BG Note | News - What We're Reading (June 12, 2018)


[Austin Metro]

Jimmy Flannigan, Alison Alter bring sophomore shift to City Council (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

At his first meeting as an Austin City Council member in January 2017, Jimmy Flannigan made it clear he didn’t fear a lack of consensus.
Colleagues had asked him to postpone making a nomination to an environmental advisory board so they could study and discuss the nominee in more depth. Flannigan called that approach a waste of time amid more important issues, and he asked for a basic yes or no vote. When the majority voted to postpone the decision anyway, Flannigan took that as a no and quickly submitted a different name.
“Backstage, I had a council member tell me that I should have let it go, because we prefer to have things done by consensus and have as many unanimous votes as we can,” Flannigan said. “I told that council member that’s not how I operate, and I don’t think that’s how good government operates.”
Likewise, consensus doesn’t overly concern Council Member Alison Alter, who was elected alongside Flannigan. Now a year and a half into their City Council terms, the two are the sophomores beside the council’s seniors, those members elected in 2014. A pair of progressives who replaced conservatives, Flannigan and Alter swept in to leave Southwest Austin Council Member Ellen Troxclair as the body’s only Republican, and their election prompted Council Member Leslie Pool to cheer “more people in the trace pulling the same direction.”
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Council seeks more historic preservation funds (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

Several City Council members agree with their colleague Leslie Pool, who says the city’s Historic Preservation Office is “desperately understaffed” and badly in need of more funding in order to make sure that Austin can keep many of its historic structures.
Pool is sponsoring a resolution on this week’s agenda along with Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo, Mayor Steve Adler, and Council members Ora Houston and Ann Kitchen, asking City Manager Spencer Cronk to consider creating a separate preservation planning division within the Planning and Zoning Department and to increase staff levels to match those of peer cities.
Currently, the city has just two historic preservation professionals working with two administrative employees.
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City seeks input to tee up Dougherty redevelopment at Butler Shores (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

Voters will decide in November if the city will receive bond funds to build a replacement for the Dougherty Arts Center, but a public forum next week is intended to give city leaders input on their plan to build a new arts center on Butler Shores.
The open house, 5:30 p.m. next Thursday at Dougherty at 1110 Barton Springs Road, is the next move in what could be a three-year process to open a new space for local artists in a roughly $25 million facility that would have around one-third more square footage than the current building.
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Council members ask questions and PSV surveys support as soccer relocation winds on (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

The debate around using city property to build a professional soccer stadium in North Austin looks to be one of the larger issues on City Council agendas ahead of the July recess, and Council Member Leslie Pool provided an early look Monday at her line of thinking on the matter.

Pool, whose District 7 includes the McKalla Place parcel selected as the best site involving municipal land, took to the City Council Message Board and posted 17 questions she wants answered by either city staff or members of Precourt Sports Ventures, owners of the Columbus Crew SC team that is attempting to move to Austin. The questions for Tuesday’s work session center around the infrastructure needed to build a stadium, how much of those costs the city would be responsible for, the opportunity costs of building a stadium with no property tax revenue compared to other possible development, and how the city’s analysis arrived at its soccer-related economic benefit forecasts.

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Texas has has 254 counties. Beto O’Rourke has campaigned against Ted Cruz in each of them. (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

After tens of thousands of miles on the road, hundreds of town hall meetings and innumerable cups of coffee, U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke made the final stop on his much-ballyhooed tour of all 254 Texas counties on Saturday, visiting Gainesville in his continuing bid to unseat U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz this fall.
Over the last 15 months, O’Rourke’s county-by-county driving tour has taken him all over the state, from his hometown of El Paso on the Mexican border to Cooke County in the north, where he held a town hall on Saturday afternoon.
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Army rejects Dallas as headquarters for future high-tech command. Austin still in the mix (Dallas Morning News) LINK TO STORY

Dallas did not make the cut for a new military headquarters where weapons and equipment for the future would be designed, Army officials said Monday. But Austin remains in the running. The Army reduced its list of cities in contention for a new Futures Command from 15 to five including Austin, Boston, Raleigh, Minneapolis and Philadelphia. The other finalists notified Monday they were no longer under consideration included Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Denver, Chicago, Houston, New York and Atlanta. Army teams visited Boston, Raleigh and Austin last week and are visiting Minneapolis and Philadelphia this week, according to Army spokesman Col. Patrick R. Seiber.
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Activists say they have enough signatures to put paid sick time for Dallas workers on November ballot (Dallas Morning News) LINK TO STORY

A coalition of activists said Monday they have more than double the signatures needed to let Dallas voters decide whether private employers should be required to offer paid sick time. Jose Garza, executive director of Workers Defense Project, said the groups have amassed 110,000 signatures of registered voters in the city. They delivered about four dozen boxes of paperwork Monday to the city secretary's office.
The possible ordinance is primarily aimed at helping service workers -- such as employees of restaurants, leisure industries and day cares -- who don't have the benefits offered by major employers for white-collar jobs.
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Texas DPS sharing lists of traffic citations with federal immigration authorities (San Antonio Express-News) LINK TO STORY

For the past two years, the Texas Department of Public Safety has shared with immigration officers the names of hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of motorists its officers ticketed around the state to make it easier for federal authorities to deport those they suspect of being in the country illegally.
The little-known “DPS citation lists” recently came to light in San Antonio in a federal immigration case that highlighted a stop by a state trooper, who, according to a judge, was “unprofessional” toward a motorist he suspected of being here illegally by chastising him when he spoke Spanish and shoving him roughly against a pickup after the man didn’t appear to understand a command.
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Trump and Kim sign agreement on denuclearization (The Hill) LINK TO STORY

President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un capped off their historic Tuesday summit in Singapore by signing an agreement committing the United States to unspecified “security guarantees” for Pyongyang in exchange for a denuclearized Korean peninsula.
“President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to [North Korea], and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula," the statement said.
At a signing ceremony alongside Kim, Trump called the document “pretty comprehensive” despite its lack of specifics.
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