BG Reads | News You Need to Know (October 18, 2018)



East Austin restaurant owner wrestles with $5M buyout offer (Austin Business Journal)

The latest front in Austin's struggle with gentrification is being waged over smoked meats at a 61-year-old East Austin barbecue joint.

The saga of Sam's BBQ was recently examined by Texas Monthly in a profile about an impossible decision for 64-year-old owner Brian Mays: should he continue his life's work running the East Austin institution, or take a $5 million payday from out-of-town investors who specialize in building luxury condos?

Established in 1957 by founder Sam Campbell, Sam's BBQ was purchased by the Mays family in 1976. The neighborhood has changed dramatically since then, leaving Sam's BBQ at 2000 E. 12th St. as a proud reminder of East Austin's rich African-American heritage amid a wave of redevelopment transforming the area. In June, Mays received a $3.5 million offer from a California developer. Rather than signing the agreement, Mays asked the community to prove it would stand behind Sam's BBQ with their wallets, as well as their words…

Link to story

Here's What To Expect When Eight Floodgates Open On The Mansfield Dam (KUT)

It’s never happened before, but the Lower Colorado River Authority will likely open eight floodgates on the Mansfield Dam above Lake Austin by noon Thursday.

So, what can you expect if you live in Austin?

When eight gates are open, 50,000 cubic feet of water per second will flow from the dam.

That will cause some streets to flood, says Karl McArthur with Austin’s Watershed Protection Department.

“We would definitely have to close Cesar Chavez in the vicinity of Lamar Crossing,” he said. “At Longhorn Dam we would have flow over the emergency spillway. The emergency spillway is Pleasant Valley Road, so we’d have to close Pleasant Valley road there.”…

Link to story

Austin Energy seeks code change to support fast car charging (Austin Monitor)

Austin Energy estimates that there were 5,873 electric plug-in vehicles in its service territory as of Sept. 30. Karl Popham, AE’s manager for electric vehicles and emerging technologies, told City Council during Tuesday’s work session that about 85 percent of those vehicles’ owners do their charging at home and most of that is done at night.

That works out well for Austin Energy, the electric customer and the environment because rates are cheaper for the utility at night and there is generally less usage, Popham said. But now, Austin Energy is looking to allow third parties to set up fast charging stations for commercial customers and travelers passing through Austin…

Link to story


Julián Castro gives his clearest signal yet he’s running in 2020 (Rolling Stone)

For months, the 44-year-old Julián Castro, the former San Antonio mayor and secretary of Housing and Urban Development has been hopscotching between Nevada, Florida, Arizona and other battleground states to campaign for Democrats ahead of the 2018 midterms. He dutifully trekked to the Iowa State Fair in August for a turn on the famous political soapbox.

Somewhere in all of this Castro is promoting a new book, An Unlikely Journey: Waking up from My American Dream, the sort of get-to-know-me memoir widely seen as a prerequisite for a presidential run. Castro spoke with Rolling Stone for an hour and a half about his life story so far, why Latino voters aren’t fired up to vote in 2018 and why the Democratic Party must change to survive. On the subject of his presidential aspirations, he gave the clearest indication yet about his plans for 2020. “I’m likely to do it,” he tells Rolling Stone. “I’ll make a final decision after November, but I’m inclined to do it.” The book title, he said, "represented the optimism of the times when we had a president that had a strong vision for making sure everybody had opportunity. There was an optimism and a can-do attitude that’s very different from today." But today, "for a lot of folks, when Donald Trump says that he wants to make our country something again, that ain’t a good thing. The story of a lot of vulnerable communities through the years has been there was more and more opportunity going forward. We don’t want to go backward, and that’s what it seems like we’re doing now," he said…

Link to story

Greg Abbott, Dan Patrick to speak at Donald Trump's rally with Ted Cruz (Texas Tribune)

Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick are set to speak at President Donald Trump’s rally with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz on Monday in Houston.

Trump's campaign announced Monday evening that the rally would take place at the NRG Arena on the first day of early voting for the Nov. 6 election. The competitive U.S. Senate race pits Cruz against U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-El Paso.

The rally is set to begin at 6:30 p.m.

The governor announced his attendance while speaking at an event Wednesday afternoon to accept the Governor’s Trophy following the University of Texas Longhorns’ recent win over the University of Oklahoma Sooners in the Red River Showdown Game.

On Wednesday night, Patrick announced he too will speak at the rally. Patrick, who chaired Trump's 2016 campaign in Texas, invited the president to visit Texas in July, hoping a trip would energize the state's Republicans for the November elections…

Link to story

UIL to consider policy change that would allow girls to compete against boys — paving way for more inclusion of transgender athletes (Dallas Morning News)

The UIL rule change Mack Beggs wanted might finally be coming to Texas. For years as a Euless Trinity wrestler, Beggs, a transgender athlete transitioning to male, wanted to compete against boys, but UIL rules forbid him to.

A proposed rule change could adjust that for future Texas high school athletes if the UIL Legislative Council passes it during the group's bi-annual meeting Sunday and Monday in Pflugerville. Beggs, now 19 and a freshman at Life University in Marietta, Ga., couldn't act on his desire to join boys' wrestling. UIL rules dictate that a student-athlete must compete based on the gender on his or her birth certificate if a school offers corresponding boys' and girls' options for a sport. The potential amendment to the Section 360 non-discrimination policy states: "Girls may try out for, and if selected, participate on any boys' team regardless of the fact that there may be a girls' team in the same sport." The UIL already allows girls to try out for boys teams if there's not a corresponding alternative - such as football - or enough participation to field girls' soccer or basketball squads…

Link to story


Growing number of Republicans sounding a lot like Democrats ahead of elections (Washington Post)

Republicans around the country have begun campaigning on safeguarding insurance protections for people with preexisting medical conditions, a pillar of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act — even though the GOP spent years trying to repeal the law.

In Arizona, Wisconsin and elsewhere, conservative GOP incumbent governors known for clashing with teachers are now campaigning on pledges to boost teacher pay or spending on students. And after the bitter fight over Brett M. Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, a handful of Republicans are trying to turn the #MeToo movement against Democrats, advancing accusations of sexual wrongdoing or assault against their opponents. Poll after poll shows health care as the top issue for voters. Democrats repeatedly have said that the GOP, which is intent on repealing the Affordable Care Act, will strip Americans of the core protection of coverage for those with preexisting conditions. In the campaign’s final stretch, the messaging from Republicans is in part an acknowledgment that the Democratic argument has resonated with voters. And on other issues, with their control of Congress and statehouses at risk, Republicans appear to have concluded that the best offense is a good defense. “I think it’s a defensive maneuver, a sign that the messaging from the Democrats has started to draw some blood with the attacks, and Republicans are trying to forcefully respond,” said Nathan Gonzales, publisher of Inside Elections, a nonpartisan newsletter…

Link to story 

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


Twitter #binghamgp 

Instagram #binghamgp