About Us

Make a Donation
Fully-Local β€’ Non-Partisan β€’ Public-Service Journalism

Reporter’s Notebook: The end of Austin?

Monday, September 16, 2019 by Austin Monitor

And another thing… In arguing against the proposed expansion of the Austin Convention Center at last week’s Music Commission meeting, local developer Brian Rodgers drew some confused and sideways glances from commission members. Rodgers, a Tourism Commission member who helped fund the November ballot measure that could derail the expansion, used a seemingly random if mostly well-reasoned assortment of arguments against the project. Among them: an expected looming recession, the possibility of cost overruns pushing the price over $2 billion and the lack of growth in local convention business. The real head-scratcher, though, was his claim that environmental concerns over pollution from aircraft will cause a nosedive in travel to conventions. Here are his comments, lightly edited to remove asides and crosstalk: “Right now we are in a climate crisis. The mayor was saying we have the climate emergency plan. Air travel through the year 2035 is a huge carbon footprint, and if you believe in climate change, here we are rolling the dice on a billion and a half dollars to build a convention center on a business model that is damaging to the environment. The more you root for the convention center, the more you root for air travel. In the year 2035, do you think we’ll still be flying airplanes to go to these conventions or will we be using virtual and augmented reality? Folks don’t believe that telecommunication and augmented reality are going to be big disruptors to plane travel because of net-zero emissions.”

Politics as usual, Texas version… Everyone knows that Austin is over, but at least one state legislator wants to make it official. Following City Council’s recent end-run around state laws that prohibit abortion funding, state Rep. Briscoe Cain (R-Deer Park) took to Twitter to call for the city of Austin to be abolished.

As proof this isn’t the first time such a proposition has been floated, Texas Public Policy Foundation’s James Quintero dug up a bill to do just that from former state Rep. Jason Isaac.

Steep Eddy… Speaking of Austin being over, the halcyon days of free parking at Deep Eddy might soon be over, according to a memo from the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. The parks department proposes to start metered parking in March 2020, citing increased usage by other area businesses and metering of the surrounding area. The memo notes, “It is important to note that the Deep Eddy parking lot is the last free parking lot in the supporting area of Deep Eddy Pool, Eilers Park, the Butler Hike and Bike Trail, and many other private businesses in the surrounding area,” and details previous unsuccessful efforts to deter parking by people not using the pool.

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

The Austin Monitor’s work is made possible by donations from the community. Though our reporting covers donors from time to time, we are careful to keep business and editorial efforts separate while maintaining transparency. A complete list of donors is available here, and our code of ethics is explained here.

Join Your Friends and Neighbors

We're a nonprofit news organization, and we put our service to you above all else. That will never change. But public-service journalism requires community support from readers like you. Will you join your friends and neighbors to support our work and mission?

Back to Top