BG Reads | News - What We're Reading (June 21, 2018)


[Austin Metro]

Austin-Round Rock is the 9th-fastest-growing metro area in the U.S. (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

The Austin-Round Rock metro area is the ninth fastest growing in the country, according to 2017 population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The total population in 2017 was 2.1 million. The area did see a slight decline in its rate of population growth compared to the year before. Molly Cromwell, a demographer with the U.S. Census Bureau, says the decrease can be attributed to a drop in net domestic migration – that is, fewer people moving to the area from other parts of the U.S.
“There were nearly 5,000 fewer people moving into the metro area from other places in the country than moving out of it in 2017 compared to 2016,” Cromwell said.
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Leslie Pool: Resolutions to negotiate with PSV for soccer stadium, solicit other proposals are ‘complementary’ (Community Impact) LINK TO STORY

When Precourt Sports Ventures identified McKalla Place as its preferred site to build a Major League Soccer stadium in Austin, the Columbus Crew soccer team’s operating group hoped to enter into negotiations with the city before Austin City Council took its summer break in July.
PSV may achieve that goal if a council resolution is passed on Thursday, June 28, authorizing City Manager Spencer Cronk to discuss the proposed stadium with the operating group. However, the city may open up the process to consider competing proposals for the property as well.
Council Members Leslie Pool, Ora Houston, Alison Alter and Ellen Troxclair have proposed directing Cronk to solicit other plans for the McKalla Place site, including mixed-use development and affordable housing options.
“Knowing all of the opportunities available to us not only helps us make an informed decision, but it puts us in a better negotiating position with all of the participants, as well,” Pool said in a statement released by her office on Wednesday.
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In Ohio, court keeps lawsuit against owner of Columbus Crew soccer team alive (Austin Business Journal) LINK TO STORY

Ohio's 10th District Court of Appeals has refused to dismiss a lawsuit against the investor-operator of Columbus Crew SC, which is considering moving the team to Austin.
Precourt Sports Ventures, Columbus Crew SC and Major League Soccer argued in a filing last week that the "Art Modell Law" —the focal point in the lawsuit filed by the city of Columbus and state of Ohio to keep the club from relocating to Texas — was unconstitutional. They also said the Franklin County Common Pleas Court had overstepped its reach in the case.
The appeals court ruled Thursday that their request was premature. Until Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Brown issues a final ruling in the case, the appeals court said it has a "lack of jurisdiction," according to court documents obtained by Columbus Business First.
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    ‘Speed cushions’ hit Health and Human Services Committee (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

    Though the program that brings new speed cushions to Austin is currently in a holding pattern, the City Council Health and Human Services Committee received an update regarding traffic calming devices at its meeting last Wednesday afternoon.
    Chair Ora Houston said the need for the such a discussion arose after several people testified at Council explaining how difficult it is to go over traffic calming devices, especially for individuals with neck or back issues. She said the the main issue speaks to individuals with disabilities and the harm or discomfort they feel when using such devices.

    Specifically, Houston was referencing prefabricated “speed cushions,” which have provoked public discontent in recent months at City Hall. The cushions, which a layman might refer to as “speed bumps,” are raised pavement on the road. Director of Transportation Robert Spillar explained the engineered devices are used to mitigate public safety hazards like speeding.

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    Downtown Commission unanimously recommends Austin City Council hold off on loosening ordinances aimed at homelessness (Community Impact) LINK TO STORY

    Next week city council will consider loosening a solicitation ordinance many claim target the homeless; however, the city’s Downtown Commission Wednesday said City Council should table the action until a public input process takes place.
    The item before City Council at its June 28 meeting would relax a city ordinance targeting aggressive solicitation by removing restrictions on soliciting downtown at night, within a block of grade schools and childcare facilities, on marked crosswalks, sidewalks, street highways and parks.
    Many have claimed the solicitation ordinance and others—the ban on camping and sitting or laying down in public spaces—unfairly prey upon homeless individuals by making it easier for police to hand out citations. The citations come with court dates and fines that homeless individuals have difficulty fulfilling. This can lead to arrest warrants and criminal records that create more obstacles for those wanting to exit homelessness, they say.
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    Trump fuels anger, enthusiasm at Texas Democratic Convention (Houston Chronicle) LINK TO STORY

    For a party so far out of power, Texas Democrats are surprisingly optimistic about their future, thanks to President Trump’s impact on the political landscape. The party, which is holding its convention in Fort Worth this week, hasn’t won a statewide office in more than two decades and has seen its numbers in Congress and the Legislature melt way.
    Internal divisions have diminished the party’s most valuable resources — votes and money. Yet Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said that when the convention begins Thursday, the party will be better positioned for this election cycle than any time in recent history thanks largely to one man. “We’re united in our firm commitment to get rid of Donald Trump,” Hinojosa said.


    Border Patrol will stop referring migrant parents who cross into the US illegally with children for prosecution, official says (Washington Post) LINK STORY


    President Trump’s executive order to halt family separations unleashed confusion in Washington and at the Mexico border Thursday, as U.S. Customs and Border Protection said it would stop referring such cases for prosecution and migrant parents arrived at courthouses in Texas and Arizona wearing handcuffs only to be led away without facing charges.
    After a senior Customs and Border Protection official told The Washington Post that the agency would freeze criminal referrals for migrant parents who cross illegally with children, Justice Department officials insisted that their “zero tolerance” policy remained in force and that U.S. attorneys would continue to prosecute those entering the United States unlawfully.
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