BG Reads | News - What We're Reading (July 17, 2018)

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[AUSTIN METRO]

Judge orders CodeNext petition ordinance on the ballot (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

The CodeNext petition ordinance will appear on November’s ballot and likely pour kerosene on Austin City Council elections this year just as campaign season begins to ramp up. Travis County state District Judge Orlinda Naranjo issued the order on Monday ruling that it was premature for the Austin City Council to deny the petition ordinance.
If approved, the proposed ordinance would allow voters to decide whether they wish to vote on CodeNext and any future large-scale revisions of Austin’s land development code. It also calls for a waiting period before any voter-approved land-use rewrite is adopted.
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Austin Mayor Adler’s fundraising tops $574,000, Morrison raises $92,000 (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

Austin Mayor Steve Adler has raised $291,500 for his re-election campaign since January, plus more than $283,000 in late 2017, easily eclipsing rival Laura Morrison’s fundraising.
Adler’s latest campaign finance report filed Monday showed that the mayor’s fundraising has continued unabated since his re-election campaign began last year. Since the start of 2018, his campaign has garnered more than 1,400 contributions. He also had outstanding campaign loans to himself of $449,200.
Morrison, a former City Council member, has raised $92,294 this election cycle and loaned herself $28,000, according to campaign finance reports filed Monday, which detail campaign expenditures and contributions from January through June. In a news release, Morrison characterized this month’s fundraising reports as a “battle against special interest money.”
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Following Texas Supreme Court ruling, Austin area retailers grapple with plastic bag policy (Community Impact) LINK TO STORY

In June, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that a single-use plastic bag ban in Laredo, Texas, violated a state law regulating solid waste disposal. In response, the city of Austin announced that it would no longer enforce its own single-use plastic bag ban, raising questions about how retailers would respond.
Many grocery and convenience stores with locations in Austin have not officially changed their policies, although they may do so in the future.
Supermarket chain Randalls, which is headquartered in Houston, “is considering a future course of action with insight from our customers,” according to an official statement.
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Graffiti park’s move to Carson Creek Ranch moved to 2019 (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

Austinites and tourists will now have more time to visit the graffiti art park HOPE Outdoor Gallery in its downtown location. The private park, which was expected to close this summer and relocate to a permanent home near the airport, will now remain open on Baylor Street through October.
Plans for opening the new art park at Carson Creek Ranch, a 58-acre ranch on the banks of the Colorado River, have been pushed back to spring 2019 due to construction timeline updates, including delays because of contractor bids, cost changes and permitting requirements.
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[TEXAS]

Some of Dallas' biggest political names are pondering campaigns to succeed Mike Rawlings as mayor (Dallas Morning News) LINK TO STORY

It's often an aggravating, dead-end job with no prospects for higher office, but that hasn't stopped numerous potential candidates from exploring campaigns for Dallas mayor. With less than a year before the 2019 municipal elections, at least 16 contenders are jockeying or being mentioned as possible successors to Mayor Mike Rawlings, who will leave office in June after serving eight years as leader of the council.

The list, heavy with City Council members, includes some of the biggest names in local politics. At issue for them is how to articulate a vision for the city after the leadership of Rawlings, the former Pizza Hut CEO who tackled critical issues, including bridging the divide between the city's prosperous northern and struggling southern areas. Rawlings also excelled at crisis management, steering the city through the 2014 Ebola crisis and the 2016 ambush and shooting deaths of five police officers.

"It's going to take at least $1.5 million, and that's on the low end," said Dallas political consultant Carol Reed, who managed the successful mayoral campaigns of Ron Kirk and Tom Leppert. Dallas businessman Albert Black already has a campaign manager and is aggressively seeking support. 
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Valdez has $222,000 for general election, a fraction of Abbott's millions (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

Lupe Valdez, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, has $222,000 to spend with less than four months until Election Day, according to her campaign. It is a figure that continues to put her far behind Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in the money race.
Abbott, who is seeking a second term, has $28.9 million in the bank by comparison — or 130 times Valdez's balance.
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[NATION]

Trump Calls Mueller Probe ‘Disaster’ While Standing Next to Putin (Bloomberg) LINK TO STORY

President Donald Trump called Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian election meddling a “disaster” on Monday, again questioned whether Russia interfered in the 2016 election that he won and suggested he equally trusted U.S. intelligence officials and Vladimir Putin -- all as he stood beside the Russian leader.
In a remarkable news conference following a summit between Trump and Putin in Helsinki, both leaders challenged the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that the Kremlin meddled in the election and criticized the investigation into the interference, led by Mueller, that has resulted in indictments against more than two dozen Russians. The comments provoked a rare on-the-record rebuttal from Trump’s own intelligence director.
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