BG Reads | News You Need to Know (November 1, 2018)



Episode 21: Community and Non-Profit Leadership with Jerry Davis, President and CEO, Goodwill Central Texas

Today's BG Podcast features a conversation with Jerry Davis, President and CEO, Goodwill Central Texas. Jerry and Bingham Group CEO A.J. Bingham discuss his unconventional path to the C-Suite, community and professional leadership.

Goodwill Central Texas has nearly 1,600 employees, making it the 17th largest business in Central Texas. The non-profit serves over 14,000 unique clients every year, whose disability, criminal background, lack of education, or housing situation result in unemployment and poverty.

This discussion was recorded on September 13, 2018.

Link to Episode 21


Council: What to do about boards and commissions? (Austin Monitor)

City Council members seem to all agree that something should be done to make the city’s dozens of citizen boards and commissions more efficient and effective.

At a Council work session Tuesday, Council members discussed whether the city should embark on yet another review of the volunteer panels, which are tasked with analyzing and recommending policy to Council. A similar effort preceded the introduction of the 10-1 Council system four years ago.

The discussion was part of Council’s ongoing attempt to reorient city resources toward its seven broadly-defined “strategic outcomes.” Reviewing the efficacy of the commissions fits into the “government that works” outcome.

Few seemed inclined to consider another major overhaul but most said that the city should explore some changes.

Council Member Greg Casar noted that some commissions are regularly busy and producing “key work,” but that others experience “spikes and surges” of work in between long periods of relatively little work. Council might consider allowing such commissions to switch from regularly scheduled meetings (every two weeks or every month) to flexible scheduling based on workload…

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Austin Assistant City Manager Robert Goode to depart (Austin American-Statesman)

Another Austin assistant city manager is out the door, as City Manager Spencer Cronk continues to recruit a new executive team.

The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority announced Wednesday it has hired Robert Goode to be its new deputy executive director. Goode has been an Austin assistant city manager since 2008, overseeing transportation, waste, public works and the water utility.

“Robert has a proven track record of providing the leadership necessary to deliver innovative and complex problems and programs on time and within budget,” said Mike Heiligenstein, the mobility authority’s executive director, in a news release. “He brings the right brand of leadership at the right time.”

Goode declined to answer any questions about the job change and issued a brief statement saying he had worked with the mobility authority for more than a decade and considered it a privilege to help lead it…

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Long road to expo center revamp could begin Thursday (Austin Monitor)

Thursday’s City Council meeting is expected to see the first moves toward a long-off ballot initiative that will eventually lead to an ambitious rehabilitation of the Travis County Expo Center.

The resolution, which is expected to pass on consent, will direct the city manager to present Council with options for how the 128-acre facility in Northeast Austin could be redeveloped, likely over a 10-year period, with a new arena and show barn for Rodeo Austin among the likely improvements.

The city’s analysis will work in tandem with a push by Travis County and Rodeo Austin because of the complicated land and property ownership structure for the expo center, which is owned and managed by the county on parkland owned by the city. Because of the parkland status – the expo center is located in Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park – the city will have to put a question to voters on any possible transfer or reclassification of the property.

That ballot measure would likely come next fall, but Council Member Jimmy Flannigan – one of the co-sponsors of the resolution with Council members Ora Houston, Greg Casar and Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo – said it’s long past time for the city to know what steps need to be taken to enact the redevelopment that community leaders have spent years calling for…

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City expected to seek extension in talks with UT on preserving Muny (Austin American-Statesman)

The city of Austin wants more time to figure out a way to secure the future of Lions Municipal Golf Course, but the University of Texas is running out of patience.

An item on the City Council’s latest consent agenda, reserved for matters expected to win approval without any discussion, would authorize city officials to negotiate a three-month extension of a key deadline in the lease under which the city operates Lions Municipal, also known as Muny, on West Austin land owned by UT.

It’s not clear whether the university is willing to extend the deadline. UT spokesman J.B. Bird didn’t address that issue in response to the American-Statesman’s inquiry, but his statement left little doubt that the university is frustrated by the lack of progress in negotiations.

“We continue to make proposals to the city in an effort to come up with a plan that is mutually beneficial and continues to use the Muny tract as a golf course,” Bird said. “We are awaiting a response from the city to our proposals, which we have been making since January 17, 2017.”…

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While Democratic congressional candidates rake in cash, big donors ignore the statewide ticket (Texas Tribune)

When Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill White launched his 2010 bid to unseat then-Gov. Rick Perry, Fort Worth investor Bobby Patton took a liking to the Democrat and gave White’s campaign $250,000. White lost the election by 13 points.

Four years later, when Democratic hopeful Wendy Davis ran against Republican Greg Abbott for governor, Patton, a part owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, became one of Davis’ biggest donors, giving a little more than $250,000. Davis ultimately lost by 20 points.

This election cycle, Patton decided to switch teams. He cut a check this year to Abbott’s re-election campaign for $25,000. That was on top of the $250,000 he donated to Abbott the year before…

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Boisterous attorney, political donor Tony Buzbee says he’s running for Houston mayor in 2019 (Texas Tribune)

Tony Buzbee, a high-wattage trial lawyer, big-time political donor and Texas A&M University System regent, says he is running to be the mayor of Houston in 2019.

"The mayor's race in Houston traditionally has been as boring as watching paint dry," Buzbee said on Fox26 Houston Tuesday night, when he announced his bid. "I think that we have a city that is above average with below average leadership, and I'm considering very seriously, because there's a lot of people asking me to do this, running for the mayor of this town."

When pressed, Buzbee confirmed he is running and would donate his mayoral salary, if elected, to "a random voter that I choose every year."

Sue Davis, a spokesperson for Mayor Sylvester Turner's campaign, declined to comment. Turner was elected mayor of Houston in 2015…

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Suspect in Pittsburgh synagogue shooting is charged in 44-count hate-crime indictment (Washington Post)

The suspect in a grisly shooting that left 11 people dead at a Pittsburgh synagogue was charged Wednesday in a 44-count indictment accusing him of federal hate crimes. Officials say Robert Bowers, 46, of Baldwin, PA, drove to Tree of Life synagogue armed with Glock .357 handguns and a Colt AR-15 rifle. The indictment charges that while inside the synagogue, Bowers made statements indicating his desire to “kill Jews.”

In a statement announcing the indictment, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the alleged crimes “are incomprehensibly evil and utterly repugnant to the values of this nation. Therefore this case is not only important to the victims and their loved ones, but to the city of Pittsburgh and the entire nation.” The indictment charges Bowers, a truck driver, with killing 11 people, and for each of those victims he faces separate counts of obstruction of free exercise of religion resulting in death and of using a firearm to commit murder during a crime of violence. He also faces charges of attempting to kill people exercising their religious beliefs and civil rights charges related to injuring several police officers who responded to the attack. The charges carry a possible death sentence, and the Justice Department has said previously that federal prosecutors in Pittsburgh had initiated the process to seek such a punishment…

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Trump Now Says He’s Ready to Send 15,000 Troops to Border (Bloomberg)

President Trump amplified his anti-immigration message ahead of next week’s midterm elections, saying he was now prepared to deploy as many as 15,000 troops to the Mexican border in anticipation of a migrant caravan and would press ahead with his planned executive order to end birthright citizenship.

“We’re going to be prepared. They are not coming into our country,” Mr. Trump said of the caravan of Central Americans now many hundreds of miles away and moving through Mexico. The president spoke to reporters before departing for Florida for the latest in a series of campaign rallies before Tuesday’s vote. Mr. Trump, a Republican, has made immigration and secure borders a priority issue in the final days before the election, an effort to motivate his core supporters in tight House and Senate races, including contests in border states key to continued Republican control of the House and Senate. Mr. Trump’s promise to deploy “anywhere between 10 and 15,000 military personnel” to the Mexican border caught the Pentagon by surprise, according to officials there…

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Bitcoin turns 10 — how it went from an abstract idea to a $100 billion market in a decade (CNBC)

On Oct. 31, 2008, bitcoin was born — and in the past 10 years it has evolved from an anti-establishment hobby among coders to a household name on Wall Street. The first and most famous digital currency sparked mania among retail investors last year, and, despite being founded to bypass them, it has caught the attention of some of the world's most powerful institutions…

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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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