BG Note | News - What We're Reading (May 14, 2018)


[Austin Metro]

After community input, the wait is on for soccer team’s Austin proposal (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

After a blitz of community input sessions in recent weeks, representatives of the group looking to move a Major League Soccer franchise to Austin have a firm grasp on what they have to do to meet what they admit is an ambitious late-June deadline for getting a basic agreement with City Council to use city-owned property for a new stadium.
In three public meetings last week and others held with local soccer and community groups from the area near the McKalla Place property eyed for the stadium, attendees offered a mix of feedback on the proposal that would give Austin its first professional sports team, while also communicating that team owners should deliver a robust menu of community benefits beyond paying for construction of the 20,000-seat stadium.
Precourt Sports Ventures, owners of the Columbus Crew team looking to move to Austin, hopes to present an initial proposal to Council members in early June and are pushing for a decision to move forward by the final June Council meeting, ahead of the city’s July recess...

Prized Austin magnet schools are more diverse, but didn’t hit targets (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

Principal Kenisha Coburn’s push to increase the diversity of students at the mostly white Kealing Middle School magnet program goes beyond adding black and Latino students to the attendance rolls.
Coburn said she could go to the area’s high-tech companies to recruit employees’ children to increase the numbers. Instead, she wants to bring in the kids who are low-income or whose parents didn’t attend college. She wants the kids who live in attendance zones from which the magnet hasn’t drawn students in the past, children who didn’t think it was an option for them.
She wants gifted students who’ve never been in a program like Kealing’s to be able to walk into the room and know they are competitive with those from middle class and well-to-do families with more resources and support at home.
“I am not interested in the appearance of equity on the back of students,” she said. “I want real equity.”
After changing admissions last year, Kealing has made modest gains in attracting more underserved black and Hispanic students into its magnet program. Similar changes also have been made to admissions at the nationally ranked LASA High School...

Workers Defense Project, locals join city as defendants in paid sick leave lawsuit (Community Impact) LINK TO STORY

The Workers Defense Project, local electrician Joe Hernandez and local restaurant L’Oca d’Oro owner Adam Orman announced Thursday their intervention as defendants in a lawsuit filed by the Texas Association of Business and others against the city of Austin regarding its recently passed paid sick leave ordinance.
The new defendants will be represented by the Texas Civil Rights Project.
TCRP President Mimi Marziani called the paid sick leave ordinance a “landmark economic justice measure” and said she felt confident in their case against the state, which is arguing that mandated paid sick leave is in conflict with Texas minimum wage law...


Fight over Doppler radar site pits government against property rights of developer (Dallas Morning News) LINK TO STORY

The 55-foot metal tower that holds what looks like a giant white soccer ball helps aircraft take off and land safety at Dallas Love Field every day. But the Doppler radar weather station near the border of Dallas and Irving is now at the center of a heated land dispute between the Federal Aviation Administration and one of the Dallas area’s biggest developers, Billingsley Co. A lot of money is at stake. Billingsley at one point owned the quarter-acre site the Doppler radar sits on as part of a larger purchase the company made in 2015 to expand its successful Cypress Waters development. The 1,000-acre community at LBJ Freeway and Belt Line Road has thousands of apartments, two retail centers and offices for major businesses...

Texas doctors send letter slamming Blue Cross’ ER billing process (Dallas Morning News) LINK TO STORY

Some of the state’s most influential doctors’ groups are pressing the insurance commissioner to investigate a change that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas is making to its emergency room coverage. Starting June 4, some policyholders with the state’s largest health insurer could face sticker shock after a visit to the emergency room. In a letter made public last month, Blue Cross said it will no longer pay the bill if it’s determined later that the patient wasn’t facing a serious or life-threatening medical event...

How a federal lawsuit could open the door to online voter registration in Texas (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

From Jacquelyn Callanen’s perch in the Bexar County elections office, the period following Texas’ voter registration deadlines is best described as a paper tsunami. Some of it arrives by mail. Some stacks are delivered by volunteer voter registrars. The secretary of state’s office sends over a handful of boxes filled to the brim. No matter the carrier, last-minute drives to register people by the 30-day deadline ahead of each election typically leave local elections offices with a surge of work. To make sure prospective voters make it onto the rolls on time for Election Day, the county offices have to hire temporary workers to help thumb through and process tens of thousands of voter registration cards and applications...


Trump praises North Korea's move to dismantle its nuclear testing site (Politico) LINK TO STORY

President Donald Trump on Saturday praised North Korea after the country announced further details of its plans to wind down its nuclear weapons testing program in advance of high-level talks with the U.S. in June. "North Korea has announced that they will dismantle Nuclear Test Site this month, ahead of the big Summit Meeting on June 12th," the president wrote on Twitter. "Thank you, a very smart and gracious gesture!" North Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Saturday that a "ceremony for the dismantling of the nuclear test ground" will occur weather pending at the remote Punggye-ri site between May 23 and the 25, according to a statement published by the country's state news agency...

AT&T ousts top lobbyist after payments to Trump attorney (Dallas Morning News) LINK TO STORY

AT&T chief executive Randall Stephenson sent an email to all employees Friday morning, calling the decision to hire President Donald Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen "a big mistake" and saying AT&T's top lobbyist will leave the company. "Our company has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons these last few days and our reputation has been damaged," he said. "There is no other way to say it — AT&T hiring Michael Cohen as a political consultant was a big mistake." His remarks are the strongest that the Dallas-based telecom giant has made since reports Tuesday that it paid $600,000 to Essential Consultants to get advice about policy matters, including its merger with Time Warner...

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