BG Note | News - What We're Reading (February 28, 2018)


[Austin Metro]

Precourt: Benefits to Austin from MLS club could exceed $400 million (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

Soccer fans have been waiting months for an update from Anthony Precourt about the status of Columbus Crew SC’s potential move to Austin.
They received some answers Tuesday when Precourt, the owner/operator of the Major League Soccer franchise in Ohio, delivered a bold statement to Austin-area residents, touting benefits that he said could run into the hundreds of millions of dollars if a suitable stadium is built here to house an MLS club.
“With the right site, we can build a world-class, privately financed $200 million soccer park and grounds,” Precourt said in his statement. “As we have said from the onset of this exploratory process, a location in the vibrant urban core where people live, work, and play is of paramount importance. This stadium location is a critical driver to the club’s long-term success...

In final campaign stretch, many in Travis County ask: Where is Texas Rep. Dawnna Dukes? (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

In November, after clearing her name of the criminal charges that had hung over her for nearly a year, a defiant state Rep. Dawnna Dukes was ready to go public.
Dukes, a 12-term Democrat from Austin, found herself in a precarious position. At least eight challengers from her own party expressed interest in running for her House seat while she was under indictment. In a state where most legislative races last only a few months, two of Dukes’ opponents spent more than a year fundraising and campaigning against her. So after months of avoiding the press, Dukes agreed to be interviewed onstage at the Austin Club, just a few blocks from the Texas Capitol, where she explained why she was finally willing to talk...

Austin Neighborhoods Council gives CodeNext a thumbs down (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

The Austin Neighborhoods Council on Tuesday announced its full-throated opposition to the latest draft of CodeNext, calling the proposed revamp of the city’s land use code a “significant” threat to homeowners in Austin’s neighborhoods.
“CodeNext’s third draft may use new words, but it’s full of the same old problems,” the organization’s President Jeff Jack said in a news release. “This plan is a disaster for neighborhoods and a giveaway to large land developers. We remain firmly opposed to it.”
The third draft of CodeNext, which was released earlier this month, showed that city staff and consultants had lowered the amount of housing units allowed per lot from three to two (much like the current zoning rules) for nearly all of Central Austin’s neighborhoods...

Council to vote on extending paid sick leave to all city employees (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

Two weeks after approving an ordinance that will require private employers to provide paid sick leave, City Council is scheduled to vote on a similar measure to extend the same benefit to all city employees, including its many temporary workers.
Throughout the debate over the paid sick leave ordinance, opponents accused Council of hypocritically imposing a mandate on businesses that it wasn’t willing to impose on itself. Council Member Greg Casar, the lead proponent of the measure, insisted that the city would, in fact, subject itself to the same standards.
As is the case for the private sector, the new rules will take effect in October if Council approves the proposed resolution on Thursday...

Police sue city over police monitor access (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

The Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, representing Ken Casaday, president of the Austin Police Association, sued the city of Austin on Tuesday, seeking to stop the police monitor from looking at internal affairs records or attending interviews relating to complaints about police behavior in 2018.
The police union is seeking a temporary restraining order first and then an injunction to prevent the city from what the union says is a violation of state law. Since City Council rejected a contract worked out between negotiators for the city and the APA, the old contract expired at the end of December with nothing to replace it. That means Austin police are now operating under Texas Local Government Code Chapter 143, which has no provision for a police monitor or other civilian oversight...


National Democrats could undermine Texas momentum (Houston Chronicle) LINK TO STORY

The biggest threat to a blue wave forming in Texas in 2018 may be the very Democrats who are trying to generate it. In less than 10 days, national Democrats have jumped into two key congressional races in Houston and provoked a firestorm of controversy that threatens to undermine Democratic momentum that has been building for over a year, Texas political experts warn.

“Every time there has been national intervention by national Democrats in a Texas race, it has always been chaotic and damaged them in the long run,” said Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor with the University of Houston...

Trump selects San Antonio marketing executive as 2020 campaign manager (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

San Antonio advertising executive Brad Parscale, the architect of the Trump campaign’s digital operations, will run President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, the organization announced Tuesday. In a statement, the Trump campaign said Parscale will lead “advanced planning” for the 2020 effort, and that the campaign also will be engaged in the midterm elections.
Parscale’s sophisticated social media targeting was widely credited with helping Trump secure a victory that surprised pundits, pollsters and many Republicans. He also has drawn scrutiny from at least one investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election...

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