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


[Austin Metro]

Brian Manley is the sole finalist to lead the Austin Police Department permanently (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

Austin is one step closer to getting a new police chief.
City Manager Spencer Cronk said Brian Manley is the sole candidate to take over the reins at the Austin Police Department. Manley served as the longtime second-in-command to his predecessor, Art Acevedo, and was tapped to serve as interim chief after Acevedo’s departure in November 2016.
“I am both honored and humbled to have this opportunity before me,” Manley, who has been with the APD for nearly 30 years, said at a news conference yesterday. “I look forward to the process. To have been able to serve in this role for the past 17 months has been my greatest honor.”...

MORE: Austin ISD approves new district police chief Ashley Gonzalez (Austin American-Statesmn) LINK TO STORY

Mixed-use projects dominate new development in Austin (Community Impact) LINK TO STORY

In 2006 the city of Austin approved vertical mixed-use, or VMU, zoning along some of its major transit corridors to accommodate rapid growth.
The goal was density—of housing supply, transit opportunities and uses.
“Mixed-use” refers to the combination of two or more of the following uses—residential, commercial or office—in one building.
Since 2006 at least 10 such VMU developments have sprung up along Lamar Boulevard. Other mixed-use hubs include Burnet Road, East Seventh Street and South Congress Avenue.
“Mixed-use is a catch-all,” said Britt Morrison, Senior Vice President at the Weitzman Group, which opened Austin’s first such project, The Triangle, in 2008...

Council wants to help homeowners resist ‘predatory home flipping’ (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

City Council Member Delia Garza has no interest in selling her home in Southeast Austin, but she was intrigued by a letter she received in the mail recently from somebody interested in buying it.
An ominous all-caps headline on the yellow card reads, “THIRD NOTICE” – language one would expect on an overdue bill. Below that, it says the following: “Attention: Delia – I urgently need to talk to you about your property.”
“When I read it, I said, ‘Did I get a ticket? Did I not go to jury notice?’” Garza recalled during a Council work session on April 24.
Garza has received complaints from constituents who have been getting similar mail offering them quick cash for their homes. Signs have also been popping up around town offering easy home sales...

Home rehab loan saga continues (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

After the publication of the Austin Monitor story describing problems facing some homeowners who took out loans under the city’s Home Rehabilitation Loan Program, the city responded. Rosie Truelove, the director of the Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Department, said via email, “After our conversation … our team got together to make sure our process is as responsive to our clients’ concerns as possible.
“Obviously, the success of the HRLP relies upon maintaining a trusted relationship with our clients and committing to resolving any programmatic issues completely and quickly.”...


Paxton joins lawsuit against Austin paid sick leave policy (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

An ordinance requiring most Austin businesses to provide paid sick leave to employees gained another potent opponent Monday when Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton moved to join a lawsuit seeking to strike down the policy. Paxton, a Republican who has tangled with Austin’s liberal leadership over policy differences in the past, argued that the city’s sick leave requirement violates the Texas Minimum Wage Act, which sets the minimum amount of compensation required for workers and makes no mention of requiring paid time off from work. “The Austin City Council’s disdain and blatant disregard for the rule of law is an attempt to unlawfully and inappropriately usurp the authority of the state lawmakers chosen by Texas voters and must be stopped,” Paxton said...

Lupe Valdez apologizes for not answering immigration question at forum, tries to explain her record (Dallas Morning News) LINK TO STORY

Gubernatorial hopeful Lupe Valdez on Monday issued an apology for failing to address questions about her immigration track record as Dallas County sheriff during a candidate forum aimed at young Latino voters on Sunday. "This weekend, I fell short," Valdez said in a statement. "A young woman asked me a question at a forum over the weekend regarding my track record, and she did not get the answer she deserved. I am sorry and I understand why people are disappointed." The nearly 700-word statement, which expounded on why she cooperated with immigration authority requests to hold people in her office's custody, comes as potential voters and left-leaning advocates have pressured Valdez to explain her immigration record...

The cost of recruiting athletes has doubled at top Texas colleges. At some schools, students help foot the bill. (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

Private jets, chartered cars, visits to fancy restaurants. College coaches in Texas and across the country are fanning out, like they do every spring, to high school football stadiums and basketball courts to recruit the most promising players to their teams. But over the past decade, the cost of doing that has mounted. At eight public schools in Texas that participate in the highest level of college sports, recruiting costs have increased 131 percent on average since the 2007-2008 academic year, according to financial reports filed with the NCAA. Last year, those schools funneled a combined $9.8 million into recruiting the best high school players to their teams...

As drought returns, experts say Texas cities aren't conserving enough water (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

In the early months of 2015, driving around Wichita Falls was a depressing experience for resident Larry Ayres, filled with dust and wilting plants. The nights were even worse; he was sleepless with worry about what the city running out of water could mean for his family and his local chain of car washes. Wichita Falls' corner of North Texas was enduring one of the worst droughts in its history at the time, leaving the reservoirs that supply water to the city barely treading above 20 percent full. If the combined levels of the reservoirs, lakes Arrowhead, Kemp and Kickapoo, had dipped below that mark, the city would have been forced to shut off all public water...


Amazon boosts credit line by $4 billion ahead of HQ2 decision, rumors of Boeing jet order (Austin Business Journal) LINK TO STORY

The moves by Amazon to massively boost its credit facilities and launch a commercial paper program — which are securities sold to meet short-term debt obligations — come as the company is in the midst of deciding where to build its second North American headquarters — Austin is one of 20 finalists in the running. The company plans to spend $5 billion on that expansion project.
They also come amid persistent rumors that the e-commerce giant is set to make either a major order for between 80 and 100 Boeing 767 freighters or potentially acquire part of the German cargo company DHL Group to help boost its Prime Air cargo fleet operations to accommodate a global explosion in package shipments.
A purchase of 100 767 freighters by Amazon would represent a deal worth $21.2 billion at list prices. A big potential buyer like Amazon, however, would likely enjoy discounts of up to 50 percent...

Mueller raised possibility of presidential subpoena in meeting with Trump’s legal team (Washington Post) LINK TO STORY

In a tense meeting in early March with the special counsel, President Trump’s lawyers insisted he had no obligation to talk with federal investigators probing Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential campaign. But special counsel Robert S. Mueller III responded that he had another option if Trump declined: He could issue a subpoena for the president to appear before a grand jury, according to four people familiar with the encounter. Mueller’s warning — the first time he is known to have mentioned a possible subpoena to Trump’s legal team — spurred a sharp retort from John Dowd, then the president’s lead lawyer...

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