BG Note | News - What We're Reading (May 24, 2018)


[Austin Metro]

Scooter company, license in hand, relaunches in Austin (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

Bird, once again, is the early bird.
The Venice, Calif.-based scooter-rental company, which released its electric vehicles onto Austin streets in early April without city permission, scattered them about Central Austin on Wednesday after being granted a city license to operate. The company, and its chief competitor, Lime, had taken their stand-up electric vehicles out of service here in late April after the Austin City Council passed an ordinance making it clear scooters would be impounded until the companies complied with city rules.
Those new rules were in place by May 14, and Bird applied to operate in Austin a week ago. The Austin Transportation Department granted it a license Tuesday.
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Regardless of Austin City Council vote, courts will likely decide CodeNEXT petition’s fate (Community Impact) LINK TO STORY

aAustin City Council will vote Thursday whether to support leaving the fate of a five-year, $8.5 million land development code rewrite to voters.
No matter Thursday’s outcome, city officials and people close to the issue expect the ultimate decision to come from the courts.
“There will be legal action regardless of what happens [Thursday],” District 6 Council Member Jimmy Flannigan said.
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Tech leaders seeking solutions to Austin’s data, hardware challenges (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

Describing the patchwork of roughly a dozen information management systems her employees have to use to manage the city’s affordable and low-income housing network, Rosie Truelove said it’s time for Austin’s tech sector to help the city run smarter. With data siloed because of incompatible system architecture and other related technology problems, she said she’s limited in her role as director of Neighborhood Housing and Community Development.
While laying out her department’s need for a central data management platform to members of Austin’s technology community on Monday, Truelove joined managers from more than a dozen departments within city government in helping to frame the problems local government needs help solving.
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Ahead of speaker election, moderates hold strong in Texas GOP runoffs (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

At the end of last summer’s special legislative session, an angry Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick vowed that the Texas House members who blocked his agenda — especially the so-called bathroom bill and a measure restricting property tax increases — “are going to have to explain that to the voters.” But in Tuesday’s runoff elections and in the March 6 primary, GOP voters overwhelmingly rejected candidates aligning themselves with the agenda Patrick pushed in the state Senate, which he leads, and instead chose business-backed centrist Republicans associated with retiring House Speaker Joe Straus of San Antonio.
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Following Santa Fe school shooting, Dan Patrick says Texas should cut incentive funding for “violent” films and video games (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

While Democrats clamored for stricter gun regulations and Gov. Greg Abbott discussed measures to tighten school security following Friday's mass shooting at Santa Fe High School, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick set his sights on another target: the makers of violent films and video games.
Patrick spent the weekend on national television talking about what was to blame for the tragedy in southeast Texas that left 10 people dead, the latest in a spate of mass shootings across the country. It wasn’t the ready availability of guns in this country, Patrick said. Instead, the bloodshed was the result of a “violent culture where we’ve devalued life,” Patrick told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.
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Valdez vows to ‘come out swinging’ for uphill battle against Abbott (San Antonio Express-News) LINK TO STORY

As a lifelong Democrat, Austin resident Charlena Sanchez-Rocha applauded as she watched Lupe Valdez accept the Democratic gubernatorial nomination and promise to “come out swinging” against Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in November. But with Abbott packing a $41 million campaign punch of his own, Sanchez-Rochaq readily admits Abbott will knock out Valdez in the general election. “Having a Latina on the ballot may get more brown people like me to turn out and vote, and that will be a good thing,” the 47-year-old massage therapist and mother of three said Wednesday. Valdez’s campaign began moving to raise what insiders said will be at least $10 million to fully develop a longshot ground game to defeat Abbott.
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San Antonio tops national list in population gain; Houston growth is sluggish (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

Pushing past the 1.5 million mark, San Antonio grew more than any other city in the country last year, while Houston barely experienced any growth overall. Meanwhile, Texas suburbs once again topped the list of fastest-growing cities in the nation, according to population estimates released Thursday by the Census Bureau. With just 177,286 residents, Frisco — which ranked as the nation's fastest-growing city — easily outpaced the state's biggest city in population gain from July 2016 to July 2017. Frisco, north of Dallas, had a net gain of 13,470 residents. Houston, which clocks out at 2.3 million residents, only grew by an estimated 8,235.
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Jared Kushner Gets Security Clearance, Ending Swirl of Questions Over Delay (New York Times) LINK TO STORY

Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, has been granted his permanent security clearance, a person briefed on the matter said on Wednesday, ending a period of uncertainty that had fueled questions about whether Mr. Kushner was in peril in the special counsel investigation. Mr. Kushner is a senior presidential aide with a prominent role in Middle East diplomacy. But his F.B.I. background checks dragged on for a year and became one of many political distractions for the White House. Even some inside the administration suspected that Mr. Kushner’s delay reflected legal problems on the horizon.
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In reversal, Giuliani now says Trump should do interview with Mueller team (Washington Post) LINK TO STORY

President Trump’s attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani switched gears Wednesday, saying that he would prefer the president grant an interview to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s office and that a decision would be made within “the next couple weeks.” “I guess I’d rather do the interview. It gets it over with. It makes my client happy,” he said in an interview with The Washington Post.
“The safe course you hear every lawyer say is don’t do the interview, and that’s easy to say in the abstract. That’s much harder when you have a client who is the president of the United States and wants to be interviewed.” Giuliani had expressed skepticism in recent days about an interview with the team investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, telling the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that his decision would be no if a choice had to be made immediately. “If they said you have to do it now, the answer would have to be no,” Giuliani told the Journal.
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