Naked City

Ken Martin sells In Fact to Jo Clifton; Log Cabin Republicans set up a "booth in exile" at Republican convention; debuts; Whole Foods closes its Web site.

Ken Martin, the omnipresent City Hall scribe and editor of In Fact, an online daily newsletter for local political news junkies, has sold his five-year-old outfit, In Fact Inc., to staff reporter Jo Clifton. The sale now leaves Panache Publishing, the company run by Martin and business partner/wife Rebecca Melançon, with only one publication, The Good Life, a fairly young offspring which, after 33 issues, is on the verge of actually turning a profit, Martin said. The magazine is free and targets health-conscious, politically aware baby boomers with money to burn. Martin leaves In Fact in capable hands. Clifton, a longtime Austinite, is well-versed in inside politics, having gone from a daily newspaper reporter in the Seventies to an Austin Municipal Court judge in the Nineties, later serving as a relief judge before joining Martin at In Fact in the fall of 1998. Clifton's husband, Roger Duncan, former director of the city's Planning, Environmental and Conservation Services Dept. and a former Austin City Council member, is now a vice president of Austin Energy...

When your own political party hands you lemons, make one of those cute little umbrella drinks -- and flaunt it. That about sums up how the Log Cabin Republicans handled their rejection last weekend at the state GOP convention in Houston. The out-and-loud gay Republicans were banned from manning a booth at the convention, so they draped a "Booth in Exile" banner across the side of a 27-foot RV and circled the George R. Brown Convention Center, where the GOPs were laying out their conservative platform. Several convention attendees responded fairly predictably with obscene hand gestures, but LCR Texas President Steve Labinski said others gave them the "thumbs-up" while a braver set of moderates actually stopped in to say howdy. Why does LCR persist? The party, explains Labinski, "must reach out to all minority groups in order to win elections in November, including gays and lesbians."...

What we have here is a dad-gum dot-com racket. The facts: The city of Austin, the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, and the Austin American-Statesman, among others, are involved in a public-private job-matching Web site all designed, ultimately, to put money in the Statesman's pocket. And in a shamelessly glowing press release touting the new job site, the city of Austin went so far as to quote Statesman publisher Mike Laosa, who billed his paper's classifieds section as the "the pre-eminent source" for Austin employers wanting to advertise job postings. The Web site works in much the same way as the Chronicle's own classifieds Web page, among others: Employers pay to post a job, and employees job hunt for free. There's no magic to it, really, unless, of course, you've got the city in your back pocket. Our tax dollars at work...

So. One dot-com debuts and another one bites the dust. Whole Foods, which jumped on the Web site bandwagon in 1999 and leaped off at the first opportunity in 2000, announced Tuesday it was merging its lackluster-performing Web site with, a Colorado-based site that markets personal development products. The Whole Foods site was down Tuesday morning for "maintenance," later reappearing bearing the two company logos and a message that browsers will be redirected to over the next 30 days. Whole Foods will own just under 50% of While investors celebrated Whole Foods' decision to can the site, the move leaves about 20% of the site's 177 employees jobless in Colorado Springs, Colo.

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    The Texas Supreme Court agrees with the city of Austin that exemptions from water quality regulations for large landowners are unconstitutional, extending Austin’s winning streak in court.
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    The city and the Anderson Community Development Corp. part ways over the Anderson Hills development in East Austin, which suffered from costs overruns and excessive developer’s fees, but the project will likely still be built with loans and private funds.

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    SOS sues the EPA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to do enough to prevent runoff pollution from despoiling Barton Springs.

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