BG Note | News - What We're Reading (June 13, 2018)


[Austin Metro]

Council to hash out staff recommendations for proposed 2018 bond package (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

City Council is set to vote tomorrow on adopting the city manager’s recommendation for a 2018 bond package. Voters would decide on whether to approve the $816 million referendum this November.
The proposal includes funding for transportation infrastructure, stormwater and open space, public safety, parks, libraries and cultural centers, health and human services, and affordable housing. However, the question of just how much money to dedicate to affordable housing has been a point of disagreement for city leaders.
City Manager Spencer Cronk recommends setting aside $161 million of bond money for affordable housing, but some Council members want that figure to be almost double. In April, Council members Delia Garza, Pio Renteria and Greg Casar called for increasing the money earmarked for affordable housing to $300 million. Casar and Renteria later said they are aiming for $250 million to $300 million.
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Council confronts thorny issue: How much more housing does Austin need? (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

City Council members engaged in yet another rambling, inconclusive debate over CodeNEXT Tuesday morning, this time over the amount of new housing that the new code should allow to be built.
Currently, Council members are not in the process of actually crafting the code, but rather discussing and debating what they want CodeNEXT to achieve.
The debate ended in little more than a majority of Council members supporting a statement that CodeNEXT should allow the city to create the new housing called for in the city’s Strategic Housing Blueprint, which Council adopted last year. The blueprint calls for 135,000 new housing units to be built over the next 10 years and for 60,000 of them to be affordable to lower-income residents.
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Council plays with ideas for soccer stadium (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

District 7 City Council Member Leslie Pool on Tuesday continued to try to convince her colleagues that they should not play ball with Precourt Sports Ventures, the folks who want to bring a Major League Soccer stadium to Austin.
But most of her colleagues seem to be ready to give the Columbus Crew SC a chance – if they can get the right answers to their questions about the economic impact of giving such a team the city’s property at 10414 McKalla Place.
Only District 10 Council Member Alison Alter seemed to side with Pool, telling city staff that she wanted “a real analysis of their actual proposal.”
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Precourt Sports attorneys make legal case for moving Columbus Crew soccer team to Austin (Austin Business Journal) LINK TO STORY

Precourt Sports Ventures is weighing whether to move the Columbus Crew Soccer Club from Ohio to Austin. But it's still dealing with a lawsuit that seeks to prevent that relocation.
PSV along with the Crew and Major League Soccer on June 8 asked the Ohio 10th District Court of Appeals to dismiss the suit, claiming the "Art Modell Law" is unconstitutional.
The Art Modell Law — named after the businessman who moved a National Football League team from Cleveland to Baltimore in the 1990s — says owners of teams that use tax-supported facilities and accept financial assistance from the state are prohibited from moving to another city unless they give at least six months' notice and the opportunity for individuals who live in the area to purchase the team.
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Idea of arming teachers draws sharp response at Capitol hearing (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

The prospect of arming teachers and administrators to counter school shooters drew a sharp response Tuesday as a special committee of the Texas Senate held its second hearing in two days on school safety.
Opponents said the practice has not been shown to improve safety, places a massive responsibility on already overwhelmed teachers and fosters a siege mentality that damages the learning environment.
Supporters said having an armed adult on site, trained in how to respond to emergency situations, could save lives, saying that the average police response time is three minutes.
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San Antonio weighs new hotel fee to raise funds for tourism promotion (San Antonio Express-News) LINK TO STORY

Tourists would wind up paying slightly higher hotel bills if local hoteliers and tourism officials succeed in getting the city to create a fee they say is necessary to keep San Antonio’s nearly $14 billion hospitality industry competitive.
The San Antonio Hotel and Lodging Association and Visit San Antonio, the former Convention and Visitors Bureau that is tasked with promoting the city to travelers, want to create a “tourism public improvement district” that covers the entire city and is aimed at funding promotion efforts for the local tourism industry. Under the proposal, hotel guests would pay 1.25 percent on top of the existing 16.8 percent occupancy tax on stays at hotels and lodging facilities with more than 100 rooms. Officials estimate the fee would bring in $10 million during the first year if it’s enacted.
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Perry's plan to save coal, nuclear power plants 'difficult to stomach' for at least one fellow Texan (Dallas Morning News) LINK TO STORY

Energy Secretary Rick Perry's latest effort to prop up the struggling coal and nuclear energy industries is testing anew the free market credentials the former Texas governor burnished over decades in public office. Just ask some of his most ardent home-state backers in Congress.
"It's not the worst idea in the world," said Ennis Rep. Joe Barton, a senior Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which shares oversight of the Energy Department. "But if you believe in free markets, it's difficult to stomach." Perry's push — which comes at President Donald Trump's prodding — seeks to give those beleaguered power sources what would amount to a regulatory bailout.


Five takeaways from Trump's summit with Kim Jong Un (The Hill) LINK TO STORY

It was a moment that will surely live on in history books: President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shaking hands in front of a row of six American and six North Korean flags.

The first ever summit between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader concluded Tuesday in Singapore with a joint declaration that was long on ambition but short on details.
In exchange for unspecified “security guarantees” from the United States, North Korea agreed to an “unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.” 
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