BG Note | News - What We're Reading (February 21, 2018)
Mayor Adler’s State of City address covers taxes, CodeNext and Russia (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY
Austin Mayor Steve Adler delivered Tuesday a State of the City address that blamed the state for continual rises in property tax bills, touted the numerous amount of road projects ahead that will — hopefully — improve traffic and vowed to make Austin a global leader.
In an address that checked in at about 42 minutes, Adler hit on many of the big challenges facing the city, including CodeNext, affordability, racial inequity, transportation and water bills...
New Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk talks CodeNEXT, police contract and leading the city (Community Impact) LINK TO STORY
Between CodeNEXT, the police contract and filling several executive vacancies, Austin’s new City Manager Spencer Cronk said he needs time to give the city’s most pressing issues their due diligence.
Less than two weeks into his tenure, Cronk sat down with local media Tuesday to discuss his vision for the city and his early strategies for tackling Austin’s most pressing needs.
The former city coordinator from Minneapolis said was unable to provide many detailed answers, citing his short amount of time in Austin to date. However, Cronk said he looks forward to working with transparency and with respect to unique stakeholder relationships across the city...
Travis County invites developers, landowners to pitch courthouse plan (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY
More than two years after voters rejected a bond proposition to build a new civil courthouse downtown, Travis County commissioners decided Tuesday to take a new approach: They’re asking developers to not only pitch a plan for a courthouse but suggest the site as well.
Under the request for proposals going out Friday, county officials are asking developers to team up with landowners to suggest the site and design of a courthouse to replacing the aging Heman Sweatt Travis County Courthouse...
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott calls for better background checks after Florida shooting (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY
In his first public comments since last week's Florida school shooting, Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday called for fixing the federal background check database for gun buyers and identifying mental health issues that could lead to gun violence.
“It’s clear that the status quo is unacceptable, and everybody in every state must take action,” Abbott told reporters in Austin after voting early in the GOP primary. The governor said Texas gun safety standards should be reviewed to see whether they need updating. He added that government leaders need to empower local law enforcement to recognize “red flags.”...
UT/TT Poll: Roughly half of Texans think U.S. is on wrong track and state is on right one (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY
Most Texas voters think the national economy is better than it was a year ago, but half of them also believe the country is on the wrong track, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll. Only 19 percent think the national economy has declined over the last 12 months, while 53 percent say it has improved and 26 percent say it’s about the same.
Texans have been growing more optimistic about the economy for a while now. In the UT/TT poll from a year ago, 40 percent thought the national economy was improving. In the February 2016 poll, only 30 percent felt that way. Republicans were a lot more likely to say the national economy is better. “You have to be a real partisan Democrat to look at the economy and think it’s moving in the wrong direction,” said Jim Henson, co-director of the poll and head of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin...
Abbott slams Davis, says she should run as a Democrat (Houston Chronicle) LINK TO STORY
Gov. Greg Abbott gave state Rep. Sarah Davis a political lashing Tuesday, saying his fellow Republican has been "absolutely hostile" to his conservative agenda and saying she is no different than a Democrat.
"By all metrics and studies that I have seen, she is clearly the farthest to the left state representative in the state of Texas," Abbott told reporters after voting early at a Randalls in Austin. He said the West University Place Republican, has worked "antagonistically" against his agenda and has separated herself from Republican ideology...
Uresti’s fate in jury’s hands as deliberations in criminal fraud trial begin (San Antonio Express-News) LINK TO STORY
In closing arguments Tuesday, federal prosecutors portrayed Uresti as a desperate man, financially strapped and willing to lure unwitting investors to a fledgling oilfield services company that later collapsed under the weight of lies and debt.
Uresti’s defense team painted him as a careless, foolish and negligent man who faithfully believed FourWinds Logistics would make him and investors lots of money. The attorneys argued that he shouldn’t be convicted, however, since he didn’t realize the CEO and others at the company were committing fraud...
Lawmaker interest in NAFTA intensifies amid Trump moves (The Hill) LINK TO STORY
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has never been more popular on Capitol Hill. The three-nation trade agreement that has long come under fire from both parties is getting a rousing defense amid a push from the Trump administration to either renegotiate or scrap the deal altogether.
Business advocates of the 24-year-old deal between the United States, Canada and Mexico say lawmakers have become significantly more interested in the pact recently amid talks to update the deal despite President Trump’s threats to withdraw from the agreement...