Daily Archives: 06/03/2013

Nine Hate Crimes in NYC During May

Bishop Dietsche(Community Matters) There were nine violent hate crimes against the LGBT community in Manhattan last month, including the shooting death of a popular 32-year old known as the upbeat “mayor of Grand Central Terminal,” where he worked.

A fantastic letter from the Episcopal Bishop of New York condemning the 9 hate crimes in May and affirming the LGBT community as full & faithful members of the Episcopal Church – full inclusion and participation by the LGBT community including access to ordination, all diocesan & parochial leadership, and same sex marriage.

Rep Darrell Issa (R, CA)

darrell issa(Community Matters) I hadn’t read about his checkered past – claims of arson and car theft, a con man. Darrell Issa is the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee who took to Sunday’s airwaves claiming the White House directed IRS overreach against the Tea Party. Feels sorta like a loud homophobe, we almost always find out they are closet cases.

Seeking Benefits From Developers Receiving Development Bonuses

Austin_Skyline_1560189a(Community Matters) I haven’t read the proposed ordinance referred to in AAS article: Austin might seek more from developers of downtown high-rises. And, when the City grants additional development rights (height, setback, zoning changes) there’s often a huge increase in the value of a particular property.

It doesn’t seem inappropriate to require a slither of this increase in value to accrue to the public, and of course we shouldn’t impose draconian costs or fees. Developers are always gonna complain about any assessment – who doesn’t try to minimize cost, maximize profit? Asking Austin citizens to forgo any fees associated with development bonuses sounds unreasonable.

Unless . . . well . . . maybe we ought to give developers an option. We could offer a choice, equity participation in lieu of upfront costs. If we grant development bonuses which increase the value of a project by 10, or 20%, then they grant us options so that we’ll be due 10% to 20% of any realized gains. That’ll help minimize upfront costs which “inhibit desired development.” Come to think of it, maybe we ought to 86 any fee or set aside development costs and just allow developers to share a slither of the increased value bonus with an equity option.

US Geopolitical Decision Influence

globe(Community Matters) I know this is ridiculous and not worthy of posting. As I was reading the story about China Winning from the war on Iraq, the following statement stood out:

Before the invasion, Iraq’s oil industry was sputtering, largely walled off from world markets by international sanctions against the government of Saddam Hussein, so his overthrow always carried the promise of renewed access to the country’s immense reserves.

reminded me of yesterday’s story about the neocons and how they followed the money, maybe overlooking threats in the Caspian Sea in order to access oil reserves on behalf of Big Oil.

I know, I know, conspiracy, alarmist and completely made up, just amplified by the financial ties from Halliburton to the vice president  – nevertheless,  a thought provoking coincidence of words.




Public Safety

publicsafety-people(Community Matters) Enjoyed breakfast this morning (my 2nd today after the first at 7:30) with APD Officer JJ Schmidt. Officer Schmidt works in APD intelligence and offices with the Texas Department of Public Safety. He’s an Austinite from the age of 5, married to an Austin-born woman who happens to be the cousin of Brett Hurt.

We talked about the real threats against Austin public safety. Gotta remember we’re very near the border with a country overridden by drug cartels and on the corridor these drug cartels use – not to mention the capital of an important American city, even more important symbolically than our standing as 11th largest might suggest. We enjoy a relatively safe community – some of us more than others – and don’t often think about how many real threats are being monitored and disabled while we sleep, work and play.

JJ and I are gonna work on aspirational goals for entrepreneurial involvement in public safety, in supporting public safety, first responders. I’m thinking there are folks who want to see Austin as safe if not safer for their children and grandchildren. I don’t think it’ll be so without serious, innovative intervention.

I asked Officer Schmidt what three steps he’d prioritize to ensure public safety (didn’t really give him any time to think about this, but first thoughts:)

  1. Involvement with kids in schools – interventions and gang prevention
  2. Culture – making people in Austin more mindful of safety concerns
  3. Support for public safety personnel and infrastructure