BG Reads | News You Need to Know (October 15, 2018)



Sale Could Keep Columbus Crew In Ohio, But Austin May Still Get Major League Soccer Team (KUT)

It looks like the Columbus Crew won't be moving from Ohio to Austin after all. An investor group headed by Jimmy Haslam, the owner of the Cleveland Browns, is in negotiations to buy the Major League Soccer team and keep it in Columbus.  

Haslam and the Browns tweeted a statement Friday afternoon.

Members of the “Save the Crew” grassroots movement announced the developments today.

“We just received word from MLS that they’re committed to keeping the team in Columbus,” said David Miller with Save The Crew. “I think our efforts made all the difference. I think it was close to a done deal when [a potential move to Austin] was first announced.”

The team's current investor-operator, Anthony Precourt, has been trying for a year to bring the team to Austin; City Council approved a deal over the summer for a 20,000-seat stadium near the Domain. 

This does not mean the story is over for Austin, though. Precourt retains the rights to run a team here starting in 2020 or 2021.

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Differences stark among D8 candidates vying to succeed Troxclair (Austin Monitor)

As the City Council district with the lone conservative Republican representative on the 11-member body, voters in District 8 face a choice in November: elect a Council member who will remain a brake of sorts on policies that largely reflect a progressive agenda or pick someone who will be more in harmony with the other 10 votes on the dais.

Council Member Ellen Troxclair’s decision to not seek re-election leaves her seat open to four challengers. One, Frank Ward, is a small-government conservative who most approximates Troxclair’s beliefs, while the other three – Paige Ellis, Rich DePalma and Bobby Levinski – to varying degrees express their beliefs in using governmental tools and policies to improve Austin as the city grows and faces challenges in housing affordability, transportation and a growing rift with the state Legislature…

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City, Cap Metro ready to consider transit before, not after, construction (Austin Monitor)

For most of its existence, the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority has struggled to create a coherent service network in a city that has been largely developed without public transit in mind. This historical pattern now appears, after decades of political gridlock, to be reversing itself.

During a Mobility Committee meeting Thursday evening, Austin Transportation Department Assistant Director Annick Beaudet updated the committee on a June 2017 resolution directing Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk to work with Capital Metro and ATD to conduct a transit review for zoning change requests or site plan applications.

Prior to the resolution, ATD had reserved its transit review process for projects requiring a Transportation Impact Analysis, necessary only when a site will generate more than 2,000 vehicle trips per day. Now, however, a transit review will be standard practice for smaller developments and any zoning change requests…

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Cruz vs. O’Rourke is most expensive U.S. Senate race in history (Houston Chronicle)

The battle between Republican incumbent Ted Cruz and Democrat Beto O’Rourke is now the most expensive U.S. Senate race in history and the costliest general election battle Texas has seen for any office.

That was assured on Friday when O’Rourke announced he raised $38 million in just three months from the start of July to the end of September. It is the biggest-ever campaign fundraising quarter for a U.S. Senate race, crushing an 18-year record. “We are doing something absolutely historic,” O’Rourke told his supporters in announcing the haul on social media. It also means O’Rourke remains well ahead of Cruz in campaign cash. Last week, Cruz told reporters he raised about $12 million over the same stretch. That money does not include outside political action committees that are spending millions more to defend Cruz, whose re-election is considered crucial to retain the Republican majority in the U.S. Senate…

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Trump's push to accelerate Texas-Mexico border wall project inflames Rio Grande Valley residents (Dallas Morning News)

The Homeland Security Department's decision last week to speed construction of a border wall in the lower Rio Grande Valley has inflamed local residents just as the midterm election is in sight.

Politically, it cuts both ways. As Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke stokes voter interest by reminding them about President Donald Trump's plans, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz also is using the issue to excite his base. At the border, where miles of gaps separate segments of wall constructed a decade ago — hardly any of it as imposing as the barrier Trump envisions — some residents are angry that the administration decided to waive environmental and other regulations halfway through a two-month comment period. Moving ahead without waiting even long enough to collect feedback suggests to wall critics that Homeland Security was only going through the motions in response to Trump's impatience. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, a Democratic congressman from McAllen, called the plan a "monumental waste of money."…

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Uresti gives up long fight against criminal charges (San Antonio Express-News)

After almost a year-and-a-half of protesting his innocence in two criminal cases — including one that ended in a conviction that cost him his political career and his livelihood as a lawyer — former state Sen. Carlos Uresti has thrown in the towel.

In an unexpected development, Uresti pleaded guilty to a bribery conspiracy charge in a brief hearing Friday in San Antonio federal court. In the proceeding before U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry Bemporad that was arranged at the last minute, the longtime Democrat pleaded guilty to directing bribes through then-Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo, who entered his own guilty plea last year. Uresti’s plea deal was sealed, but prosecutors said they will recommend that he serve whatever sentence he gets in the bribery case concurrently with the 12 years in prison he’s already received in an unrelated fraud case. That case stems from his involvement in a now-defunct oil field services company called FourWinds Logistics…

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Scooter companies may have found a loophole in cities' limitations (CNN)

City governments' tight control of scooter and e-bike rentals may be short lived.

Although cities continue to limit scooters despite strong customer demand, startups are trying to hack the rules with workarounds -- such as direct rentals to your doorstep.

The latest such move comes from Bird, the Santa Monica, California-based startup that pioneered scooter sharing. Its new Bird Delivery service drops off scooters by 8:00 a.m. at customer's homes and gives total control of them for a day. Bird picks the rentals up in the evening, recharges them and loans the scooters to someone else the next day.

Most companies rent scooters by the minute and allow riders to leave them on popular street corners and near transit stops -- a controversial move that has upset some cities' officials and residents…

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


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