BG Note | News - What We're Reading (February 12, 2018)


[Austin Metro]

Commission vice chair calls density bonus programs a failure (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

At the Zoning and Platting Commission’s Feb. 6 meeting, Vice Chair Jim Duncan continued his series of CodeNEXT presentations with an indictment of the city’s density bonus programs, one of the city’s main approaches to facilitating housing for households making less than 80 percent of the median family income. He charged city staff with being “blind” to the disappointing output of the programs since the first one was launched in 2004 as part of the University Neighborhood Overlay in West Campus.
“We’ve given away a lot of entitlements in this community through our density bonus system, and we’ve gotten very little in return,” Duncan said at the meeting...

Board, public debate may slow approval of MACC master plan (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

City and community leaders hope to move forward with a spring approval of a new master plan for the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center despite a frequently contentious meeting of the center’s advisory board last week marked by debate over the public input process used to develop the plan...

Why relocating the Columbus Crew might be Austin’s best shot at Major League Soccer (Community Impact) LINK TO STORY

The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce issued a call to action to city leadership Friday: Act now, or the opportunity to bring Major League Soccer to Austin will go away.
Why the rush? If Precourt Sports Ventures—the MLS ownership firm that runs Columbus Crew SC but wants to move to Austin—decides to keep the team in Ohio, shouldn’t the new momentum around professional soccer here prop the city up for an expansion bid? Not so fast...

Marriott Austin Downtown slated for summer 2020 opening (Community Impact) LINK TO STORY

The Marriott Austin Downtown will open in summer 2020 at 304 E. Cesar Chavez St., Austin, adjacent to the Austin Convention Center.
Hotel property management company White Lodging broke ground for construction of the new 31-story, 613-room building Jan. 30...


Cruz braces Texas GOP for volatile election season amid Democratic enthusiasm (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is preparing Texas Republicans for a turbulent election year amid super-charged Democratic enthusiasm — including in his own re-election campaign.
Traveling the state for GOP events this weekend, Cruz portrayed an uncertain midterm environment that could go down as disastrous for Republicans if they don't work to counteract Democratic energy throughout the country. Cruz has spent previous election cycles airing similar warnings against GOP complacency in ruby-red Texas, but this time it hits much closer to home for him — he is facing a well-funded re-election challenge from U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-El Paso... 

[Editorial] Would Amazon avoid conservative Texas for HQ2? Think again (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

Amazon’s choice of a location for its second headquarters has led to much eye-of-the-beholder appraisal of the relative positives and negatives of the 20 cities on the most recent “short list” released by Amazon.
Among the several factors Amazon is weighing that is frequently cited as a black mark against the two remaining Texas candidates, Austin and Dallas, is the conservative social and political climate of the state. As the Boston Globe put it in a brief review of the candidates’ pros and cons: “A string of socially conservative state laws could turn off a company that wants a good ‘cultural fit’ for its employees.”

Businesses along Texas border fear 'going belly up' without NAFTA (Houston Chronicle) LINK TO STORY

EL PASO -- Erives Enterprises, a trucking company in this Texas border city, recently capped its best year ever, hiring workers and handing out raises as its business hauling everything from cars to snowmobiles boomed alongside the factories making the products across the Rio Grande. ... But the fate of this link between Mexican factories and Texas companies hinges on fraught negotiations to update NAFTA, scheduled to resume in Mexico City later this month.
Businesses on both sides of the border are increasingly worried that President Donald Trump will follow through on his threat to pull the United States out of the treaty, undermining the free flow of goods and services that has sustained them for more than two decades. "If NAFTA ends, we're going belly up," said Angel Ponce, who oversees sales at Erives. "The business will literally go away."


Chief Of Staff Finds Himself In The Spotlight And Not In A Good Way (KUT) LINK TO STORY

It didn't take long for attention to turn from the resignation of former White House staff secretary Rob Porter to scrutiny of how chief of staff John Kelly handled the allegations of spousal abuse lodged against his close aide.

And as a chief of staff, that spotlight is not where you want to be.

"Frankly, the last thing you can afford to do as chief of staff to the president is become the headline rather than the person working in the background," said Leon Panetta, a White House chief of staff in the Clinton administration who also knows Kelly well...

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