BG Reads | News You Need to Know (August 12, 2019)



City outlines displacement mitigation strategy based on People’s Plan (Austin Monitor)

Following a Council directive last year to analyze the recommendations put forth in the People’s Plan, city staffers from a variety of departments have released a Displacement Mitigation Strategy report detailing an approach to contend with gentrification and displacement in the city of Austin.

The 16-page People’s Plan, which was unveiled by Fred McGhee, Jane Rivera and Susana Almanza on Martin Luther King Day 2018, is composed of six resolutions/draft ordinances that are aimed at creating solutions for displacement and gentrification and more than a dozen action steps for Council and city staff to enact.

The city’s report includes 15 actions to combat displacement in the near term, including seven items that were explicitly mentioned in the People’s Plan… (LINK TO STORY)

Austin’s stretched labor market poised to get even tighter (Austin American-Statesman)

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas recently flagged a slowdown in the growth rate of the Austin-area civilian labor force -- meaning the pool of potential workers that companies draw from when hiring.

According to the Dallas Fed, the region’s civilian labor force increased by only 0.8% year-to-date through June on an annualized basis, down from annual growth rates of 2.7% in 2018 and 3.6% in 2017.

Data from the Texas Workforce Commission back up the trend, with the local labor force up 1.2% in June compared to the same month of 2018, the lowest year-over-year growth rate for June in 15 years. The labor force in the Austin region climbed by about 15,000 people -- to nearly 1.22 million -- through the 12 months ending in June, according to the workforce commission’s figures, compared to average year-over-year growth topping 30,000 over the previous 10 years… (LINK TO STORY)

Rainey Street's last house bought by 'Mayor of Sixth Street' (Austin Business Journal)

A man known as the "Mayor of Sixth Street" is expanding his territory.

Bob Woody, the owner of bars such as Blind Pig and Shakespeare's Pub on East Sixth Street, has purchased 71 Rainey St. It was the last residence on a street that has transformed from a quiet neighborhood into a bustling commercial hub and nightlife destination in the past decade. Now Rainey is known for its bungalow-based bars and a growing slate of high-rises.

Reached on Aug. 8, Woody confirmed the purchase but declined to comment on why he picked up the property and his forthcoming plans.

“This is one I’m not going to talk about right this minute,” Woody said. “I have a few things working on it.”

Woody’s track record suggests, though, that 71 Rainey will likely be transformed into some type of bar or event space. Woody owns at least 10 bars and eateries, most of them on Sixth Street… (LINK TO STORY)


In agreeing to secret huddle, Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen veers off state GOP’s script (Dallas Morning News)

Speaker Dennis Bonnen’s tumble from a rarely seen level of near-supreme power in the Texas House came almost as fast as his rise. Bonnen, who entered the speaker's race late last fall, swept the field, then won accolades as the MVP of this year's legislative session. But just as quickly, his reputation as a deal-maker, strategist and unifier of Republicans has unraveled. A bizarre secret meeting with an intraparty foe in mid-June has thrown Bonnen and a top lieutenant on the defensive.

Last week, he apologized abjectly to his 149 colleagues, asking forgiveness for even taking the meeting, much less trash-talking House members in ways some said was sexist and homophobic. But even if he rides out the ruckus, political analysts say his gaffe threatens a couple of important Republican missions. Bonnen’s misstep distracted from what his party has to do to hold on to power, they said. And the speaker also has seriously compromised his ability to sway the GOP’s selection next March of the most electable candidates in suburban House districts that are turning purple… (LINK TO STORY)

After El Paso shooting, will voters revisit Beto O’Rourke? (New York Times)

As Beto O’Rourke waded through a crowd that had gathered Thursday night to honor victims of the mass shooting in El Paso, the struggling presidential candidate was welcomed as a hometown hero. “Beto!” someone shouted, addressing this city’s former congressman. “Thank you for being our voice!”

In recent days, Democrats ranging from a former Houston mayor to rank-and-file Iowa voters have urged Mr. O’Rourke to deepen his focus on Texas and run against Senator John Cornyn in the 2020 election, like he did against Senator Ted Cruz in 2018 — and to shelve his White House ambitions for now. But Mr. O’Rourke’s allies and advisers hope that his impassioned response to the massacre in his hometown, with flashes of raw anger that match the mood of many Democrats, will prompt voters nationally to give him another look… (LINK TO STORY)

Texans may be able to register for New Mexico’s medical marijuana program (Texas Public Radio)

A month after Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall went on medical leave, taking City Council members and cops and citizens by surprise, Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax said Thursday he has no timeline for her return.

Broadnax, Hall's boss, said the chief is "OK" and that she "will come back when she's 100 percent ready to come back." He said he couldn't and wouldn't get more specific than that. Hall's return to duty, said the city manager, is "between her and her doctors and her own personal well-being." But the city manager acknowledged that he could have — and should have — done a better job letting people know that the city's police chief planned to be absent for an indefinite period of time… (LINK TO STORY)


Candidates scramble to qualify for third debate as deadline nears (The Hill)

More than a dozen Democratic presidential candidates are at risk of missing their party’s third primary debates in September and are clambering to make the cut ahead of a fast-approaching deadline in late August.

Nine candidates have already qualified for the fall debates and two others are getting close, an analysis of fundraising and polling data by The Hill found.

But for the other 13, the prospects appear increasingly dim. None have met the 130,000-donor benchmark set by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and only three have at least one qualifying poll to their name… (LINK TO STORY)

[BG Blog]

Bingham Group CEO A.J. Bingham appointed to Rosewood Community Development Corporation (LINK TO POST)

On Thursday Austin City Council approved the appointment six new members to the Austin Rosewood Community Development Corporation including CEO and Founder A.J. Bingham. A.J. was nominated by District 1 Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison for this position.

The Corporation is charged with overseeing the operation of Millennium Youth Entertainment Center (MYEC), a 55,000 sq. ft. entertainment facility located in East Austin. MYEC’s mission is to provide a safe, secure, and comfortable environment (free from drugs, gangs, crime, and violence) where families can enjoy a wide range of affordable, high quality recreational and entertainment activities and attractions… (LINK TO POST)


We’re taking a summer hiatus, so please enjoy some our favorite past episodes in the interim:

BG Podcast Episode 28: Rodney Gonzales, Director of Austin’s Development Services Department, on department initiatives

Today's BG Podcast features a conversation with Rodney Gonzales, then Director of Austin’s Development Services Department (DSD). The department was created in 2015 to handle residential and commercial permitting issues separately from zoning issues.

Rodney discusses his background and path to DSD, and current department initiatives with Bingham Group CEO A.J. Bingham… (LINK TO SHOW)

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