BG Note | News - What We're Reading (October 31, 2017)

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[Austin Metro]

Group asks district attorney to investigate Planning Commission (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

A group of Austin residents, including the president of the local NAACP chapter, filed a complaint with the Travis County district attorney’s office Monday calling for an investigation of a city commission charged with reviewing CodeNext.
The complaint alleges that the composition of Austin’s Planning Commission violates the Austin City Charter and calls on the district attorney to invalidate its leadership — which could derail efforts to have CodeNext before the City Council for an April vote.

Watson presents a new plan for I-35 (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

State Sen. Kirk Watson unveiled a radical vision for the future of Central Austin on Monday: No more dual decks on Interstate 35.

Watson’s speech before the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce marked the debut of a new plan concocted by the Texas Department of Transportation to add two new tolled lanes in each direction along a 33-mile stretch of the aging freeway between Round Rock and Buda.


Texas Cities Won’t Disclose How Much Taxpayer Money They’ve Offered Amazon (Texas Monthly) LINK TO STORY

Amazon’s much-anticipated second headquarters, HQ2, has led to a nationwide bidding war, as 238 cities—including a handful in Texas—submitted bids ahead of the October 18 deadline. With a project that will bring an estimated 50,000 jobs to its new home, the competition should come as no surprise. But those jobs won’t come cheap.
Amazon asked cities to outline possible incentive packages in their bids, and it’s likely that the winning city will give the tech giant billions in taxpayer dollars. Texas residents might want to know that number: After all, their cities are offering taxpayer funds as a bargaining chip for the online retail giant. But when asked by Texas Monthly, the cities or economic development organizations in charge of submitting local proposals for HQ2 in Texas were unwilling to share their bids, including information on how much they may be offering Amazon in any publicly-funded incentives.

Was San Antonio Snookered Into Buying Toyota Field Soccer Stadium? (BISNOW) LINK TO STORY

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff has pointedly asked Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber to clarify the status of San Antonio's bid for a soccer franchise, now knowing the league was negotiating with Austin two years before San Antonio and Bexar County bought Toyota Field.
Wolff's letter to Garber, dated Oct. 27, hit the media today. In it, Wolff outlines the information San Antonio has gathered on Austin's potential soccer franchise: an agreement between Columbus Crew and the University of Texas to use Mike Myers Stadium for the 2019 season; trademarks for MLS Austin registered in August; and new information surfacing that Columbus Crew owner Anthony Precourt negotiated an out for his team to move to Austin any time after the 2013 season, two years before the league met with local leaders.

'Shady' social media practices change local politics (Victoria Advocate) LINK TO STORY

When an outsider challenged the incumbent for Victoria County judge in 2010, the courthouse downtown was abuzz with rumors about who could be behind anonymous comments posted to the Victoria Advocate's website.
The comments asserted incumbent Don Pozzi would be the far better choice.
"Based upon what was being said, sometimes you may have thought you had it figured out," Pozzi recalled.

The Bingham Group, LLC is an Austin-based full service lobbying firm representing and advising clients on municipal, legislative, and regulatory matters throughout Texas.


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