BG Note | News - What We're Reading (September 21, 2017)



CodeNEXT 2.0 is here, but supplemental materials are missing (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

At the Sept. 19 joint land use commissions meeting, the dazzling presentations detailing the new aspects of the second CodeNEXT draft could not overshadow supplemental information that was missing. Commissioners expressed frustration with city staff and consultants who they said had not followed through on prior requests for supportive data.

The Planning and Zoning and Platting commissions will make their final recommendations on CodeNEXT before it heads to City Council for a vote next year. According to the city charter, as reaffirmed by a Council resolution passed in June, the Planning Commission is the only body that must submit a recommendation for the process to move forward. Nevertheless, the commissions have worked in tandem since the first draft was released last January, holding joint work sessions at least once a month to parse through the dense first draft of the new land use code.

Learn more about Draft 2 of the code (City of Austin)

Lawsuit alleges ‘troubling pattern’ at Austin Board of Realtors (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

A lawsuit filed by two of its members accuses the Austin Board of Realtors of violating its own election bylaws and alleges “a troubling pattern of recent action” by the organization.
The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in state District Court in Travis County, stems from the Aug. 2 removal of Cord Shiflet with Moreland Properties and Brian Talley of Regent Property Group from organization’s 16-member board of directors.
The lawsuit alleges the organization is violating its own bylaws by refusing to hold an election for all seven of the currently open board seats in the October election — five seats that are up for renewal, but also Shiflet’s and Talley’s seats.

‘Downtown Puzzle’ gets unanimous support from Austin’s Downtown Commission one week before council vote (Community Impact Austin) LINK TO STORY

Austin’s Downtown Commission threw unanimous support behind Mayor Steve Adler’s “Downtown Puzzle” pitch on Wednesday, one week before City Council is slated to vote on the funding plan.
Adler, who originally pitched the “Downtown Puzzle” in July, presented the plan to the 11-member Downtown Commission during its meeting on Wednesday. The plan kickstarts several codependent initiatives that at once would fund an Austin Convention Center expansion, bring in more hotel occupancy tax revenue to assist the city’s music scene, cultural and art projects and historic preservation, while also creating a revenue stream dedicated to addressing the city’s homelessness issue.
City Council will vote on a resolution on Sept. 28 to direct the city manager to put the council in a position to “assemble the Downtown Puzzle.” While the Downtown Commission unanimously supported the plan, Adler said there was pushback from some council members—namely District 7 Council Member Leslie Pool and Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo.

Work starts on $64M Waterloo Park restoration, key to greener downtown Austin (Austin Business Journal) LINK TO STORY

Tower cranes and glass-sheathed skyscrapers abound in Austin's urban core. But a $230 million construction project closer to ground level that promises to transform eastern downtown is gaining momentum along Waller Creek.
A groundbreaking Wednesday signified the start of work on the the restoration of Waterloo Park, a major step in the wider restoration of the creek along a 1.5-mile stretch from Lady Bird Lake north to 15th Street. Construction on Waterloo Park is estimated to cost $64 million and be finished by late 2019.

Austin angel investors dole out even more cash to early-stage startups (Austin Business Journal) LINK TO STORY

Investors in the Central Texas Angel Network — who put money into very early-stage startups and also advise them — poured $7.6 million into 31 companies in the first half of the year, a record for the group.

What If Amazon Picks Austin For Its Second Headquarters? (KUT) LINK TO STORY

Let’s get this out of the way: Amazon’s second headquarters is not coming here – yet. But the prospect of the ecommerce giant's "HQ2" coming to Austin has invited more then enough speculation.

Still, it’s fairly rare when one of the most valuable companies in the world decides to set up shop – or in this case, a second shop – somewhere, promising as many as 50,000 jobs over 15 years.

“Without question, the competition is going to be fierce,” said Mike Berman with the Austin Chamber of Commerce. He couldbe talking about the bidding process to lure Amazon, but he's not. In fact, he won’t. Instead he’s talking about the competition to get you to read this story.


Texas' bridges aren't bad, but roads and other infrastructure need serious work, engineers say (Dallas Morning News) LINK TO STORY

When it comes to the state's bridges, roads and other infrastructure, Texas has work to do, according to a national engineering group. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave Texas a C-minus in its 2017 report card released Thursday, noting that Hurricane Harvey serves as a reminder of the value of infrastructure. “Life grinds to a halt when our bridges, wastewater treatment plants, and utility lines are out of service,” Travis Attanasio, the vice president for professional affairs for the Texas section, said in a news release.

Report: Indicted state Rep. Dawnna Dukes spent $51k on online psychic (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

State Rep. Dawnna Dukes, the Austin Democrat facing corruption charges, failed to turn over a cell phone to investigators and spent more than $51,000 on an online psychic, according to a legal filing reported by the Austin American-Statesman on Wednesday. 

The document obtained by the Statesman reveals that Travis County prosecutors intend to present the information as evidence in Dukes’ misdemeanor trial next month, part of 19 “extraneous acts” chronicled by prosecutors. Dukes is accused of using her legislative to staff run personal errands and being compensated for days she did not work at the Texas Capitol.


Toshiba agrees to sell valuable chip business for $18 billion to group including Apple, Dell (Austin Business Journal) LINK TO STORY

Japanese technology giant Toshiba Corp. confirmed Wednesday morning it has agreed to sell its flash-memory chip business for $18 billion to a consortium of bidders that includes Apple Inc., Dell Technologies Inc. and Seagate Technology Plc, Reuters reports.

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