSAULT W/INJURY-FAM/DATE VIOL
  6. 2008-3371894      2008-12-02      POSS OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA
  7. 2008-3550403      2008-12-20      UIPP
  8. 2008-3382492      2008-12-03      PEDESTRIAN ON ROADWAY
  9. 2008-3360157      2008-12-01      POSS MARIJUANA
  10. 2008-3360157      2008-12-01      FAILURE TO IDENTIFY
  11. 2008-3360157      2008-12-01      VIOL OF EMERG PROTECTIVE ORDER
  12. 2008-3361590      2008-12-01      PUBLIC INTOXICATION
  13. 2008-3361590      2008-12-01      REQUEST TO APPREHEND

Citizen stakeholders have recently been successful in purging the neighborhood of offending night clubs.  Last month, Tim Finley, the owner of the building housing Club Paradox and Club Planeta, was urged to clean up his tenant’s act after discussions with residents, police, hotels, and the convention center. After years of increasing crime and violence in and around clubs Paradox and Planeta, it was clear to Tim Finley that change was needed. He terminated their lease.