Improvements! C3 Presents

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I was thinking about a recent topic on the ZNA listserv where I made a couple comments that apparently vanished into the void again. They don’t like me to write about C3 Presents because it’s just a widdle multi-million dollar corp that they figure powerful me uses as my personal punching bag. I get that PARD is giddy over paving more parkland so I will try to not bully C3, while merely seeking info on this development:

I can’t tell the difference between these 3 entities. C3 created APF to do the job our taxes go to PARD to do. But our taxes are also going to APF. Why do our taxes fund APF when we’re already funding a bloated bureaucracy known as PARD for the same purpose that APF was created? I’ve been asking that question for a long time without getting a clear answer that makes sense (other than maybe circumventing laws). I bet I still can’t get one now. Maybe there’s hope.

I’m not a fan of this parkland acreage. It isn’t pretty. The site was previously a clay mining location for the Butler Brick Co. It was a landfill for about 20 years after the clay mining operation shut down. It sure sounds like no loss to pave over. The good news is it will become “USABLE SPACE,” for cars anyway.

It’s another done deal. They’ve already had their deliberations and made their decision. They will pave paradise to put up a parking lot - A BIG ONE. Now that that’s settled, maybe they’ll schedule a Public Hearing for a little demockeracy theater.

Hard to believe that they have not considered just moving ACL to Muny like I suggested last year. All that beautiful open space right in the center of town down by the lake is relatively unused compared to Zilker Park. It’s not even considered. It’s as if the Muny for ACL idea is invisible to this city government. In a JK special kind of way, I feel like Ora Houston!:

Poor Ora, the person who nearly single-handledly prevented massive amounts of development on the I-35 corridor by guilting a wimpy Council into more ridiculous Capital View Corridors. I recall one piece of inescapable logic - The cemetery plots deserve a capital view just as much as living white folk! I couldn’t help reading how she had been victimized in the what-to-do-about-the-Muny process. It seems Senator Watson didn’t include Ora in deliberations just because the Muny isn’t in her district (as if districts matter when you’re on the identity politics mission).

“…the National Park Service – prompted by a group of golfers, environmentalists, Austin residents and black leaders — added Muny to the National Register of Historic Places.”
“Muny is recognized as one of the earliest municipal golf courses in the former Confederate states to be desegregated. Since that time, Watson said, negotiations between the city and UT have nearly stalled.”

Yup, they did a good job of limiting development on this central city property. They preserved all that prime real estate in homage to inclusiveness. Never mind that they could have included a lot of people of all colors in residential towers along with any number of other businesses and amenities. So now, the city uses our tax dollars to pay over $400k annually so wealthy golfers can enjoy their lives of leisure in a park-like setting in the middle of town. Nice. But it still offers a prime alternative site for ACL.

Houston: “It is, however, unfortunate that I was not included in that meeting. Not that I would have anything additional to offer."

Unfortunate that she could have dragged it out longer I guess. Maybe a little TMI with that 2nd sentence, Ora, but I appreciate the honesty. If only we could get that from our D5 CM.

“The experience of going unnoticed and unheard is not unique to Houston, but a common occurrence for many black women, University of Texas professor and cultural critic Lisa B. Thompson says.”

She should have stopped right after the term “common occurrence.” It’s all about money. If you have it, they’re all ears. But they don’t want folks to think about that. It’s much better for politicos & SJWs to keep the focus on other things that divide us. Race is an easy one.

Meanwhile C3 is gonna shell out $2 million to pave over another slice of Zilker Park just to stay here rather than move across the lake. I bet Ora hasn’t given that a thought.

I was wondering if you have considered running for office Rod. You seem to have nothing but answers.

Shirley, you can’t be serious. I hate politics - and politicians. I don’t claim to have all the answers. I have ideas. Ya never know. Someday you might have one too.

I can tell you this. If I were King of Austin, things would be different. To start I would make 78704 whole again. There would be a great big grocery store with a vast selection and reasonable prices right on Lamar. Ten stories minimum for all new South Lamar construction. 25% minimum residential units resereved for thoe making 50% median income or less. The street next to my place would not be named for some bureaucrat. A lot of bureaucrats would be looking for honest work. ACL would not be in Zilker Park. Busses would be phased out. A monorail system proposal would be requested from Bombardier and maybe other competitors. All variance requests would be approved. Why not? - Zoning would be based on the Houston model. CodeNEXT would be shredded. CM Kitchen would be working on improving the environment or something where she can’t screw things up too much. Jeff Kirk would be moved to Cadillac Lane. And I’d have a secretary taking error-free dictation of all my magnificent progessive proclamations so I don’t have to type this crap.

With that kind of visionary platform, I’d be ridiculed endlessly by the political elite and their propagandists in the media.

Ergo, to achieve my rightful position as King of Austin, I can only take Austin by force!

… so 25% of the people would remain homeless…? Dang, nevermind.

rodsanders123 wrote:

@rodsanders123 You know I love an informed debate and value all opinions. I’ve discussed this with you in private before, but am going to start publicly calling you and @jeffkirk out. If something doesn’t further your position or add to the discussion, please refrain from saying it. I’ve struck out a few lines in your post as an example of what could be removed to make your post less of a personal derogatory piece and at the same time doesn’t deflate any of the positions you put forth. Please edit accordingly and if you don’t I’ll flag it for removal.

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Robert, the homeless will be directed to a permanent encampment in your yard. Please have plenty of food and TP on hand. Thanks for your support!

Instead of taking a position for or against it always frustrates me that the city doesn’t consider some of the innovations that could potentially serve both sides. As an example for water absorption. Also, who there are plenty of recreations that are enjoyed on hard surfaces. It doesn’t have to be dirt to be a valuable city lake front “park.”

If I’m King of Austin, you don’t get to tell me what to do, JP. Community standards dictate that your little bud must move to Cadillac Lane! This is hypothetical. Use your imagination.

Seems to me you’ve suggested I move a couple times. Reprimand yourself lately?

This is the point. There is a difference in saying something like, if you don’t like X then maybe you should move. And saying, specifically @rodsanders123 you should move. One is a broad opinion the other is very directly personal. Even the former is borderline, so point taken. But you have to consider everything in context and if you’re just being unnecessarily aggressive or if what you’re saying supports a point you’re making.

You’re welcome to play king of Austin, but if you want to do it in this forum there are community guidelines that the board has adopted which must be adhered to.

I’m not sophisticated enough to detect the nuances you see or feel, or whatever senses you use to make your determinations, JP. I know you’ve let a lot of crap go and that’s why I suggested long ago that you come up with a forum where you could manage the obvious problem effectively. You may be improving but…

I think you’re quite biased. And you have a very limited sense of humor, if any. The strike-thrus show that. On the plus side, I do think you try to be fair. Objectivity is an illusive goal. Whether you get it or not, I’m trying to help you achieve it. But like our president, I usually have my tongue in my cheek, and I will counterpunch.

Maybe we could start a different list called something like Zilker
resident’s personal diatribe and online mental masturbation.

That way we’d all know what we’re in for when we sign up.

Assuming that’s not what this list is intended for, of course.

Just a thought,

I actually agree on that one! I’m still not really clear how the 60-foot height limit on all VMU projects along the city’s arterial roads came about, but we absolutely need to be able to build taller than that outside of the CBD. This past week I was in Savannah for the annual meet of the Congress for the New Urbanism, and one of the panels was on a topic I think we all know well: why retail stores in these types of VMU projects have such an alarmingly high rate of failure.

Part of the reason is certainly the decline of bricks-and-mortar retail, but two other parts are a) disallowing uses that would be of obvious benefit to most or all residents – dry cleaners are a great example there – and b) a broad failure on the part of the developers of such projects to put any effort into a proper tenant mix. I saw the latter firsthand a decade ago when I had a gallery in the 2nd St District: the entire District is managed by AMLI, an apartment-development company with basically zero experience in retail. Today we’re seeing the same pattern in all of the VMU developments along S. Lamar, among others: they’re all managed by companies who specialize in residential, not retail, and as such they basically lease out spaces to anyone with enough money to fund their finish-out, even if their retail idea is ridiculous. (A great example there would be the now-shuttered skateboard shop that was across the driveway from me in Lamar Union. There is NO possible way a niche store of that variety can succeed in an area with such high retail rents.)

On the flip side, this also explains why places like the Domain are a success. The Domain is managed by Simon, the biggest mall operator in the country, and they know how to both attract compatible businesses as well as attracting retail that’s in and of itself a destination. Apple Stores are the best example of that, but it goes quite a bit deeper than that as well.

In any event, we’re all but certain to continue seeing endless failures of VMU retail absent fundamental change in how apartment developers lease out their street-level retail. I’d say the 2nd St District offers a great worst case scenario: since its debuted about 12 years ago, literally EVERY retailer there – with the lone exceptions of Eliza Page and Mercury Design – has either gone under or moved out the instant their leases were up. Actually, the latter only applies to two businesses: DWR and St. Bernard Sports, both of which sat out their ten-year leases before hightailing it up to the Domain.

Anyway, the Savannah conference was enlightening in countless ways, and an informal group of attendees from Austin – ranging from architects and developers to reps from the Downtown Austin Alliance, among others – is planning on doing some significant brainstorming to extract ourselves from the unmitigated disaster that is CodeNEXT. Btw the one unifying theme of the meet was that it’s impossible to exact any sort of real change without community support, and with CodeNEXT we have the antithesis of it: a plan hated by preservationists and urbanists alike. It also helped outline multiple potential paths forward that could realistically bridge the chasm between the two, but more on that later.

Interesting to me that ZNA has gotten on board against this C3 “improvement.”

I was totally kicked off the ZNA listserv for challenging a post supportive of this development back on May 20. I challenged Ashley Prewitt, who claims a background in “environmental remediation” (and who reminds me somewhat of Jeff Kirk, only more pleasant). Specifically, she referred to “a large, permanent parking area adjacent to the park.” She went on to state that “I feel I should point out that this land isn’t ‘parkland’ per se, nor has it ever been.”

I replied by asking where she got that the acreage in question was “adjacent” to the park and that it isn’t “parkland” nor has it ever been. I never saw the post appear. Since I didn’t see anything offensivc in it, I thought is odd that the CENSORS would block it. However, they block a lot of things that aren’t offensive or violations of any kind, so nothing too unusual about that.

I gave it 5 hours or so. It still hadn’t appeared. I decided to post a much briefer question. I asked her succinctly if she worked for C3. I didn’t see that post appear either. The next thing I know, I got a reply from her but I don’t think it appeared on the listserv either. She said she didn’t work for C3. She was polite. She didn’t reply to my original questions but she acknowledged seeing them and she seemd reasonable. I guess the CENSORS permitted my posts to go to her personally but not post on the listserv. I don’t know because I had been immediately kicked out of thelistserv. I haven’t been able to access it at all.

I gave Lorranine an earful for that and CC’ed Steve Barnett. He came back at me telling me I’m not even moderated. This, among other things, tells me that he’s clueless and I told him that. Now I suspect David Piper may be the man behind the curtain. Whoever it is, this CENSOR doesn’t have the cahones to step up and state that they are responsible for the CENSORSHIP that takes place on that listserv. Pretty pathetic really.

Now I’ve been kicked off 3 local neighborhood fora in the last few months just because I have exercised my right to free speech and spoken out about important neighborhood issues that directly affect me and neighbors. It’s total groupthink, a lot like North Korea. They aren’t allowing other views besides the ones they want to push.

I’ve been on all these fora for years. I was one of the first on Nextdoor. Getting the boot doesn’t matter a lot to me except I am being kept less informed now. I would never have even known about a number of issues if I wasn’t connected. This is how they control thought. They prevent ideas from circulating. We have entered a dangerous age of thought control by unelected orgs and corps, enabled by this technology that should be used to benefit all of us thru opening up lines of communication. Kinda scary really.

Did you miss Lorraine’s alarmist message titled “Stratford Drive Redevelopment Project in Zilker Park!” two weeks ago? Even I received it, seeing as she sent it to the “ZNA Member List” (on Google Groups, which is of course wholly and entirely unrelated to the ZNA … er, Zilker Yahoo Groups list). She even added a whole section to the ZNA website about it.

She went on to state that “I feel I should point out that this land isn’t ‘parkland’ per se, nor has it ever been.” I replied by asking where she got that the acreage in question was “adjacent” to the park and that it isn’t “parkland” nor has it ever been.

This is all plainly stated in the documentation Lorraine posted on the ZNA website, and readily findable via basic Google search. (And for some reason I suspect you already know all of this…) The parcel in question was a rock quarry eventually turned, in the late 1940s, into the city dump, where it remained until the late '60s. At that point city officials finally clued in that having a power plant a block away from downtown, and the city dump located immediately adjacent to its most prized park, wasn’t exactly a great idea, so the dump was sealed by a clay cap. The Chronicle article you just posted further explains the matter:

The initiative concerns the largely undefined patch of grass and stone along Stratford Drive, northwest of Zilker Park … But the space was never designed for such a use; in fact, its patchwork surface covers over what’s now a clay-capped landfill, and PARD, which has tried but failed to grow a solid amount of sod on the space, is increasingly concerned that its current utility as a parking lot will exacerbate erosion issues and also lead to water runoff problems, in addition to continuing damage of the clay cap.

(Emphasis added.) In other words, it literally can’t be used as parkland, unless you’re defining such as a dirt field on top of a toxic waste dump with a deteriorating cap. And while I have no idea how long the quarry was in operation, it is nonetheless correct to say the parcel has never been “parkland” per se.

I asked her succinctly if she worked for C3.

Yes, Rod, that’s a great way to get people to talk to you: accusing anyone who disagrees with you of being some sort of “paid stooge” for a group you hate. (Actually, it’s right in line with the ZNA’s and Bill Bunch’s latest efforts: trying to paint City Hall as being uniformly “in developers’ back pockets” and planning CodeNEXT solely for their own personal enrichment.)

Anyway, the stupid part about the ZNA’s whining about a project basically everyone else in Austin approves of is that it was not only announced a month before any ZNA folk apparently noticed it, but also received ample press coverage at the time. Here’s one clip on it: (note 4/25/18 posting date)

…which means this bit from the Chronicle article is total BS:

[A]t last week’s Parks and Recreation Board meeting, the opposition gathered in the form of the Zilker Neighborhood Assoc­­ia­tion, Barton Hills Neighborhood Assoc­i­a­tion, Bill Bunch on behalf of Save Our Springs, and a few PARB members, who harbor concerns that 1) this is all happening too fast, and without their notice, and 2) PARB is too often talking about converting green space into parking areas.

So: somehow it’s the city’s fault that no one on the ZNA or BCNA boards reads any of our local media outlets or watches any of our four local news channels – but as we know well by now, the ZNA in particular thinks it’s “special.” Anyway, it’s “not happening too fast,” and there’s absolutely no reason the city had some sort of “duty” to inform either the ZNA or BCNA about a project that’s literally about as far away from both neighborhoods as it gets. (If anything it’s much closer to OWANA territory!)

Further, as already noted, PARD has tried and failed to turn the area into green space; all they’re doing is turning a dirt lot that’s already used primarily as a parking lot (and staging area for the highlight of Rod’s year: ACL) into a paved lot less likely to result in toxic runoff flowing into Lady Bird Lake.

Now I’ve been kicked off 3 local neighborhood fora in the last few months just because I have exercised my right to free speech

Rod, as a purported former newspaper man, you should know full well that the First Amendment only applies to government censorship of speech. There is no “general” “right to free speech.” (While I personally think one could argue the ZNA constitutes a quasi-governmental organization, that’s besides the point here.)

Further, considering you’ve been kicked off of three neighborhoods groups as of late – and nearly booted off of here at one time – you know full well by now that the problem isn’t them, nor does it have anything to do with North Korean-style “groupthink.” And as is often the case, I assume you’re being intentionally obtuse.

Just FYI Rod has been silenced for a week as a result of his abusive language. Please remember to keep personal assaults out of the posts. @jeffkirk you were border line by accusing Rod of being intentionally obtuse. Make counter points not counter attacks.

Noted, JP. And to offer a counterpoint to a false assertion Rod made in his now-deleted post, namely “The land in question was NEVER a rock quarry”: (page A-13)

The Butler landfill was operated by the City of Austin from 1948 to 1967. It was operated exclusively for municipal waste, but it was an uncontrolled site and may contain some waste from other sources. The landfill is located on the south shore of Town Lake and extends from a small creek west of MoPac highway east about 2,500 feet into Zilker Park. The average width is 500 feet. Based on average dimensions of 2,500 feet by 500 feet by 20 feet deep, the site would contain approximately 100,000 cubic yards of refuse…

The municipal waste disposed at Butler was used to fill an old gravel pit that had been mined for sand and gravel from low terrace deposits of the Colorado River.

I suppose if one wanted to be really nitpicky, “sand and gravel” aren’t precisely the same thing as “rock,” but the site was indisputably a quarry, as also noted here:

“Many years ago, this area was a quarry which was then filled with city trash and covered over in the 1960’s,” said Scott Smiley, Atkins division manager and vice president. “Though additional material was added to the landfill cap in the early 2000’s to prevent water from infiltrating into the trash below, use of this area has often been a muddy mess. We are confident that the improvements that will be made to the area will allow for the best use of the space and that these efforts will go a long way toward protecting the cap and surrounding parkland.”

In fact, despite what misinformation other sources may provide, the Butler Brick Co operated the 7 acres of parkland in question as a clay quarry for many years. The clay there is especially good for making bricks. Plus, Zilker Park extends to the west side of Mopac. There is a nature trail over there as well as the Zilker Clubhouse.

Since the 1980’s, I have been to several events held at the Zilker Clubhouse and since it was rebuilt, I can see it from my balcony. The entire area being taken by C3 as they transform more of Zilker Park into their private event venue, was and is not “adjacent to” parkland. It is entirely surrounded by parkland. That’s because it IS parkland, “per se” or otherwise. Prior to ACL, it was an open field. The only parking was under Mopac and it was used very little. I only saw it daily for years so I’m sure some newbie will correct me.

Mopac was a taking of part of Zilker Park too. I big part.

I only got notified I was silenced for 3 days, not a week. Good thing too because I was fixing to cut loose with a string of verbiage that would burn your eyes.

Y’all oughta check out the Parkland Events Task Force Final Report. Just creating APF to do PARD’s job wasn’t enough. Oh, look who they got to head it up: Colin Wallis. Isn’t he also the top dog over at APF? What a coinkydink!

The best part of the “Final Report” is how they count “Park Event Days.” It kinda mkaes sense as long as you ignore the elephant in the Park, so to speak. Now, how many days during the best season of the year for Austin taxpaying citizens to use our quiet peaceful park for its intended purpose is most of it chainlink fenced to prevent us from doing so? I know I’m locked out for at least a month.

But that’s not the way the “Task Force,” APF & PARD see it. Nope. It only takes 6 Park Event Days. They must warp time to define those “Park Event Days.” Or maybe it’s a lie and they just try to warp perception.

I tried to post PDFs but they’re too big and I don’t know another way to do it. Tell me how and I will.

We covered this during your time-out period: the quarry was used to remove sand and gravel, not clay. Regardless, it’s wholly beside the point what was pulled out of the quarry once upon a time. It’s unequivocal fact that the quarry was (and remains) filled with garbage to a 20-foot depth; that said landfill was covered with a clay cap 50+ years ago; and that at no point in the interim period has the land been usable for anything other than a dirt lot, which we also covered in your absence. (PARD has tried repeatedly over the years to grow grass there, to no avail.)

Ergo, it is not “parkland,” per se or otherwise. Being surrounded by parkland doesn’t “make” it parkland: it’s a landfill that happens to be adjacent to / surrounded by / pick-adjective-of-choice parkland. Finally, there’s no valid reason to question the city’s assessment that the clay cap on top of the landfill is deteriorating, and that the best (if not ideal) solution to prevent further damage to it is to pave over it.

This may surprise you, but yes: I agree that one can “blame” C3 for the problem. OTOH I think it’s a small price to pay for the privilege of hosting ACL each year, which is where I know we part ways in opinion.

I only got notified I was silenced for 3 days, not a week. Good thing too because I was fixing to cut loose with a string of verbiage that would burn your eyes.

Actually, it was five days, and can we assume you failed to learn any lessons or insights from this period of forced silence?

And scene. Can we kick this guy off now?