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Graphic Illustration of City of Austin Landmark Applications Approvals - Year 2002 through 2009
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Mark Holzbach
Original Austin Neighborhood Association (OANA)

Posts: 231
Joined on July 31st, 2009
 
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Graphic Illustration of City of Austin Landmark Applications Approvals - Year 2002 through 2009
by Judith Sanders on August 10th, 2010

Rick Hardin’s bar graph depicting the number of local landmark applications and designations since 2002 focuses public attention (again) on the number designated in Fall 2009. That datum is depicted with a bright red bar, the only red bar of sixteen shown.

But there are other ways to look at it. If we compare the number of landmarks designated as a percent of applications received, each year from ’02 to ‘09, the number of designations in 2009 doesn’t stand out as abnormal.

Seventy-six percent (76%) of the applications received in ’09 went on to landmark designation, not far off the 72% designated in 2002, 72% designated in 2004, and 70% designated in 2003. In this analysis, the year 2005 is the anomaly, with only 28% of the applications received (10 of 36) ultimately achieving landmark status.

If we throw out the highest and lowest numbers found in years 2005 and 2009, there is relative consistency. Not to mention that we might want another eight years of information into the future to put the data from last year in proper perspective. So, why is that one bar in the graph bright red?

The problem is that a bar graph barely scratches the surface, offering few, if any, useful insights into the complex questions facing the City Council.

The red bar may well signal a problem with landmark designations in 2009, but nothing about the bar reveals what it might have been. It shows only that more applications were received and approved than in the years before.

In short, the raw numbers don’t tell us how the program has been administered and snap shots offer few insights into what has worked well or what has not. Mr. Hardin’s chart is colorful, but leaves thoughtful folks wanting to know more.

The deeper problem is that focusing on the numbers may encourage the belief that a cap on the number of designations will solve the corrosive problem of designating properties that most folks don’t see as worthy of landmark designation, let alone tax abatements.

Is it appropriate to question whether the current abatement program is sustainable? Of course it is. But Council needs insightful analysis.

Bar graphs that wave one red bar in front of impassioned voters are at best a distraction and at worst the impetus for knee-jerk reactions among policy-makers.



 
Graphic Illustration of City of Austin Landmark Applications Approvals - Year 2002 through 2009
by Richard Hardin on August 15th, 2010

Argumentum ad hominem
Argumentum ad hominem abusive usually involves insulting or belittling one's opponent in order to invalidate their argument, but can also involve pointing out factual but ostensible character flaws or actions which are irrelevant to the opponent's argument. This tactic is logically fallacious because insults and even true negative facts about the opponent's personal character have nothing to do with the logical merits of the opponent's arguments or assertions.

 
Graphic Illustration of City of Austin Landmark Applications Approvals - Year 2002 through 2009
by Richard Hardin on August 15th, 2010

Argumentum ad hominem

While the numbers that comprise the graph are not "mine", the colors are of my choice, and it seems that the color red has received a snort and charge from ms sanders. (metaphor)

I must say, so far ms sanders rants have produced no meaningful ideas, only sarcasm, ridicule, hyperbole, and misguided metaphor.

Just to the south of the modernist home ms sanders inhabits over 50 million dollar homes were given historic designation and tax exemptions, taking over 50 million dollars off our tax rolls.

All of these NEW landmarks resulted in a non-sustainable tax give away to milliionaires.

These NEW landmarks also cheapen what it means to be called a "landmark".

If these NEW landmarks are the new standard, then a tsunami of me-too zonings are on their way to the gold rush.

Why has the bar been lowered? Answer: POLITICS. To justify the next planned step actively sponsored and guided by the Heritage Society....Local Historic Districts. LHDs are in many cases, merely property restrictions dreamed up by self appointed activists hiding behind the skirts of so-called "historic preservation".

ms sanders seems to want to shout down dissenters or discredit and belittle them.

Our City leaders, Historic Landmark Commission, City Historic Staff, and especially, the current and past leaders of the Heritage Society have failed to be good guardians and stand up for the tax payers, or to maintain an honest and careful process of scrutiny in designating landmarks.

ms sanders appears to share my view. If so, I would suggest she focus on the current policies and policymakers and offer studied and reasoned suggestions, and not continue to harangue the whistle blower.

 
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Ashar Seo


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Joined on September 11th, 2019
Graphic Illustration of City of Austin Landmark Applications Approvals - Year 2002 through 2009
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robin jack


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Joined on August 19th, 2019
Graphic Illustration of City of Austin Landmark Applications Approvals - Year 2002 through 2009
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robin jack


Posts: 3290
Joined on August 19th, 2019
Graphic Illustration of City of Austin Landmark Applications Approvals - Year 2002 through 2009
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robin jack


Posts: 3290
Joined on August 19th, 2019
Graphic Illustration of City of Austin Landmark Applications Approvals - Year 2002 through 2009
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Ashar Seo


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Joined on September 11th, 2019
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Ashar Seo


Posts: 2683
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