BG Note | News - What We're Reading (October 30, 2017)
Dueling commissions at odds over CodeNext (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY
The Planning Commission and the Zoning and Platting Commission are the city’s two land use boards that make recommendations on rezoning requests in the central core of the city and its more suburban outskirts, respectively.
Both have been charged with delivering final recommendations on CodeNext to the Austin City Council. However, only the Planning Commission is required by city law to do so, creating an imbalance in power that has crept closer to the spotlight as critics have begun to assail the Planning Commission as a board with too many connections to real estate interests and developers.
Austin Neighborhoods Council unanimously elects CodeNEXT critic Jeff Jack as new president (Community Impact) LINK TO STORY
The Austin Neighborhoods Council unanimously elected Jeff Jack as its new president on Wednesday.
Jack succeeds Mary Ingle, who held the post for most of 2017 after former president David King stepped down to take a position with the city’s Zoning and Platting Commission. Jack, like Ingle, was one of the earliest and most outspoken critics of CodeNEXT—the ongoing rewrite of the city’s land development code that has been a four year, $8.5 million project.
In nearly the same moment Ingle handed him the president’s gavel, Jack made his intentions as president clear, referring to CodeNEXT as a “battle” that the Austin Neighborhoods Council needed to win.
“I didn’t agree to do this job to see the ANC get run out of town,” Jack said. “We need to begin to organize ourselves to win this battle.”
Mayor’s aide denies improper ties between nonprofit, City Hall (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY
When Frank Rodriguez took a full-time job working for Austin Mayor Steve Adler in April 2015, he resigned his post atop the nonprofit he co-founded, the Latino HealthCare Forum.
But four months into his new government post, Rodriguez emailed his former colleagues at the forum, which still employed his wife, with a tip: Keep an eye out for a possible contract linked to the city’s massive development and zoning code rewrite, known as CodeNext.
The city wanted a “culturally competent public engagement process,” Rodriguez wrote in the Aug. 12, 2015, email. “Read the information and think about doing some of this work through the CHC.” The Center for Healthy Communities was a Latino HealthCare Forum program.
Central Health chooses master developer for Brackenridge Campus redevelopment (Community Impact) LINK TO STORY
The Central Health Board of Managers unanimously voted in favor of Baltimore-based Wexford Science & Technology, LLC as master developer for the redevelopment of University Medical Center Brackenridge. It was one of two firms that responded to Central Health’s request for proposals.
The decision comes ahead of long anticipated development of the 14.3 acre property in downtown Austin, which Central Health owns.
What will Joe Straus do with his $10 million in unspent campaign funds? (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY
A maelstrom of questions swirled in the Texas Capitol Wednesday when House Speaker Joe Straus announced he would not seek re-election to his House seat.
Among them: What will he do with his enormous war chest?
Straus, a powerful moderate Republican who has served as speaker for five terms, reported nearly $10 million in unspent campaign cash through June, according to a filing with the Texas Ethics Commission.
On Wednesday, he told The Texas Tribune he would spread the wealth to Republicans who are running in 2018.