BG Note | News - What We're Reading (September 12, 2017)

(Source, City Lab)

(Source, City Lab)

Group keeps gondola hopes alive (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s firm disinterest in aerial gondolas is not discouraging one group from working toward a vision of cable car transit in Austin.
John McCready of Look Up Austin told the Austin Monitor last week that he has plans in the works to publicly push the concept popularized by designer Jared Ficklin, who has proposed an 8-mile gondola system connecting the University of Texas with Slaughter Lane along Guadalupe and S. First streets.
“Technically speaking, it is an emerging technology in the United States, but it certainly isn’t in a number of countries in the world,” McCready said. “It’s an existing technology and it’s flourishing and doing very, very well in servicing the public in an outstanding way.”

In Harvey’s Wake, Houston Rethinks Real Estate Development (The Wall Street Journal) LINK TO STORY

HOUSTON—For years there hadn’t been much debate over how to regulate land use here. Developers in the nation’s fourth-largest city mostly built what they wanted, where they wanted.
Now, after Hurricane Harvey killed at least 50 people and caused roughly $180 billion in damage, a battle is shaping up over how best to oversee real-estate development in Houston.

Two tech companies to eliminate nearly 200 Austin-area jobs through layoffs (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

Nearly 200 Austin-area workers are being laid off as part of job reductions by Oracle America and Novitex Enterprise Solutions.
Oracle America, which is a subsidiary of Oracle Corp., is eliminating 108 jobs, according to a WARN letter the company sent to the Texas Workforce Commission. 
A WARN letter, which stands for Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, is a federally mandated notice employers must provide to state governments in the event of major layoffs.

What’s the tax impact of $1B in Austin school bonds? Hint: It’s not $0 (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

Austin school leaders say they can take on $1.05 billion in bond debt without raising the district’s tax rate, based largely on climbing property values and the district’s ability to pay down more than half of its existing debt in the next decade.
Keeping the tax rate the same is a central feature of the district’s political campaign for the bond proposition going before local voters in November. The money from the bond measure would pay to construct new schools, rebuild deteriorating campuses and modernize a school system for which the average building is 40 years old.

Clinton to appear at BookPeople in November for signing event (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

Hillary Rodham Clinton will stop in Austin for a book-signing event on Nov. 17, BookPeople announced Monday. The former first lady, U.S. senator, U.S. secretary of state and Democratic presidential candidate will sign copies of her new book, “What Happened,” a memoir about the 2016 presidential campaign that she ultimately lost to Republican Donald Trump. BookPeople is charging $30 for a ticket to the noon book-signing, a purchase price that includes a wristband for the signing line and a copy of the book.

Austin police on pace to be nearly fully staffed by 2018, leaders say (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

Austin police remain on pace to be staffed at nearly 100 percent by the end of the year, department leaders said Monday.
Assistant Chief Troy Gay said police managed to cut a 144-officer deficit by nearly half with a class of about 70 cadets who completed their training at the police academy in June.
Three months later, the department has 96 cadets spread between two classes that will graduate in December.
“Current vacancies, we’re sitting at 96, which is why if (the cadets) graduated today, we would be at 100 percent,” Gay said.

Amazon's HQ2 and the Rise of Big-Ticket Megadeals (City Lab) LINK TO STORY

Amazon’s stunning announcement that it will build a second headquarters that could eventually employ 50,000 has triggered a frantic bidding war that may see the company win billions of dollars in tax incentives and other subsidies. But it’s the third such episode in three months. Wisconsin enacted a $3 billion subsidy deal for Foxconn and the State of Iowa with a Des Moines suburb awarded $213 million to Apple.


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