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Reporter’s Notebook: Dark arts

Tuesday, November 13, 2018 by Austin Monitor

Manchaca, continued… An Austin business group plans to file a lawsuit against the city over the recent decision by City Council to rename Manchaca Road. An announcement from attorney Roger Borgelt, also a board member for the Republican Club of Austin, said the Manchaca Business Association is scheduled to file its lawsuit today (Nov. 13) over the name change to Menchaca Road that came about because it is believed the city misspelled the name of Antonio Menchaca, the Texas Revolution-era soldier for whom the road was named. The group claims the city failed to notify all property owners of the proposed change and that businesses were deprived of due process and a chance to oppose the change as a result. The association also claims there is substantial evidence that the soldier’s name was not misspelled, making the correction unnecessary.

Joined ’em… A group of Austin business leaders is pitching in to help organizations and residents facing legal challenges from the activists who have at various points been associated with IndyAustin. Dan Graham, founder and former CEO of BuildASign, has launched a GoFundMe campaign called Defense Against Dark Arts Fund that is seeking to raise $20,000 to “fight back” against attorney Fred Lewis and Linda Curtis. Graham’s fundraising campaign also name-checks the Austin Neighborhoods Council and various legal or political challenges those groups have made against CodeNEXT, the Planning Commission and a potential new soccer stadium. While appearing sincere – despite naming a specific cause to help defend – Graham’s campaign text also chides Lewis for seemingly turning his back on his work to protect “poor and disenfranchised against powerful, coercive interests. If you can’t beat ‘em…join ‘em?”

Uncanny dais… At the most recent meeting of the Board of Adjustment, Board Member Michael Von Ohlen took a few minutes to praise educational material included in the variance packet, singing the praises of city staff for really understanding the perspective of the board. “Staff did a really good job of explaining it and breaking it down,” he said. Fellow Board Member Bryan King then asked Von Ohlen to turn to the next page “to see who wrote it back in 2010.” The author was King. “Oh, hey Bryan!” exclaimed Von Ohlen. “I didn’t know you were staff, dude!”

This week’s Reporter’s Notebook comes from the notebooks of Chad Swiatecki and Elizabeth Pagano.

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