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Music Commission selects C3 exec for economic development position

Jonathan “Chaka” Mahone of local band Riders Against the Storm on Monday presided over the first Music Commission meeting since he took over the chair spot from outgoing commissioner Rick Carney.

Austin's Music Commission voted Monday evening to recommend Emmett Beliveau, chief operating officer of C3 Presents, for appointment to the board of the recently created Austin Economic Development Corporation.

After narrowing down an initial list of six names to Beliveau and Carl Settles Jr., founder and executive director of local nonprofit E4 Youth, commissioners chose Beliveau in a close vote.

Beliveau has been with C3 since 2015, after spending several years in various roles with Barack Obama’s presidential administration. Many board members voiced support for both Beliveau and Settles. “In an ideal situation, both of these nominees would be able to serve,” said board member Patrice Pike.

City council approved the creation of the Austin Economic Development Corporation in October. A public nonprofit, the AEDC has a loosely defined mission. Interim president Veronica Briseño, the city’s chief economic recovery officer, told the Austin Business Journal that the AEDC “can take on projects that further any governmental purpose.”

Its initial six board members met for the first time in December and included Jonathan “Chaka” Mahone, who on Monday presided over the first Music Commission meeting since he took over the chair spot from outgoing commissioner Rick Carney.

» RELATED: Mahone, other Austin musicians push for Black Live Music fund

The commission also discussed its goals and priorities for 2021; potential opportunities for musicians as part of the city’s Art in Public Places program; and the current status of the Save Austin’s Vital Economic Sectors (SAVES) fund, which began cutting $20,000 checks last month to local music venues and other businesses, according to Erica Shamaly of the city's Music & Entertainment Division.

The application process for SAVES funding remains open until Jan. 11, after which the program will move into a second phase designed to provide longer-term support. City officials are working with staff from the Long Center in managing the program.

Commissioner Doug Leveton also updated his colleagues on recent meetings of the Downtown Commission, which advises city council and staff about policies and projects that affect downtown. Leveton is one of more than a dozen members of that group. “My role is going to be strengthening both commissions,” he said.

Speaking about the potential impact of the coronavirus on music and arts in the downtown area, music commissioner Graham Reynolds suggested that the city may soon have “an unprecedented opportunity to transform downtown.” The city’s assistance to many local businesses during the pandemic might give “the city has leverage that it doesn’t always have,” Reynolds added.

Commissioners also heard from Monica Caivano and Gustavo Simplis of Esquina Tango, a Austin business that has been dealing with complaints from neighbors in its East Austin neighborhood over events Esquina Tango had moved to its outdoor space because of the pandemic. Several neighborhood residents also called in to express their concerns about the events. Commissioners offered several suggestions for resolution and agreed to check back with Caivano and Simplis at next month’s meeting.