BG Reads | News - What We're Reading (July 31, 2018)
Mayor Adler: McKalla Place MLS stadium deal is a winner (Austin American-Statesman)
Austin Mayor Steve Adler came out Monday night strongly in favor of an agreement that could lead to a Major League Soccer stadium in North Austin, even as Council Member Leslie Pool bashed the potential deal earlier in the day.
The city and Precourt Sports Ventures released a 25-page term sheet Friday night that, if the council approves, would produce a 20,000-seat stadium at McKalla Place, with the Columbus Crew SC as the tenant.
“I could support it as is,” Adler told the American-Statesman. “The items that were a concern to me were among the 20 or 30 in the list for the resolution that the council passed. PSV responded to those.
“It was important to me to get those overall community benefits increased. They did that. It was important to me that the city not be cutting checks, and that’s been changed. It was important to me that they pay rent, and that’s an element of it now.”
Pool, whose district includes the 24-acre city-owned site near the Domain, isn’t impressed with the term sheet...
Battle over housing policy defines District 3 race (Austin Monitor)
Most of the district is made up of neighborhoods on both sides of the Colorado River that are east of Interstate 35. However, the district boundaries also snake out to grab a large chunk of South Central Austin, including all but the last few blocks of Oltorf Street before it meets South Lamar Boulevard and extending all the way down to East Stassney Lane. In the 2010 census, 61 percent of the population was Hispanic, 27 percent was Anglo and 8 percent was African-American. Thirty-six percent of the population lived below the poverty line and 26 percent of residences were owned btey their occupants.
Two challengers are vying to unseat Council Member Pio Renteria, who won the seat four years ago after triumphing over his sister, Susana Almanza, in a runoff election.
While it may lack the family drama of the 2014 race, this year’s contest similarly reflects the divide over how the city should grow and address its affordability crisis.
Renteria’s view is that the city needs to allow more housing of all kinds to be built...
Program expansion more than doubles cheap nighttime parking downtown (Austin Monitor)
The city is more than doubling the amount of affordable parking spaces available for evening-hours workers in downtown Austin businesses, building on the success of a pilot program that started in 2016.
The expansion of the Affordable Parking Program will see it opened up to two new parking garages – at the City Hall garage on Second Street and at One Texas Center on Barton Springs Road – in addition to the garage at 11th Street near Interstate 35 that began serving employees in the Red River Cultural District in May 2016. The Texas Facilities Commission made its garage at Fourth and Nueces streets available to the program in April. There will now be roughly 500 spaces available to workers focused in the hospitality and nightlife industry, who can pay $35 per month for the city garages or $65 per month for the state garage, with permits for the passes available online...
Work on Capitol complex gets going, 10 months after groundbreaking (Austin American-Statesman)
State leaders made speeches and lined up to scoop ceremonial shovelfuls of dirt last September during the official groundbreaking for a decades-in-the-making project to build new government office buildings, parking garages and a pedestrian-friendly green space along Congress Avenue north of the Capitol.
About 10 months and little visible progress later, actual construction of the $581 million complex finally is underway.
The Texas Facilities Commission said excavation began last week at 1801 Congress Ave. — a former parking lot across from the Bullock Texas State History Museum that’s the future site of a 14-story, 603,000-square-foot building to be named the George H. W. Bush State Office Building in honor of the former president.
Completion of the building and other elements of the complex was slated for late 2021 at the time of the September groundbreaking ceremony...
Supreme Court fight becomes battle for Kavanaugh’s papers (The Hill)
The Senate fight over documents related to President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court is boiling over. Trump pick Brett Kavanaugh, a circuit judge since 2006 who previously worked for President George W. Bush’s administration and Kenneth Starr’s independent counsel investigation into former President Clinton, has a voluminous paper trail that lawmakers estimate tops a million pages. Democrats want to see as many of those papers as they can, while Republicans seeking to confirm Kavanaugh before the midterm elections favor a narrower scope. Battle lines are hardening, with senators trading accusations about whether a double standard is being applied to Kavanaugh, who if confirmed will shape the political leaning of the court for decades. The key part of the battle is Democratic demands for documents tied to Kavanaugh’s work as a staff secretary in the Bush administration. Republicans argue that Democrats are waging a “fishing expedition” to hunt for damaging information...
As 2018 elections near, potential 2020 presidential candidates jockey for money (Washington Post)
Democrats preparing presidential runs in 2020 are waging aggressive fundraising campaigns this year, meeting with wealthy donors over private meals and spending millions of dollars to build up their online donor networks. The early jockeying reflects concern that the sheer number of interested candidates will create a fundraising bottleneck in early 2019, possibly narrowing the field before the first debate for those candidates who can’t raise enough money to continue. More than two dozen people are in the process of exploring campaigns to take out President Trump, but only a handful have the relationships with wealthy donors, significant personal wealth or small-dollar fundraising apparatus to raise the early money needed to mount a traditional campaign. The early advantage goes to those who hail from wealthy states, with broad networks of donors, such as California and New York, and those who will start the race with a national brand and large email lists of supporters...