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Reporter’s Notebook: Dead, alive and in-between

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 by Austin Monitor

Dead zoning… There was a lot of debate on Thursday over whether Capitol View Corridors should be extended to the east of the city. And there was even more debate over whether those east-projecting radii should project over the Brackenridge hospital site that Central Health hopes will soon be developed. But there wasn’t nearly enough discussion about a charming bit of backup that the Austin Chronicle‘s Michael King alerted us to – the protected views of the Texas State Cemetery, as detailed by a letter sent to the city from Benjamin M. Hanson, the chair of the Texas State Cemetery Committee. In the letter, Hanson declares his support for the expanded corridors but reminds City Council that, since the current Capitol was built in 1888, preserving the unobstructed view of the building from the cemetery has been a priority of the Texas Legislature. He explains, “Several of the Cemetery’s most prominent founding fathers have their headstones oriented west in order to face the Capitiol building. Those founding fathers include Ashbel Smith, the ‘Father of Texas Medicine’ and ‘the Father of the University of Texas’ and William Lockhart Hunter, survivor of the Goliad Massacre. More recently, Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock insisted that a 150-foot flagpole be installed at the Cemetery so legislators could see it from the Capitol and not forget the Texas State Cemetery.”

Thanks, Bob… For those who may have missed the coda to last week’s heated debate over increased funding for immigrant services, Mayor Steve Adler once again dusted off the copy of Robert’s Rules of Order toward the end of the meeting to address the situation. “We had an exchange today that was in an emotional debate,” he said, before directing his colleagues to a section that instructed members of a body to refrain from attacking a member’s motives. Adler held back from declaring whether the rules had been violated but cautioned: “We need to stay as far away from this as we can. I know that everybody on this dais respects the other people that are on the dais. I want to bring this to everybody’s attention. I will endeavor to always do a better job myself of explaining when those things happen, where I’m coming from. But we should, as a group, try not to put ourselves in the position, even when we’re trying to decide whether or not something qualifies or not, we should stay collectively as far away from this as we can.” Reading between the lines, Council Member Ellen Troxclair thanked the mayor. “I just want to say thank you for recognizing the inappropriateness of the exchange that happened earlier,” she said. “I am going to hold myself and try to hold the rest of the Council as well to the high standard that we should be an example of respectful political discourse in this community, and I hope that, moving forward, we can treat each other with the dignity that we each deserve, knowing that we each are coming from a place of goodness and working and sacrificing a lot in our individual lives in order to do what’s best for our community, even when we don’t agree.”

Gate closed… And, in our continuing, mild effort to keep our readers apprised about the latest in the Crestview Gate goings-on, there was some activity last week. Austin Redditors noticed that the crash gate at Morrow and Easy Wind Drive had apparently been crashed. This appears to be an escalation of the recent activity around the gate, which included cutting of locks, repairing of locks and neighbors voluntarily guarding the gate well into the night. However, last we heard from the gate itself, it had been repaired and closed.

This week’s Reporter’s Notebook comes from the notebook of Elizabeth Pagano.

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