BG Reads | News - What We're Reading (July 25, 2018)



Austin’s city manager will present FY 2018-19 budget proposal Aug. 6 (Community Impact)

Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk plans to reveal his proposed budget for fiscal year 2018-19 on Monday, Aug. 6 at a special called meeting, according to a Tuesday press release.
Austin City Council will begin discussing the budget at a work session Aug. 15 with a budget and tax rate public hearings scheduled for Aug. 22 and Aug. 30. Final budget adoption will take place in September.
This will be Cronk’s first budget proposal in Austin. He officially assumed the role in February following more than a yearlong search for a new permanent city manager...
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Spirit of East Austin lives on (Austin Monitor)

After a lengthy public engagement process, the city of Austin has released a report detailing key steps the city can take to improve services and quality of life for those living in Austin’s “eastern crescent.”

During the spring of 2017, city staff held “community table talks at more than 35 different locations throughout East Austin,” according to Ray Baray, chief of staff to City Manager Spencer Cronk, in the July 13 memo releasing the report. These talks were aimed at getting feedback from residents from “those who do not usually attend community engagement events.” The effort was part of what the city has dubbed the “Spirit of East Austin,” an ongoing initiative to “break down barriers to jobs and opportunities east of I-35.”

“Staff travelled to soccer games, churches, Easter egg hunts, libraries, recreation centers, mobile home parks, school events, and job fairs, all in an effort to ask the community their thoughts on a set of concepts and ideas intended to create significant change in the Eastern Crescent,” the memo says...

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ABIA’s growth sparks traffic crunch along terminal’s arrival lanes (Austin American-Statesman)

Add to the list of Austin traffic quagmires an unlikely spot: the arrival level at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.
When a number of planes are landing during a short interval at the airport — typically late morning, late afternoon, evenings after about 8 p.m. — the line of cars waiting to pick up arriving passengers on the lower level can stretch as far as a quarter mile along Presidential Boulevard. People waiting at the cell phone lot to gather friends or family — along with ride hailing drivers camped at another ABIA lot — often need as many as 10 minutes to make that short drive to the curb outside baggage claim...
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Thousands of new renters are fueling demand for D-FW and Houston apartments (Dallas Morning News)

Some suburban Dallas communities are pushing back against apartment development, but with 40 percent of North Texas residents living in rental housing, more apartments are a must for the growing metropolitan area. Between 2006 and 2016, the number of U.S. families with children living in rental housing grew by almost 2 million, according to a new report by Yardi Systems Inc. And the Dallas-Fort Worth area had the second highest increase in the country in renter families. D-FW posted an increase of 101,000 renter families during the 10-year period. Houston was first, with a 107,000 increase in renter households with children. Both Houston and D-FW have been at the top of the list of the country's fastest growing metro areas in terms of both employment and population gains...
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Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick states opposition to "red flag" gun laws (Texas Tribune)

Hours after a Texas Senate committee mulled "red-flag" laws at the request of the governor, Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick suggested in a news release Tuesday that any such law would be dead on arrival in the upper chamber in the next legislative session.
As mass shootings continue across the nation, more and more states have adopted laws that allow courts to order the seizure or surrender of guns from people who are deemed dangerous by a judge. After the fatal shooting at Santa Fe High School in May, Gov. Greg Abbott held multiple roundtable discussions and then released a school and gun safety plan, which included a page requesting that the Legislature consider red flag laws...
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In re-election bid, Attorney General Ken Paxton emphasizes record as Democrat seizes on indictment (Texas Tribune) 

Three years ago almost to the day, a Collin County grand jury indicted Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton for securities fraud. As the state's top lawyer turned himself into a jail in his hometown of McKinney and smiled for his mug shot, Democrats couldn't help but feel optimistic. The last time Texas elected a Democrat for attorney general was over two decades ago. Paxton's legal troubles could potentially serve, they hoped, as the springboard to breaking that streak.
What perhaps no one could have foreseen back in 2015 was the dizzying array of twists and turns the legal case against Paxton would undergo. Three summers later, there is still no trial date in sight and one is unlikely to emerge before Election Day...
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Feds will miss deadline for reuniting families separated at border, advocates say (Houston Chronicle) 

Many families separated at the Texas border through the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy are highly unlikely to be reunited by a Thursday judicial deadline, civil rights advocates said Tuesday, fueling angst here as state lawmakers begin drafting border policies they hope to make law next year. A court order requires the federal government to reunify families by July 26, although groups representing hundreds of parents and children who were ripped apart at the border say reunifications are slow. Many families are being moved to different detention centers and parents have yet to see them, the groups say. “The view from the ground in South Texas remains extraordinarily chaotic,” said Mimi Marziani, president of the Texas Civil Rights Project, at a press conference at the state Capitol...
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‘Housing for All’: Democrats push for big government response to soaring rents (Washington Post)

Democratic politicians at both the state and federal level are pushing plans to dramatically expand the government’s role in addressing unaffordable housing costs, as rent prices hit new highs in major American cities and the party’s increasingly young and urban base embraces big social programs. In Illinois and New York, gubernatorial candidates are touting proposals that would free cities to impose rent controls on housing units, a policy also backed this year by the Democratic parties of Washington State and California.
California’s Democratic nominee for governor is calling for 3.5 million new housing units in the state, an enormous escalation of the housing plans under incumbent Gov. Jerry Brown (D). And on Capitol Hill, Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D) on Thursday will unveil federal legislation to give at least 13.3 million families new tax credits to subsidize their rents in what experts say is one of the most far-reaching housing bills recently introduced in Congress. Democrats' heightened attention to high housing prices partly reflects the increased geographic concentration of its voters in crowded cities on the coasts, as well as their reliance on millennial voters who are among the most hurt by the soaring rents, according to pollsters and housing experts...
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