BG Note | News - What We're Reading (January 30, 2018)

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[Austin Metro]

Resolution: Wall builders need not apply (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

Led by Council Member Delia Garza, five Council members are sponsoring a resolution directing the city manager to study the potential impacts on Austin of construction of President Donald Trump’s threatened wall between the United States and Mexico.

According to the resolution, President Trump’s executive order directing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security “to take steps to plan, design and build a physical wall along the entire international border between the United States and Mexico, (is) in direct conflict with the core values” of the United States as identified on the Statue of Liberty...


Demolition of Graffiti Park unanimously approved by Austin’s Historic Landmark Commission (Community Impact) LINK TO STORY

The Historic Landmark Commission unanimously approved the demolition of the concrete walls and slabs at Graffiti Park with a vote of 8-0. The item provoked no discussion from the commissioners.
The graffiti-smothered area, officially known as the HOPE Outdoor Gallery, opened in 2011 to muralists following a South-by-Southwest event. The concrete walls and slabs that evolved into a public canvas were leftovers from a failed multi-family development from the 1980s.
According to a press release sent out late last year, the HOPE Outdoor Gallery will move to 9507 Sherman Road, on Carson Creek Ranch in east Austin, close to the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport—a considerable distance from its current central Austin location. The new location will provide more structure to the gallery and more space for artists and is expected to open by the end of 2018.
One of the concrete slabs from the old park will be moved the new location as a memorial...

Capital Metro officially anoints new executive head (Austin Monitor)  LINK TO STORY

The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s next CEO and president, Randy Clarke, will take the transit agency’s reins on March 7.
On Monday, Capital Metro’s board of directors unanimously approved the terms of Clarke’s five-year contract, a document Clarke was on hand to personally sign.
“What really intrigues me about this position is Austin itself. This amazing spirit of innovation that happens in Austin, but also a deep sense of community, and knowing and looking after each other,” Clarke said during a short press conference after the meeting adjourned. “The future is bright. Austin is growing, both economically and population-wise. Big solutions are going to be probably needed to work together on the mobility challenge.”...

East Austin ADU stalled at BoA (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

Over the past few years, the city has worked to make it easier to build accessory dwelling units. But, despite a chorus of those who tout the addition of a small secondary home as a way for homeowners to capitalize on development pressures and increase density without destroying “neighborhood character,” it’s not always simple to build them.
That was abundantly clear at the most recent meeting of the Board of Adjustment, where three separate ADU cases were stalled, including an attempt to facilitate construction adjacent to a transit-oriented development, just three blocks east of downtown...

[STATE]

In report, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott boasts economic growth, record unemployment (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

The state of our state is strong, Gov. Greg Abbott pledged in a report released Monday.

The 42-page “Report to the People of Texas,” which highlights the status of various industries and projects within the state, paints a rosy picture of progress over the last year: top rankings in business and education, vast population growth and hundreds of thousands of jobs created. Still, it skims over a few major challenges Texas faced in 2017 — including a high-profile, long-enduring lawsuit over the state’s treatment of its foster children and the Legislature’s failure to reach a deal on overhauling its public school finance system...


[NATION]

U.S. Rep. Kay Granger of Texas seen as contender to chair powerful Appropriations Committee (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

It's not often that what happens in the Garden State matters much in Texas. But on Monday the retirement of U.S. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-New Jersey, created a major opportunity for a member of the Texas delegation. 
Frelinghuysen is the chairman of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, the arm of Congress that influences spending policy. U.S. Rep. Kay Granger of Fort Worth is widely considered a serious contender for the the chairmanship, multiple GOP House sources tell The Texas Tribune. 
Granger confirmed Monday afternoon on Twitter that she was running for the position...

NAFTA talks that were supposed to end last year might continue into 2019 (The Washington Post) LINK TO STORY

Talks aimed at reaching a new trade agreement involving the United States, Canada and Mexico are expected to continue for months beyond a March 31 deadline and could even extend into 2019, according to industry executives and others close to the negotiations. The delay means that the contentious three-way bargaining — involving lucrative markets and issues of national sovereignty — may collide with elections later this year in both Mexico and the United States. It also raises the prospect that President Trump could complete his first two years in the White House without fulfilling his campaign promise to scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement or reach a better deal...

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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