Council rejects attempt to remove Planning commissioners (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY
Following an occasionally heated debate, City Council voted down a proposal Thursday that would have declared the current membership of the Planning Commission to be in violation of the city charter.
At issue is a provision of the charter, approved by voters in 1994, that calls for no more than one-third of the Planning Commission members to be “directly or indirectly connected with real estate or land development.”...
Municipal Court move to Met Center OK’d (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY
Although Council Member Ora Houston made numerous arguments against a 120-month lease for Austin’s Municipal Court at the Met Center in Southeast Austin, only Council Member Pio Renteria joined her during Thursday’s Council meeting in voting against authorizing city staff to negotiate and execute a $31 million contract with Zydeco Development. Council Member Leslie Pool abstained, and Council Member Ellen Troxclair was absent.
Both Houston and Renteria criticized Zydeco for a satirical map the company had posted on its website that labeled part of East Austin where many Latino residents live as “Tortilla Canyon.” Parts of North Austin were labeled the “Sea of Sameness,” but the tortilla reference was the only apparent ethnic slur...
‘Terminate’ CodeNEXT? Austin land-use commission recommends canceling five-year effort (Community Impact) LINK STORY
After five years and $8.5 million spent to rewrite the city’s land development code, an influential land-use commission voted Wednesday that the CodeNEXT process was broken and should be terminated.
Citing community opposition, general distrust, critiques on the neighborhood planning process and a new city manager, the Austin Zoning and Platting Commission voted 7-4 to recommend the city “immediately terminate” the CodeNEXT project.
The recommendation comes just weeks before the City Council is scheduled to deliberate over the effort’s final product...
Flannigan’s tweets during Austin City Council meeting causes dust up (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY
Austin City Council Member Jimmy Flannigan’s tweets Thursday night during a meeting of the city council caused a brief dust up at the meeting’s conclusion.
Flannigan had called into question the propriety of Council Member Kathie Tovo’s amendment in a zoning case that directed $50,000 to a community development corporation she helped set up before she was elected to the council...
Richard Overton, America’s oldest WWII veteran, to turn 112 (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY
He’s met celebrities, presidents and comedians. He’s experienced war and peace. He’s accumulated countless accolades.
But for America’s oldest living World War II veteran Richard Overton, there’s nothing better than hanging out on his front porch, smoking cigars and greeting passers-by who treat him, rightly so, like the neighborhood king.
On Friday, Overton will celebrate his 112th birthday with a community celebration at his East Austin home on the street that now bears his name — Richard Overton Avenue...
Houston ‘seriously considering’ bid for 2020 Democratic National Convention (Houston Chronicle) LINK TO STORY
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said Thursday that the city is “seriously considering” a bid for the Democratic National Convention in 2020, joining seven other cities that have taken initial steps to host the event. Democratic National Committee officials confirmed that Houston is one of eight cities that were sent formal proposal requests after responding to initial inquiries to gauge their interest. Turner’s statement comes a week after San Antonio officials decided not to submit a bid to host the 2020 Republican National Convention, citing the upfront costs of an international spectacle that could draw 40,000 visitors...
Abbott campaign's opening salvo nods at Valdez's sexual orientation, says she's 'wrong for Texas' (Dallas Morning News) LINK TO STORY
Gov. Greg Abbott's re-election campaign on Thursday launched a new website and video that blast former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez as "wrong for Texas" — and indirectly note that she's a lesbian. The Abbott camp's new site and Web ad say that Valdez, if elected, would "eviscerate" the state's ban on sanctuary cities, reverse its recently passed restrictions on abortion and expand Medicaid to adults of working age under Obamacare.
In the 30-second ad, while a narrator touts how Abbott has helped to make Texas "the most pro-life state in the nation," the screen includes a caption. Superimposed on a photo of Valdez, it cites this remark from her, as reported by the San Antonio Express-News in late January: "My partner is a very strong, independent chiropractor. For me to try to tell her what she should do with her body, she would tell me what to do with my mouth."...
Invisible primary has already begun for Dems (The Hill) LINK TO STORY
The invisible primary has begun for Democrats plotting a presidential path in 2020. Would-be candidates are hitting the trail, sharpening their positions, seeking the right political “lane” and holding private conversations with donors about their prospects. Invisible primaries typically start after the midterm elections, but Democrats thinking about the 2020 race appear to be getting a head start. The battle to become the Democratic nominee is shaping up for an early start, and political observers say it’s anyone’s to win...
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