BG Reads | News - What We're Reading (June 15, 2018)

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[Austin Metro]

Council rejects contract award to contractor who used racial slur (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

City Council on Thursday used a contractor’s use of a racial slur as an reason to reject his company’s bid to repair two intersections along East Seventh Street.
The Austin Monitor first reported that Aaron Cabaza of Aaron Concrete referred to construction workers as “wetbacks” at a Travis County-sponsored meeting in May. Soon after that story published, Cabaza, who is Latino himself, issued an apology for using the derogatory epithet for immigrants from Latin America.
Aaron Concrete was one of two firms that put in bids to replace brick pavers at East Seventh Street and Chicon and Calles streets. The city originally installed the pavers during a 2011 makeover of the corridor. They were determined to be defective not long after.
The Public Works Department is proposing to replace the pavers with concrete colored to mimic their appearance.
Aaron Concrete had offered to do the work for $325,000, a bid that came in lower than the estimate quoted by Muniz Concrete.
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Whole Foods finances healthier under Amazon but CEO Mackey 'not afraid' to stand up to new bosses (Austin Business Journal) LINK TO STORY

An "incredible year" under Amazon.com Inc. has meant lots of change and also resumed growth in same-store sales for Whole Foods Market — as well as occasional disagreement over how to run the business.
That's the gist of a talk Whole Foods CEO John Mackey gave this week to employees, according to a leaked recording obtained by Business Insider.
Mackey said, just like a marriage, disagreements are natural after a merger, according to Business Insider — and that he's not afraid to stand up when it comes to the future of the chain he co-founded more than 35 years ago as a single store selling natural food.
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Council confirms Manley as new police chief (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

City Council unanimously confirmed Brian Manley as the Austin Police Department’s new chief Thursday. Manley has served in an interim role since former Police Chief Art Acevedo left to head up Houston’s police department in 2016.
Manley thanked those at City Hall for “putting faith” in him and said he appreciated having the opportunity to hear from the community about its concerns.
“It’s not lost on me, also, that this is the first time as a community that we have appointed a police chief from within the department in almost four decades,” he said, “and that, too, adds a sense of responsibility on top of everything else.”
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Five Council members signal support for major housing bond (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

Mayor Steve Adler and four other members of City Council announced their support Thursday for putting a major housing bond on the ballot in November.

Standing in front of scores of activists on the front steps of City Hall Thursday morning, Adler said that funds from previous housing bonds approved by voters in 2013 and 2006 were nearly depleted but that the need for affordable housing has only grown.

Adler has described transportation and affordability as the city’s two chief challenges. He credited Austinites for supporting the $720 million transportation bond that he pushed in 2016, saying that they recognized the city’s pressing needs in that domain and responded accordingly. Now it is time, he said, for voters to “act big” on affordability.

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[STATE]

Trump reigns supreme at Texas Republican Convention (Dallas Morning News) LINK TO STORY

At a state convention where two years ago hardly anyone wanted to talk about the "T-word," and most Texas Republicans were behind arch-conservative Ted Cruz for president, conventioneers this year seem mostly enamored with The Donald.
"When Trump was first elected, I was scared about what might be next for the Republican Party," said Gina Munoz, 44, a San Antonio resident who supported Cruz. "Donald Trump was an absolute unknown. He talked a good game and said he was a Republican, but he was friendly with the Clintons and Democrats, so what's that all about?" Now that Trump's been in office more than a year, she said, "I've started breathing normally again. He's surprised me and done a good job for us conservatives."
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Lt. Gov. Patrick says ‘we won’ on bathroom bill, considers issue ‘settled’ (Houston Chronicle) LINK TO STORY

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick says the battle over the so-called bathroom bill is over, even though the legislation never became law in Texas. “We won,” Patrick told reporters Thursday at the Republican Party of Texas’ annual convention.

“This issue is settled.” Patrick’s reasoning is that in the Republican Primary elections, 1.5 million people voted and about 90 percent of them supported a ballot question that asked whether they supported protecting the privacy of women and children when they go to the bathroom. There were dozens of non-binding questions on the Republican ballot.

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Congressmen from near and far to visit Brownsville migrant children shelters (San Antonio Express-News) LINK TO STORY

At least five congressmen from across the country are planning to visit two unaccompanied minor shelters run by Southwest Key Programs in Brownsville on Monday. The trip was organized by U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Brownsville, and he said it was in the works before Sen. Jeff Merkley was barred entry into the Casa Padre facility on June 3 — which was filmed on Facebook Live and went viral in the days that followed.
“I hope to learn a whole lot more about what Southwest Key Programs is seeing, and what they’re doing,” Vela said, adding he also hopes to “actually see for ourselves everything we’re reading.” The lawmakers’ trip includes an hourlong interview with Southwest Key leaders, and a tour of both the Casa Padre and Casa El Presidente shelters for unaccompanied minors, each lasting 30 to 45 minutes.
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