BG Note | News - What We're Reading (February 14, 2018)


[Austin Metro]

The battle over conditional overlays (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

City Council Member Jimmy Flannigan is fed up with conditional overlays.
Conditional overlays – COs in the parlance of City Hall insiders – are zoning rules that apply to a specific property. They often end up included as part of a negotiation between a developer and nearby residents in a zoning case, whereby the developer gets the requested upzoning in return for agreeing to certain conditions, such as a height limit on the building or a prohibition of certain uses.

To Flannigan, the thousands of COs that exist throughout the city embody everything that is wrong with Austin’s current Land Development Code. At the most recent Council meeting, he pulled a number of zoning cases off the consent agenda because they included COs, forcing debate on cases that normally would have been approved unanimously...

Sick leave arguments heat up (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

An ordinance that would force all private Austin businesses to provide paid sick leave for their employees may prove to be the most divisive issue to come before Council since 2015 when the Council district system started.
Sponsored by Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo and Council members Greg Casar, Ann Kitchen and Delia Garza, the ordinance would provide one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked for an employer, up to 64 hours per calendar year...

Is Austin Getting Another Shot At A Light-Rail Line? (KUT) LINK TO STORY

Austin is (again) flirting with the idea of a light-rail system, it seems.
A tweet has given us a glimpse at Cap Metro’s plans to build out a light-rail system in Austin that would cost anywhere between $1.4 and $2.1 billion. The tweet appeared to show a Project Connect-branded outline of a route that would run along a 12-mile stretch, connecting Guadalupe Street and Lamar Boulevard north to Highway 183, with room for more lines...


Uresti declines to testify on his behalf as lawyers wrap up his defense in criminal trial (San Antonio Express News) LINK TO STORY

Lawyers for state Sen. Carlos Uresti wrapped up their defense in his criminal fraud trial Tuesday, deciding against calling the lawmaker or any of the big names that they previously submitted as potential witnesses on his behalf. Uresti lead lawyer Michael McCrum rested the San Antonio Democrat’s case after the lunch break on the 14th day of the trial.
Uresti’s lawyers filed a December court document listing a powerful collection of judges, politicians and lawyers to potentially testify on Uresti’s behalf, including Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, former San Antonio Mayors Julián Castro and Henry Cisneros, state Sen. José Menéndez, state District Judges Peter Sakai and Solomon Casseb III, and Bexar County District Attorney Nico LaHood. “We didn’t think it was necessary,” McCrum said on why the decision not to call Uresti or any of his character witnesses. He also stood by his previous statement that the government hadn’t proven its case...

Two Dallas execs at center of national Latino chamber scandal (Dallas Morning News) LINK TO STORY

Two prominent Dallas executives, Javier Palomarez and Nina Vaca, are at the center of a brewing personnel dispute at the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, according to court documents and published reports.
The nonprofit group that promotes Latino business interests is reviewing allegations that its CEO, Palomarez, has engaged in sexual harassment and padded his salary, according to a January court filing in Dallas County District Court. Vaca, chairman and CEO of Dallas-based Pinnacle Group, has been on the Hispanic Chamber’s board, but is no longer a member, according to the Chamber’s website. She is chairwoman of the Chamber’s Foundation, its philanthropic arm...

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