BG Reads | News You Need to Know (July 2, 2019)



Austin has new rules on panhandling, camping and resting in public. Here’s what that means. (KUT)

Three revisions to the city’s rules against panhandling, camping, and sitting or lying down in public went into effect Monday. People have feelings about that, and it’s unclear what impact the rules will have on those experiencing homelessness – or on the officers enforcing city law… (LINK TO STORY)

City adjusts flood map adjustment timeline (Austin Monitor)

The Atlas 14 study conducted by the National Weather Service indicated that in the immediate future, Central Texas is likely to experience more powerful storm events that will increase flooding by 30 percent. Last fall’s major floods turned scientific conjecture into observable reality. Now Atlas 14 has rendered the city of Austin’s current flood maps out of date.

Although the Watershed Protection Department originally anticipated it would present Council with comprehensive proposed code changes for flood maps this spring, according to a department memo last week, that timeline has been extended… (LINK TO STORY)

Endeavor Real Estate raises $300M for future projects (Austin Business Journal)

Austin-based Endeavor Real Estate Group LLC has raised more than $300 million for the purchase of buildings and land over the next four years, one of the firm’s managing principals confirmed.

Endeavor Managing Principal Bryce Miller said the pooled investment fund, called Endeavor Opportunity Partners II LP, will be the exclusive investment vehicle for the firm’s principals and investors.

“The decision to initiate Endeavor Opportunity Partners II was to really make it more efficient for us to make our real estate investments over the next four-year period,” he said. “EOPII has a four-year investment horizon. It’s the exclusive mechanism through which we will invest in our real estate projects.”… (LINK TO STORY)

Parks working group to look for new revenue options (Austin Monitor)

The city’s parks board is set to look for new ways to fund the needs of the city’s parks system, in an attempt to deal with anticipated tight city budgets as a result of coming caps on revenue enacted by the state.

Last week’s meeting of the Parks and Recreation Board saw unanimous passage of a resolution from Board Member Nina Rinaldi to create a working group to examine alternative sources of revenue for parks uses. That group, which includes Rinaldi and Board members Rich DePalma, Romteen Farasat and Dawn Lewis, is expected to hold its first organizational meeting by the beginning of August.

Rinaldi said she made the resolution because of concerns the city won’t be able to commit any money to roughly $600 million in deferred maintenance needs in future budget years. In the recent past, Parks and Recreation’s deferred maintenance figure has been… (LINK TO STORY)


Why homelessness is going down in Houston but up in Dallas (Texas Tribune)

Back in the 1990s, Houston's urban core looked very different than it does today, with restaurants and coffee shops mingled among a burgeoning number of high-rise residences downtown. The city's bayous hadn't yet been beautified, with the clean biking and running trails that now wind through parks.

Back then, the bayous were a refuge for the city's homeless residents. And downtown, a multitude of organizations served food or offered beds, often without a lot of coordination with one another.

“Everybody was walking down the streets of downtown to get to the soup kitchen or to the day shelter,” Thao Costis, president and CEO of the homeless outreach organization SEARCH, remembers. “Church groups would have clothing or a fast lunch for them. It was very reactionary to these basic needs.”… (LINK TO STORY)

New pot policy to take effect Monday in San Antonio (San Antonio Express-News)

Starting Monday, law enforcement officers in Bexar County will have the discretion to cite — rather than arrest — people accused of some low-level misdemeanors, including possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales unveiled details Friday of a revised cite and release program. Gonzales, who took office Jan. 1, campaigned on the promise to revive the seldom-used policy.

Under cite and release, people accused of certain low-level misdemeanors, such as theft, possession of a few ounces of marijuana or driving with an invalid license, are issued citations rather than arrested. … (LINK TO STORY)


Oregon Legislature Votes To Essentially Ban Single-Family Zoning (KUT)

Oregon is on its way to making a significant change in what housing is allowed to be built in the state.

The state's House and Senate have now both passed a measure that requires cities with more than 10,000 people to allow duplexes in areas zoned for single-family homes. In the Portland metro area it goes a step further, requiring cities and counties to allow the building of housing such as quadplexes and "cottage clusters" of homes around a common yard.

House Bill 2001 will now go before Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, who is expected to sign it. It had bipartisan support and was approved on the last day of a wild legislative session that saw some Republican senators flee the state over a climate bill… (LINK TO STORY)

For all the talk of a Tea Party of the Left, moderates emerge as a Democratic power (New York Times)

For all the talk of a Tea Party of the left, the true power in the House revealed its face last week — the Mighty Moderates. The failure of House liberals to attach strict conditions to billions of dollars in emergency border aid requested by President Trump highlighted the outsize power of about two dozen centrist Democrats, mainly from Republican-leaning districts, who are asserting themselves to pull the chamber to the right.

Their views diverge sharply from the mostly liberal cast of Democrats seeking their party’s presidential nomination and from the diverse new crop of outspoken liberals in the House who have captured the public’s imagination and infused new energy into the progressive majority of their caucus. But their victories in districts that Mr. Trump won in 2016 are the reason Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, a staunch liberal herself, holds her gavel. For now, they are proving far more effective at wielding their influence than those in the party’s vocal and headline-grabbing left… (LINK TO STORY)


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

BG Podcast Episode 3: Chas Moore, President and Co-Founder of the Austin Justice Coalition

Today's podcast was originally recorded on April 2, 2018. It was Bingham Group's first recording, and features a discussion between Bingham Group CEO A.J. Bingham, and Chas Moore, President and Co-Founder of the Austin Justice Coalition (AJC).

On June 19, 2019 Chas was named a recipient of the Nathan Cummings Foundation Fellowship, receiving up to $150,000 his ideas into meaningful action.


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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