Two articles talk about why the quality of life is degrading in Austin, but neither article talks about what the public needs to know about these issues:
We have reported on this before, but Austin's Rat Pack is the real problem. These five lawyers/attorneys work closely with City Manager Ott and Asst. Manager Richards to ensure their clients receive a staggering amount of waivers and incentive packages from the City of Austin:
Mike King in his article never points out that Nick Barbaro, who runs the Chronicle is also married to Susan Moffat, a founder of SXSW. How much has SxSW received in waivers since 2009? $2,585,346
2009 - $164,364
2010 - $224,708
2011 - $322,492
2012 - $441,277
2013 - $676,861
2014 - $755,644
2015 - $1,030,834
Unfortunately, these kind of giveaways hurt more than just taxpayers. The money and staff time that is spent on these clients have to be made up somewhere and it is small business owners and contractors who are paying the heavy price in extra fees and costs from everything from higher utility rates to excessive requirements for simple things, like remodels. This also affects hurts renters far more than home owners. When a contractor passes excessive over runs and extra fees along to small landlords, they have to pass those fees along to their tenants.
There is also this line:
"That's a five-alarm population boom. And the city came to it honestly, for the most part, by migration. Lured by jobs in the tech, government, and education sectors—plus a high quality of life marked by abundant live music and delicious breakfast tacos—tens of thousands of people made their homes in Austin in recent years."
This is completely false. Austin's growth is not caused by migration.The boom in Austin started in 2004, when the Austin Chamber of Commerce and the businesses that rely on the Rat Pack decided to create Opportunity Austin--a plan for growth that has never been shared with Austinites.
Austin Chamber of Commerce, RECA, and ARBOR are currently pushing forward Opportunity 3.0 despite the affordability, water, and transportation issues that Opportunity 1.0 and 2.0 have created.
Chamber's page on Opportunity Austin:
A report showing how Austin's metroplex has been mapped out for :opportunities":
And an article, where another city interviews Gary Farmer on the strengths of Opportunity Austin:
What's really disturbing is that Opportunity Austin could have been a great thing for Austin--if it had been shaped to ensure sustainability. Thanks to the Rat Pack, its control over City Staff, and its connections to the Statesman and the Chronicle, that hasn't happened.
Whether Opportunity Austin 3.0 can be changed to be more substainable depends on whether Austinites are fed up enough to begin standing up to the Rat Pack and the media, and to start asking some tough questions.