BG Note | News - What We're Reading (September 11, 2017)
Council begins final slog through budget today (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY
After hours and hours of budget work sessions, including two such sessions last week, today City Council must at least start to make the hard decisions of what to fund and what to leave for another year. Today is the first of three days set aside to finalize the budget.
Although several Council members have indicated that they want to remove funding from allocations in the staff’s budget, there does not appear to be a consensus about what they might cut in order to fund their favorite projects.
If they do not cut any of the funding outlined in the staff budget, they will have $4 million in recurring funds and $1 million in what are known as one-time funds for those projects.
Austinites call for halt, and a vote, on CodeNEXT (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY
Residents and activists in East Austin called for a halt and possible public vote on CodeNEXT during a community session Saturday where reparations for displaced individuals and a program to create affordable housing stock on city-owned lands were also discussed as possible solutions for gentrification focused in that area.
The session – titled “Destruction, Displacement, and CodeNEXT: Views From the East Side” – was organized by Community Not Commodity, and featured a panel of five academics and activists discussing the effects of racial displacement that kicked off with the city’s 1928 master plan, which called for African-American and Latino residents to be relocated east of I-35. With those areas seeing land values skyrocket in the past decade as Austin’s population has boomed, those in attendance Saturday charged that CodeNEXT and the Imagine Austin plan that informs it will leave the city with few housing options for middle- and lower-class residents.
NOTE: The second draft of CodeNEXT is due for publication this Friday, 9/15
U.S. House sends Harvey aid bill to Trump – despite 4 Texans voting against it (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY
WASHINGTON - The U.S. House approved $15 billion in aid to support those affected by Hurricane Harvey's destruction in southeast Texas on Friday, sending the legislation to President Donald Trump's desk for his signature. Later in the day, Trump signed it into law.
The funding is only meant to serve as a short-term measure, and a much more expansive bill is expected to be negotiated later in the fall. The aid was also part of a larger deal to avoid a government default and shutdown for the next three months.
The measure passed the U.S. House 316-90. On Thursday, it passed the U.S. Senate 80-17.
Texans in Congress remember close calls and lives changed on 9/11 (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY
Sixteen years ago, it was a beautiful enough morning that Pete Olson, a staffer in the U.S. Senate, chose to drive from suburban Virginia into work with his Jeep’s top down. Just as the future Sugar Land-based congressman passed the Pentagon, his wife called to tell him a plane had hit one of the World Trade Center buildings.
Instantly, he recalled to her the 1945 incident when a B-25 bomber struck the Empire State Building, and he assumed the crash was a pilot error, medical emergency or weather complication.
He arrived to his job as a military adviser to then-U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm’s office on Capitol Hill to see the second plane hit in lower Manhattan.
He had one thought: “ATTACK!"
Favor Closes $22M Series B and Plans to Add 25K More Runners (AustinInno) LINK TO STORY
Favor, the Austin-based on-demand delivery startup, has closed a $22 million Series B funding round to continue its expansion in Texas and on-board 25,000 more independent contractors to make deliveries.
The new funding, led by Austin’s S3 Ventures, came as the company announced it has become profitable, a rare achievement in the on-demand delivery space which is largely fueled by massive infusions of venture capital.
This walkie talkie app got 6 million new users in one week as people prepared for Hurricane Irma in Florida (RECODE) LINK TO STORY
The app, which enables people to communicate on public channels on the app using WiFi or cellular data, has seen 1 million new users a day since last Monday, according to Zello CEO Bill Morris. Zello is currently the top free app in the U.S. Apple app store and has more than 100 million registered users to date.
In addition to allowing people to field audio questions, the app also allows participants to upload screenshots with updates or pertinent information such as numbers to call if someone runs out of gas on the road.