BG Reads | News You Need to Know (July 24, 2019)



Packed homelessness forum calls for more shelters, support. ‘We are dealing with human beings here.’ (KUT)

As the city adjusts to new rules for panhandling, camping or sitting or lying down in public, the Downtown Austin Alliance hosted a forum Tuesday to discuss the road ahead for dealing with homelessness and plans to expand emergency shelter access across the city.

In the three weeks since the revised ordinances went into effect, there has been an explosion of conversation, consternation, praise and vitriol – including threats of state action by Gov. Greg Abbott and an impassioned plea from Austin Mayor Steve Adler in the Statesman earlier this week… (LINK TO STORY)

County unveils $1.19 billion preliminary budget (Austin Monitor)

Travis County budget staff unveiled the preliminary draft of the county’s 2019-20 budget Tuesday. This year’s budget is particularly important since it’s the last one the Commissioners Court will approve before tough new restrictions on property tax revenue kick in next year.

“This year has challenged us to think more strategically as we face greater pressures from state government and local demands for increased services,” said Jessica Rio, who oversees the county’s planning and budget office, in a memo explaining the proposed budget.

This year, the county, like most other Texas local government entities, will be able to collect up to 8 percent more property tax revenue for government maintenance and operations (M&O) than the previous year, without voter approval. In future years, the county will be limited to an annual increase of only 3.5 percent, unless voters approve a higher increase… (LINK TO STORY)

Austin FC tabs Josh Wolff franchise’s first coach (Austin American-Statesman)

Austin FC got its guy. Josh Wolff got his team.

In a surprise to few, Wolff became the first head coach of the new Major League Soccer franchise Tuesday with an announcement press conference at the Continental Club. The former United States men’s national team striker becomes the first and only face for the soccer team that will take the pitch in 2021.

He’d been knocking on the door for his first head coaching appointment, and will rejoin a number of former colleagues in the front office from the Columbus Crew, including chairman and CEO Anthony Precourt and team president Andy Loughnane… (LINK TO STORY)

See also:

BG Podcast Episode 46: Austin FC Updates from Club President Andy Loughnane


Texas AG Ken Paxton's criminal case likely to face further delays as attorneys revive fights over venue, prosecutor pay (Texas Tribune)

Even after the state’s top criminal court ruled and ruled again on a long-running side battle to the criminal case against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a trial still seems distant. Both defense attorneys and prosecutors this week filed new legal motions with the potential to spell months of further delays.

The securities fraud case against Paxton has been stalled for years as attorneys duke out side battles, like a dispute over how much the prosecutors may be paid. That remains to be finally resolved, even after the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals last month reaffirmed its ruling that the $300-per-hour rate initially promised to the special prosecutors fell outside legal limits… (LINK TO STORY)

ICE has released this Dallas-born U.S. citizen detained for more than three weeks (Texas Tribune)

Federal authorities have released an 18-year-old Dallas-born U.S. citizen who had been detained in immigration custody for more than three weeks after being stopped at a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint, according to multiple reports.

Francisco Erwin Galicia, 18, had been held in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody in Pearsall. His lawyer, Claudia Galan, confirmed his release to The Dallas Morning News and the Associated Press on Tuesday, a day after the Morning News first reported about his case.

Galicia was traveling in late June with his 17-year-old brother, Marlon Galicia, and a group of friends to a soccer scouting event when they were stopped at an immigration checkpoint in Falfurrias, the Morning News reported. Francisco Galicia had a Texas ID, which can only be obtained with a Social Security number, but his brother, who was born in Mexico and lacked legal status, only had a school ID… (LINK TO STORY)

‘The worst we’ve ever seen’: San Antonio hotels are struggling to find workers (San Antonio Express-News)

With San Antonio’s unemployment rate at historic lows, hoteliers in the city’s $15.2 billion tourism industry are struggling to find housekeepers, dishwashers and waiters. It’s never been easy recruiting for jobs that involve hard work and low pay, but the crunch is reaching new levels of pain.

“I’ve been in this business for a long time, and I think it’s the worst we’ve ever seen it,” said Avinash Bhakta, president of ABH Hospitality, a local hotel management and consulting firm. “There are plenty of positions that are open — there aren’t enough workers.” To attract the entry-level workers they need, companies are being forced to raise wages and change hiring practices. ABH is hiring more part-time workers and relying on temp agencies for help with staffing — a departure from years past, Bhakta said… (LINK TO STORY)


Justice Department opens antitrust review of big tech companies (New York Times)

The federal government has turned its full investigative powers toward examining the world’s biggest technology companies, building on a backlash against the industry that has been growing for over a year.

The Justice Department said on Tuesday that it would start an antitrust review into how internet giants had accumulated market power and whether they had acted to reduce competition. Similar inquiries are underway in Congress and at the Federal Trade Commission, which shares antitrust oversight responsibilities with the Justice Department. The action is the clearest sign yet that the longtime arguments that helped shield the tech giants from antitrust scrutiny are eroding. Since the 1970s, a consensus in antitrust circles has been that if companies were focused on consumer welfare — for example, by offering low prices — they were not likely to attract federal intervention… (LINK TO STORY)

President Trump falsely tells auditorium full of teens the Constitution gives him 'the right to do whatever I want' (Washington Post)

Donald Trump believes being president means he has the right to do what whatever he wants. That's the message he delivered - not for the first time - on Tuesday while addressing a crowd of teenagers and young adults at the Turning Point USA Teen Student Action Summit in Washington.

There are numerous viral video clips from Trump's 80-minute speech at the conference, but one of the most interesting bits came as he discussed Article II of the U.S. Constitution, which describes the powers of the president. "Then, I have an Article II, where I have to the right to do whatever I want as president," he said. "But, I don't even talk about that."… (LINK TO STORY)


We’re taking a summer hiatus, so please enjoy some our favorite past episodes in the interim:

BG PodEpisode 20: State Rep. Diego Bernal- District 123 (D-San Antonio)

Today's BG Podcast features a conversation with State Rep. Diego Bernal (D-San Antonio) on the upcoming Texas legislative session, in particular brewing battles around local control, one being municipal paid sick leave ordinances.

This discussion was recorded on September 24, 2018. (LINK TO SHOW)


Progressive Justice Now Drafting MPT Delia Garza for County Attorney

Last Thursday saw the launch of Progressive Justice Now, an organization calling for Mayor Pro Tem Delia Garza (District 2) to run for Travis County Attorney.

MPT Garza is the first Latina to serve on the City Council in Austin, and the first Latina to serve as Austin’s Mayor Pro Tem. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University, and a law degree from Gonzaga University School of Law. She previously served as an Assistant Attorney General advocating for Texas families in the Child Support Division of the Office of the Attorney General… (LINK TO BLOG)

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