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From mayor to startup: Adler signs up to advise California real estate company Pacaso

Mayor Steve Adler has a new gig on the government advisory board of a San Francisco-based real estate startup.


Launched in 2020 by Zillow executives, Pacaso allows people to buy and own a second home through a limited liability company.

After winning the mayoral election in 2014, this is Adler’s final year in office. Prior to his role in city hall, Adler got experience in property matters by founding an eminent domain law practice representing landowners.

Now, Adler joins others like Denver’s mayor and a member of the Florida House of Representatives on the Pacaso advisory board. Pacaso says the group will provide recommendations to senior leadership to help shape the company’s actions on housing policy, community engagement, growth and expansion, and other policy issues.

In an announcement of the board, Pacaso says a contributor to the housing crisis is the legacy model of second home ownership where houses in many communities are unused for much of the year.

“Against this backdrop, it’s more important than ever to invest in creative solutions,” Pacaso’s statement says. “While no company can solve this complex set of problems on its own, Pacaso offers a sustainable alternative that combines multiple families into one luxury home.”

Last March, Pacaso said it was the fastest U.S. company to achieve unicorn status after raising $75 million at a $1 billion valuation. With the new capital, the company made expansion plans like entering more markets and hiring a new chief financial officer.

The company has said it “modernizes the decades-old practice of co-ownership” and is not a timeshare, though city officials in at least one town have classified it as such.

Pacaso works by setting up an LLC with eight shares. After someone purchases shares, Pacaso oversees matters like scheduling and maintenance on the property. After owning for a year, people can then sell their shares and potentially make a profit.

"Throughout my career as a founder and tech investor, I have experienced tremendous growth and innovation among startups, but none compare to Pacaso," Pacaso co-founder Spencer Rascoff said at the time. "The opportunity in front of Pacaso is massive and I'm excited to help the company achieve its full potential."

But not all have shared the same excitement over Pacaso.

NPR reported on how the company plans to expand across North America and Europe but faced resistance while establishing some of its first operations in California’s wine country.

City officials in the town of St. Helena in Napa Valley said Pacaso could not operate there due to a local ordinance that bans timeshares. In response, Pacaso sued the city in federal court.

Neighbors have also expressed opposition and formed groups like Sonomans Together Opposing Pacaso.

Currently, Pacaso doesn’t have listings in Texas though it is in other states like Hawaii, California and Colorado.

The former mayor of Columbia, South Carolina, Steve Benjamin, will chair the government advisory board. In a statement, he called Pacaso’s model a “value add to communities across the United States.”

“Pacaso consolidates second home demand into fewer homes, taking pressure off of housing inventory for first-time home buyers and middle class families,” Benjamin said. “This is the thoughtful and sustainable approach to housing we need right now, and I’m proud to help advise the company as it works to bring this model to more communities.”

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Brutally honest ACL lineup review
Ismael Quintanilla III / Shutterstock.com

There are only two logical reasons for you to click on an article about Austin City Limits one week before the annual festival makes its grand return to Zilker Park: You’re either psyching yourself up for another whirlwind weekend, or you want to justify your decision for not snagging tickets.

Luckily, there’s something in this article for both parties.

This year’s ACL lineup delivers several heavy-hitting triumphs along with a few puzzling inclusions. One praiseworthy feature that immediately sticks out: There’s at least one woman occupying the top line of each day on the festival poster, and two on Friday (The Chicks, SZA) and Sunday (Kacey Musgraves and Paramore) apiece. It might not seem like much, but in an era where music festival lineups are still overwhelmingly male (and white), it’s a notable gesture that hopefully signals even greater diversity in future bookings.

Female headliners are also supplying the bulk of the star power this year. C3 Presents had their work cut out for them matching last year’s megawatt George Strait headlining performance, but they rose to the occasion with the savvy booking of the Chicks, who haven’t played a proper Austin show since 2016 at the Germania Insurance Amphitheater (they also dropped by the Moody Theater in 2018 to perform at Mack, Jack & McConaughey’s annual gala). And with Musgraves returning just three years after her last Zilker Park romp (admittedly a strange move), ACL further shores up its identity as a top-draw festival that’s more country-friendly than many of its contemporaries — this is the Lone Star State, after all.

Unfortunately, this comes at the expense of a solid rock lineup, which feels increasingly like an afterthought at ACL. Don’t get it twisted: Paramore are poised to make a triumphant ACL debut, and with a new song, “This Is Why,” out this week and an album of the same name coming in February (their first since 2017’s After Laughter), they’re a no-brainer booking. But it’s harder to get excited about their Sunday night counterparts, Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Sure, the veteran funk-punks recently reunited with classic-era guitarist John Frusciante and will be promoting two new albums, April’s Unlimited Love and the brand-new Return of the Dream Canteen, out Oct. 14. But the band headlined ACL just five years ago, and in a year featuring mammoth tours and residencies from Rage Against the Machine, My Chemical Romance, Elton John and Aerosmith (not to mention the Strokes, who just finished supporting RHCP on their U.S. stadium tour), the booking feels particularly uninspired.

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8 Austin people make the Forbes 400 list
@siraj_iqb/Twitter

Thai Lee co-founded technology services company SHI International in 1989.

The new list is out from Forbes. Here are the Austin, or in some cases, Austin-ish, people on it:

1. Elon Musk, $251B, technology (various locations, primarily Austin)
16. Michael Dell, $50B, technology
86. Robert Smith, $8B, private equity (Vista Equity located here but he may reside in Florida)
99. Joe Gebbia, $7.6B, Airbnb
202. Tito Beveridge, $5B, beverages
234. Joe Liemandt, $4.5B, software
252. Thai Lee, $4.2B, IT
369. John Paul DeJoria, $2.9B, hair care, beverages

Click here to read the complete list on Forbes.