BG Note | News - What We're Reading (May 10, 2018)


[Austin Metro]

Austin bike, scooter rules debut to mixed reaction from companies (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

The city of Austin late Tuesday put out emergency rules for dockless scooter and bikes, and at least some of those requirements could raise hackles with the dozen or more companies waiting to launch their services here.
The 10 pages of rules and six pages of licensing requirements, crafted by the Austin Transportation Department in the nearly two weeks since the Austin City Council passed an ordinance allowing the new type of rental devices, include some elements that fall outside the typical operations of dockless bikes and scooters...

Met Center apology insufficient for Houston (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

Council Member Ora Houston raised objections during Tuesday’s work session to an item on Thursday’s Council agenda authorizing staff to enter into a 120-month lease agreement for 96,000 square feet of office space at the Met Center on Montopolis Drive in Southeast Austin. The building is intended to house courthouse employees from the downtown location on East Seventh Street, the Cherry Creek substation and the Criminal Prosecution Division of the Law Department.
After reporters learned that the developer of the Met Center had posted a satirical map of Austin that included a reference to the southeast part of town as “Tortilla Canyon,” Zydeco Development apologized, but that was not enough for Houston or for state Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin...

Wit behind ‘Taco War’ and ‘Wonder Woman’ letter to leave Adler’s office (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

Jason Stanford, Mayor Steve Adler’s communications director and the man who behind the scenes engineered the great Taco War of 2016 between Austin and San Antonio, will be leaving the mayor’s office. Stanford has long been what KUT called the “snarky sidekick” to a more placid Adler. Among reporters, it became well-known that Stanford was the voice behind many of Adler’s more humorous tweets. Stanford’s last day will be May 18...

Who has a ‘direct or indirect interest’ in real estate? It depends who you ask (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

City Council appears divided over what do about a provision of the city charter that requires two-thirds of the members of the Planning Commission to be “lay members” who are not “directly or indirectly connected with real estate or land development.”
Activists opposed to CodeNEXT have filed a complaint with the Travis County District Attorney alleging that seven of the 13 members of the Planning Commission are connected to the real estate industry and that the commission is therefore in violation of the charter.
In response, city staff has crafted two potential resolutions for Council to consider approving at its meeting today. Each resolution would set up a process to limit land use professionals to a maximum of four spots on the Planning Commission...

After delays, final OK may be near for Grove plan (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

More than three years after announcing plans for a $500 million mixed-use project in Central Austin, the developers of the Grove say they are hopeful they are about to clear the final regulatory hurdle needed to allow construction to start on the development.

The project — on a 75-acre site bounded by Bull Creek Road, 45th Street and Shoal Creek — is ready to break ground pending a final green light from the city of Austin’s Zoning and Platting Commission, said Garrett Martin, co-owner of ARG Bull Creek Ltd., the Grove’s developer. ARG Bull Creek Ltd. bought the land from the Texas Department of Transportation for almost $47 million in December 2014...

    Ohio judge stops the clock for 90 days in lawsuit over whether Crew pro soccer team can move to Austin (Austin Business Journal) LINK TO STORY

    A judge has granted a timeout in the case brought by the city of Columbus, Ohio, and the state of Ohio over plans to potentially move the Crew SC pro soccer team to Austin.
    Franklin County Court of Common Pleas Judge Jeffery Brown on May 8 granted the 90-day pause in the lawsuit against the operator of Crew SC and Major League Soccer in order to allow potential buyers to review the team's financial records...


    Forum reveals few differences between Cole, Vela on economic issues (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

    A forum focused on business and economic issues largely revealed little daylight Wednesday between Texas House District 46 Democratic candidates Sheryl Cole and Jose “Chito” Vela.
    That daylight, though, shone brightly in their answers to the first question: How much money should the state place in the Texas Enterprise Fund, a “deal-closing” fund that encourages companies to bring their business to Texas? Lawmakers approved $86 million for the fund for the current two-year budget. The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, which hosted the forum, pushed for $200 million...

    In run for Congress, Kopser leans on military, business experience (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

    Flashing an atypical resume for a Democratic candidate, Joseph Kopser hopes to parlay a military and business career into a seat in Congress — in a Central Texas district drawn to ensure smooth sailing for Republicans. Kopser believes his biography can unlock doors to GOP voters and Republican-leaning independents disenchanted with President Donald Trump, providing an opening for a candidate campaigning on a progressive political platform. “There are a lot of orphaned Republicans here in Texas who do not subscribe to what they see, who do treat people with dignity and respect. These party labels are really starting to wear thin on a lot of people, especially as the Republican Party has become the party of Trump,” said Kopser, 47...


    'I Don't Believe That Torture Works,' CIA Nominee Gina Haspel Tells Senators (KUT) LINK TO STORY

    "I would not allow CIA to undertake activity that I thought was immoral — even if it was technically legal," said Gina Haspel, the career CIA officer who is now nominated to lead the agency. It was one of many replies she gave on Wednesday to pointed questions about what her values and priorities would be as leader of America's intelligence agency.
    Haspel was questioned by both her critics and her backers, testifying under oath at a Senate intelligence committee hearing on her nomination...

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