BG Note | News - What We're Reading (November 14, 2017)


[Austin Metro]

Commissioners question right of appeal under CodeNEXT (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

In a presentation at the joint land use commission meeting on Nov. 7, city staff claimed that clarifications made to the right to appeal under CodeNEXT draft two would improve the process for the city and appellants alike, but some commissioners contradicted that characterization and said the changes would actually narrow the power of appeal.
One of the top priorities for drafters of CodeNEXT has been to streamline unwieldy or lengthy aspects of both the permitting and review processes related to land use. Every year as the city grows, the Board of Adjustment bears more of that deluge, hearing an ever-increasing number of appeals for alleged errors made by city staff...

After A Candidate Withdraws, Council Delays Revealing City Manager Candidates (KUT) LINK TO STORY

Austin City Council will not release the names of the finalists vying for the vacant city manager position today.

Council members went to great lengths to keep the selection process secretive last week. After criticism, the council, candidates and the search firm tasked with finding a city manager agreed to make the names public by no later than today. Mayor Steve Adler said that reveal will have to wait – as one of the five candidates has dropped out of the running. 

Last week, council members interviewed the five candidates at a hotel near the airport, but after the second day of interviews, council members unexpectedly drove away and moved to a closed-door room behind airport security checkpoints at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport...

City composting may soon expand, go high-tech (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

Although Austin Resource Recovery has not yet implemented the capability, the compost bins that it is providing to residents are RFID chip enabled. Chanslor explained that this technology will help with the implementation of the composting program in several ways. “We will know when they’re being set out,” she said. In addition, it will also help refuse vehicle drivers record when they identify contamination in the compost bins...


Gov. Greg Abbott endorses primary challenger to state Rep. Sarah Davis (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday endorsed a primary challenger to a fellow Republican, state Rep. Sarah Davis of West University Place, following through on his promise earlier this year to play a more aggressive role in the 2018 election season.

Abbott released a video throwing his support to Davis opponent Susanna Dokupil, who worked under Abbott when he was the state's attorney general. 

"We need leaders in Austin who will join me to build an even better future for Texas," Abbott said. "That's why I'm so proud to support Susanna Dokupil for state representative of House District 134 in Houston, Texas."...

Dukes challenger leaves Democratic race, will run as independent (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

After state Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin, revealed numerous endorsements last week, one primary challenger said Monday that he’s leaving the Democratic race to run as an independent in 2018.
“This past week many important Democrats endorsed Rep. Dawnna Dukes for re-election in 2018,” Nnamdi Orakwue said in a statement. “As a candidate, this is disappointing, but as a voter and lifelong Democrat, this is disturbing.”
Dukes’ supporters include 17 Democratic members of the Texas Legislature, four members of Congress, two Travis County officials and her predecessor, former Rep. Wilhelmina Delco, D-Austin...

Democratic challenger to Rep. Will Hurd suggests "new leadership" should replace Pelosi (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

Jay Hulings, who has built early momentum in the Democratic primary for Texas' most competitive congressional district, suggested Monday that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi should step aside for "new leadership."
"I think it's time for new leadership," Hulings, a former federal prosecutor, said in an interview. "It's been a long time, and I've got a lot of respect for the work that she's done — she's been very effective — but I think the time is right for a new face in the House representing us Democrats."...

U.S. Rep. Gene Green, a Houston Democrat, to retire from Congress (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

U.S. Rep. Gene Green, a Houston Democrat, is retiring from Congress, a spokesman told The Texas Tribune on Monday afternoon. 
Green, who was first elected to the U.S. House in 1992 after serving 20 years in the Texas Legislature, said he was stepping down to spend more time with his family.
“Serving as an elected official is one of the greatest honors our country can bestow on a person," Green said in a written statement. "I have been blessed and fortunate to serve almost 46 years in elected office." 
He currently holds a powerful position overseeing health care on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and was once chairman of the House Ethics Committee...


Cruz, Cornyn withdraw endorsements of Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore (Texas Tribune)

Texas' two U.S. senators, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, on Monday withdrew their support for Roy Moore, the embattled GOP nominee for Senate in Alabama. 
"I believe the accusations against Roy Moore are disturbing and, if true, disqualifying," Cornyn said Monday, according to Politico. "The most appropriate course of action, in my view, is to leave the final judgment in the hands of Alabama voters — where it has always belonged — and withdraw my endorsement."... 

High court will examine polling-place ban on political apparel (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday that it will determine whether states, including Texas, can ban voters from wearing political messages on T-shirts, buttons and other apparel while inside polling places or within an established distance from the entrance.

The case arose out of Minnesota, where Andrew Cilek was blocked from casting a ballot in 2010 because he was wearing a pro-voter ID button and a T-shirt with a tea party logo, Gadsden flag and the words, “Don’t Tread on Me.”...

Pentagon has known of crime reporting lapses for 20 years (CBS News) LINK TO STORY

The Pentagon has known for at least two decades about failures to give military criminal history information to the FBI, including the type of information the Air Force didn't report about the Texas church gunman who had assaulted his wife and stepson while an airman.
The Air Force lapse in the Devin P. Kelley case, which is now under review by the Pentagon's inspector general, made it possible for him to buy guns before his attack Sunday at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Twenty-six people were killed, including multiple members of some families. About 20 other people were wounded.
Rep. Mac Thornberry, the Texas Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said he was appalled at the Air Force mistake and unsatisfied by its plans to investigate the matter...

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