BG Reads | News - What We're Reading (July 23, 2018)



CodeNext election solidifies as campaign issue for candidates (Austin American-Statesman)

The question of whether the court ruling a week ago that ordered the Austin City Council to put the CodeNext petition ordinance on November’s ballot would affect campaign rhetoric was answered within hours.
The anti-CodeNext political action committee IndyAustin made it clear three hours after the ruling was handed down July 16. Yes, the PAC said, supporters of the petition should remember which candidates voted to keep it off the ballot when they go to the polls in November.
“Whether Mayor Steve Adler or Ann Kitchen get re-elected … is totally up to the voters,” said an emailed newsletter from the PAC, naming two council members up for election this year who voted against putting the ordinance on the ballot. “Whether you will have good choices in all council races up in November is a very serious question.”
Opinions vary on what real impact the CodeNext petition ordinance will have on local races. The rewrite of the city’s land use code and zoning maps was going to be an issue no matter what, according to several candidates and political consultants...
Read More (Link to full story)

[Planning Commissioner] Nuckols takes parting shot (Austin Monitor)

Assistant County Attorney Tom Nuckols has stepped down from the Planning Commission, but in a statement provided to the Austin Monitor, he made it clear that he was not leaving the commission because Attorney General Ken Paxton sued him.
A staunch Democrat, Nuckols wrote, “I’m glad I stayed long enough to be sued by Paxton. What a badge of honor! If Ken Paxton is suing me, I know I must be doing something good!”
Nuckols is one of eight members of the commission named as defendants in the suit alleging that they were serving unlawfully. The city charter prohibits the commission from having more than one-third of its 13 members who are “directly or indirectly connected with real estate and land development.”
Nuckols was not one of those named by attorneys Fred Lewis and Bill Aleshire, two of the people who wrote to District Attorney Margaret Moore last October urging her to sue to remove seven commissioners. Presumably, they did not name Nuckols because he works for Travis County and could not be considered to be involved in private real estate and land development. (They named engineers Fayez Kazi and James Schissler, as well as architects Trinity White, Stephen Oliver and James Shieh. They also named Michael Wilson, who worked in real estate investment, but he no longer serves on the commission and was not named in the lawsuit.)...
Read More (Link to full story)

Brandywine sets out to fulfill vision for IBM Broadmoor Campus in North Austin (Community Impact)

Work is already underway on the early phases to transform the IBM Broadmoor Campus into a 6 million-square-foot mixed-use development.
The existing 1 million-square-foot campus was built in the early 1990s, and on June 28, Austin City Council approved the zoning change to allow for more uses on the site, including retail, residential and hospitality.
About half of the space could be new office space in an additional seven to 10 buildings, adding to the existing seven buildings on the site located on 66 acres at 11501 Burnet Road.
“Retail will play a big role in trying to tie the blocks together,” said Bill Redd, executive vice president and senior managing partner of Brandywine Realty Trust, which wholly owns the campus. “If you think about Second Street in downtown, we’re trying to achieve that neighborhood feel on the first level and additional uses above.”...
Read More (Link to full story)


State lawmaker to Trump: Don't overlook Mexican water treaty (Texas Tribune)

A top Texas lawmaker is asking President Donald Trump to renegotiate a longstanding agreement between the United States and Mexico that dictateshow to divvy up water in the Rio Grande and Colorado rivers amid the president's push to re-evaluate international treaties. The key message for the administration: Don't forget about the water.
Concerned about the impact to Texas agriculture in the fertile Rio Grande Valley, state lawmakers have long tried to get the federal government to better enforce a 1944 water treaty with Mexico that entitles the United States to one-third of the water from the Rio Grande — an agreement they say is all the more vital with drought gripping much of Texas...
Read More (Link to full story)

Illegal voting disagreement turns into Twitter fight for Sen. Don Huffines, Rep. Poncho Nevarez (Houston Chronicle) 

Two Texas legislators quarreled on Friday over how, and if, noncitizens can register to vote. "How do illegal aliens register to vote in Texas?" asked Dallas-area state Senator Don Huffines on Twitter. "The honor system. We don't VERIFY the citizenship of applicants to register to vote." "This isn't true," replied Rep. Poncho Nevárez, who serves multiple cities in west Texas. Huffines responded and insisted that noncitizens are regularly removed from voter rolls and sometimes cast ballots. "It doesn't happen," Nevárez fired back. "You've had 1 case. I repeat 1. It was prosecuted and they put the lady under the jail. (sic) Slow your roll and find some other group to scapegoat in order to fan that flame that keeps you in Austin."...
Read More (Link to full story)

Gallego faces residency questions in Senate race (San Antonio Express-News)

Pete Gallego was born and raised in the small west Texas town of Alpine and claims it as his place of residency to this day. That’s important, because Alpine is nestled within the sprawling Texas Senate District 19 and Gallego is one of eight candidates running in a July 31 special election to fill that seat. The evidence suggests, however, that Gallego — a centrist Democrat who served one term in Congress and 22 years in the Texas House — does not reside in the district, but instead lives with his family in a southwest Austin home in a large, upscale Austin development known as the Village at Western Oaks, owned by Maria Elena Ramon, Gallego’s wife of 28 years, according to the Travis Central Appraisal District...
Read More (Link to full story)


States slow to prepare for hacking threats with some, including Texas, saying funds don't cover overhaul (Politico) 

U.S. intelligence officials and security experts have spent years urging states to shore up their elections’ digital defenses, and the latest indictments from special counsel Robert Mueller drew fresh attention to Russia’s cyberattacks on the 2016 presidential election. But less than four months before the midterm elections that will shape the rest of Donald Trump’s presidency, most states’ election offices have failed to fix their most glaring security weaknesses, according to a POLITICO survey of all 50 states...
Read More (Link to full story)

The Bingham Group, LLC is an Austin-based full service lobbying firm representing and advising clients on municipal, legislative, and regulatory matters throughout Texas.


Twitter #binghamgp 

Instagram #binghamgp