BG Note | News - What We're Reading (March 21, 2018)


[Austin Metro]

Austin bombing suspect dies as police close in, official says (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

A man whom authorities were attempting to arrest early Wednesday in a string of bombing attacks in Austin killed himself with an explosive device as authorities closed in, a high-ranking law enforcement official told the American-Statesman early today.
The official said authorities identified a suspect in the past 24 hours based largely on information gained after police said the suspect shipped an explosive device from a FedEx store in Southwest Austin. That evidence included security video...
MORE: Trump says ‘it’s not easy to find’ culprit in first public comment on Austin bombings (Austin American-Statesman, 3/20/18)
MORE: Goodwill explosion not related to Austin bombings, but stirred anxieties (Austin American-Statesman, 3/20/18)

Council discusses economic, cultural benefits of Major League Soccer in Austin (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

On Thursday, City Council will take up a resolution directing city staff to analyze whether a vacant lot at 10414 McKalla Lane would be a suitable spot for a future Major League Soccer stadium.
So far, no Council members have signaled opposition to welcoming the Columbus Crew SC to Austin or allowing the McKalla site to be used for the stadium. But some said during a Tuesday work session that they have to consider what the city is receiving and what it is giving up in a potential deal...

Adding more cops part of APD planning (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

The Austin Police Department currently has 69 vacancies, Assistant Chief Troy Gay told City Council Tuesday, but with so many officers retiring each month it is nearly impossible to catch up.

In addition, the Matrix Consulting Group recommended in 2016 that APD hire 144 new patrol officers, and in 2017 APD proposed adding 329 new officers over five years...


Facing big budget challenges, lawmakers hear pitch to more aggressively invest rainy day fund (San Antonio Express-News) LINK TO STORY

Lawmakers facing the big budget hole left by Hurricane Harvey got a new pitch from Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar Tuesday for authority to more aggressively invest the $11 billion rainy day fund to raise additional money. Hegar crafted his message to the Senate Finance Committee with a warning of a potential downgrade in Texas’ credit rating due to longstanding issues in areas including pensions. He would like to see additional funds generated by the rainy day fund go to those needs first, avoiding the “black eye” of a lower credit rating. The idea could appear more attractive, however, after the Finance Committee heard from Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath that the storm’s property damage could put a $750 million annual dent in local school property tax revenues...

Advocacy group launches San Antonio petition drive for paid sick leave (San Antonio Express-News) LINK TO STORY

About a year and a half ago, the Texas Organizing Project began informally surveying San Antonians to get a sense of what issues most concerned them. Two issues that rose to the top were wages and the need for paid sick leave. As a result, TOP, a nonprofit focused on the needs of low-income Texas families, has launched a petition drive to get a sick-leave initiative on the ballot in San Antonio. The move comes only a month after Austin became the first Texas city to mandate that businesses provide paid sick leave to their employees. Austin’s ordinance, which requires employers to offer six to eight days (depending on the size of the business) in paid sick leave, passed by a 9-2 vote of the Austin City Council...

Farenthold weighs resigning from Congress (Politico) LINK TO STORY

Texas GOP Rep. Blake Farenthold is considering stepping down from Congress before the end of his term, according to multiple Republican sources with direct knowledge of private party conversations. Farenthold already announced he would not seek re-election in his southeastern Texas district, after POLITICO reported he settled a sexual harassment lawsuit with $84,000 in taxpayer funds. But he now is on the brink of leaving Congress well before the end of his term, which would allow him to dodge an Ethics Committee investigation into allegations of inappropriate office behavior...


Steve Bannon oversaw Cambridge Analytica's 2014 mining of Facebook data: report (Market Watch) LINK TO STORY

Former Trump strategist Steve Bannon oversaw the early collection of Facebook user data for Cambridge Analytica in 2014, the Washington Post reported late Tuesday.
The 2014 effort apparently tested various anti-establishment messages that later appeared in the Trump camp's lexicon, including "drain the swamp" and "deep state," the Post said. Bannon helped launch Cambridge Analytica in 2013 with the financial backing of conservative mega-donor Robert Mercer... 

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