Posts Tagged ‘bartonsprings’

Holiday passing

This time of year there always seem to be a greater number of people passing, it’s hard to know if the numbers rise, or they just take on more significance because of the time of the year.

Three people I met only briefly, died over the holidays. I met Bernie Wilson, baritone singer from Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes a couple of times, once when I was an intern at Capital Radio in London in the mid-1970’s, and a couple of years later at the California Ballroon in Dunstable in the UK. His voice was as smooth as Barry Whites’s, but in many ways, it carried much more emotion. The Love I lost remains to this day, my all time favorite track, the hairs stand on the back of my neck everytime I hear his voice. According to the NY Times, Bernie, age 64, passed on December 28th following a heart attack and a stroke.

My neighbor and long time Austin Realtor and Commissioner of the Austin Historic Landmark Commission and Zoning and Platting Commission, Board Member for the Austin History Center, Mexican American State Employee Association, Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce National Association of Hispanic Realtors, and Board Member for Teach Quest, Terrie Rábago passed on December 20th, aged only 59. The Statesman has a full obituary and guest book.

While Bernie was widely known around the world, Terrie was influential but relatively unknown in Austin, Susan Bright was well known by many, but by not enough. Susan was a daily swimmer at Barton Springs, a poet, writer, and a campaigner and advocate for the trees at, and for Barton Springs itself. In many ways, I’m grateful to Susan, Terrie and Bernie in many and different ways.

The following remembrance of Susan was posted on the Save Our Springs Alliance email group.

Susan Bright, poet, daily Barton Springs swimmer

Susan Bright, poet, daily Barton Springs swimmer

Susan Bright, May You Rest In Peace

Today Barton Springs lost its most eloquent, knowing, loving, and irrepressible friend and defender.

Susan Bright, poet, publisher, activist, educator, mother, grandmother, friend, feminist, and Barton Springs lap swimmer passed away this morning following a short illness.

Since the 1970s Susan has been a force of nature among Austin’s writers and activists. Susan authored 17 books of poetry; three won Austin Book Awards.  Tirades and Evidence of Grace won the Violet Crown Award.  In 1990 Susan was selected as Woman of the Year by the Austin Women’s Political caucus.  For more than 30 years she has been the editor and driving force behind the small, fiercely independent Plain View Press.

In her book Breathing Under Water and in many other works, Susan revealed herself to be the oracle of Barton Springs.  At critical turning points in the struggle to save Barton Springs, Susan would recite her work as testimony at public hearings before the Austin City Council.  She always told us the truth in ways that no one else could.  In 2009 she recruited children and families to spring to the defense of Barton Springs’ heritage trees.  Her poem from that time, “Legend,” concludes:

It is said the thirst of Earth's
great trees calls water
from depths which are invisible
causing springs to flow.

Susan named one of the trees marked for removal, the one closest to the Philosopher’s Rock statue at the front gate, the “Poet’s Tree.”  See a photo of Susan in front of the Poet’s Tree, and read about some of her work to save the trees at Barton Springs HERE.

Susan’s words, love, and caring will live on forever.  We will remember her at the Polar Bear Splash at Barton Springs on New Year’s Day.  A special memorial service at the springs will be scheduled in the weeks ahead.

We extend our deepest sympathies to Susan’s loving family.

Mayoral candidates in bed together?

Chronicle cover for the Feb 13th issueThe Chronicle has a good summary of the Austin mayoral candidates and their cover pitches it as a “Municipal Death Match”.

However, last Thursdays council meeting where the Wildflower Commons PUD was up for discussion, debate and possibly vote, rather than it being a death match with Leffingwell taking one position, and McCracken taking the opposite, it was more like John and Yokos love-in, except the protest was from the public, not the lovers.

I arrived at City Hall around 4pm, listened to some of the heated discussion on the East Austin Solar farm, then the Town Lake trail extension and boardwalk. After 2-hours I left, there were a large number of people milling around, more than 90-had signed up to speak on the PUD. I got back later, but no debate, no discussion, just a postponment, apperently with the prior agreement of the developers lobbyist.

Rather than either McCraken or Leffingwell “grasping the nettle” and one or both of them taking an environmental stand, they both ducked the issue. Worse they moved the issue until after the Mayoral election, ducking the issue completely and allowing both of them to claim the anti-developer, pro-environment, which are likely to be vote winners.

Laura Morrison was the only dissenting voice in the 6-1 approval to postpone. I’d guess that both Leffingwell and McCraken would claim the revised conditions that have been placed on the developer before they come back to council in August over the 100,000 sq. foot supermarket, retail, restaurants, and 550 condos in the Barton Springs Recharge Zone, however, since neither spoke during the process we don’t have a clue what they really think. Give peace a chance?

The Save Our Springs Alliance has numerous documents explaining the Wildflower Commons PUD.

the Unforeseen – Seen

At the risk of just seeming like another Cheerleader, or a bore, I thought I’d follow-up on Lauratex Metblog Austin post about the Unforeseen movie.

I’d seen a trailer for the film at a previous visit to the Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar, I hadn’t actually got around to going to see it, you know, busy life and all that!

the Unforseen movie poster imageLauratex said “it should be required viewing in Austin”. I say, if you moved to Austin after 1995, or were not old enough to remember the Circle C/Barton Springs fight, maybe like me you thought George Bush only started to mess up when he got to the White House, this is the best use of 90-minutes of your time this week!

I know I don’t really know much about Austin, I know “keep Austin weird” isn’t just a bumper sticker but really I had no idea.

While I can see that there are many people who wouldn’t agree with the main message and direction the film takes, as someone that swims a Barton Springs two or three times a week, I found this film really profound and found myself weeping twice during the film. I won’t pretend to do a balanced review of the film, I don’t think I could.

The main thrust of the film is about the development of the Circle-C ranch, apparently a sub-division(another good reasons why I couldn’t turn in a balanced view of the film, I don’t understand much of the terminology used) and the impact it could have on Barton Springs. While the film could have demonised developers, it didn’t for me. It did fairly show that the balance is out of kilter when it comes to developing new, green field sites.

The film is a thought provoking cross over between documentary, story telling and historical record. I suspect that editorial changes made some of the things the people interviewed seem even more prophetic, the small boy who liked living in the new house but was concerned they’d finish the rest of the houses, as he’d have no space to play; the couple who were complaining about their inability to water their new lawn, but “people come first”; the old farmer who seemed wise well beyond his education, if not beyond his years.

The best speaker for me wasn’t Robert Redford, erudite though he was, journalist and author William Greider summed it up best for me, “Growth itself is not the enemy, it is the nature of that growth—the quality within.”

the Unforseen is still showing at the Alamo Drafthouse South, although screenings are getting fewer and fewer as the weeks go by. The current screening list is here. Yes, and that means you ttrentham.

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