Liveable City Community News, October 2008

  • Liveable City Speaker Series: Do Public Economic Incentives Work for Austin? Thursday, October 16, 6pm-8pm, Scholz’s, 1607 San Jacinto
  • Liveable City Breaks Down Ballot Initiative: Studies to Be Released in Time for Early Voting
  • Fall Membership Drive – Your Support Gets Results!
  • How Green is Your House Closing? Tracking the Point-of-Sale Debate
  • Check out Austin’s Sustainability Ranking at SustainLane.com
  • Save the Date! Liveable City’s Holiday Party, December 10, 6pm-8pm, at Palm Door
  • A Word For Our Sponsors

In This Issue:

Liveable City Speaker Series: Do Public Economic Incentives Work for Austin? Thursday, October 16, 6pm-8pm, Scholz’s, 1607 San Jacinto

Liveable City’s speaker series, “Imagining the Next City,” leads off this month with a conversation on a timely topic: do public economic incentives work for Austin? Panelists will include economist Michael Oden, author of LC’s recently-released report on the topic; Robin Rather, LC board member and CEO of Collective Strength; and Sean Garretson, principal of Pegasus Planning, along with representatives of Austin’s business community. Expect lively discussion on LC’s recent findings, with a look ahead to how Austin can build a more sustainable economy. The event is free and open to the general public. Make plans to join us, Thursday, October 16, 6pm-8pm, at Scholz’s inside room, 1607 San Jacinto.

Liveable City Breaks Down the Prop 2 Charter Ballot Initiative: Study to Be Released in Time for Early Voting

In addition to a momentous presidential election, Austin voters will be asked to decide two city propositions on the November 4th ballot. Proposition 2, the Stop Domain Subsidies Initiative  – which has sparked heated debate around town - would limit the Austin City Council from providing incentives to retail projects with some exceptions. The mild-mannered Prop 1 would restructure the office of the City Auditor, an important but less contentious change. Liveable City will break down the pros and cons of the Prop 2 Charter Amendment with a ballot study to be released in time for Early Voting later this month. Stay tuned for more light, less heat.

LC’s Annual Fall Membership Drive - Your Support Gets Results!

Just a friendly reminder that it’s time to help keep Austin livable for all by renewing your annual Liveable City membership at a level that’s comfortable for you. Your support of LC helps build a shared and sustainable future for our city, funding work in such critical areas as affordable housing, independent local business, public education, renewable energy, transportation, and urban and regional planning. Current projects that will directly benefit from your support include LC’s soon-to-be released ballot study, “Imagining the Next City” Speakers Series, research for a critical new transportation initiative and more. Want to do more than just re-up? Learn about our new Leadership Circle, which provides the opportunity for ongoing support at a higher level.  www.liveablecity.org. Liveable City is a nonpartisan, nonprofit research and civic education organization providing policy analysis, best practices research and public strategy support to community building groups. Re-up or circle up today at www.liveablecity.org.

How Green is Your House Closing? Tracking the Point-of-Sale Debate

The debate on increasing energy efficiency measures at the point-of-sale reached a new threshold last month with the release of the City of Austin’s Energy Efficiency Upgrades Task Force Final Report.  Billed as a key step in reaching the goals of Austin’s Climate Initiative, the proposal will head to the city’s Boards and Commissions for review, then on to the City Council for a final decision later this year.  The task force proposal would require that single-family homeowners (with some exceptions) conduct an energy audit at the point-of-sale, to be disclosed to the prospective buyers. The task force report also proposes that all multi-family and commercial buildings conduct energy audits over the next several years. According to the report, energy savings gained through the measure will save hundreds of millions of dollars in energy costs for Austin ratepayers. For a discussion of the pros and cons of the energy efficiency debate, go to KeepAustinAffordable.org for the realtors’ viewpoint and AffordableEnergyforAustin.org for the renewable energy advocates’ take.

Check out Austin’s Sustainability Ranking at SustainLane.com

Billed as a “people powered sustainability guide,” SustainLane.com recently released its 2008 sustainability rankings of the 50 largest cities in the country. Using 16 different categories from Air Quality, Commuting, and Green Building to Housing Affordability, Tap Water Quality, and Local Food and Agriculture, SustainLane.com has created a simple yardstick for measuring sustainability in U.S. cities. So how does Austin stack up? Strong showings in Energy, Green Economy, and Planning and Land Use helped Austin inch up to 13th overall in the nation. What’s holding us back? Austin ranks 33rd in Metro Transit Ridership and 35th in Metro Street Congestion. For a closer look at how other cities fared and how SustainLane.com conducts its survey go to www.sustainlane.com/us-city-rankings/cities/austin.

Save the Date! Liveable City’s Holiday Party, December 10, 6pm-8pm, at Palm Door

Mark your calendars now for Liveable City’s Holiday Party, December 10, 6pm-8pm, at the Palm Door, 401 Sabine. Catch up with friends and get a peek at Austin's newest event venue, located in the heart of the entertainment district a stone’s throw from the Convention Center. Since its inception as a cabinet factory, the Palm Door’s rustic building has housed many well-known Austin businesses and was former home to the City Grill. Make plans now to join us on December 10th and check out the stylish restoration. Good food, good drink and great company guaranteed! For more on the Palm Door, visit www.palmdoor.com.

And now, a word for our Sponsors...

Building a more Liveable City isn’t cheap! Special recognition goes to the Shield-Ayers Foundation, the Rather Family Trust, the Trull Foundation, and the Greater Houston Family Foundation’s Gray Family Fund whose generous help makes our work possible.