BG Note | News - What We're Reading (December 1, 2017)

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[Austin Metro]

What you need to know about Austin’s city manager finalists (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

Six finalists to be Austin’s next city manager will make their way from five states and the District of Columbia this weekend to begin a second round of interviews.
The person hired will assume day-to-day responsibility over all city departments and more than 17,000 employees — a role often designated to mayors in cities without a manager form of government. Austin is the fifth-largest city in the country to have a city manager serve as the city’s executive, rather than having a strong mayor...

Commission demands more precision in CodeNEXT land uses (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

It’s easy to get lost in the new CodeNEXT zoning categories and their form-based considerations without keeping in mind their underlying purpose: setting the standards for how properties in Austin can be used. At the Nov. 28 joint meeting of the land use commissions, the CodeNEXT team explained how the list of uses had been made more flexible in draft two to facilitate compatibility. In response, some commissioners feared that liberating the uses too much could undermine the planning process in general...


What is Alamo Drafthouse going to do with AISD property in Hyde Park? (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

The Austin Independent School District’s board of trustees voted this week to sell property in the Hyde Park neighborhood to the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema for $10.6 million.

The Baker Center is in a former school building at 3908 Avenue B, which the district uses for administrative purposes. But what will it be going forward?

The Alamo Drafthouse didn’t want to comment for this story, and the contract isn’t finalized yet, so we can’t see the deal. But over the last few months, the Alamo met with people in the neighborhood to discuss plans...


[STATE]

Homeowners now can vote on whether their communities are annexed (San Antonio Express-News) LINK TO STORY

Beginning Friday, property owners will have more power to resist annexation efforts by large cities such as San Antonio under a new law passed during this summer’s special legislative session. The law gives residents the right to vote on whether their land is pulled into a city’s limits through annexation. “We’re thrilled,” said Bill Edinger with the Northwest 151 Annexation board and a resident of Alamo Ranch, who advocated for the change. “Our effort was not anti-annexation, it was just getting the right to vote.”...

Texas lagging in higher education attainment, commissioner warns (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

The chief executive of the state’s higher education agency summed up the challenge of educating a mostly poor, college-age population with 10 words Thursday: “We’re getting better, but we’re not getting better fast enough.”
It is a theme that Higher Education Commissioner Raymund Paredes has sounded since he was named to the position in 2004, but it was delivered in his annual address on the state of higher education in tones approaching fiery — and not just because he was nursing a cold that made his voice a tad raspy. “The Texas paradox of the moment,” Paredes said, is that the state has a very youthful population...

Texas appears to concede voting rights case on language interpreter law (The Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

Texas has spent years defending its voting laws in court, regularly appealing rulings that found state lawmakers violated the rights of their voters. So when a federal appellate court in August ruled against the state’s restrictions on language interpreters at the ballot box, it was easy to assume an appeal would follow. But more than three months later, Texas appears to be conceding the case.
“We have not heard anything from Texas,” said Jerry Vattamala, director of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund’s democracy program, who is representing the plaintiffs in the case. “It appears that they are not appealing.”...

[NATION]

White House Plans Tillerson Ouster From State Dept., to Be Replaced by Pompeo (New York Times) LINK TO STORY

The White House has developed a plan to force out Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson, whose relationship with President Trump has been strained, and replace him with Mike Pompeo, the C.I.A. director, perhaps within the next several weeks, senior administration officials said on Thursday. Mr. Pompeo would be replaced at the C.I.A. by Senator Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas who has been a key ally of the president on national security matters, according to the White House plan. Mr. Cotton has signaled that he would accept the job if offered, said the officials, who insisted on anonymity to discuss sensitive deliberations before decisions are announced...

Cotton cements his rise under Trump (Politico) LINK TO STORY

In 2009, Tom Cotton was a 32-year-old Army veteran and consultant running for Congress for the first time. Now a freshman senator, Cotton is expected to head to Langley if President Donald Trump decides to nominate current CIA director Mike Pompeo to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, according to two senior administration officials.
Cotton’s appointment would cement his meteoric rise in Republican politics, the result of qualities that have taken him, in a matter of years, from freshman congressman to the youngest serving U.S. senator to, potentially, the youngest CIA director in American history: loyalty, brains and raw ambition...

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