BG Note | News - What We're Reading (December 6, 2017)


[Austin Metro]

Will Laura Morrison challenge Mayor Steve Adler in 2018 election? (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

Former Austin City Council Member Laura Morrison is considering challenging Mayor Steve Adler for the city’s top elected seat next year, as electioneering for the November 2018 city races begins to get into gear.
Morrison said she’s reaching out to various constituents and potential supporters to decide whether to enter the race and hopes to make a decision soon...

Council drills down on Capitol plan (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

An ongoing effort by the state of Texas to move much of its workforce downtown has City Council members wondering what, if anything, the city can get out of the project.
The state is planning on getting started with implementation of the Texas Capitol Complex Master Plan, which envisions four new buildings around the Capitol to accommodate 3,500 additional state employees who now work in other parts of the Austin area, a five-level underground parking garage and a large grass mall on Congress Avenue, between 16th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
Speaking to Council members at a Tuesday work session, state Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin) said that the state was going to build the new buildings no matter what, but that she and state Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin) were trying to get the project to reflect the interests of the city as much as possible, notably through the creation of the mall, which will likely include a new museum...

Changes proposed for Chapter 380 agreements (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

During Tuesday’s City Council work session, David Colligan, the manager of global business expansion in the Economic Development Department, and economist Jon Hockenyos presented an outline of their plans to revamp the city’s incentive policy for recruiting businesses under the state law known as Chapter 380.
The biggest changes – as dictated by a Council resolution earlier this year – would include an emphasis on middle-skill jobs; increased employment opportunities for hard-to-employ populations; increased availability of affordable commercial space for small, local businesses; and development of vibrant, mixed-use commercial corridors...

County adopts sidewalk fee-in-lieu program (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

Developers in unincorporated Travis County will now pay the price for not building sidewalks.
On Tuesday, the Commissioners Court approved changes that will establish a sidewalk fee-in-lieu program similar to the one operated by the city of Austin.
Chapter 82 of the Travis County Code mandates that developers outside of any city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction must submit a sidewalk plan. Staff reviews the plans and determines whether to require sidewalk construction on a case-by-case basis.
Historically, if a given project is not proximate to pedestrian trip generators – for example, schools, churches or transit stops – or if the local topography is forbidding, the requirements to build pedestrian infrastructure have been waived...

Commission wants live music venues specified in CodeNEXT (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

Austin city staff and live music industry stakeholders are working to add a “live music venue” use case designation to CodeNEXT, the city’s in-process building code that will determine how Austin grows over the next two-plus decades. If approved for the final draft of CodeNEXT next year, the change could make it easier to open and operate, and more precisely regulate, businesses where live music performance is the main mission.
Members of the Austin Music Commission considered a request at Monday’s meeting to vote in support of a measure to recommend that the Planning Commission and Zoning and Platting Commission make live music venues a specific land use in the document, the next version of which is expected to be released in early 2018. Commissioners opted to put the request on the agenda for the January meeting so the language outlining what qualifies as a live music venue can be reviewed by legal experts...

Revamp Of The Drag Could Do Away With On-Street Parking To Increase Bike And Bus Flow (KUT) LINK TO STORY

The City of Austin has unveiled its pitch to revamp Guadalupe Street near UT campus in a plan that favors bike- and bus-minded improvements.
The proposal suggests whittling down the four-lane street to two lanes from 29th Street to Martin Luther King Boulevard and eliminating on-street parking along the Drag.
If that doesn't sound like a plan to improve car travel near campus, that's because it's not. The Austin Transportation Department says the $33.7 million-proposal would, "not improve auto travel, but increases people throughput by improving the transit capacity and sidewalk width."...


Research Aims To Get A Handle On How Cities Share Bike And Pedestrian Data With TxDOT (KUT)


How repealing net neutrality could hurt small Texas businesses (The Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

When PDQ Resharpening opened in 1999, it had just one customer. In the years since, co-owner Shane Killingsworth said, the Houston-based drill-bit sharpening business has expanded tenfold. He credits that successful growth largely to one resource: fast internet access.

For Killingsworth, fast internet is critical for attracting new customers and processing company payments. Without speedy access, he said, much of the company’s business would be stalled...

Texas Democrats prepare for crowded, potentially competitive gubernatorial primary (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

Texas Democrats appear headed toward a less-than-common scenario in their decades-long bid to retake the governor's office: a crowded, potentially competitive primary.

With less than a week left in the filing period, six little-known Democrats have filed to challenge Republican Gov. Greg Abbott next year, with two more prominent names expected to enter the race by the Monday deadline: Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez and Andrew White, the son of late Gov. Mark White. An eight-way primary could be the party's most crowded nominating contest for governor since at least the 1980s...


Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israeli capital (The Hill) LINK TO STORY

President Trump will announce the U.S. recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, but will sign a waiver delaying the relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to there, senior administration officials said Tuesday.

Trump will make the announcement on Wednesday, in a speech that will be closely watched by other world leaders who fear the move will undermine peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians and spark protests across the Middle East. 

In an effort to make good on a campaign promise, Trump will direct the State Department to begin the process of moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem...

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