BG Note | News - What We're Reading (May 9, 2018)


[Austin Metro]

Travis commissioners appoint first Palm School advisory board member (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

The Travis County Commissioners Court on Tuesday nominated the first member to a three-person advisory board that will make recommendations regarding how the county’s historic Palm School property ought to be preserved and redeveloped.
Commissioner Margaret Gómez nominated Anita Quintanilla, a former student of the school, and the court approved her nomination unanimously with Commissioner Gerald Daugherty off the dais.
“She’s from the area and she went to Palm and she’s kept up with all of her classmates from Palm, so she knows everybody who attended,” Gómez said in an interview. “She just has the history from living in that area as a citizen."...

Brandywine close to winning key rezoning to build denser, higher on North Austin campus occupied by IBM (Austin Business Journal) LINK TO STORY

Brandywine Realty Trust has big plans for the 66-acre North Austin campus occupied by IBM Corp., and it is close to clearing a major hurdle toward realizing that vision.
Brandywine (NYSE: BDN) is asking the city to rezone the site at 11501 Burnet Road, home to IBM's 1.1 million square feet of office space. Brandywine owns the site and hopes to redevelop it into a high-density, mixed-used project with the potential for office, hotel, residential and retail space a stone’s throw away from The Domain.
The rezoning request made it through the first reading at City Council on April 12, and it is slated for a second and third reading May 10. That means the council could decide as early as Thursday whether it would allow Brandywine to build a more dense development...

Austin’s infill builders raise $10K to pay for 3,400 student lunches (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

With an eye toward public education, infill developers in Austin are tackling a new problem.
Builders Care Austin, a 501(c)(3) that allows infill builders around town to make philanthropic contributions, has raised $10,000 to help pay off the lunch debts of Austin Independent School District students. Originally, Ed Ishmael, a local lawyer and developer who builds houses on Austin’s east side and who led this contribution campaign, told the Austin Monitor that he was only looking to raise $1,500 to pay off the debt that students in the 78702 ZIP code owed their school lunchrooms.
However, when he sent out the original request for contributions on April 6, he ended up receiving $7,500 within 72 hours. Within the week, Builders Care Austin had received $10,000 in donations from more than 50 builders and other professionals affiliated with infill building in Austin. Receiving almost seven times what he anticipated caught Ishmael “flat-footed” and so he reallocated the money to be used to begin to pay off the entirety of AISD’s $31,000 total student lunch debt...

    Six years gone: Music Commission again asks Council to halt special events ordinance (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

    The Austin Music Commission has asked City Council to put on hold nearly six years of work on updating and revamping of the city’s regulations covering special events.
    At Monday’s meeting, the commission approved a resolution that calls the current draft of a new special events ordinance too vague, with too many of the rule-making decisions left up to city staff and not open to public input. Currently the special events ordinance is scheduled for its third reading and expected approval at Thursday’s City Council meeting, making the resolution something of a last-minute attempt to further rework a piece of policy that has been mired in discussion and objections from the music and event community almost from the beginning...


    Democrats Vela and Cole take their last shots as HD 46 runoff nears (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

    The Democratic runoff candidates in Texas House District 46 have agreed on many of the issues — from their shared desire to legalize marijuana, to their calls for affordable housing to alleviate East Austin gentrification, to blaming state Rep. Dawnna Dukes for making little progress at the Capitol. So as the May 22 runoff election approaches, instead of issues, Sheryl Cole and Jose “Chito” Vela are fighting over who is the most faithful Democrat. At a Texas Tribune forum Monday, Vela was asked why, as a lifelong Democratic, he temporarily drifted from his political roots and voted in the 2010 statewide Republican primary. He said he crossed over to vote for moderate Kay Bailey Hutchinson because he was unhappy with Gov. Rick Perry. The Democratic ballot produced few competitive races, Vela said...

    S.A. Councilman asks DA to investigate City Council (San Antonio Express-News) LINK TO STORY

    Councilman Greg Brockhouse has requested that District Attorney Nico LaHood investigate whether the City Council violated the Texas Open Meetings Act last week when the body concluded that San Antonio should not submit a bid for the 2020 Republican National Convention. After an executive session Thursday, Mayor Ron Nirenberg announced that San Antonio would not seek the convention, saying the majority of the council agreed the cost of pursuing the event — an international spectacle that could draw 40,000 visitors, including 15,000 members of the media — outweighed the potential economic impact that has been estimated to be as much as $200 million. After the meeting, Brockhouse and Councilman Clayton Perry both lambasted the decision. Besides attacking Nirenberg for “failed leadership,” Brockhouse also suggested the closed-door meeting was a violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act...

    Lupe Valdez-Andrew White runoff debate is on for Friday in Austin (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

    Dallas Morning News political writer Gromer Jeffers will moderate a Democratic gubernatorial runoff debate between Lupe Valdez and Andrew White Friday at St. James Episcopal Church in East Austin. The debate will not be televised, but a live stream of the 7 p.m. event will be made available through The church, located at 1941 Webberville Road, has a seating capacity of 250 and a limited number of free tickets were made available at 6 p.m. Tuesday via the debate’s official Facebook event page...

    Texas regulators: Crypto-related scams getting creative (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

    The cryptocurrency investment craze is bringing out the creativity in fraudsters, Texas regulators say. The Texas State Securities Board cracked down on two more crypto-related companies this week, accusing them of attempting to dupe Texas investors. One of the companies promoted its operations as being in “a secluded place in the mountains hiding incredible computing power” and configured in such a way “that the flow of the cold mountain river would cool” its computer servers. Bitcoin Trading & Cloud Mining Limited, which goes by the name BTCrush and is based in London, used “stock footage available for sale on the internet” to create phony videos depicting the operations, according to the State Securities Board...


    Trump pulls United States out of Iran nuclear deal, calling the pact ‘an embarrassment’ (Washington Post) LINK TO STORY

    President Trump on Tuesday said he is pulling the United States out of the international nuclear deal with Iran, announcing that economic sanctions against Tehran will be reinstated and declaring that the 2015 pact was rooted in “fiction.” Trump’s decision, announced at the White House, makes good on a campaign pledge to undo an accord he has criticized as weak, poorly negotiated and “insane.” “The Iran deal is defective at its core. If we do nothing, we know exactly what will happen,” Trump said in remarks at the White House. “In just a short period of time, the world’s leading state sponsor of terror will be on the cusp of acquiring the world’s most dangerous weapons.”...

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