BG Reads | News You Need to Know (August 6, 2019)



City Manager proposes budget ‘laser focused’ on community priorities (City of Austin)

Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk yesterday, Aug. 5, 2019, presented his proposed Fiscal Year 2019-2020 Budget to City Council.
At an event at LifeWorks’ Youth and Family Resource Center in East Austin, Cronk presented the highlights and key themes of his proposals for City tax and spending for the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2019.

  • Proposed Budget Snapshot [LINK]

  • Proposed Budget Addressing Homelessness [LINK]

  • Proposed Budget Taxpayer Impact Assessment [LINK]

  • Proposed Budget Full Document [LINK]

  • Proposed Budget Speech [LINK]

More mental health training, funding advised after deadly Austin police shooting (Austin American-Statesman)

Members of the Austin Public Safety Commission on Monday unanimously approved a set of recommendations aimed at bolstering the ability of first responders to react to mental health cases with more positive outcomes.

The recommendations touched on funding for mental health professionals and expansions of mental health programs at Austin-Travis County EMS and the Austin Police Department.

First, the recommendations called for funds to make improvements on Austin’s first response system, and better training for 911 dispatchers on how to identify and interact with callers experiencing a mental health crisis. Commissioners also recommended adding clinical triage staff within the 911 call center to help call takers better respond to calls with a mental health nexus, and to provide funding for more mental health clinicians… (LINK TO STORY)

See related:

BG Episode 26: Dr. Elizabeth Truong, co-Founder & Chief Clinical Officer at Cloud 9, on Austin’s high rate of fatal police shootings of people suffering from mental health issues nationally

Austin’s homelessness crisis prompts city manager to propose spending boost in 2020 budget (Community Impact)

As the visibility of homelessness across Austin continues to rise, City Manager Spencer Cronk has proposed a $62.7 million budget for homelessness programs in fiscal year 2019-20.

If approved, Cronk’s proposal would set a new high-water mark for homelessness spending in the city’s history, surpassing last year’s record of a $45.7 million budget allocation. Cronk laid out his FY 2019-20 budget proposal Aug. 5, appropriately held at LifeWorks, a local organization that has dedicated itself to ending youth homelessness.

With the Texas Legislature’s 3.5% tax revenue caps due to come online in fiscal year 2020-21, Cronk’s budget will increase tax revenue by the current max of 8%. Cronk said this increase frees up an additional one-time revenue stream of $15 million to spend on homelessness programs… (LINK TO STORY)


A racist manifesto and a shooter terrorize Hispanics in El Paso and beyond (Texas Tribune)

On Sunday night, as the sun dipped behind the blue-hued Franklin Mountains, this grieving border city telegraphed a message.

The community had been violently knocked down by an act of what federal law enforcement has catalogued as domestic terrorism. As El Pasoans gathered by the thousands a day later over the brown dirt of a baseball diamond and out onto the adjoining football field for a community vigil, they were distraught and shaken.

But they also spoke words of hope, of defiance in the face of hate and of a determination to write their own manifesto… (LINK TO STORY)

Republicans see a silver lining in retirements of Texas GOP congressmen. Democrats do, too. (Texas Tribune)

Even Texas Republicans are a bit amused with the clever new Democratic battle cry that's emerged amid a recent spate of GOP congressional retirements: “Texodus.”

First came U.S. Rep. Pete Olson of Sugar Land on July 25. Then U.S. Reps. Mike Conaway of Midland, Will Hurd of Helotes and, on Monday, Kenny Marchant of Coppell.

Hurd's unexpected exit set off concern within the Republican political class. But otherwise, according to interviews with state and national Republican operatives, there is a widespread sense that turnover within the delegation is healthy for the party… (LINK TO STORY)


Obama Urges Americans To Reject Language That 'Feeds A Climate Of Fear' (NPR)

Former President Barack Obama weighed in on the mass shootings this past weekend in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, saying on Monday that Americans "should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalizes racist sentiments."

In a statement released on Twitter, Obama did not mention President Trump by name, but his reference seemed clear.

Obama denounced language from "leaders who demonize those who don't look like us, or suggest that other people, including immigrants, threaten our way of life, or refer to other people as sub-human, or imply that America belongs to just one certain type of people."… (LINK TO STORY)

Treasury Declares China A 'Currency Manipulator,' Escalating Trade War (NPR)

The Treasury Department formally labeled China a currency manipulator Monday, after Beijing allowed its currency to fall to an 11-year low. The tit-for-tat moves mark the latest escalation in the two countries' trade war, which triggered a sharp sell-off on Wall Street.

While President Trump has long accused China of tinkering with its currency to gain an unfair advantage on world markets, this is the first time in a quarter century the U.S. has formally accused Beijing of currency manipulation.

The Treasury secretary will work with the International Monetary Fund "to eliminate the unfair competitive advantage created by China's latest actions," the department said in a statement… (LINK TO STORY)


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

BG Podcast Episode 13: Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette, Ed.D., President/CEO at Huston-Tillotson University, on Community Engagement in East Austin

Today's podcast was originally recorded on August 27, 2018 and features a discussion Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette, Ed.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Huston-Tillotson University (HT), a private historically black university located in Austin’s East Side.

The East Side is one of the most active areas for commercial and residential development in Austin. Our conversation covers Dr. Burnette’s vision for how HT (which owns several blocks) will navigate the wave, as well as connections to the Austin community overall.(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.


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