BG Note | News - What We're Reading (March 22, 2018)


[Austin Metro]

2 council members: After bombings, hire interim police chief for good (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

Within hours of the announcement Wednesday that local, state and federal officers had stopped a serial bomber whose attacks had plagued Austin for weeks, Council Member Delia Garza was lobbying to hire interim police Chief Brian Manley permanently.
“Our community has been through what is arguably the biggest public safety crisis we have experienced,” Garza, a former firefighter, wrote on the council’s online message board. “While many watched the news safely from home, … on edge, the men and women of law enforcement ran to the bombs and explosions.”...

Agents Sweep Home Of Dead Suspect In Serial Austin Bombings (KUT) LINK TO STORY

Technicians have removed bomb components and homemade explosives from inside the Pflugerville home of an Austin bombing suspect who died early this morning, officials said. 
ATF Special Agent in Charge Fred Milanowski said the bombmaker had a "signature style" and that components in the house were similar to components found in the devices that exploded this month in Austin...

Council positioned to delay corridor program decision (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

City Council appears all but certain to postpone a scheduled vote on Thursday on the draft Corridor Construction Program, the highly ambitious blueprint for spending an unprecedented amount of bond money in a particularly condensed time frame.
During Tuesday’s work session, several members expressed their desire to hold off on the decision, a sentiment that did not draw outward resistance from Mayor Steve Adler, the champion of the 2016 mobility bond that kicked off the drafting of the CCP...


Texas cities vie for billions as mayors apply for Trump ‘opportunity zone’ tax breaks (San Antonio Express-News) LINK TO STORY

Texas mayors are vying for a piece of President Donald Trump’s $1.5 trillion tax cut, which included a little-noticed provision that carved out several billion dollars for economically disadvantaged areas. The legislation created “opportunity zones” that reduce, or even eliminate altogether, capital gains taxes for developers and businesses that make long-term investments in poor neighborhoods.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to send his nominations of the poorest areas in the state to the U.S. Treasury today. San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg submitted 27 census tracts for consideration by Abbott’s office. The zones promise to deliver billions of dollars in fresh investment to the economically depressed neighborhoods that get chosen...

Census estimates show another year of rapid growth for Texas suburbs (Texas Tribunes) LINK TO STORY

Home to burgeoning suburban communities, the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area was behind more than a third of the state's population growth from 2016 to 2017. 
Picking up 146,000 new residents, the Dallas metro area once again experienced the largest population growth of any metropolitan area in the country, with Tarrant, Dallas, Denton and Collin counties all ranking in the top 10 counties in the United States that gained the most residents, according to population estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau...

Higher education chief warns against too much expansion of campuses (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

Gov. John Connally warned 50 years ago that excessive expansion of higher education in Texas would be a prescription for mediocrity, with the legislative funding pie sliced into ever-smaller pieces. Raymund Paredes, the state’s commissioner of higher education, delivered the same message to state senators Wednesday. The Senate Higher Education Committee is examining the question of whether legislative and regulatory restrictions ought to be imposed on public universities’ ambitions to expand into new geographic areas. It was assigned to do so by Lt.
Gov. Dan Patrick. Paredes, chief executive of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, left little doubt during his testimony before the panel as to where he stood, asserting that too many higher education sites risks a decline in quality as state funding per student and per campus goes down. And as to whether that sort of competition in higher education is good, he said, “Not if you’re playing with house money.”...

Walmarts may be stocking liquor in Texas if ruling holds (Dallas Morning News) LINK TO STORY

State laws that prevent Walmart and other national chain stores in Texas from selling liquor are unconstitutional, a federal judge has ruled. But the state's powerful package liquor stores association said Wednesday that it would appeal the decision. A U.S. district judge in Austin ruled late Tuesday in favor of Walmart and against the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission on two laws that since Prohibition have dictated who can sell liquor in the state. Judge Robert Pitman ruled that one of the laws, which prohibits publicly traded companies from selling liquor in Texas, was unconstitutional.
"Texas is the only state that bars public corporations from selling liquor solely because of their status as public corporations," Pitman wrote in his 50-page opinion, which goes through the issues with extraordinary care...


Facebook Sued by Investors Over Voter-Profile Harvesting (Bloomberg) LINK TO STORY

Facebook Inc.’s failure to safeguard privacy was blamed in an investor lawsuit for a slump in its share price that followed the revelation user data was harvested without permission by a research firm connected to U.S. President Donald Trump. The world’s largest social media network was sued in San Francisco federal court on Tuesday by shareholders in a class action who said they suffered losses after the disclosure that Cambridge Analytica, a U.K.-based firm that aided Trump, improperly obtained profile information on 50 million users. Facebook fell as much as 5.2 percent to $175.41 Monday in New York, wiping out all of the year’s gains so far...

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