Where to start? I have several rather “vivid” memories of that day — and a meeting a few days beforehand, that was related to the meeting….
First of all, my daughter Ellen was going to be married in August 1990 — and on that June 7th, we had an appointment with Laguna Gloria about having her wedding reception there. I think it must have been a late afternoon appointment, as Bill was still working then. Bill and I and Ellen met with the folks there, and they were showing us around the grounds. We were all familiar with it, as we had attended Fiesta there for years… Happy memories!
But Bill was having trouble imaging that it would be a good place for a Wedding Reception on a Hot, Austin, August night. He expressed concern about his mother having to walk a great distance to get to a restroom. He also mentioned all the wild creatures there were around there that could harm our guests!!! But Ellen and I were able to out vote him on the matter. AND I was most anxious to have it all decided so that I could get down to the Council meeting!!!
I don’t remember if I drove my car downtown, or if I got Bill to drop me off… I don’t remember getting there and getting back home….
I do remember those standing outside with signs, and urging folks to Honk their Horns for Barton Springs!
The Council Chambers were packed — as the pictures show…. I think I probably had to wait to even get into the chambers, and then wait in line to speak…. I enjoyed hearing what the speakers had to say — young and older! Bill Oliver sang, of course!!! Shannon Sedwick (spelling?), and so many, many others! I think Jim Bob Moffat had gone home by the time I spoke…. I thought Frank Cooksey made a very good speech… And there were the young kids who spoke — WOW…. I saw a couple in the audience that I knew — and both were in the Austin Symphony Orchestra - and I had been an art docent at UT with the wife… Good Austin folks who appreciated Austin and Barton Springs — and wanted to be there to show their support!
The date for the hearing came at a really crucial time…. as related to whether the project would be approved or not… The City Council May election for several of the Council members had resulted in two Council members being defeated — Louise Epstein unseated Sally Shipman, and Bob Larson defeated George Humphrey… We were counting on both Humphrey and Shipman to vote AGAINST the PUD… and luckily, the new council members had not yet taken their seats on Council. However, we were a little worried about Sally Shipman, because she had agreed to the Circle C MUD, and to the extension of MoPac south to that Circle C development — NOT the best environmental outcome… re the Barton Springs portion of the Edwards Aquifer. Sally had her degree from UT in Community and Regional Planning, and thought that if people were going to live in Circle C, they ought to have a way to get in and out — i.e. with MoPac extended…
Barton Creek PUD was different though, and Michael Curry and I made an appointment to see Sally a day or so before the June 7 hearing. We pleaded with her, and begged her NOT to vote for the PUD. We hoped that we had swayed her, but were not sure until she voted the next morning, as the hearing finally ended.
My main message to the Council that night was that they should NOT approve the PUD document - because the document kept being changed — and new language was presented to the Council in the form of huge bundles of papers, and certainly noone in the audience (other than perhaps Richard Suttle and David Armbrust) knew exactly what those documents contained. I had spent a number of years fighting the creation of MUDs, and the PUD proposal was just as complicated.
My memory is that Max Nofziger’s question to Austan Librach about whether the city’s current environmental regulations were adequate to protect Barton Springs from damage due to development of the Barton Creek PUD - and Librach’s answer — really proved to be the turning point in defeating the PUD that night. When Librach, the head of the city’s Environmental Department, told the Council that current regulations were NOT sufficient to assure protection of the springs, the “wind was knocked out of the sails” of the PUD…. at least for that night….
I came home — probably not too long after speaking — and of course I turned on the TV/radio ?? Was it on both TV and radio??? And am sure I went to sleep — but woke up early and it was still on… So I think I got to hear the Council vote NOT to approve the PUD…… June 7, 1990 was a very important day for Austin and its environment… The energy that was generated made possible the formation of SOS and passage of the SOS ordinance…. But what are we facing now……