BG Reads | News You Need to Know (February 21, 2019)



Ten finalists announced for two assistant city manager spots (Austin American-Statesman)

Ten finalists announced Tuesday for two spots on Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk’s executive team include six internal candidates, a partner in a lobbying firm and public sector employees from Arizona, Massachusetts and Dallas.

The assistant city manager finalists for safety concerns are:

  • Rey Arellano, the Austin assistant city manager who oversees the city’s public safety departments.

  • Genaro “Chip” Iglesias, managing partner and chair of the government consultant section of the Florida-centric lobbying firm Ballard Partners.

  • Gina Montes, assistant city manager for operations for the city of Avondale, Ariz., outside of Phoenix.

  • Ronnelle Paulsen, assistant director at the Austin Fire Department.

The finalists to guide the city’s mobility efforts are:

  • Greg Canally, Austin’s deputy chief financial officer.

  • Chris Chen, assistant director of engineering services at Austin Water.

  • Gina Fiandaca, commissioner of the city of Boston’s transportation department.

  • Richard Mendoza, Austin’s Public Works director.

  • Michael Rogers, city of Dallas transportation director.

  • Robert Spillar, director of the Austin Transportation Department.

Cronk will interview the finalists in the coming weeks. The headhunter firm Ralph Anderson performed a national search for candidates. A search for deputy city manager is ongoing…

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Paperwork Could Cost Circuit Of The Americas $20 Million For Last Year's F1 Race (KUT)

The Circuit of the Americas could be out as much as $20 million in incentives from the governor’s office.

The office informed COTA officials they missed a critical filing date for a human-trafficking plan in advance of the Formula 1 race last October.

“The law is very clear that if a human trafficking prevention plan is not submitted 30 days prior to an event, reimbursement from the Major Events Fund cannot be issued," Gov. Greg Abbott’s press office said in a statement issued Wednesday. "The State of Texas and COTA have a productive partnership that has a tremendous economic impact on the city of Austin and the state as a whole, and our office is already working with COTA on next year’s race.”…

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Alamo Drafthouse launches charitable fund with aim of donating $1 million in 2019 (Austin Business Journal)

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has announced a $2 million philanthropic initiative, with plans to donate more than $1 million to charities nationwide in 2019 alone.

The Austin-based company on Wednesday announced the launch of the Alamo Drafthouse Community Fund, with the goal of expanding its charitable efforts throughout the country, according to co-founder and CEO Tim League said. The initial $2 million donation will come from League and his wife, Karrie, the company's other co-founder, according to the Austin-American Statesman.

“Fostering community and doing the right thing are core values for our company,” Tim League said in a statement. “And this year we want to embed philanthropy into everything Alamo Drafthouse does.”

Among the priorities cited by Alamo Drafthouse for the funding include educational programming for kids, civic engagement and voter registration efforts, film preservation, accessibility issues in Alamo Drafthouse theaters, chronic homelessness and combatting hunger. The company highlighted its affiliation with Austin-based Mobile Loaves & Fishes among the partnerships it wants to maintain…

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Texas state Sen. Angela Paxton defends bill that would hand husband's agency new powers (Dallas Morning News)

A North Texas senator is defending legislation that would boost the regulatory powers of the state agency her husband leads, while potentially gutting investment rules he is accused of breaking.

Angela Paxton’s Senate Bill 860 would create a new program to let people market certain “innovative financial products or services” to small groups of Texas investors “without obtaining a license, registration or other regulatory authorization.” The attorney general’s consumer protection division would administer the program.

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After Texas' second Supreme Court loss in a death penalty case, reform bill lands key GOP support (Texas Tribune)

One day after the U.S. Supreme Court once again invalidated a Texas death sentence and bashed the state’s highest criminal court for its method of determining intellectual disability in death penalty cases, two key Republican lawmakers have signed on to a Democrat’s bill that would create a uniform process.

On Wednesday, state Reps. James White and Jeff Leach became joint authors to Rep. Senfronia Thompson’s House Bill 1139, which would establish a pretrial procedureto determine if a capital murder defendant is intellectually disabled and therefore ineligible for the death penalty. White chairs the House Corrections Committee, and Leach leads the House Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee.

“We’ve got to get to work here,” White, from Hillister, told The Texas Tribune after adding his name to the bill. “The Supreme Court — not once, but twice — stated that what we’re doing is not constitutional.”

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Inside the battle to host the 2020 Democratic convention (Houston Chronicle)

Leaders in three major cities are in a last-minute scramble to win the 2020 Democratic National Convention, an event that could funnel millions of dollars into the local economy and put them at the center of the political world for one week next summer.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez is choosing among Houston, Miami and Milwaukee. In recent weeks, some Democrats have privately suggested Milwaukee would get the nod, and a sense of finality set in once the DNC in December paid what were billed as the last visits to each city before a decision was made.

But since then, a fierce debate has unfolded behind the scenes over which city can raise enough money, avoid labor disputes and prove they have enough high-end hotels and event accommodations…

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'A vastly different operation': Trump campaign tries un-Trumpian approach to 2020 (Politico)

President Donald Trump is assembling a sprawling, corporate-style reelection campaign with 10 divisions reporting to a single senior adviser, campaign manager Brad Parscale — a top-down structure that represents everything Trump’s improvisational 2016 effort was not.

The organization, described in interviews by a half-dozen Trump top political aides, prioritizes the campaign’s digital- and data-focused strategy, in keeping with Parscale’s expertise. The campaign has hired more than 30 full-time staffers so far and has begun building out a surrogate network devoted exclusively to putting pro-Trump talking heads on TV and radio and in newspaper op-eds — a move that reflects Trump’s fixation with how he’s portrayed in the media…

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(Run time - 17:10)

“Various forms of denser housing, in appropriate locations, has to be the main source of housing for our future.” - Terry Mitchell

On today’s episode we speak with Terry Mitchell, President of Momark Development LLC. Terry is a well established leader in Austin’s homebuilding community, having a hand in the development of iconic properties such as downtown’s Austonian, to the recent The Tyndall luxury condominiums on the east side. He is equally as known for his passion and expertise around affordable housing issues.

Terry and Bingham Group CEO A.J. Bingham discuss the developer’s approach to building, as well as the state of Austin’s affordable housing crisis and what can be done about it.

This episode was recorded on January 29, 2019.

Link to Episode 35

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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