BG Note | News - What We're Reading (March 26, 2018)


[Austin Metro]

Dockless bike-share pilot development rolls forward (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

More than a year after an aborted attempt to move into Austin without permission, several dockless bike-sharing companies have switched gears and are now patiently working with the Transportation Department as it develops a pilot program that could put the smartphone-activated two-wheelers on city streets by this summer.

On Wednesday night, Active Transportation Program Manager Laura Dierenfield told the Austin Monitor that as many as six companies – including prominent Spin, Ofo and LimeBike – have asked to participate in an upcoming community forum in which each will be able to pitch its unique concept to residents...

Man on trial in Judge Kocurek’s shooting has beaten 2 murder charges (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

The Houston man headed to trial in Austin this week in the 2015 attempted murder of Travis County state District Judge Julie Kocurek has many times beaten criminal charges that could have put him behind bars for a long time. Chimene Onyeri hired two veteran Houston lawyers to defend him, scoring courthouse victories that include dropped murder charges in two unrelated fatal shootings and a not-guilty verdict on a charge of aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon. Prosecutors also declined to proceed with a charge of engaging in criminal activity in 2012, saying police had not gathered enough evidence to support it...

Council approves study of McKalla Place as soccer stadium site (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

City staff will spend the next two months studying if a city-owned parcel near the Domain could be a possible fit for a proposed professional soccer stadium.

At Thursday’s meeting City Council members voted 9-0 to have the city manager and staff conduct an analysis of the McKalla Place property in North Austin to determine if and how that site could be used to build a privately funded 20,000-seat stadium that would become the home of a Major League Soccer franchise seeking to relocate to Austin from Columbus, Ohio...

Thousands March In Austin Demanding Changes To Gun Laws (KUT) LINK TO STORY

Roughly 10,000 people marched from Austin’s City Hall to the steps of the Texas State Capitol on Saturday, rallying in response to a student-led movement demanding stricter gun laws. It was one of more than 800 “March for Our Lives” protests happening across the country. 

The march was organized by students with the help of local activist groups after a mass shooting that left 17 people dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., last month...


University of Texas wants Rex Tillerson as next chancellor (The Hill) LINK TO STORY

Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson could be headed back to his alma mater after being ousted from the State Department this week by President Trump, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Sources familiar with the conversations tell the newspaper that the University of Texas has reached out to Tillerson following his firing with the objective of securing the former Exxon CEO as the school's next chancellor...

New law makes it hard to track driverless car testing in Texas (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

The fatal collision last weekend of a self-driving car owned by Uber and a woman crossing a Tempe, Ariz., street raised enough questions that the ride-hailing giant days later suspended such on-road testing of the vehicles. Toyota, another of several major automotive and tech companies working on driverless vehicle ventures, likewise put its public street testing on hold, if only for a few days. But finding the answer to another basic question — whether any such testing currently is going on in Texas — remains elusive.
That is due largely to a bill passed by the Legislature last year and signed into law in June by Gov. Greg Abbott. Senate Bill 2205 by Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, does not require companies to tell the state of Texas or local governments when they are putting vehicles on streets or highways with no human in control. That was not originally the case, however...

Ahead of 2020 census, Texans are becoming even harder to count (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

A conference room in a Houston municipal building will soon take the form of a political war room. Maps outlining city blocks and tracts will adorn the walls. Operatives will gather to strategize on block-walking in different communities. And outreach plans will be solidified in hopes of shaking hands and meeting with as many constituents as possible. The extensive ground game that will be formulated in that war room, and similar ones across the state, won’t be in support of any candidate or political campaign. Instead, it will be to promote the once-in-a-decade census — a crucial count of every person living in the United States...


Polls show Facebook losing trust as firm uses ads to apologize (Reuters) LINK TO STORY

Opinion polls published on Sunday in the United States and Germany indicated that a majority of the public were losing trust in Facebook over privacy, as the firm ran advertisements in British and U.S. newspapers apologizing to users. Fewer than half of Americans trust Facebook to obey U.S. privacy laws, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Sunday, while a survey published by Bild am Sonntag, Germany’s largest-selling Sunday paper, found 60 percent of Germans fear that Facebook and other social networks are having a negative impact on democracy.
Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg apologized for “a breach of trust” in advertisements placed in papers including the Observer in Britain and the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal...

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