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Austin Dispatches No. 243 April 14, 2023

For the first time in his presidency -- perhaps for the first time in his life -- His Fraudulency understood his place, as errand boy for Congress, and signed a resolution ending the national emergency over the coronavirus pandemic.1 It's about fucking time. I'd like to think my call to the White House spurred him to action, but the flunkies who work there put me on hold.2

In keeping with the botched nature of the anti-pandemic response, a City audit discovered a nonprofit college, Central Texas Allied Health Institute, defrauded Austin Public Health for $1.1 million in, among other things, bogus antivirus injections.3 The next question is whether the alleged doctors in charge of APH during the pandemic, namely Mark Escott, Desmar Walkes, and chief epidemiologist Janet Pichette, knew about that.4

The Institute isn't the same as Central Health, a Travis County hospital district that "uses property tax dollars to care for people who are at or below 200% of the federal poverty line in Travis County, which is $59,356 for a family of four with two children younger than 18." Central Health recently released a demographic report, fretting about how housing's increasingly unaffordable.5 Simultaneously, this district wants to issue certificates of obligation, instead of bond proposals requiring voter approval, to buy two new clinics, which raises property taxes, thereby making housing that much more unaffordable.6

Austin Death Watch

Meanwhile, the April 7 Business Journal reports "affordable housing" translates into a scam called public facility corporations, where housing authorities and municipal utility districts partner with developers to create apartment complexes exempt from paying property taxes -- further proof that such taxes impair the affordability of housing. The metro area has eight such PFCs.7

In the March 28 Daily Texan, an aspiring bureaucrat, who'll specialize in telling you what you can and can't do with your property, laments the push for urban density has wiped out a corner green space in West Campus. The fuck did he think was going to happen?8 If he read the Business Journal, he'd learn instead sprawl is touted as the cure for the risk of Austin becoming like San Francisco.9 Alternately, Austin risks turning into "just Dallas on a lake," to quote U.S. Rep. Chip Roy.10

Similarly, city officials favor a proposed redevelopment of the 1981-vintage Brodie Oaks Shopping Center to a mixed-use development.11 Incidentally, I've frequently shopped there since I first moved to Texas. But by the time the project wends through the hearings, permit processes, environmental impact assessments, legal challenges, sudden disputes among the parties, and weather-related delays, the redevelopment's architectural esthetics will be out of style while trendsetters clamor for something that looks like the '80s.12

In contrast, the March 24 Chronicle laments Austin Transit Partnership has whittled the Project Connect boondoggle to five options, all with complicating problems.13 Simultaneously, the cost estimate has ballooned from $5.8 billion to $11.6 billion.14 A letter to the March 31 Chronicle decries the Austin power elite's "bait and switch."15 Now the Legislature is considering bills to require Austin voters to re-approve the project, a good idea since the power elite rapidly declared victory Election Night 2020 under questionable circumstances, during the tyrannical and ineffective pandemic lockdown.16 What's the difference between Mussolini and Steve Adler? Mussolini could get the trains to run on time.17

Elsewhere in transit, the Texas Transportation Department broke ground March 29 on Interstate 35 reconstruction between Highway 290 East and State Highway 45. Among other redesigns, TxDOT plans to build a diverging diamond at the Wells Branch Parkway underpass. A spokesman told Community Impact News that design moves more vehicles, including left-turn traffic, through a single signal cycle.18 However, in my experience with diverging diamonds, the traffic congests just the same, plus drivers keep turning into the wrong lanes, thereby increasing head-on collisions. Furthermore, the redesigned frontage roads no longer permit you to take the off ramp, drive straight through the intersection and then turn at the first right egress of the location you intended to reach. At best, you have to loop around out of your way, thereby increasing congestion on side roads. Traffic engineers used to know their job.19 What happened?

The Austin-Bergstrom International Airport director left under a cloud, after showing favoritism to a former employer in bestowing a contract.20 Austin Energy's general manager "retired" in the wake of the winter storm outages.21

The Chronicle's in a tizzy over Mayor Kirk Watson and City Manager Jesús Garza cutting "a backroom deal" with those evil Republicans controlling state government to have state police patrol Austin to make up for the Police Department staffing shortages, without even consulting the City Council.22 Dallas' overture to recruit Austin policemen also irked the local power elite.23 A Travis County grand jury indicted an Austin policeman for aggravated assault and "official oppression."24

However, the usual suspects have provided Austinites the irony of finally supporting -- albeit in a selective, bloodthirsty, vengeful manner befitting declared socialists -- criminal conviction of a violent act, when it resulted in one of their ideological confreres cooling in the morgue.25

The Austin power elite managed to get through this year's South by Southwest festival without pissing their pants from the sound of gunfire for the first time since 2012.26 Nevertheless, thunderstorms forced organizers to cancel outdoor shows.27 The Chronicle finally acknowledged, in its March 31 print edition, musicians' unions' grievances about the scanty pay for performing at SXSW, which, coincidentally, is owned by the same people who own the Chronicle. Moreover, the Chronicle finally acknowledged this matter after the festival, and some three months after I first read about it online from media outlets that don't get a piece of the action. Someone should ask Publisher Nick Barbaro how he squares this with his professed socialism.28 Still, Barbaro now concludes excessive government paperwork causes the City's shortage of lifeguards.29

Media Indigest

The March 17 Chronicle concern-trolls the Statesman, its daily rival afflicted with a shrinking newsroom staff and owner Gannett-induced budget cuts. Austin Dispatches has already chronicled (heh) all this, plus the staff unionization under the News Guild, an old Communist front group, which adds another set of blinders to what the reporters can't or won't report.30 When that paper's coverage ain't yellow, it's pink.

Speaking of pinko publications, Texas Observer nearly ceased until the editorial staff scrounged $300,000 in emergency donations. Then the "magazine's editorial team ... sent a letter to the board asking members who voted for immediate closure to resign...."31

Financially squeezed National Socialist Radio laid off 10 percent of its staff, but in such a way as to protect its core radio news programs. Pity. I'd rather hear static on those frequencies than the smarmy yuppie voices when I'm driving.32

Bevo and Butt-heads

The March 20 Statesman reports the University of Texas at Austin hasn't raised its hourly wage for student employees above the federal minimum.33 The real news here is how many people remain surprised a college's practices don't match its socialistic rhetoric, from the near-slave wages it pays blue-collar employees to the almost gladiatorial competition academics endure for a rare tenured position, a concept now under scrutiny.34 The real purpose of college is how much it can extract from someone hoodwinked about helping build the enlightened utopia. A lot of people I've met who either dropped out of grad school or obtained the degrees and couldn't find work in their chosen fields remain deluded about this, plus bitter about being excluded from among what Thomas Sowell sardonically termed The Anointed.35

The Texas Education Agency concluded Austin Independent School District is systemically "noncompliant" in "evaluating students for special education services," so TEA plans to oversee the school district.36 The real solution, of course, is to abolish the district and TEA, and end compulsory education so children can't be brainwashed into goose-stepping emotional cripples.37 They'd be better off working in coal mines 14 hours a day.38

Neighborhood News

KXAN-TV's traffic Web page reported crashes on Metric Boulevard near Rutland Drive on March 29, at MoPac Expressway and Braker Lane on April 5, at Burnet Road near Research Boulevard and along the northbound MoPac frontage road on April 10, and on Burnet near Braker on April 13.

An investment firm bought Offices at Braker business park for more than $102 million. However, the property is east of The Domain, not north as reported by the Statesman.39

Domain occupants and announced large layoffs.40 A national real estate firm has opened its second headquarters at The Domain.41 The April 7 Business Journal reports Korean restaurant Chi'Lantro BBQ is expanding to Houston.42 Five other businesses and a museum have opened.43 One business has closed.44 A developer plans an apartment project at Kramer and Braker lanes.45

Now the Chronicle is beating on the soccer team playing at that damned soccer stadium for being boring losers. Let's drive the team out of town and close the stadium.46

Business Roundup

The Feb. 26 episode of "Family Guy" mocked a company that never saw fit to hire me.47 In reality, federal regulators recalled products from the same company for potentially harmful defects.48

On the Metro

Mar. 15: I strolled Georgetown's Old Town neighborhood for exercise while admiring the brick bungalows.

May 26: I discovered a stretch of Dessau Road between East Rundberg Lane and Highway 183 has official-looking signs warning drivers that Dessau is a "high-crash" roadway. If the signs were in a language other than English, they might do some good.

Home Archives


1 AD No. 156n14 (Sep. 22, 2016); AD No. 239n10 (Dec. 6, 2022); "Vexed -- Panic Ends With a Whimper." Boston Herald 14 Apr. 2023: 8.

2 Kessler, Ronald. Inside the White House: The Hidden Lives of the Modern Presidents and the Secrets of the World's Most Powerful Institution. New York City: Pocket Books, 1995.

3 Fisher, Lina. "Missing Half a Mil." AC 7 Apr. 2023: 12; Moreno-Lozano, Luz. "City Auditor Alleges $1.1M Fraud." AAS 1 Apr. 2023: 1A+.

4 Osbourne, Heather. "Hope Rises for Looser Pandemic Guidelines." AAS 19 Feb. 2022: 1-2B.

5 "Housing and Affordability." 2022 Demographic Report. Austin, Texas: Central Health, 2023.

6 Villalpando, Nicole. "System Raising $100M for Clinic, Renovations." AAS 12 Apr. 2023: 1A+.

7 Thompson, Paul. " 'Reverse Robin Hood.' " ABJ 7 Apr. 2023: 14-19.

8 El Habr, Joseph. "What This Old Street Corner in West Campus Says About Austin's Priorities." DT 28 Mar. 2023: 7.

9 Pitcher, Michelle. "Is Austin Morphing Into San Francisco?" ABJ 2 Jul. 2021: 7.

10 Swiatecki, Chad. "What the Broken Spoke's Historic Designation Could Mean for Music Venue Preservation." AC 18 Nov. 2022: 56.

11 Novak, Shonda. "Billion-Dollar Remake Closer to Reality." AAS 14 Jan. 2023: 1A+.

12 Busch, Akiko. Floorworks: Bringing Rooms to Life With Surface Design and Decoration. New York City: Bantam Books, 1988; Busch. Wallworks: Creating Unique Environments With Surface Design and Decoration. New York City: Bantam Books, 1988; Jencks, Charles. Post-Modernism: The New Classicism in Art and Architecture. New York City: Rizzoli, 1987; Kron, Joan, and Suzanne Slesin. High-Tech: The Industrial Style and Source Book for Home. New York City: Clarkson N. Potter, 1978; Rense, Paige. Architectural Digest: Autobiography of a Magazine 1920-2010. New York City: Rizzoli, 2018: Ch. 4; Wright, Gwendolyn. USA: Modern Architectures in History. London: Reaktion Books, 2008: Ch. 7

13 Barbaro, Nick. "We Have Seen the Future, and...." AC 24 Mar. 2023: 8+; Christen, Mike. "Train Plans Scaled Back: Austinites' Input Wanted." ABJ 24 Mar. 2023: 3; Graham, Benton. "Turn This Train Around." AC 7 Apr. 2023: 16-17; Moreno-Lozano. "5 New Options Proposed for Project Connect." AAS 24 Mar. 2023: 1-2B.

14 Autullo, Ryan. "Project Connect Draws Opponents." AAS 2 Apr. 2023: 1A+.

15 Smith, Paul Kevin. "Project Not Connecting." AC 30 Mar. 2023: 10.

16 Autullo. "Bill Could Kill Project Connect." AAS 7 Apr. 2023: 1A+; Autullo. "Project Connect Draws Opponents." AAS 2 Apr. 2023: 1A+; Christen. "Austin's Train Plan Under Scrutiny at Capitol." ABJ 14 Apr. 2023: 3.

17 Johnson, Paul. Modern Times: The World From the Twenties to the Nineties, rev. ed. New York City: HarperPerennial, 1992: 100.

18 Dickens, Grace. "I-35 North Project Breaks Ground." CIN 29 Mar. 2023, Northwest Austin ed.: 1+.

19 Dawson, Carol, and Roger Allen Polson. Miles and Miles of Texas: 100 Years of the Texas Highway Department. College Station, Texas: Texas A&M UP, 2017.

20 Moreno-Lozano. "Former Airport Director Accused of Contract Bias." AAS 7 Apr. 2023: 1A+.

21 Christen. "Austin Energy Needs New Chef Exec." ABJ 7 Apr. 2023: 6.

22 Autullo. " AAS 3 Apr. 2023: 1A+; Sanders, Austin. "Send in the Troopers." AC 31 Mar. 2023: 22-23; Howard, Kylee, and Tess Harmon. "APD Shortages Prompt Partnership With Texas Department of Public Safety." DT 28 Mar. 2023: 3; Plohetski, Tony, and Autullo. "Austin Police to Get DPS Patrol Help." AAS 28 Mar. 2023: 1A+.

23 Moreno-Lozano. "Tweet to Recruit Officers Drawns Ire." AAS 1 Mar. 2023: 1A+.

24 Unger, Hope. "Austin Police Officer Indicted." AAS 23 Mar. 2023: 1B.

25 Bingamon, Brant. "The Rule of Greg." AC 14 Apr. 2023: 14-20; Osborn, Claire. "DA Asks for Meeting With Pardons Panel to Show Evidence." AAS 12 Apr. 2023: 1A+; Osborn. "Jury Finds Perry Guilty of Murder." AAS 8 Apr. 2023: 1A+; Osborn. "Perry Lawyers Seek Retrial, Citing Excluded Evidence." AAS 13 Apr. 2023: 1A+; Plohetski. "DA: Jurors, Not Abbott, Decide on Guilt." AAS 11 Apr. 2023: 1A+; Plohetski, Osborn, and Autullo. "Abbott Seeks Pardon for Daniel Perry." AAS 9 Apr. 2023: 1A+.

26 Howard. "APD Says 2023 SXSW First Without Shots Fired Since 2012." DT 7 Apr. 2023: 3.

27 "Storming Through SXSW." AAS 18 Mar. 2023: B1.

28 Fisher, Lina. "Crosstalk." AC 31 Mar. 2023: 48.

29 Barbaro. "Drowning in Paperwork." AC 14 Apr. 2023: 8.

30 AD No. 222n35 (Dec. 27, 2019); AD No. 232n28 (March 28, 2021); AD No. 239n49 (Dec. 6, 2022); Thompson, Maggie Q. "What Happens When the Austin's Daily Paper Dies." AC 17 Mar. 2023: 12-13; United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on the Judiciary. Communist Activities Among Aliens and National Groups: Hearings Before the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Eighty-First Congress, First Session. Washington, D.C.: GPO,1949: 249.: 294.

31 Anderson, Will. "Texas Observer Saved With $300K-Plus Raised." ABJ 7 Apr. 2023: 11; Asher, Abe. "Grassroots Rescue." AC 31 Mar. 2023: 21.

32 Farhi, Paul. "Amid Layoffs, NPR Cancels 4 Podcasts." WP 25 Mar. 2023: C1.

33 Menchaca, Megan. " 'Huge Detriment.' " AAS 20 Mar. 2023: 1A+.

34 Gannon, Kevin. "Faculty Evaluation After the Pandemic." Chronicle of Higher Education 25 Jun. 2021: 1-6; Kostelanetz, Richard. "Exposing the 'College Teaching' Scam." Liberty Nov. 1989: 64-66.

35 Sowell, Thomas. The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation As a Basis for Social Policy. New York City: Basic Books, 1995.

36 Bingamon. "Now That's the Tea." AC 7 Apr. 2023: 8+; Heath, Keri. "State to Impose Oversight of AISD." AAS 2 Apr. 2023: 1A+.

37 AD No. 185n73 (Nov. 17, 2015); AD No. 210n9 (Oct. 21, 2018); Hunter, Edward. Brain-Washing in Red China: The Calculated Destruction of Men's Minds, 2nd rev. ed. New York City: The Vanguard Press, 1971.

38 Hindman, Hugh D. Child Labor: An American History. Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe, 2002: 102.

39 Novak. "Ex-Paul Holdings Sell for $102M." AAS 2 Mar. 2023: 5-6B; P. Thompson. "North Austin Site Sells at Bankruptcy Auction." ABJ 10 Mar. 2023: 6.

40 Carlson, Kara. "Austin-Based Job Site Indeed to Cut 2,200 Jobs Worldwide." AAS 24 Mar. 2023: 1-2A; Pope, Colin. "Amazon to Cut 9K More Jobs." ABJ 24 Mar. 2023: 12.

41 Baird, Cody. "Real Estate Firm Puts HQ2 in North Austin." ABJ 10 Mar. 2023: 3.

42 Chmais, Sahar. "Homegrown Chains in Expansion Mode." ABJ 7 Apr. 2023: 2.

43 "Featured Impact." CIN Apr. 2023, Northwest Austin ed.: 7; "Now Open." CIN Mar. 2023, Northwest Austin ed.: 4-5; "Now Open." CIN Apr. 2023, Northwest Austin ed.: 6.

44  "Closings." CIN Apr. 2023, Northwest Austin ed.: 7.

45  Baird. "Endeavor Diving Deep Into Multifamily." ABJ 7 Apr. 2023: 4.

46  Goodman, Eric. "Austin FC Isn't Just Playing Badly. It's Playing Boring." AC 31 Mar. 2023: 37.

47 "Single White Dad." Family Guy FOX-TV 26 Feb. 2023.

48 Oxenden, McKenna. "The Digest." NYT 11 Mar. 2023: B2.