BG Note | News - What We're Reading (February 9, 2018)

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[Austin Metro]

Council Member Kathie Tovo may need approval of over 3,500 voters in her downtown district to run for re-election (Community Impact) LINK TO STORY

Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo will kick off her 2018 re-election campaign Thursday night. However, the District 9 council member may need pre-approval from roughly 3,500 district voters to exceed term limit rules.
In November, Tovo will look to earn her second consecutive full term under the council’s current format.
In 2014, Austin went from a non-geographic system of city council representation, or at-large, to having 10 geographic districts. Because the City Council has 10 members and a mayor, it is known as the 10-1 system...

In State of the County address, Eckhardt looks forward to future term (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

With no credible threat to her re-election in November, Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt delivered a State of the County address on Thursday night that had the luxury of looking a full five years into the future.
Clocking in at just under 30 minutes, her tightly packed address raked across the broader yard of county issues, programs, priorities and partnerships. While she didn’t deliver a significant surprise akin to her revelation last year about headwinds facing a county-developed affordable housing project, Eckhardt did manage to drop several morsels of news involving transportation, criminal justice reform and a significant state grant aimed at easing pressure on the county jail...

East side developer just needs a driveway (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

Developer John Klitz isn’t asking for much from his zoning case. As attorney Jeff Howard told City Council last week, Klitz and his company, SL Shady Lane, are only seeking to remove a conditional overlay on his property at 1105 Airport Blvd. that prevents access to Shady Lane. Council approved removing that overlay on first reading only at its Feb. 1 meeting.
The property, which once housed an infamous tank farm, is zoned Community Commercial-Mixed Use (GR-MU), Howard noted, and the developer is not asking for a change in that zoning or any one of a number of things frequently requested in zoning cases...

4 Austin City Council members push for affordability in CodeNext (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

Just days before the city of Austin releases the latest draft of its ongoing effort to overhaul the land use code, four Austin City Council members are calling for a code that increases density in hopes of promoting affordability.

Council members Greg Casar, Delia Garza, Jimmy Flannigan and Sabino “Pio” Renteria signed their names to a post in the website Medium.com in which they ask for the public’s support in helping push a version of CodeNext that maximizes the creation of affordabile units...


Whole Foods Two-Hour Delivery Is Coming To Austin Via Amazon (KUT) LINK TO STORY

Amazon giveth and Amazon taketh away.
The Seattle-based tech giant bought Austin-based Whole Foods in August. Since that acquisition, Amazon has cut prices on bananas, yogurt and other items at the organic grocer, and began selling Kindle e-readers in some of its 470 stores.
Now, it's rolling out something new for Whole Foods patrons: two-hour delivery...

[STATE]

Gov. Greg Abbott leaves little to chance as he implores Texans, 'Four more years' (Dallas Morning New) LINK TO STORY

Gov. Greg Abbott has $43 million in his campaign account, a formidable campaign organization and the backing of hard-core conservative Republican primary voters. So why is he running his re-election campaign like he's behind? "The Abbott team is pursuing the campaign like they're tied or like they're behind because they don't want to make a mistake," said University of Houston political scientist Brandon Rottinghaus. "This is the kind of political environment where a slip-up or a couple of issues turn an electorate around," he said. "So being certain and really pinning down your electorate is critical. They're just trying to minimize mistakes."...

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick rails against Republicans who criticize "your own team" (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick took special jabs at fellow Republicans in a speech on Thursday, saying conservatives shouldn't go against their own party.
"When I hear people today who criticize the conservatives who have led this state for the last 15 years, it's one thing if you're on the other side of the team — but sometimes when it comes from your own team, I don't understand," he said... 

[NATION]

His $25B border wall request stalled for now, Trump will seek $3B down payment, reports say (Dallas Morning News) LINK TO STORY

The White House has asked Congress for $25 billion to execute the president's vision of a "big beautiful wall" along the U.S.-Mexico border. But with that request stalled -- tied to a contentious plan to curb legal immigration in exchange for providing legal status to 1.8 million young immigrants --President Donald Trump is taking another tack. The budget blueprint he will unveil on Monday will include a more modest $3 billion for wall construction, according to multiple news reports from a briefing Thursday with a senior White House budget official...


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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