BG Reads | News You Need to Know (October 2, 2018)

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[AUSTIN METRO]

Adler, Tovo top list of endorsed candidates (Austin Monitor)

Since the race began, it has looked like Mayor Steve Adler would have an easier path to victory than his major opponent, former Council Member Laura Morrison. His incumbency and better name ID are factors, and another is his personal wealth. But if Morrison could ignite anger among Democrats and take more club endorsements, that would make a difference.

With most clubs having made their endorsement selections, her path will not be through those organizations. Only the Austin Neighborhoods Council has endorsed Morrison alone. Two groups have endorsed both Adler and Morrison – the North by Northwest Democrats and Stonewall Democrats of Austin.

The following groups have endorsed only Adler in the mayor’s race: the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 1624, the Central Labor Council, Laborers’ International Union of North America, Workers Defense Action Fund, Austin Firefighters Association’s PAC, Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services Employee Association’s PAC, AURA, the Austin Board of Realtors, Austin Young Democrats, Capital Area Progressive Democrats, Central Austin Democrats and University Democrats, which together form the Austin Progressive Coalition…

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Oracle is 'accelerating' expansion of its Austin campus (Austin Business Journal)

Oracle Corp. has made a big bet on the Texas capital, with a shining new corporate campus that opened this spring in Southeast Austin.

It's about to double down on that bet by significantly expanding the campus, and the company is quietly making headway on the major project.

The California-based tech giant — which sells a variety of services to other businesses, from supply-chain software to automakers to digital animation rendering for media companies — is highly secretive about its real estate plans and declined to discuss when the second phase would start construction.

However, contractors already are moving dirt at the site off Riverside Drive. Oracle (NYSE: ORCL) received a site plan permit for its second phase from the city Aug. 30. Multiple sources with knowledge of the project told Austin Business Journal it is moving along swiftly.

The 420,000-square-foot expansion would nearly double the size of the corporate campus, which opened in March with 560,000 square feet spread across two buildings…

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See also: BG Podcast - Episode 16: JD Weinstein Head of Startup Ecosystem (Austin) Oracle Startup Cloud Accelerator


Austin-based Yeti takes another crack at an IPO (Austin American-Statesman)

Austin-based Yeti Holdings, maker of “built-for-the-wild” coolers, is taking another crack at an IPO.

The company, which sells high-end coolers, drinkware and outdoor gear, has filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to raise up to $100 million in an initial public offering. However, according to Renaissance Capital, that deal size is likely a placeholder for an IPO that the research firm estimates could raise upwards of $300 million. Yeti previously filed to raise the same amount in July 2016, but withdrew its filing in March citing market conditions. Yeti was founded in 2006 by brothers Roy Seiders and Ryan Seiders who broke out with coolers for the luxury outdoor market rather than for mass discount retailers. In 2012, they sold majority ownership in Yeti to private equity firm Cortec Group Management Services LLC…

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Cap Metro unveils new vision for Project Connect (Austin American-Statesman)

Capital Metro CEO Randy Clarke on Monday revealed a new vision plan that calls for ambitious long-term upgrades to the city’s mass transit system, including a fully electric-powered fleet that could put automated vehicles in dedicated pathways through some of the city’s busiest corridors.

The plan needs approval from Capital Metro’s board, which is scheduled to vote on whether to accept it later this year. But, if all goes according to Cap Metro’s plan, Project Connect would guide public transit in Austin through decades of an anticipated boom in population and seek to mitigate the impact of having even more traffic on already congested roadways.

The vision plan includes an assortment of transit options including automated vehicles, buses and commuter rail, with routes pushing further out of the urban core of the city into Round Rock, Leander and Manor…

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[TEXAS]

Here are 34 races to watch in the Texas midterms (Texas Tribune)

The hotly contested U.S. Senate race between Republican Ted Cruz and Democrat Beto O’Rourke has drawn the lion’s share of attention in Texas this election cycle. But plenty of races for Congress and the Texas Legislature are drawing strong interest as Election Day approaches. In some cases, Democrats are posing their strongest challenge in years…

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North American trade deal to keep Texas economy humming (Houston Chronicle)

Trade between Texas, Mexico and Canada will continue to flow freely, following a late-hour deal on Sunday that re-worked the North American Free Trade Agreement, analysts said.

The agreement, now called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, won't go into full effect until 2020 as it needs to be approved by all three nations. While details have not yet been released, the deal has significant changes for automakers, opens Canada's milk market to U.S. dairy farmers, and maintains arbitration rules that many American companies hoped would be kept in place. Analysts said that Texas oil and gas producers will view the deal as a relief. Energy producers have been concerned that Trump, who had called NAFTA the "worst" deal ever made, could scrap NAFTA entirely. For Texas -- and Houston -- keeping the deal in place is significant to the economy. Energy companies will now continue to be able to freely export nearly 5 billion cubic feet of gas a day to Mexico, and American refiners will still be able to tap some of the 3.3 million barrels of oil exported from Canada each day. "The key takeaway is that it should not be negative" to Texas oil and gas producers, said Ed Hirs, an economist at the University of Houston. "It should be business as usual, or maybe a little better." In Texas, trade with Mexico and Canada accounts for more than 1 million jobs. Mexico is the No. 1 trading partner for Texas and the Greater Houston area. In 2017, there was $20 billion of trade between Mexico and the Greater Houston area, including Galveston, according to the Greater Houston Partnership. Canada accounted for $3.3 billion in trade with the region last year. About 38 percent of all Texas exports go to Mexico…

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Largest not-for-profit hospital chains in Dallas, Houston plan to merge (Dallas Morning News)

Texas' largest not-for-profit hospital system is expected to get even bigger next year by merging with Houston's second-largest hospital network.

Dallas-based Baylor Scott & White Health announced this morning that executives have signed a letter of intent to merge with Houston's Memorial Hermann Health System. Combined, the two networks of hospitals and clinic would see nearly 10 million patients each year and employ more than 70,000 people in 30 counties. Citing Texas' worst-in-the-nation uninsured rate and increasing healthcare costs, the leadership of the two systems decided that consolidation was the best way to serve its patients. "We feel that we have to do something different than we're doing today," said Chuck Stokes, president and CEO of Memorial Hermann. "Our boards felt like by us coming together, we have an opportunity between the two to really come up with some creative new models of care that are more efficient, higher quality and that we can better care for the population." The deal is expected to be completed in 2019 with a goal of finalizing the merger in time for the start of the new fiscal year on July 1. Executives, however, warned that they still need to complete their due diligence and get regulatory approval. Both health networks are not-for-profits that started more than a century ago with religious missions. And both have also grown through mergers. Monday's announcement is exactly five years after the merger of Baylor Health Care System and Scott & White Healthcare was completed. That deal made the combined system the largest of its kind in the state…

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[NATION]

California law requires Silicon Valley to add women to company boards (CNET)

Corporate boards in California are now required by law to include women.

Gov. Jerry Brown on Sunday signed a bill into law that requires publicly traded companies headquartered in the West Coast state to include at least one woman on their boards of directors by the end of next year, according to the Los Angeles Times. California is reportedly the first state to have such legislation.

"Given all the special privileges that corporations have enjoyed for so long, it's high time corporate boards include the people who constitute more than half the 'persons' in America," Brown reportedly wrote in a signing message…

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Elon Musk settled with the SEC, but Tesla’s troubles aren’t over (New York Times)

Elon Musk was chastened by federal regulators on Saturday night, agreeing to step down as chairman of Tesla and to have his communications monitored.

But Mr. Musk, the exuberant, relentless billionaire chief executive of Tesla, showed no immediate signs of changing his style. On Sunday at 1:08 a.m., just hours after settling the Securities and Exchange Commission’s fraud case stemming from his impulsive tweet on Aug. 7, Mr. Musk sent an email to all Tesla employees. He implored them to work hard, even though it was the weekend. “One more day of going super hardcore and victory is ours!!” he wrote. “We are very close to achieving profitability and proving the naysayers wrong, but, to be certain, we must execute really well tomorrow (Sunday). If we go all out tomorrow, we will achieve an epic victory beyond all expectations. Go Tesla!!!” Investors reacted to the settlement with a “Go Tesla!” of their own. After plunging almost 14 percent on Friday after the SEC filed a securities fraud lawsuit against Mr. Musk, the company’s shares regained virtually all of that ground in premarket trading on Monday. For all of Mr. Musk’s late-night enthusiasm and the stock bounce, however, Tesla faces many challenges in the months ahead. The company is still struggling to produce and deliver its Model 3 cars, which are the key to its financial future. It is short on cash and has looming bond payments. Short-sellers are still targeting the company, betting on the stock to fall. The SEC is continuing to look into the company’s past claims about its production goals, and the Justice Department was also looking into Mr. Musk’s tweet…

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The Bingham Group, LLC is an Austin-based full service lobbying firm representing and advising clients on municipal, legislative, and regulatory matters throughout Texas.

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