BG Reads | News - What We're Reading (August 15, 2018)



Council vote on soccer stadium hinges on amendments – lots of them (Austin Monitor) 

After 10 months of discussion and roughly three months of often very public negotiations, the fate of Austin as the possible home of a professional sports franchise will come down to the fate of 28 amendments.
Today’s special called City Council meeting will in large part center on how many of those amendments – and the 37 discrete conditions they contain – will be approved for inclusion in the term sheet that will guide city staff’s final agreement negotiations with Precourt Sports Ventures on building a professional-scale stadium that would become the home of the Columbus Crew soccer club.
The amendments began accruing in the 24 hours preceding last week’s Council meeting. Many of them were crafted on the dais during deliberations – where it was expected the matter of moving ahead with an agreement to use the city’s McKalla Place property for a 20,000-seat stadium would be decided. Instead, the more than two dozen amendments caused the matter to be delayed until today, with Mayor Steve Adler saying he plans to push for a final vote before noon.
PSV and the city offered a sneak peek on Tuesday of what could be in store with the release of an updated compendium of the amendments including the soccer partnership’s answer on which conditions it will accept. The rough breakdown includes 16 conditions PSV agrees to, 15 it will not, five partial/maybe responses and one called “non-applicable.”
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Austin council member Leslie Pool visits soccer fans in Columbus (Austin American-Statesman)

The day before the Austin City Council was to vote on a stadium deal, one of its members was on the way back from visiting with soccer supporters in Columbus, Ohio.
Council Member Leslie Pool spent all day Monday as well as Tuesday morning in the Ohio capital, the Columbus Dispatch first reported.
While in Columbus, Pool visited with members of the fan-led Save the Crew movement at their weekly meeting, and swung by the current home of Columbus Crew SC, Mapfre Stadium, as well as a parcel of land in the Arena District many fans envision as the site for a new stadium.
“We had a window after last Thursday night, and over the weekend the thought occurred to me that I might learn something new,” Pool told the American-Statesman by phone upon landing in Austin on Tuesday afternoon. “I wanted to go and see what the layout was with those stadiums.”...
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Staffing Issues, Patrol Car Troubles Impeded APD's Ability To Enforce Traffic Laws, Audit Finds (KUT)

Hiring vacancies and safety issues with vehicles limited the Austin Police Department’s ability to enforce traffic laws, according to a report released Tuesday by the City Auditor’s Office.
Last year, the department yanked more than 400 Ford Explorers from the roads because of concerns that carbon monoxide was leaking into the cabins and making officers sick. Because officers then had to double up in other vehicles, the City Auditor found, “the number of units available to conduct traffic enforcement was limited.”
In addition, as of Aug. 1, there were 84 vacancies in APD’s patrol, further limiting the department’s ability to enforce traffic laws...
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Retiring GOP state rep blasts Abbott's move to expand power over agencies (Texas Tribune)

More than a month after Gov. Greg Abbott directed state agencies to submit proposed new rules to his office before publishing them, a retiring Republican lawmaker has called out the policy as a potentially unconstitutional power grab.
“It is important to underscore that nothing in our state’s constitution or statutes gives the Office of the Governor the power to veto or delay the proposal of a rule, whether by act or omission,” wrote state Rep. Byron Cook, R-Corsicana, this week.
In a letter dated June 22, Luis Saenz, Abbott’s chief of staff, told agency heads that the governor’s office would review new policies before they are officially made available for public comment in the Texas Register. The letter did not explicitly say whether the governor would suggest or demand changes to those proposals but directed agency officials to provide the draft rule as well as its expected impact on local employment and the economy...
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In shadow of digital ad push, O'Rourke has targeted voters on radio, in print (Texas Tribune) 

Over the last year, U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke's bid to unseat U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz has drawn national fanfare as a thoroughly modern, digital-first campaign. He regularly draws an audience of thousands to his Facebook page by livestreaming mundane moments on the campaign trail, and he has outpaced most every other campaign in the country with the millions he's spent on digital advertising.
Yet the El Paso Democrat has been also waging a more under-the-radar effort via more old-school mediums. For the past few months, O'Rourke's campaign has been running ads on local radio stations and in certain publications in an effort to court voters he may be less likely to reach online, part of a six-figure investment to supplement his already-robust presence online.
It has unfolded ahead of O'Rourke's biggest foray into paid, non-digital media yet — a $1.3 million TV buy that is set to begin Wednesday across the state. But in some communities, it will not be the first time they have seen or heard O'Rourke advertising offline...
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‘Everyone signed one’: Trump is aggressive in his use of nondisclosure agreements, even in government (Washington Post)

President Trump’s bitter fight with a former top White House aide has highlighted his aggressive and unconventional use of nondisclosure agreements to prevent current and former government employees from revealing secrets or disparaging him or his family.
The latest uproar centers on claims in a book by former senior adviser Omarosa Manigault Newman that the Trump campaign offered her a $15,000-a-month job in exchange for signing a broadly worded NDA that would have barred her from disclosing details of her time at the White House. Trump shot back in a tweet on Monday that “Wacky Omarosa already has a fully signed Non-Disclosure Agreement” — the first apparent acknowledgment by Trump that he has used such documents as president...
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Marco Rubio looks for his place in Trump’s Republican Party (AP News)

After flaming out in the GOP presidential primary — and enduring rival Donald Trump’s taunts along the way — Sen. Marco Rubio is entering his next act in politics.
The once-rising star used to be criticized for being in too much of a hurry, but now he’s hunkered down in the Senate with nothing, it seems, but time.
Rubio passes his days buried in the work of the Senate Intelligence Committee and is a leading advocate of bolstering election security and slapping sanctions on Russians if they interfere again in 2018. In the hallways of the Capitol, he brushes past reporters looking for reaction to the news of the day, focusing instead on legislative proposals or policy speeches on the Senate floor. And back in Florida, he’s involved in long-running disputes over the Everglades and toxic algae blooms...
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