BG Reads | News - What We're Reading (July 5, 2018)



Paxton sues eight Planning commissioners (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Tuesday received approval from a Travis County district judge to move forward with a lawsuit seeking to remove eight of 13 members of Austin’s Planning Commission. Paxton did so at the urging of opponents of the land use regulation rewrite known as CodeNEXT – including attorneys Fred Lewis and Bill Bunch – who presented evidence that the commission has too many members in development-related professions.
In the quo warranto suit, the attorney general alleges that eight members of the Planning Commission should be removed from the commission because Austin’s City Charter requires that “a minimum of two-thirds of the members” of the commission “shall be lay members not directly or indirectly connected with real estate and land development.”
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Council votes to ‘test’ CodeNEXT (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

City Council has asked the city manager to convene a group of development and design experts who will “test” the new regulations proposed in CodeNEXT.
The idea is to have a group of building professionals – architects, engineers, urban planners – go through the process of crafting a number of fictional projects based on the proposed code.
Council Member Ellen Troxclair, who brought forward the resolution establishing the process, said during Thursday’s City Council meeting that the goal is to see what impact the nonzoning regulations have on the ability of developers to build the units that they are allowed to create under the zoning code.
For instance, while the zoning for a piece of property might allow for eight units, other regulations regarding impervious cover, parking or tree preservation might make it either illegal or extremely expensive to build that number of units.
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Austin brings community health into the community (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

Last summer, after city officials called on the Austin Police Department and other public safety departments to address issues attributed to homelessness, a coalition of public safety and social services groups began working to increase support for this vulnerable population.
One of the programs taking the lead on this effort is the Homeless Outreach Street Team(HOST), which formed in early 2016 to address homelessness in the downtown and West Campus areas of Austin. Since its inception, the program has been finding its bearings as it works both to get people off the streets and into housing as well as to identify and treat people in need of medical, psychiatric or legal care.


Texas Elections To Move Forward Without Changes To State House District Map (KUT) LINK TO STORY

The 2018 elections will move forward without any tweaks to Texas' political maps.
Following the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling to uphold all but one of the state's political districts, a three-judge federal panel in San Antonio on Tuesday ordered that the state's maps should stay in place for this year's elections despite outstanding issues with House District 90.
The Tarrant County-based district was the sole exception the Supreme Court made in OK'ing the state's maps last week. That district, which is held by Democratic state Rep. Ramon Romero, was deemed an impermissible racial gerrymander because lawmakers illegally used race as the predominant factor in deciding its boundaries.

'Abolish ICE'? Senate Candidate Beto O'Rourke Isn't So Sure (KUT) LINK TO STORY

Congressman Beto O'Rourke, the Democratic candidate challenging U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz for his seat, has so far resisted pressure from grassroots groups to call for abolishing the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. The agency has become a lightning rod under the Trump administration.
On Tuesday, he was confronted by an activist at a rally in Rosenberg, outside Houston. 
"How can you sit there and say you are not for abolishing ICE when it is a terroristic organization?" asked a woman, who called herself an organizer in the Houston community.  


Facing An Uphill Battle, Activists Race To Oppose Trump's Supreme Court Pick (KUT) LINK TO STORY

One day after Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement, a group calling itself Demand Justice staged a rally outside the court's front steps.
Activists who said they support civil rights and abortion rights mixed with Democratic senators. They were angry that, after declining to convene a vote on President Barack Obama's nominee for the court, the Republican Senate majority leader now is set to confirm the second justice nominated by President Trump.
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