BG Note | News - What We're Reading (June 7, 2018)


[Austin Metro]

CodeNEXT: Council agrees on big things but disagrees on key details (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

During their first day of deliberations on CodeNEXT, City Council members signaled agreement on a number of high-level statements about encouraging the construction of more housing along transportation corridors and not adding significant density to the interior of neighborhoods.
And yet, the consensus only related to vague statements proposed by Mayor Steve Adler to guide future deliberations. The apparent agreement could very well mask significant divisions over the details.
Council Member Greg Casar, for instance, said that he was willing to support the statement in favor of prioritizing density along the corridors over interior neighborhoods, but he noted that there would likely be differences of opinion about what level of density should be allowed in different neighborhoods. He added that there were a variety of multifamily housing types in “many of our most beloved” neighborhoods.
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Questions arise over CodeNEXT votes (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

Attorney Bill Aleshire has alerted Mayor Steve Adler that a constituent saw a problem with the new method of counting City Council votes at Tuesday’s work session on CodeNEXT.
That method required members to signal their support for an idea by raising one to five fingers for mild to enthusiastic support and a fist for no support.
Aleshire wrote in an email to the mayor and Council, “The problem raised by your constituent is that the finger vote by each member was not announced orally, and camera did not show how each member voted. We don’t know, yet, if each fist-to-5 finger vote is even going to be reflected in the minutes.”
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Business leaders raise concerns about homelessness (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

It’s not just advocates for the homeless who have serious concerns about homelessness downtown. Businesses say that the mass of misery on the streets is a threat to downtown commerce and the city’s ability to attract visitors.
The effects of the homeless population on business came up in a discussion at the Public Safety Commission about ordinances that critics say “criminalize” homelessness. Those ordinances allow the police to ticket people for sleeping or sitting in certain public spaces as well as for engaging in “aggressive” panhandling.
Marissa McGovern, general manager at 508 Tequila Bar and Pelóns Tex-Mex on Red River Street, said that belligerent behavior from mentally ill people on the streets has made it hard to attract patrons and employees.
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KLRU-TV to move from longtime UT home to ACC’s Highland campus (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

KLRU, the public television station that has operated from the University of Texas since it went on the air in 1962, will move to Austin Community College’s Highland campus in 2020, where it will have more space as well as an expanded role in community initiatives and workforce development.
“This is going to be a great collaboration,” Richard Rhodes, ACC’s president and CEO, told the American-Statesman in advance of an official announcement Thursday at the Highland campus along Airport Boulevard in North Austin. He added on a lighter, rhetorical note, “Big Bird will be here with R.B.,” referring to the Sesame Street character and the Riverbat, ACC’s mascot.
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State Rep. Larry Gonzales, R-Round Rock, to resign effective Thursday (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

State Rep. Larry Gonzales, R-Round Rock, said he is resigning Thursday to focus his attention on rebuilding his graphic design business. Gonzales, whose district encompasses most of Round Rock, all of Hutto and Taylor, and parts of Georgetown, was first elected in 2010. Gonzales announced in August that he would not be running for re-election. “Forty-eight years old, self-employed and two kids in high school — it’s very difficult for guys like me to make a living and to serve as a legislator. I’m honored to do it but it’s no doubt that it’s taken a little toll on my family and it’s time to get that back in order,” Gonzales told the American-Statesman.
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Beto O’Rourke says he’s “very, very proud of my mom” after Ted Cruz brings up her tax fraud case (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

The U.S. Senate race between U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke took a personal turn Wednesday when Cruz's campaign accused his Democratic opponent of ignoring his "mom's tax fraud" while encouraging changes in tax laws to require businesses to charge sales tax on more online purchases.
Charlotte's Furniture, owned by Melissa O’Rourke, was found guilty in 2010 of breaking tax laws five years earlier by accepting cash to avoid reporting payments to tax authorities. Beto O’Rourke has a stake worth between $1 and $5 million in the shopping center where the El Paso store was located, according to congressional records, which Cruz argued ties the congressman from El Paso to the tax fraud.
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Council passes resolution supporting Houston bid for 2020 Democratic National Convention (Houston Chronicle) LINK TO STORY

Houston bolstered its bid for the 2020 Democratic National Convention on Wednesday as City Council affirmed the city’s safety and logistics services will be marshalled sufficiently to support the gathering if Houston is chosen as the host city. Houston has joined seven other cities in taking initial steps to host the event. A memo to council that accompanied the resolution language this week says local officials will make a presentation to the DNC this month, hoping to make a “short list” of cities in contention for the convention. DNC officials have confirmed Houston was one of eight potential host cities to receive formal requests for proposals.
“This city has changed quite a bit since 1992,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner, referencing the last national political convention held in Houston, the one heralding former President George H.W. Bush’s reelection bid that year. “This is about showcasing our city. It’s about inviting people from all over the globe to our city. It’s intended to be a bipartisan effort being presented saying, ‘This is Houston.’”
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New Mexico official says Texas landowners are “stealing” millions of gallons of water and selling it back for fracking (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

“Texas is stealing New Mexico’s water,” said New Mexico State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn. “If you put a whole bunch of straws in Texas and you don’t have any straws in New Mexico, you’re sucking all the water from under New Mexico out in Texas and then selling it back to New Mexico.”

The difference in ownership of land in the two states contributes to the divergent water policies. In Texas, more than 90 percent of the land is privately owned. In New Mexico, by contrast, only 43 percent is owned by individuals, while 57 percent is in government or tribal hands.

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Trump to face lion’s den at G-7 summit (The Hill) LINK TO STORY

President Trump will walk into a lion’s den of angry allied leaders at this week’s Group of Seven summit, where he is expected to face a firestorm of criticism over his decision to hit them with steep tariffs on steel and aluminum. Trump’s decision to levy tariffs has rankled allies and created divisions in the longstanding relationships.
It’s creating a stark contrast from the last decade of G-7 summits, which generally have served as opportunities for the world’s seven largest economies to close ranks on major political and economic issues. Washington’s moves have brought the closely linked nations to the brink of an all-out trade war, setting the stage for a showdown in Quebec and one of the most difficult G-7 meetings for a U.S. president.
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