BG Note | News - What We're Reading (May 31, 2018)


[Austin Metro]

Planning commissioners feeling (relatively) good about CodeNEXT (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

Despite their own differences in opinion on development and the fever-pitch rhetoric surrounding CodeNEXT at City Hall, members of the Planning Commission generally have a positive outlook on the controversial overhaul of the Land Development Code.
“I’m not going to say I’m happy with it, but it’s much better than (the draft) we got from staff,” said Commissioner Greg Anderson, who is perhaps the commission’s staunchest advocate for density and reduced zoning restrictions.
The good feelings are not restricted to one side of the ideological spectrum. Commissioner Trinity White, who is far more likely than Anderson to oppose changes to neighborhood plans, told the Austin Monitor that she saw the Planning Commission’s recommendations to City Council as mostly a “happy ending to a very contentious project.”
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In this East Austin neighborhood, there are now more dogs than children (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

In one rapidly changing East Austin neighborhood, dogs now outnumber children nearly two to one, according to a new report from the University of Texas’ Institute for Urban Policy Research and Analysis.
Researchers released the findings today in an addendum to a March 2018 report, which explored the effects of gentrification on longtime residents of East Austin. The study focused on one particular block between East Seventh and East 11th streets. Eric Tang, associate professor in the African and African Diaspora Studies Department at UT, said researchers kept hearing stories about the influx of dogs in the neighborhood, which seemed to coincide with the loss of children.
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New data show lead in drinking water at five more Austin schools (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

Lead has been found in the drinking water of five Austin public schools, new data obtained by Environment Texas from the Austin Independent School District shows. It’s the second time in the past year the toxic metal has been discovered in AISD schools and facilities.
The tests revealed lead at levels considered especially unsafe by the American Academy of Pediatrics in certain taps at Boone and Patton elementary schools, Bailey and Covington middle schools, and Lanier High School. Environment Texas obtained the data through a public information request.
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Gov. Abbott unveils school safety plan; special session possible (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

Gov. Greg Abbott Wednesday unveiled a 43-page “School and Firearm Safety Action Plan” that would expand training for arming teachers and mental health evaluations for students, among other ideas. Abbott did not foreclose the possibility of a special session of the Legislature to act on his recommendations.
“A special session is not a debating society. A special session is for passing laws,” Abbott said. “If there is some consensus on laws that can be passed, I’m open to calling one.” He said that even with a special session this summer, laws wouldn’t go into effect in time for start of next school year. The governor gets to determine the date of any special session and sets its agenda. It would be a dramatic move in the midst of an election year in which much of the Legislature and he and other statewide elected officials are on the ballot.
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The Green Party needed nearly 50,000 signatures to make it onto the November ballot in Texas. It got about 500. (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

When Texans head to the ballot box this November, they’ll be able to vote for Republicans, Democrats or Libertarians. If they want to choose a candidate affiliated with another political group, they might have to write in the name of their chosen candidate. That’s because five other political parties seeking to get on the ballot — America’s Party of Texas, the Christian Party of Texas, the Green Party of Texas, None of the Above and the Texas Independent Party — didn’t secure the 47,183 valid signatures needed for ballot access this fall.
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Former UT president Faulkner to step in as system’s interim chancellor  (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

When Larry Faulkner stepped down in 2006 after nearly eight years as president of the University of Texas, he predicted correctly that he wouldn’t pursue “a leisure existence.” Since then, he has served as president of a charitable foundation for six years; chairman of a national panel to advance the teaching and learning of math; head of a committee that reviewed admissions practices at the Austin flagship campus; vice chairman of a state panel on higher education; and member of various corporate and nonprofit boards. Oh, and along the way he studied French to the point of proficiency.
Now, at age 73, Faulkner is about to become interim chancellor of the 14-campus UT System. Thursday is Bill McRaven’s last day as chancellor, and Faulkner will assume the interim position Friday, serving until the system’s Board of Regents hires a new chancellor.
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Trump: 'I Wish I Did' Pick A Different Attorney General Than Sessions (KUT) LINK TO STORY

President Trump resumed his attacks against Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday following reports that he had asked Sessions to un-recuse himself from the Russia investigation — and after more erosion of Trump's claim that the FBI spied on his campaign.
Trump used his Twitter account to echo the comments of House oversight committee chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., who has been using TV appearances to try to offer some nuanced support to Trump.
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