BG Note | News - What We're Reading (August 23, 2017)
Big day nears for Whole Foods-Amazon merger (Austin Business Journal) LINK TO STORY
Wednesday is one of the biggest days in the history of Whole Foods Market Inc., a pioneer among natural and organic grocery stores, a trending-setting force in the consumer goods and agriculture ecosystems and Austin's largest public company.
That is when shareholders are set to vote on the pending $13.7 billion buyout by Amazon.com Inc., a move already sending shockwaves through the food, technology and retail sectors. The meeting is set for 8:30 a.m. at the company's headquarters, at 550 Bowie Street in downtown Austin.
Coalition of 4 council members vows to fight for CodeNEXT proposal that addresses gentrification and sprawl (Community Impact Austin) LINK TO STORY
The four council members not only asserted that the current code is broken, but the initial proposal of the rewrite fell well short of providing the tools needed by the government to make substantial changes to Austin’s development landscape.
With only 3 weeks left until the second draft of CodeNEXT is released, and five months until the proposal is scheduled to reach council for final deliberations and vote, the council members said they would be working together to ensure the code that reaches the dais reconciles these core issues. As a coalition, they committed to vote against any proposal that falls short of their demands.
Capital Factory Sues atx Factory Over Similar Name (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY
Capital Factory, a widely-recognized startup accelerator and co-working company, is suing a competing Austin co-working company for trademark infringement.
In a new federal lawsuit, Capital Factory alleges atx Factory, a co-working space in East Austin that opened last September, has a name that is confusingly similar to Capital Factory’s and is diluting Capital Factory’s well-established brand.
Troxclair: Hotel tax plan separate from Adler’s ‘downtown puzzle’ (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY
Today’s City Council budget work session will almost certainly feature discussion about a proposal from Council Member Ellen Troxclair that seeks to reallocate money from the city’s Hotel Occupancy Tax to pay for more expenses for Austin’s parks, which she argues will free up money from the General Fund budget that can pay for historic building preservation and other community priorities.
The crux of the proposal centers around the fact that by law Hotel Occupancy Tax revenue can only be used for tourism-related expenses, such as the budget for the Austin Convention Center, marketing and upkeep of local sites that are considered a draw for visitors. Troxclair’s Option A proposal seeks to use much of the expected annual increase in HOT revenue next year to pay for $11.8 million in “parks and preservation” expenses that currently come out of the General Fund.
Audit shows big problems with demo permitting (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY
The Office of the City Auditor has found that the city’s demolition permitting process is not designed efficiently and contains gaps that allow unsafe practices during demolition.
According to an audit approved by the City Council Audit and Finance Committee Tuesday, the two departments in charge of demolition permitting, Development Services and Planning and Zoning, do not appear to have the processes in place to adequately address risk of injury to residents from inexperienced contractors as well as asbestos and lead paint.
In addition, the city’s electric and water infrastructure is at risk, as are trees close to properties being demolished.