BG Reads | News You Need to Know (June 4, 2019)
FIRM UPDATE: Bingham Group Adds Tina Bui as Senior Consultant for Land Use and Transportation
The Bingham Group, LLC (Bingham Group), an Austin based consulting firm providing government affairs, public affairs, land use, and procurement services, today announced the addition of Tina Bui as a Senior Consultant.
An Austinite since childhood, Tina is a local government insider with 20 years of experience in public policy and administration. Having built the bulk of her career at the City of Austin and Capital Metro, she has rare experience on all sides of City Hall- having served as a policy adviser to an Austin council member, staffer in multiple City departments, and political appointee to the City of Austin’s Planning Commission.
Her work has covered countless issue areas, including land use planning; transportation, public transit and smart mobility; water and waste management utilities; and general government administration… (READ MORE)
City Council could repeal or narrow controversial homeless laws (Austin American-Statesman)
The City Council this week could rescind major portions of city laws that have divided Austinites regarding how the city should address a growing number of homeless. On Thursday, the council plans to consider repealing the city’s panhandling ordinance and narrowing the city’s camping ordinance and its “no sit/lie” ordinance.
Critics of the laws say they criminalize homelessness and can lead to fines and arrest warrants that further a downward cycle for the downtrodden. Proponents say the ordinances are critical to addressing aggressive behavior and are a necessary tool for law enforcement. “Asking for money, sitting or lying down in public, and sleeping in tents are basic requirements of survival, especially while homeless,” City Council Member Greg Casar said in a news release… (LINK TO STORY)
The Last Single-Family Home On Rainey Street Is For Sale. (KUT)
Rainey Street may be residential no more.
Development has overtaken the historically Latino neigborhood for the past decade and a half, but musician John Contreras was long a stalwart in the face of expansion and said he never planned on selling his home at 71 Rainey St. But now it's for sale.
Contreras first moved into the home in 1989. His block has changed drastically since 2005, when the Austin City Council rolled the neighborhood into its Central Business District, allowing businesses to take over homes. Since then, the block has become an entertainment district, bars have taken over homes and a 34-story, high-rise condominium sprung up across the street… (LINK STORY)
Travis County sees big increase in electronic monitoring (Austin Monitor)
Travis County has seen its incarcerated population drop dramatically in recent years, due in large part to policy changes aimed at keeping low-level drug offenders out of jail.
As of April 2019, the average daily jail population stood at 2,143, a 9 percent decrease from five years ago. Between 2014-18, the number of people booked into jail fell 18 percent, from 51,724 to 42,567. Most dramatically, the number of individuals who were arrested for a class C misdemeanor – the lowest-level offense – declined 42 percent during those four years, from 9,657 to 5,589.
Not only are fewer people going to jail, but those who are arrested are spending fewer days behind bars as they await trial or (more likely) wait to negotiate a plea deal. While three-quarters of those who are booked into jail are released on personal recognizance bonds that do not require cash bail, an increasing number are being released on condition that they wear an electronic monitoring device… (LINK TO STORY)
Trump's tariffs could hurt Texas, U.S. economies as much as Mexico's, border leaders and analysts say (Texas Tribune)
With a looming trade war with Mexico on the horizon, Texas’ proximity to its southern neighbor could spell economic trouble for the state’s consumers and workforce.
But it’s the added dynamic of how this country trades with Mexico that could do far greater damage to the state and national economies than President Donald Trump's current trade battles with China or Canada, analysts warn.
Late Thursday, Trump announced he would begin imposing 5% tariffs on all products imported from Mexico on June 10 if that country didn’t do more to curb the flow of unauthorized immigrants traveling through Mexico on their way to the United States. Trump said he would increase it to as high as 25 percent by October if Mexico doesn't act… (LINK TO STORY)
D-FW nonresidential building surged last month (Dallas Morning)
Construction in the Dallas-Fort Worth area surged in April. A huge year-over-year increase in nonresidential building starts in the area last month added to the annual building totals, according to a new report from Dodge Data and Analytics.
Nonresidential building starts in the D-FW area totaled more than $1.2 billion in April — more than twice the activity of April 2018. Residential starts fell from a year ago last month and totaled about $1.1 billion. Through the first four months of the year, nonresidential building starts in North Texas are up 13% from the same period last year. And residential starts are down 11%, according to Dodge Data… (LINK TO STORY)
Port of Corpus Christi spends $400 million to boost U.S. oil exports (San Antonio Express-News)
If you need anymore evidence that the shale revolution has turned the U.S. into one of the biggest oil exporters, look to the Port of Corpus Christi.
Last week, port officials, politicians and business leaders there celebrated a $400 million-plus harbor-dredging project that will allow large oil tankers to fully load millions of barrels of oil at local docks before embarking for Asia, Europe and other ports around the world. The work began in April. The project will deepen and widen the 36-mile channel, which flows into the Gulf of Mexico… (LINK TO STORY)
Amazon could face heightened antitrust scrutiny under a new agreement between US regulators (Washington Post)
U.S. antitrust regulators have divided oversight of Amazon.com Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google, putting Amazon under the watch of the Federal Trade Commission and Google under the Justice Department, the Washington Post said on Saturday.
Amazon could face heightened antitrust scrutiny under a new agreement between U.S. regulators which puts the e-commerce giant under the watch of the trade commission, the newspaper reported, citing people familiar with the matter… (LINK TO STORY)
Episode 48 - Policy Update on Palm School and the Austin Convention Center
On this episode, Bingham Group Senior Consultant Paul Saldaña updates on discussions around Austin’s Palm School.
Significantly, at its 5/23 meeting the Austin City Council unanimously voted a resolution directing city staff to begin extensive study of information related to preserving the Palm School. Also included there were directions to study the expansion of the Austin Convention Center (itself a point of contention on the dais).