On June 7th, 2016, The Austin-based retail store, Brave New Books, hosted the pre-launch event for Arcade City’s new app. However, a problem arose prior to the event as the bookstore was issued a warning by local city officials that it could be in violation of city code.
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Brave New Books Hassled by the Man
Brave New Books planned to host the pre-launch of Arcade City’s new app before the event was anonymously reported to the Austin City Code Department. Brave New Books owner, John Bleish, says he received a call from the department the day the event was to be hosted. The code compliance inspector told Bleish that if they continued with the event, and if more than 49 people attended, then they would be in violation of city ordinance.
However, Bleish took issue with the inspector’s claim and had a back-and-forth argument with him about which part of city code he was actually violating. For a few minutes the inspector refused to name the city code they would be breaking by hosting this event in their store. It was only after arguing with the inspector that he finally told Bleish that the violation in question was in reference to section 9-2-52 of the Austin City Code.
It was later realized that this specific code seemed to only apply to events dealing with outdoor live music. Considering the event was neither outdoors, nor did it involve any live music, the bookstore felt it was perfectly legal to for them to host the event. The inspector went on to say that they could be cited or possibly even shut down by the Austin Fire Department, unless they applied for a Temporary Event Permit.
In light of their understanding of Austin’s city code, Brave New Books decided to continue with their plans of hosting the event. They have also encouraged people to take an initiative and look at the ordinance themselves to confirm whether or not they were ever at risk of breaking city law. A link to the city ordinance can be found here.
Arcade City ‘Pre-Launch Event’
The event itself was held to showcase Arcade City’s new mobile app, with almost 900 people invited, and over 500 some interested according the event’s official “event page” on Facebook. Although the event page showed that almost 300 people put themselves down as attending, about 100 people ultimately showed up to the event according to Bleish.
He said the event was a huge success, adding that the crowd was very enthusiastic. Many of those attending were familiar with Bitcoin and the blockchain. In fact, Arcade City founder Christopher David, asked how many in the crowd knew what Bitcoin was and around 90% of the people attending raised their hands. However, not everything went according to plan, and at some point during the meeting, city officials arrived and began taking pictures of the bookstore outside. These officials were met by protesters who, according to Bleish, eventually forced them to leave the area.
The event was billed as an official rider/driver “All-City” meetup, where Arcade City developers unveiled their mobile app. Arcade City considered the event the “soft launch” of their app, and because all attendees were there by invitation only — all of them were added to the “priority list” to receive app access alongside an initial select group who will be provided with the app first. All other drivers/riders will get access to the app later in June after developers release it to the public.
What do you think of interaction between Austin officials and Brave New Books? Let us know in the comments below!
Images courtesy of Arcade City, BraveNewBookStore.com.