BG Note | News - What We're Reading (February 1, 2018)



[Austin Metro]

City demographer smashes assumptions about growth at CodeNEXT meeting (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

For the past year, the land use commissions have been reviewing the drafts of CodeNEXT, and the discussions have primarily revolved around how to accommodate the incredible population growth the city has experienced for the past few decades. About two weeks before the third and final iteration of the proposed Land Development Code rewrite debuts on Feb. 12, city demographer Ryan Robinson gave a presentation to the commissions in an effort to ground the perception of the rapid changes in data and facts...

Equity Office Tries To Make Good On Year-Old Report On Institutional Racism (KUT) LINK TO STORY

Austin’s Equity Office is considering how to make good on a report published last April that laid out more than 200 recommendations for how the city can combat institutional racism.
“We sent out the report to all of our city departments and requested that they actually review and read the report and  also to respond back to us,” Brion Oaks, the city’s equity officer, said...

Dockless bikes are (maybe) coming to Austin. But first, let’s talk it out. (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

Nobody wants to be the withholding stepparent.
That’s why, when dockless bike companies Ofo and Spin rolled out during South by Southwest last year, they put the city in a tough spot. Austin, which markets itself as an innovative, tech-savvy city, had to stifle two seemingly forward-thinking tech startups during a festival that’s been a launchpad for so many others. But there was no getting around it – literally, in some cases.
Unlike Austin’s B-cycle, the smartphone-enabled rental bikes don’t have to be dropped off at a docking station. The bikes were unregulated and unvetted by the city and ended up obstructing sidewalks. But, while Ofo’s bikes were cited, the Austin Transportation Department reached a deal with Spin, allowing its bikes to roll along for the final days of the festival...


Analysis: Texas Republicans confront an enemy within (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

Texas Republicans, with as big a political advantage as any party in the country, are eating their own tail.
In House districts where the Democrats haven’t been putting up a fight, they’re running Republican challengers against Republican incumbents — with Republican Gov. Greg Abbott endorsing some of the challengers.
And a couple of incumbent Republican senators are battling challengers being advised by political consultants affiliated with the Texas Senate’s own presiding officer, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick...

Patrick plans to saturate Houston TV with $1 million in campaign ads (Houston Chronicle) LINK TO STORY

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick may act like he's not worried by his Republican primary challenger, but he is spending more than $1 million on TV ads in the Houston area between now and the March 6 election. Some 975 ads are booked to run during the Olympics, morning shows, afternoon programming, and prime-time evening news hours, according to television station public inspection records filed with the Federal Communications Commission.
Patrick's campaign is spending $1,049,640 on the TV ad spots in the Houston area, according to a review of FCC records. CBS affiliate KHOU-Channel 11 will run the most ads before the primary election, agreeing to air nearly 300 spots that will run 30 seconds each...

Regulators say Texas bank planning to sell cryptocurrency was 'outright scam' (Houston Chronicle) LINK TO STORY

AriseBank in Dallas, calling itself the world's first decentralized bank, loaded marketing materials with techy buzz words like "blockchain" and "cryptocurrency," generated buzz on social media, got a celebrity endorsement from Evander Holyfield and claimed it collected $600 million from investors buying into its own virtual currency. But the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday had another description for enterprise: "outright scam."
In a complaint filed last week and unsealed late Monday, the SEC said AriseBank falsely told investors it purchased a commercial bank that could offer customers FDIC-insured accounts and Visa cards to spend more than 700 cryptocurrencies it supported. AriseBank also boasted of an algorithmic trading application that automatically traded in cryptocurrencies...

SpaceX, behind schedule on South Texas launchpad, seeks $5 million more in state funding  (Dallas Morning News) LINK TO STORY

SpaceX is seeking up to $5 million more in new state funding to build a commercial spaceport in Texas, a high-profile project that's behind schedule after breaking ground in 2014. SpaceX is seeking the money to help build infrastructure related to the launch facility at Boca Chica beach outside Brownsville, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
The Cameron County Spaceport Development Corp. recently applied for the $5 million at the request of SpaceX, according to county Judge Eddie Trevino Jr. The new money for the project would come from the Spaceport Trust Fund, a state economic development fund...


LULAC leader rescinds letter endorsing new border wall (San Antonio Express-News) LINK TO STORY

The leader of the oldest Latino civil rights organization in the U.S. said Wednesday he has “rescinded” a letter endorsing President Donald Trump’s immigration framework that includes a border wall after receiving angry criticism from members and activists. Roger Rocha, president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, said he wrote the letter at the request of the Trump administration while the group was in negotiations for an immigration reform compromise.

“It’s just bad timing because most people think this letter is endorsing what the president said about immigration at the State of the Union,” Rocha said. “It’s not. The letter was about conversations we had before. We can’t help it that the president changed his mind.”...

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