BG Reads | News - What We're Reading (August 16, 2018)
Austin City Council Votes To Move Forward With Major League Soccer Stadium (KUT)
The Austin City Council voted to move ahead in negotiations with Major League Soccer and Precourt Sports Ventures to build a 20,000-seat stadium near the Domain.
The 7-4 decision came after about five hours of discussion during a special session Wednesday. Council members worked through several amendments related to parking, transportation, affordable housing and youth soccer programs.
"I can't wait until we are all wearing the same jersey," Mayor Steve Adler said before the vote.
"The soccer team is paying for – and they’re building – a stadium," he said, "and then they’re giving it to us for free and then they’re paying us rent to use it."
In addition to Adler, Council Members Delia Garza, Pio Renteria, Greg Casar, Ann Kitchen, Jimmy Flannigan and Kathie Tovo voted yes. Ellen Troxclair, Ora Houston, Leslie Pool and Allison Alter voted against the deal...
Chanel plans Austin manufacturing plant (Austin American-Statesman)
French retailer Chanel plans to build a manufacturing facility in Austin, according to county deed records and documents filed with the city. The company – known for its pricey perfumes, handbags, jewelry, fashion wear, makeup and skincare — has purchased 50 acres east of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport through a real estate holding company it controls, deed records show...
Planning Commission wonders what to do after CodeNEXT (Austin Monitor)
CodeNEXT might be dead, but most members of the Planning Commission seem to agree that they can’t give up on making big changes to the Land Development Code.
For over a year, discussion of CodeNEXT has been a standing item on the commission’s agenda. Although the commission did not always exercise its right to take up the matter, members could always choose to take it up if they felt they had something to add to the ongoing conversation.
At the commission’s first meeting in the wake of CodeNEXT’s death, Commissioner Greg Anderson said it didn’t make sense to keep a reference on the agenda to the deceased project. After all, said Anderson, “CodeNEXT” was not a defined set of policy proposals as much as a marketing term that the city used to describe that effort to overhaul the Land Development Code.
“CodeNEXT by its name has too many negative connotations,” said Anderson, who attributed many of the negative perceptions about the proposal to misinformation and propaganda by those opposed to building more housing...
Bastrop temporarily closes door on new development (KUT)
The Bastrop City Council on Tuesday night issued an emergency 90-day moratorium on new development as officials examine whether the city’s development codes are effective enough in preventing adverse effects on drainage. The council also approved an emergency ordinance to evaluate the potential impact of development on stormwater flow throughout the city.
During the moratorium, the city will not accept, review or approve commercial or residential development permits. Bastrop City Attorney Alan Bojorquez said there are exceptions to the ordinance for projects that are underway or that have received the required permits to get started...
Tensions erupt over limiting power of Georgetown historic commission (Austin American-Statesman)
Tensions flared Tuesday night at a packed Georgetown council meeting during a discussion on limiting the power of a city panel to determine what can be built in certain parts of town.
Two council members snapped at a third and a former mayoral candidate was escorted out of the meeting by police after talking out of turn.
After the hearing ended around midnight, the council approved by a 5-2 vote having the city attorney draft an ordinance that would take away the power of the Historic and Architectural Review Commission to approve or deny certificates of appropriateness for what can be built...
Council faces its week of reckoning on paid sick leave (San Antonio Express-News)
The San Antonio business community is united in its opposition to a paid sick leave ordinance. Business leaders are divided, however, on how best to oppose it.
That’s because the issue is playing out like a movie in which the ending has been predetermined, but no one knows the exact plot points that’ll get us there.
This much seems clear: One way or another, mandatory paid sick leave will become the law in San Antonio and, shortly thereafter, it will face a legal challenge. If the courts don’t invalidate it, the state Legislature will.
The City Council could place it on the November ballot, in acknowledgment of the successful petition drive earlier this year by a grassroots coalition called Working Texans for Paid Sick Time. If that happens, voters almost certainly will pass it. On the other hand, council members could speed up the inevitable and vote Thursday to approve a paid sick leave ordinance. The result will be the same, but the political consequences will differ. And that’s what business leaders are contemplating...
Julian Castro’s Iowa trip is another must for a presidential campaign (San Antonio Express-News)
Former San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro travels this week to the Iowa State Fair — a rite of passage for White House seekers since the 1950s — as he gears up for a possible run for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020. Castro has been running a PAC, writing a book and quietly building a grass-roots network while helping 2018 candidates around the country get elected.
But with a speech Friday at the time-honored Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox at the fair, Castro will thrust himself into a diverse mix of lesser-known Democrats expected to vie for their party’s next nomination.
Castro’s three-day trip to Iowa is his first this year. It’s expected to trigger more speculation about his future...
Uber drivers take riders the long way – at Uber’s expense (Wall Street Journal)
When ferrying passengers to and from Phoenix’s airport, Uber driver Michelle Blandy had a decision to make: Go the short way or take the longer route. “If they were from out of town, I would take advantage of it by going the longer route,” said Ms. Blandy, who drove for Uber for about two years before moving to Harrisburg, Pa., earlier this year.
“It’s the only way I could get what I was owed.” In a modern twist on an age-old practice from the yellow cab industry, many drivers like Ms. Blandy are employing a practice known as longhauling—taking an unnecessarily longer route to a destination in order to drive up a fare. But unlike with taxis where passengers “get taken for a ride,” it’s ride-hailing companies like Uber Technologies Inc. that are responsible for covering the bigger bill...
Trump Revokes Clearance Of Ex-CIA Boss Brennan, Puts Other Critics On Notice (KUT)
President Trump has revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan, who has become an outspoken critic of the president.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders announced the move on Wednesday following an earlier discussion about pulling the clearance held by Brennan and a group of other targets.
"The issue of Mr. Brennan's security clearance raises larger questions about the practice of former officials maintaining access to our nation's most sensitive secrets long after their time in government has ended," Trump said in a statement that Sanders read aloud at the press briefing on Wednesday.
With little fanfare, Trump and McConnell reshape the nation’s circuit courts (Washington Post)
As the Senate moves toward confirming Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh, President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are leading a lower-key yet deeply consequential charge to remake the entire federal judiciary.
The Senate will return Wednesday from an abbreviated summer recess to confirm two more federal appeals court judges by the end of the week. That would come on top of a record-breaking string of confirmations: The Senate already has installed 24 appellate judges since Trump was sworn in, the highest number for a president’s first two years in office. While much of the focus has been on Kavanaugh and Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, the Senate’s rapid approval of appellate judges is likely to have its own broad impact on the nation, as the 13 circuit courts will shape decisions on immigration, voting rights, abortion and the environment for generations...