Category Archives: Uncategorized

Handsome Father

handsome father(Community Matters) Major kudos to Andy Miller & Brian Stephens for launching Handsome Father, an organization that provides comprehensive information to gay men wanting to become fathers and connects them to the resources and services that helps.

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Steven & I enjoyed today’s fundraiser/brunch at Cameron Lockley’s Gusto Italian Kitchen + Wine Bar, especially time hanging with Andy, Brian, Cameron, Stephen Walls, Denny Biggs, Zella, Brian Ballard, David Smith, Aruni Gunasegaram, Rachel Muir and other friends.

Congressman Joaquin Castro

(Community Matters) We hosted an intimate fundraiser dinner for Joaquin Castro last night – bonus that his wife Anna joined us. Co-hosts were Aimee & Ed Cunningham and Diana & Juan Alcala. Iliana de la Vega of El Naranjo prepared an exquisite meal.

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other guests included Yvonne Guiterrez, Steve Adler, Scott & Meryl Mason, JIm & Cheryl George, Alejandro & Ana Ruelas, Robert Howard, Adrienne Donato and Matt Jones.

 

 

DC

(Community Matters) This weekend to see the Cramers and this week for the Greater Austin Chamber’s DC Advocacy Visit.

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Gabel, Sonya, Reid, Brent, ST, Dio

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including a White House West Wing tour with Drew Scheberle, Jacki Arnold, Steve Adler, Greg Hartman & Gene Austin.

Andrew Roman

(Community Matters) Congrats to Andrew Roman who graduated from high school on Friday with highest honors and heaps of recognitions for acting, academics and service. Below with his brothers, sisters and nephew. Andrew is the youngest brother of our godson, Will Roman – all this tribe dear to us.

10390977_10203889724994663_8892575869038175979_nWill, Michelle, Roman, Andrew, Angela & Josh

Captain Brett & Maria Lester

(Community Matters) Brett was an undergraduate who I met in 2004 while teaching at UT’s McCombs School of Business. At his request I became the faculty advisor for his Alpha Kappa Psi Business Fraternity. We’ve been close ever since – during which time he graduated from UT, enlisted in the US Marines, deployed to Japan, returned, met Maria Redford in Dallas, and then answered a special call for reenlistment in a stealth, one year deployment. Maria, with a masters in religious studies, is chaplain at Dallas’ Ursuline Academy. Faith (specifically Roman Catholicism) is very important to both friends. Not sure I’ve ever attended a wedding officiated by five priests (each important in their livers) and attended by at least several others. What a wonderful launch for the life of two wonderful young friends.

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Labor Market Polarization

(Community Matters) The increasing polarization of jobs being created in the market – Dallas Federal Reserve newsletter – is due to automation of routine jobs and to a lesser extent offshoring, resulting in the loss of middle-skills jobs. Higher education and a willingness to upgrade skills accounts for better performance of women in the jobs market over last 25 years. Men who lose these middle-skills jobs are remanded to lower-skills, lower paying jobs. 

The number of jobs requiring medium levels of skills has shrunk while the number at both ends of the distribution – those requiring high and low skills level – has expanded. . . . polarization began about 25 years ago, in the early 1990s and intensified in the last decade. . . . Middle skills jobs were not recovered [after the recessions of this period, especially the recession of 2008-09].

Routine jobs always rebounded during the economic expansions that followed the recessions of the 1970s and 1980s. The pattern changed dramatically in the three recessions since 1990. None of the routine jobs lost in these downturns came back in the following expansions.

Middle skills jobs those in blue below (manual & cognitive routine).

dallas fed jobs skills

While women were hit much harder than men by the disappearance of middle-skills jobs, the majority of women managed to upgrade their skills and find better paying jobs.

Middle-skill, routine jobs still account for almost half of all existing jobs.

 

 

Best Friends’ Home

(Community Matters) where else can you be so comfy?

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with Rick Bond & Charles Santos (& Sienna who’s joined us in the pic) in Dallas for the weekend. Attending Brett Lester’s & Maria Redford’s wedding.

 

Troy Knapp, Driskill Exec Chef

(Community Matters) An evening in the center of someone’s creativity. Exec Chef Troy Knapp hosted us in his office, just off the Grill’s kitchen. Our friends Scott Mason (Driskill GM) & Scott Ertresvaag organized Thursday’s dinner Thursday. Allison Jacques, the newest Driskill exec team member, joined us.

Chef Troy’s food and wine pairings are new to us, and we’ll definitely be back. Tucked away in a corner, just outside the original hotel building, Chef Skyler Gordon (chef de cuisine) delighted us with course after course. Troy’s pairings, including the small lot champagne from a favorite vineyard demonstrated his sommelier certification – I’ve got to follow his column in Savor SA. Chefs Troy and Skyler are food stewards – both obviously governed by ethics of local, seasonal & authentic, preparation that solicits the best of each nibble’s flavor.

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Steven, Allison, Chef Skyler, Chef Troy and Scott Mason

Blistered shishito peppers with sea salt & an aioli, a tomato & melon sushi, pasta with seasonal vegetables, spicy cauliflower paella, octopus and vegetables, grilled peach soup, medallions of duck on a carrot puree w/ leafy vegetables, slightly sauteed mushrooms (trying to remember what kind – exquisitely delicate), petit fours & chocolates & fruit and grilled pineapple on glutten free short bread, an old vine Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

Wasn’t only the food & wine that made our evening – though they could have on their own – new friends and the sharing of intimate thoughts and opinions made for an all time evening.

 

Mayor – Austin Chronicle Profiles

steve aus chron(Community Matters) Nice write ups on the four candidates, two serious ones at this point. One more on Saturday. A Jew, a Mexican and an African American – each from middle class backgrounds, first in families to attend college, each successful in their careers, each committed to giving back.

Steve’s interview good – authentic, relaxed and candid.

Mike Matinez did a good job too - of course spinning his eight years on the job. The one spin I can’t abide is he now calls for accountability while Mike martinez aus chronhe doggedly defended White Construction/JW Marriott while they were flaunting the terms of their City of Austin subsidy (a la fee waivers), refusing to pay required fair worker wages. I’m glad he’s come around. 

Todd Phelps and Randall Stephens interviewed too.

Sheryl Cole has’t officially declared (she will Saturday) so not included in this round of Austin Chronicle profiles.

Lyft, Uber, Sharing Economy

lyft(Community Matters) Tensions are stretched & there’s no holding back the sharing economy. I’m sympathetic with my friends who abide by the rules & regulations, and the ground has shifted inalterably. I see it for the better. We’ve got to find a way for the two worlds to coexist.

As peer to peer businesses allow anyone to become a retailer, sharing sites let individuals become a taxi service, boutique hotel, a bed & breakfast or a car-hire at any time with low transaction costs. Yes there are some risks and consumers are willing to accept these. Peer to peer sites and those who use them monitor & rank quality & safety. While there can be shortcomings, there certainly can be from existing rules & regulations as well. Especially in Austin’s taxi industry, intentions to limit competition (whether by the companies or drivers) went too far and have backfired. It’s too late to put this genie back in the bottle. Let’s focus on how we transition into this new world and find the mutual wins – citizens’ interests should rule.

Lyft launches in Austin. Uber & Sidecar will do so too. Airbnb, Homeaway and many others are or soon will be providing individuals real sharing economy benefits.

 

Government for the People

(Community Matters) The audacity of overreaching regulators – “In June, 28 CBC members sent a letter to the Department of Labor, urging it to reconsider a rule requiring retirement account managers and investment advisers to act in their clients’ best interests.” – How The Congressional Black Caucus Went To War With Itself Over Wall Street

Narendra Modi’s Victory, India’s Best Chance at Prosperity

modi 2(Community Matters) a Modi success in reforming and igniting India’s economy would reform history and reshape how our world works – the potential for 3 economic superpowers, finally In the Economist: 

THE most important change in the world over the past 30 years has been the rise of China. The increase in its average annual GDP per head from around $300 to $6,750 over the period has not just brought previously unimagined prosperity to hundreds of millions of people, but has also remade the world economy and geopolitics.

India’s GDP per head was the same as China’s three decades ago. It is now less than a quarter of the size.

Mr Modi, by contrast [to previous president, Mr Singh, a Gandhi family retainer], has huge authority, both within his party and in the country. The BJP’s victory owes something to good organisation but most to its leader’s appeal. Not since Indira Gandhi was assassinated in 1984 has India had such a powerful personality in charge.

Mr Modi has an outright majority—282 of the 543 elected seats in Parliament’s lower house. . . . [and] a mandate for economic reform.