BG Note | News - What We're Reading (March 1, 2018)

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[Austin Metro]

Austin could use rising property values to create affordable housing (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

City Council Member Greg Casar wants to get the most out of the hundreds of millions of dollars that the city is poised to spend to upgrade its transportation corridors in the coming years.
The improvements coming to Austin’s corridors will naturally contribute to increasing property values in the surrounding area. If the city does nothing, the result will simply be a continuation of the displacement of low-income tenants from the urban core, he said during a Tuesday work session. But if Council seizes the opportunity to dedicate the increased value to affordable housing, the enhanced infrastructure could be a win-win...

Parks board vote calls for protection, improvement of Guerrero Park (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

Public opposition to the possible construction of a soccer stadium in East Austin has turned city leaders’ attention toward finding the funds to improve Roy G. Guerrero Colorado River Park.
At Tuesday’s meeting of the Parks and Recreation Board, a resolution asking City Council to remove Guerrero Park from consideration as the site for a proposed 20,000-seat stadium was amended to also ask Council members to “consider additional funding sources including bonds to repair and maintain” the park.
The meeting drew dozens of onlookers and more than 20 speakers – many holding signs reading “Save Roy Guerrero Park.” All but one of the speakers asked the board to pass the resolution that they hope will keep the property green and untouched...

City pauses arts program amid protests, possible MACC opt-out (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

The city has paused a program intended to create much-needed venue space for local arts groups amid controversy and concern over how it would mesh with cultural groups that operate out of city cultural centers.
Laura Esparza, manager of museums and cultural programs for the Parks and Recreation Department, informed the Arts Commission on Monday that city administrators had decided to put on hold the Artists Access Program, which was created to allow arts groups to use three underutilized ethnic cultural centers and Dougherty Arts Center...

[STATE]

Race for Straus’ seat gives conservative voters wide range of options (San Antonio Express-News) LINK TO STORY

About a month ago, Marc Whyte was in the middle of another long day of block-walking when he stopped at the Brookhollow home of a woman in her 50s. As Whyte began explaining his vision for property tax reform, a top campaign issue in his Texas House District 121 race, the woman grabbed Whyte by the collar mid-sentence and tugged him into the living room. While taking in the cracked walls, Whyte listened as the woman grumbled that she had lived there for 20 years without making home improvements, yet could barely afford to stay because of skyrocketing property tax payments. To Whyte, the encounter was one of countless examples why property tax reform in Texas is long overdue...

Split Decision: State Rep. Sarah Davis and GOP primary challenger Susanna Dokupil (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

The Republican primary for Texas House District 134 has stayed in the headlines throughout this election cycle in large part because of the role Gov. Greg Abbott has taken against a sitting member of his own party. Within the past several weeks, Abbott’s campaign has spent more than $150,000 on ads backing Susanna Dokupil, who is challenging state Rep. Sarah Davis in the Republican primary.
Davis is seeking a fifth term in her Houston-area district. “I don’t know if it’s about being a woman, or a woman he can’t control,” Davis said, referring to Abbott's investment in her challenger, in an onstage Tribune interview earlier this month...

[NATION]

At gun control meeting with Trump, Cornyn pushes for action on background checks (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

At a bipartisan White House meeting on gun violence Wednesday, President Donald Trump pressed Republican U.S. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas and other lawmakers to come together and create “one great piece of legislation” to address background checks on gun sales, in addition to other measures.
The meeting was held in the wake of another national reckoning on gun violence following the mass shooting of a South Florida high school on Feb. 14. Seated next to the president, Cornyn said it was “unacceptable” for lawmakers to leave Washington “empty-handed.” “The public demands that we act,” Cornyn said. “In the past, we’ve acquiesced to failure and have not done things we know were within our power to accomplish.”...

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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