BG Note | News - What We're Reading (November 16, 2017)


[Austin Metro]

Is it time for Austin to have a ‘strong mayor’? (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

Under the council-manager system, which predominates among mid-sized U.S. cities, the city manager essentially functions as the CEO of the city bureaucracy, directing the day-to-day affairs of city departments. The manager hires and fires department heads and oversees the implementation of policies put in place by Council.
Those far-reaching responsibilities explain why the hiring of the city manager is such a big (and oft-controversial) decision in Austin, which has operated under Interim City Manager Elaine Hart for more than a year, since former City Manager Marc Ott left for another job in October 2016.
The mayor-council form of government, which is more common among large cities, more closely mirrors the federal government. Like the president, the mayor appoints department leaders, who serve at the mayor’s pleasure...

Tiff’s Treats lands $25 million to fund continued growth (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

Austin-based Tiff’s Treats has landed $25 million in funding to help fuel its founders’ appetite for continued growth.
The 18-year-old company, which delivers warm cookies and other sweets, is getting the Series D money from investment funds led by Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital.
Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital, part of Morgan Stanley Investment Management, says it focuses its investments primarily on high-growth sectors such as health care, technology and digital media...

AISD considers charter school option for Mendez Middle School (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

Facing severe under-enrollment and a below-average educational suitability assessment, Mendez Middle School may be turned over to a community partner in hopes of reversing the campus’ downward trajectory.
Austin Independent School District staff shared the project initiative with the board of trustees at its Nov. 13 work session, explaining the opportunity presented by Senate Bill 1882, which was passed in the last legislative session. The law offers financial incentives for districts to consider the charter school option as a more lucrative way to turn around schools with an “Improvement Required” status.

Columbus officials, Crew owner find little common ground in meeting (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

A meeting in New York City on Wednesday between the Columbus mayor, a prominent business leader, Crew SC owner Anthony Precourt and Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber did not produce any breakthrough developments.

Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther and Columbus Partnership President and CEO Alex Fischer said Precourt lacked commitment to stay in Columbus. Precourt announced Oct. 17 that he is exploring a move to Austin for the 2019 season...


MLS team’s ambitions cast shadow over Austin’s other soccer hopefuls (Austin Monitor)


Wendy Davis says it would take a ‘lobotomy’ for her to run for governor in 2018 (San Antonio Express-News) LINK TO STORY

Wendy Davis slammed the door on the idea that she might make another run for governor in 2018 in an interview Tuesday with the San Antonio Express-News.

She earlier had offered a slight chance she might run again, saying she would rule it out “99 percent” but not entirely since no other major Democratic candidate has stepped forward.

Davis followed that up last week by saying it would take “a brainwash, maybe,” for her to run.

On Tuesday, she told the Express-News, “I probably should have said it might take a lobotomy.”...

"Bathroom bill" would be bad for Texas' economy, business leaders say (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

Months after lawmakers repeatedly tried to pass a "bathroom bill" regulating which public restrooms transgender Texans are allowed to use, several Texas business leaders told a House committee Wednesday that such a law would be bad for Texas' economic future.

The House Select Committee on Economic Competitiveness, established by House Speaker Joe Straus following the special session this summer, is tasked with ensuring new business continues to come to Texas. The members heard testimony from business leaders including Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, real estate developer Ross Perot Jr., Dallas Stars President and CEO Jim Lites and others on how different policies would impact their companies and the future of the state...  

Crowded field emerges to vie for U.S. Rep. Gene Green's seat (Houston Chronicle) LINK TO STORY

Two state legislators already have jumped in the race to succeed Gene Green following the longtime Congressman's retirement announcement, with several others also thought to be considering bids.
State Sen. Sylvia Garcia and state Rep. Armando Walle threw their hats in the ring Tuesday morning to represent the district that covers much of eastern Houston and part of Pasadena.
State Rep. Carol Alvarado, meanwhile, is "seriously considering" running, her consultant said, and former Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia has asked the county party for filing paperwork.


In Austin, Pence makes pitch for "across the board" tax cuts (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

Vice President Mike Pence pressed the White House's case for a major tax code overhaul by the end of the year during a speech Wednesday to Republican governors in Austin.
"We're going to take a decisive step — before the end of this year ... to cut taxes across the board for working families and businesses," Pence said at the Republican Governors Association's annual meeting. "I know this room knows all about tax cuts because these Republican governors have been busy cutting taxes in recent years and making a real difference in their states."

Don Willett defends controversial tweets as jokes at confirmation hearing before U.S. Senate (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY 

A Texas Supreme Court Justice's popular Twitter account, and its future, drew sharp questions from U.S. senators Wednesday as two of President Donald Trump's Texas nominees for federal court openings faced their confirmation hearings.
Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett and Dallas appellate attorney Jim Ho, both nominees to the powerful, conservative U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, defended their past statements and legal work in a joint hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee...

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