BG Reads | News You Need to Know (October 8, 2019)



Proposed Changes to the 2020 COA Calendar and FY21 Budget Timeline

Changes could be coming to the Austin City Council’s 2020 meeting calendar. Such was the discussion last week at Council’s October 1 work session. City staff’s goal is to have a version prepared for Council vote at their October 17 meeting... (LINK TO STORY)


NEW -> Episode 55: Exploring Austin's Commercial Tenant Market with JLL's Bre Brown (LINK TO SHOW)


The cost of metered street parking in Austin is going up (Austin Monitor)

The cost of parking in a metered, on-street space in Austin is going up. Beginning next Monday, the standard meter rate around Austin will be $2 per hour.

The current metered rate is $1.20 inside the city’s downtown core, from Interstate 35 to Lamar Boulevard, and Lady Bird Lake to 10th Street. Meters outside that zone charge $1 per hour. Now all of them will cost $2 an hour.

“This rate modernization better represents the true value of street parking. It also supports the city of Austin’s goals of providing more mobility options and reducing single-occupancy vehicle trips,” Robert Spillar, director of the Austin Transportation Department, said…


3 men accused of scalping reused ACL Fest wrist bands 100 times, police say (Austin American-Statesman)

A police sting operation led to the arrest of three men accused of illegally selling and reusing wristbands for the Austin City Limits Music Festival, according to court documents.

The men — 24-year-old Cameron Beck, 30-year-old Nathan Beck and 33-year-old Michael Martin — face charges of theft of service, a state jail felony, and engaging in organized criminal activity, records show.

Police said the men sold wristbands on Craigslist and escorted buyers into the festival grounds while holding their property as collateral. Once inside, they took the wristbands back to use on other buyers, according to arrest affidavits filed against the men… (LINK TO STORY)

Chamber pushes ‘all of the above’ regional mobility solution (Austin Monitor)

The Austin Chamber of Commerce pushed three desired outcomes at this year’s mobility summit: resolving traffic congestion on Interstate 35; passing the city’s first high-capacity transit bond; and clarifying the positions and goals of regional elected officials.

To fix I-35, Brian Cassidy, chair of the chamber’s board of directors, said the region knows what it needs: “Two variable-tolled managed lanes in each direction from (State Highway 45 North) to (SH 45 South); that will improve traffic, it will improve transit, it will improve the flow of commerce to our region, and it will provide a tool to enable us to fund that $8 billion challenge.”

The Texas Department of Transportation, however, has committed itself to its own solution, the Capital Express program, for the region’s portion of I-35. While the plan includes new managed lanes in both directions, Tucker Ferguson of TxDOT’s Austin District said the current idea is to avoid tolls. Managed lanes, he explained, could instead be used to restrict access based on vehicle type, occupancy or specific functions like public transportation. But Texas, he said, is presently a non-toll environment… (LINK TO STORY)


Houston Rockets GM Apologizes For Tweet Supporting Hong Kong Protesters (KUT)

The Houston Rockets' general manager apologized on Sunday for a tweet expressing support for Hong Kong protesters that has sparked a harsh backlash from China's official basketball association.

"I did not intend my tweet to cause any offense to Rockets fans and friends of mine in China ...," Daryl Morey tweeted on Sunday. "I have had a lot of opportunity since that tweet to hear and consider other perspectives."

On Friday, Morey took to Twitter to show solidarity with a months-long anti-government protest in the Chinese territory. He sent a tweet that read: "Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong."… (LINK TO STORY)

As its U.S. House members of color depart, Texas GOP grapples with its lack of diversity (Texas Tribune)

Come next fall, there might not be a single person of color among Texas Republicans in the U.S. House. But that’s not top of mind for Gerard Garcia.

“Diversity is welcome, but when I vote I’m more focused on the politician’s positions,” he said.

Garcia, a Hispanic Republican from San Antonio, said he was disappointed that his congressman, U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-Helotes, is retiring at the end of his term. Hurd is the lone black Republican in the U.S. House, and one of only two Republicans of color in the Texas House delegation. The other is U.S. Rep. Bill Flores of Bryan, who is also retiring in 2020. (Flores, who has Hispanic roots, has previously called himself “an American first.”)… (LINK TO STORY)

Buzbee widens financial edge over Turner, ups campaign spending to $10M (Houston Chronicle)

Mayoral candidate Tony Buzbee put another $2.5 million into his campaign last month, widening his financial edge over Mayor Sylvester Turner heading into the stretch run of the race for Houston’s top elected office. Buzbee’s total, made public in a campaign finance report filed Monday, means he now has contributed $10 million to his mayoral campaign.

Seeking a second term, Turner raised about $733,000 from July 1 through Sept. 26, the period covered by the latest report, and spent more than $2.2 million. He has about $1.6 million cash on hand, compared to Buzbee’s $4.2 million war chest. The campaign finance reports due Monday were the first in Houston’s city elections since July, when candidates for mayor, controller and city council reported their fundraising and spending totals for the first six months of the year. The latest reports paint a clearer picture of each candidate’s financial strength with two weeks to go until early voting begins. Election Day is Nov. 5… (LINK TO STORY)


In Stockton, early clues emerge about impact of guaranteed income (CityLab)

Lorrine Paradela used to lie awake at night, thinking through all her expenses and income streams, struggling to breathe from the stress of it all. Now, Paradela says, she’s started sleeping again. She’s one of 125 Stockton, California, residents who have been receiving an unconditional $500-a-month payment since February, as part of the first mayor-led guaranteed income initiative piloted in the United States.

Called Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED), it’s the passion project of Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, and funded by the Economic Security Project, a nonprofit that sponsors other guaranteed income experiments. Eight months into the 18-month project, researchers have released preliminary data about who’s participating, what they’re spending the money on, and how raising the income floor can change the entire structure of a life. All adult Stockton residents living in neighborhoods where the annual median income was at or below the city’s average of $46,033 were sent postcards last year, inviting them to participate in the project… (LINK TO STORY)

McConnell vows to block Trump impeachment in fundraising pitch (The Hill)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) reelection campaign is seizing on the fight over impeachment, pledging in Facebook ads that he will lead Republican efforts to stop President Trump from being removed from office.

"Nancy Pelosi's in the clutches of a left wing mob. They finally convinced her to impeach the president. All of you know your Constitution, the way that impeachment stops is a Senate majority with me as majority leader," McConnell says in an ad that began running on Thursday.

"But I need your help. Please contribute before the deadline," McConnell continues in the ad… (LINK TO STORY)

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