BG Note | News - What We're Reading (January 19, 2018)
Anti-CodeNext PACs spend thousands to force vote (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY
Campaign finance reports filed in Austin this week show that groups trying to put CodeNext on the ballot are raising and spending tens of thousands of dollars.
Two special political action committees that are by and large against the city’s current revamping of the entire land use code, calling the effort “CodeWreck,” have spent roughly $50,000 on a push to let voters, not the City Council, decide the fate of CodeNext.
While the figure might seem a paltry sum compared with Mayor Steve Adler’s haul of $283,164 in just the first two months of fundraising for his re-election campaign, the two political action committees have done the most spending so far in this election cycle...
After Amazon names Austin among finalists for second headquarters, what’s next? (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY
Online retail giant Amazon.com confirmed Thursday what many economists and business analysts have predicted for months: Austin remains in the running for one of the richest economic development deals in U.S. history. Riding its hipster vibe and high-tech reputation, Austin was named one of 20 finalists for Amazon’s giant second headquarters project. Dubbed “HQ2,” the project promises to bring 50,000 high-paying jobs and $5 billion in investment. Thursday’s announcement comes three months after 238 cities across North America submitted bids, and it formally pits Austin against other expected players including Atlanta, Boston, New York and Pittsburgh. Dallas is the only other Texas city to make the shortlist...
AFD aims to weigh in on developments sooner rather than later (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY
The Austin Fire Department could soon start reviewing individual development plans much earlier in the process than it currently does.
Fire Marshal Rob Vires told the Public Safety Commission at its Jan. 8 special called meeting about ongoing discussions to allow AFD engineers to have a seat at the table during the preliminary master review process.
The discussion item was sponsored by Commissioner Carol Lee, who started the conversation by recounting third-party anecdotes about ambulances and fire trucks running into obstacles such as narrow streets or inopportunely placed guardrails...
Tech community tapped in move to rid city of paper (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY
Paper-driven processes through Austin’s city government are on the way out with the announcement of a new collaboration with the city’s tech community. The partnership, announced Thursday, will see the city pair up with the Austin Tech Alliance and members of the Capital Factory tech business incubator to identify ways to digitize operations at all levels of government in an attempt to save money and make data more readily available to residents...
Texas state Rep. Dawnna Dukes' campaign is more than $700,000 in debt after her legal saga (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY
The re-election campaign of state Rep. Dawnna Dukes, the Austin Democrat who was cleared in October of criminal corruption charges, is deeply in debt after her expensive legal battle.
Dukes, a 12-term Texas lawmaker, raised just $2,250 in the second half of 2017, campaign finance records show. That’s well below the amounts raised by primary opponents Sheryl Cole, a former Austin city council member, and Chito Vela, an immigration attorney. Cole raised $91,000 over the same period, while Vela brought in about $30,000, records show...
Toyota, a year old in Texas, has stayed out of state politics. That may change, CEO says (Dallas Morning News) LINK TO STORY
North Texas' biggest corporate residents vowed to get more involved in state politics after Republican state leaders made it a top priority to try and enact laws restricting bathroom access for transgender Texans despite fierce opposition from major employers. But Toyota wasn’t one of the companies that signed on to the effort. And although Toyota executives have long touted the automaker’s inclusive ethos and focus on diversity, the company declined to stake a clear position in the debate about the so-called bathroom bill. Toyota, which moved its North American headquarters to Plano a year ago, is still trying to settle in according to Jim Lentz, CEO for North America operations, who spoke to The Dallas Morning News from the Detroit Auto Show...