BG Note | News - What We're Reading (April 12, 2018)

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[Austin Metro]


Who’s minding the store? Alter (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

With four people absent, today’s City Council meeting is scheduled to start late and end early. Council Member Alison Alter will chair the meeting, which will start at 11:30 a.m.
Mayor Steve Adler, Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo and Council Member Delia Garza are all attending the Equity Summit 2018 in Chicago, which started Wednesday and runs through Friday. Council Member Ellen Troxclair is on maternity leave, having just given birth to her second daughter. Council needs a quorum of six members to approve any item...

Austin City Council member: Auditor’s report on The Domain agreement justifies the city backing out early (Community Impact) LINK TO STORY

The results of a recent city auditor’s office report on the economic development deal between the city of Austin and The Domain has raised concerns for one City Council member who has proposed the city back out of the deal.
District 7 Council Member Leslie Pool, a vocal critic of the deal, told Community Impact Newspaper Tuesday the results of the auditor’s report confirmed her prior sentiments that the city should back out of the 14-year-old economic development deal. The report was initiated by questions Pool raised about the agreement last fall.
Economic development deals—also known as Chapter 380 agreements, a reference to the Texas Government Code—allow municipalities to provide loans or grants of public money to encourage economic development...

MORE:

LINK TO AUDITORS REPORT ON DOMAIN CH. 380 AGREEMENT


Creative ‘hubs’ requests moving forward for $40M bond ask (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

The questions surrounding a movement to build multiple creative “hubs” – or possibly one single campus – for Austin’s arts and music communities are becoming somewhat clearer as proponents of those groups continue talks ahead of an August decision on the size and makeup of the city’s fall general obligation proposal.
The city’s Arts and Music commissions separately voted in recent weeks to request additional bond money. The cost of these requests stands at $40 million, with both bodies wanting to purchase or renovate property to stem the growing problem of local theaters, studios and venues being redeveloped or becoming too expensive to host low-revenue-generating arts events...

Documents: Oracle plans to nearly double size of Austin campus (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

Oracle’s massive Austin waterfront campus is about to get even bigger.
In March, Oracle moved into its new, five-story building in Southeast Austin that spans more than half a million square feet and overlooks Lady Bird Lake.
Now, new plans filed with the city of Austin show just how much larger the corporate campus along South Lakeshore Boulevard is about to get...

Why Do So Many Self-Storage Places Keep Popping Up In Austin? (KUT) LINK TO STORY

"It’s simple: They’re relatively easy to build, they don’t need much staff to operate and they’re ideal for flipping as property values rise..."

[STATE]

Texas is making billions from oil and gas drilling, but counties say rural roads are being destroyed (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

W.C. Steinmann says his family roots in southeast Texas date back to 1882. The 74-year-old rancher lives in DeWitt County, between San Antonio and Victoria, an area surrounded by oil and natural gas fields. Steinmann and other local property owners say the oil and gas boom is destroying the rural road system.

“The base of the roads were not designed for those types of heavy equipment to go on them,” Steinmann said, adding that some roads are so narrow that “you have to get in a ditch to let someone come by you. It gets very difficult day-after-day to travel those roads.”...


Ryan's exit as House Speaker opens leadership hopes for influential Texans (Houston Chronicle) LINK TO STORY

The sudden exit of U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan set off a scramble for the top leadership posts in the GOP ranks Wednesday, a shakeup that could change life for a number of ranking Texas Republicans. Among those analysts are watching closely is House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady of The Woodlands, who has been a close ideological ally of Ryan as his wing man on tax cuts and trade.
Brady, in his 11th term, is not generally considered a candidate to replace Ryan. But a potential contest between House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy and GOP Whip Steve Scalise could present the well-liked Texan with a chance to slip into the third leadership spot...

Texas is rife with cryptocurrency fraud, state regulators say (Dallas Morning News) LINK TO STORY

Digital coins might live up to their hype someday of being integral to commerce of the future, but in the interim the term "cryptocurrency" already has a more dubious distinction -- it's become the most common buzzword used in investment scams statewide. Crypto-related potential swindles have surpassed schemes involving oil and gas assets, real estate and stocks in recent months as the most popular means by which fraudsters are attempting to separate Texas investors from their money, according to Joe Rotunda, director of enforcement at the Texas State Securities Board...

[NATION]

Why Ryan called it quits (Politico) LINK TO STORY

Paul Davis Ryan — once the Republican Party golden boy, now the speaker of the House who is leaving elective politics after two decades at just 48 years old — said the thing that bothers him the most in today’s political climate is “identity politics.” “I’m an old Jack Kemp guy that believes strongly in inclusive, aspirational politics that are based on bringing people together and not exploiting divisions,” Ryan said in an interview Wednesday afternoon in his Capitol suite.
“With identity politics being played all around and 21st-century technology accelerating it, and putting gas on the fire — that is my big concern of politics these days. And that makes it harder to have political goodwill in this country because of all this polarization.”...

McCarthy plays inside game in shadow campaign for Speaker (The Hill) LINK TO STORY

While House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) led a delegation of lawmakers to Europe and Africa over the Easter recess, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was back in Washington attending a small, private dinner with President Trump. It was, perhaps, the most recent illustration of how McCarthy has been playing the inside game with Trump, ensuring that there’s little political daylight — or literal distance — between him and the president. McCarthy and Scalise, the No. 2 and No. 3 House GOP leaders, respectively, have been vying for Trump’s affection as they quietly run a shadow campaign to replace Speaker Paul Ryan if the Wisconsin Republican suddenly quits Congress after the November midterm elections...

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