By Bill Oakey – November 8, 2017
Where is The List? Who has it, and why are they hiding it?
On Wednesday the Austin Monitor reported that the Austin Music Commission is seeking a list of the City’s unused publicly owned properties. The commissioners are looking for help in relocating Austin’s music venues, which have been falling like dominoes in recent years, due to gentrification. Folks in creative arts groups like Music People and the Austin Creative Alliance have been asking for the elusive list since at least 2011. But their repeated requests through City staff at public meetings and other avenues have gone unanswered.
The arts organizations, music venue owners and local musicians are all hoping that their City, which calls itself the “Live Music Capital of the World” will open up some unused public land. They would like access to some of it for music events and other creative arts activities. Austin has an office called the Music and Entertainment Division, which has been trying since this past February to get The List from the Real Estate Services Division. After a recent followup request, the real estate office said that their inventory of City property, does not contain a breakdown of which parcels are unused or idle.
This is another one of those cases where citizens, commission members, City staff and even City Council members have been kept in the dark on access to public information. Since the buck needs to stop somewhere, whaddaya say we try to stop it right here on this blog! I will fill out a public information request. I’ll take it to City Hall and plop it down on the desk in whichever office I am directed to. Then we’ll see what happens.
The timing for the unmasking of The List is actually pretty good right now. Just two days ago, the City’s Economic Development Dept. held a press event announcing that the Governor’s Texas Music Office has designated Austin as an official “Music Friendly City.” Mayor Steve Adler summed up the affordability situation quite eloquently by saying, “The Live Music Capital of the World should be a city where the local music industry thrives and expands, and a city where artists and musicians can afford to live and create. But we’re not going to be the Live Music Capital of the World for much longer if we keep losing musicians and live music venues. That’s the challenge we face, and it’s the challenge we will meet.”
If you would like the City to finally compile and release The List, please click here. You can send a single email to all 11 City Council members. If I or anyone else I hear about lands a copy of it, I will be pleased to publish it on this blog.
I moved to Austin in 1971 in large part because of the live music scene. Back in the old days of the mid-1970’s I booked bands into nightclubs part-time. One of them was a western swing band with a funny name called Asleep at the Wheel. I booked their first Austin gig at the Cherry Street Inn on Guadalupe in November 1973 (Now the Clay Pit Restaurant). To experience the best that Austin has to offer these days, check out Sarah Sharp at the Elephant Room at 315 Congress Ave. every Tuesday evening from 6:00 – 8:00.
Musical Accompaniment for This Blog Piece:
“The List” – Album by Rosanne Cash. Classic songs handed down to her by her dad, Johnny Cash
- “Miss the Mississippi and You”
- “Motherless Children”
- “Sea of Heartbreak”
- “Take These Chains From My Heart”
- “I’m Movin’ On”
- “Heartaches By the Number”
- “500 Miles”
- “Long Black Veil”
- “She’s Got You”
- “Girl From the North Country”
- “Silver Wings”
- “Bury Me Under the Weeping Willow”
- Rosanne Cash talks about “The List”
When I read this post, I first thought the need to see the “list” was connected to the current efforts of a Columbus Ohio soccer club interested in locating to Austin if some “available” unused parkland, etc. could be identified. Even though the post involves the Music Commission, I would wonder if they could leverage the soccer club’s interest and someone obtain the list in that manner….
Interesting thought. But the land search for the soccer stadium would produce a very short list for that soecific venue. The creative arts community is interrsted in a list of all unused City property.