Monthly Archives: February 2013

EF Tx Independence Day Celebration

(Community Matters) At this evening’s annual Entrepreneurs Foundation celebration and member company meeting, we’re presenting Joshua Baer our Community Leader of the Year Award for his contributions to Austin’s entrepreneurial eco system. Josh is ubiquitous. Nearly every time I hear a buzz about Austin’s entrepreneurial community, when I turn around, I find Josh.

We’re also celebrating Bazaarvoice, Enspire Learning and Gazzang for outstanding community involvement programs in 2012 and Jamie Balling of Troux Technologies as our Volunteer of the Year.

tx indep invite cover 600

And, we’re acknowledging that Sailpoint, uShip & Thinkwell were biting at their heels, also with outstanding community involvement years. Troux Technologies and Innography are in our Hall of Fame; they always have outstanding years.

Marriott Audit

(Community Matters) This is complete BS. Councilmembers should not roll over on this audit. Time for councilmembers to decide whether they work for citizens of Austin or lobbyists. Are we really worried they’ll abandon the project in the middle of construction or is that quote just rehearsing? AAS Story

I’ve removed  Facbook comments bashing individual lobbyists. Hey, that’s what they do, promote the interests of clients who pay them. It’s not lobbyists we as citizens, elect & pay.

Republicans in Support of Marriage Equality

(Community Matters) Seventy five have signed the amicus brief to the Supreme Court. Kudos and thanks to my friend, Ken Mehlman

The list of signers includes a string of Republican officials and influential thinkers — 75 as of Monday evening — who are not ordinarily associated with gay rights advocacy, including some who are speaking out for the first time and others who have changed their previous positions.

“We are trying to say to the court that we are judicial and political conservatives, and it is consistent with our values and philosophy for you to overturn Proposition 8,” said Ken Mehlman, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee, who came out as gay several years ago.


The Bob Hope Estate in Palm Springs

(Community Matters)  wow

bob hope estate


for sale for $50mm

Debate Over Affordable Housing for Entitlements

jw marriott(Community Matters) When will we cease rationalizing giving away public assets/rights to spur development or relocation to Austin? Of course developers will ask & lobby; they wouldn’t be good developers, or stewards of their and their investors’ monies if they didn’t. And, I support economic development incentives for some corporate locations, even local expansions . . . but I think we do so too often.

We’re almost growing faster than we can sustain. Growth is great, it’s critical – sorta like aging, the alternative is not very appealing.  Growth brings more opportunities, more jobs, more wealth . . . and more costs: infrastructure & services that we must pay for without reducing quality or quantify to existing residents . . . the idea that we have to relax affordable housing rules so developers can “afford” or “finance” their projects in one of the top markets in the country is silly. If they can’t finance their projects, it’s not because of very modest affordable housing requirements in exchange for entitlements which yield millions.  AAS Story

There are relationships between developers, their lobbyists and local elected officials which often serve our community well. It’s tough for electeds to maintain objectivity, and they must rely on outside professionals for information. There’s a cottage industry of individuals who make themselves indispensible and best friends.

update: I’ve deleted the  term “bought.” I didn’t intend it as read.

AAS: Austin Resumes Push for Rail

austin rail(Community Matters) AAS: Austin Rail Push Resumes, But Key Questions Linger.

I agree with Martha Smiley – too many unanswered questions, but these can & should be addressed quickly. Mass transit is, undoubtedly, a critical component of a multi-modal transportation solution. If it’s rail, it’s time that we drive value beyond the inner city – why a route from Mueller to downtown? Let’s provide more access than inner city. Winning support from the suburbs is important and they endure more congestion than the rest of us. And, is there not enough projected demand to warrant prioritizing the airport/F1? Kudos to Mayor Leffingwell for prioritizing transportation. 

Let’s vet the aerial gandola idea – half the cost. Arguments that the feds wouldn’t fund seem mute unless we expect they’d fund more than 50% of rail. I’m not ruling out rail (frankly I’ve long been a fan), and we should vet this new idea. I’m with Martha in that I’d rather get it right than fast & possibly wrong.

Gloria Sepulveda

(Community Matters) 

Happy Birthday, Mom

gloria cropped 022413

Austin Under 40 Winners

austin under 40(Community Matters) Congrats to Friday night’s Austin Under 40 winners:

Arts and Entertainment: James Moody

Business & Entrepreneurship: Kendra Scott (also 2013 Austinite of the Year)

Community Service: Michael Nellis

Continue reading

Corporate Culture

mcguire(Community Matters) As I’ve been interviewing CEOs and others about and and have commissioned a research paper on corporate culture, what a nice stumble reminding me to broaden my fact finding

“I was going to be one of those tough kitchen dudes and work 70 hours a week,” McGuire admits. “Now I’m older and a CEO with 400 employees. My job is to create a culture within our company that is sustainable. I can’t push my people to work 80 hours a week. We’re trying to develop into a smart company.” – Larry McGuire in Out & About


sway(Community Matters) Dinner last night w/ dearest friends Amy Grace & Doug Ulman. First time to try Sway and absolutely loved Rene Ortiz’s and Jesse Herman’s Thai fusion restaurant – we did take out.  I’ve gotta recruit friends to join me for the Moo Sway.

Kerrville friends dropped in for dessert. We enjoyed meeting Graham & Morgan. Graham has an interesting web based show interviewing New York celebrities and is considering relocating to Austin.

This am Graham Reynolds reminds me that he and Rene have talked about a collaboration. I wanna help with this, even if just carrying water for the two geniuses.

St James Episcopal

st james(Community Matters)  St James Episcopal – As we’re moving to raise capital and retire debt (a move I wholly support), glad the congregation is being asked to weigh in on the options. A 30- or 99-year ground lease would be better than outright sale of excess land (given how appraisals work, with little impact on price). And, we shouldn’t overly rely on promises to share facilities or co-habitate as good neighbors since these agreements are unlikely to govern any future owners. St James will be here for many generations. We can’t count on the same for a startup.

We should also be careful not to enter into a political argument which has pitted AISD against our East Austin neighbors. School board members were targeted and defeated because of the opposition to the charter school. I’ve read only good things about this school and their Austin board chair is a dear friend and St James’ member. Nevertheless, we wouldn’t want to take an action seen as a stick in the eye. Not at all a deal killer, we just need to navigate this with neighbors and East Austin political leaders.

apologies for missing tomorrow’s meeting after the 10:15 service. We’ll be out of town 

Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering

(Community Matters) The Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering is in Alpine this weekend. Marfa Public Radio & KXWT (across west texas)  are covering and broadcasting.

tx cowboy poetry gathering