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Eastside Jazz Fest funding plan derailed

Tuesday, September 2, 2014 by Elizabeth Pagano

Plans for the revival of a jazz festival at Kenny Dorham’s Backyard are on hold after the majority of City Council members opted to shift funding to the budget process currently underway. Council Members Mike Martinez and Chris Riley sponsored the item, which would have funded the event through $25,000 of Hotel Occupancy Tax revenue. Council Member Laura Morrison pulled the item, citing concerns that the event was bypassing the normal selection process to fund arts programs. “Thank you for catching that,” said Mayor Lee Leffingwell. “I think we ought to be very judicious about the events that we select. Some would say that we already have too many. That doesn’t mean that we can’t have more, I just think that there ought to be a very careful process.” Martinez explained that the funding would revive what was once an ongoing event in East Austin, which was in line with the African-American Quality of Life Report and support of African-American cultural events. Martinez suggested that redirecting the item through the budget process was disingenuous and noted it would still fall outside of the normal process. “If you are going to make a motion that it go through the budget process, you should just make a substitute motion to deny it,” said Martinez. A motion to consider funding the festival through the budget process passed on a 5-2 vote, with Martinez and Riley opposed.


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