100% Austin news, info, and entertainment, straight to your inbox at 6 a.m. every morning.
In five minutes, you're fully informed and ready to start another great day in our city.
Californian revises his 'needlessly hurtful' Austin take, discussing what he could have done differently
A month ago, Californian Brett Alder became Austin's public enemy No. 1 after his not-so-flattering op-ed about moving to Austin was posted in Business Insider. Now, he's back to give the other side of his Austin move.
Alder once again posted an op-ed to Business Insider on Monday, this time writing about what he would do differently if he moved back again.
Alder said he heard from people "all over the country" in response to his first op-ed and that Austinites felt the piece "seemed needlessly hurtful" and "unrepresentative" of their city.
"I never knew that that piece was going to blow up, that it would be read by people all over Texas," Alder told Austonia after his op-ed published in Business Insider last month. "I didn't include the positive stuff, like how our neighbors left us brownies or invited us to New Year's parties, or things like that."
After speaking to Austinites "who will still speak to" him about ways he could have made his move more successful, Alder had two major takeaways:
- Focus on the big picture when it comes to culture and geography
- Allow more time for discovery if moving from California to Austin
Addressing the first takeaway, he references a map showing Facebook connections across the U.S., Alder drew a divide between the western U.S. and Texas, saying Texas is a tightly bound state. To demonstrate, Alder said that while Seattle, Boise, Phoenix and Austin may appear to be the same on paper, "culturally and geographically, Austin is by far the outlier." He says it is more self-contained and therefore, "Texas culture has less experience integrating newcomers."
And on the second point, he writes about getting to know the area. Against the advice of his friends, Alder said he immediately bought a house due to feeling pressured in the competitive real estate market, as opposed to renting and sold his California house. Alder regrets purchasing his house so quickly and wishes that his family had a chance to get more of a lay of the land first, because thinking one area is something it is not can "taint your whole experience."
Alder also corrected one of the most contested issues in his piece—that the lack of public land left them feeling "cooped up"—saying there are a great many things to do around Austin if you have the right friends and know how to find them.
Because he had traveled to Austin many times before moving, Alder said he wasn't expecting to be affected by culture shock. For that reason, Alder said it is important for newcomers to leverage a social network of locals who can help during the transition between states.
"Some of the criticism I'm getting is that, 'How could Californians have not known this about Texas before you moved here,' and that's totally legitimate criticism," Alder said. "I think Texans understand their state and the advantages of their state much better than Californians do. I think that's a big part of it, and I think another part of it was a lack of fit."
In the end, Alder said he feels like Austin's "modified Texas pride" is what has made it a "national brand." His days were often filled with people who raved about the city—"Austin may be the most enthusiastic about their city by far,"—and if he did it again, he would look forward to the bluebonnets, "spectacular thunderstorms," and try and make it through the seemingly endless heat in the Lone Star State.
Reporter Claire Partain contributed to this story.
- op-ed - austonia ›
- Joah Spearman responds to a California's man hate of Austin ... ›
- California man warns against moving to Austin in Op-Ed - austonia ›
Matthew McConaughey is reportedly weighing a run for Texas governor in 2022.
The Austin resident and Oscar winner has been "quietly making calls to influential people in Texas political circles, including a deep-pocketed moderate Republican and energy CEO" as he decides whether to run, according to Politico.
McConaughey said a gubernatorial run is "a true consideration" while on a March episode of Houston's "The Balanced Voice" podcast.
Although most political strategists doubt McConaughey's commitment and viability as a candidate, some are still intrigued by the possibility.
"I find it improbable, but it's not out of the question," Karl Rove, a top Republican strategist with a long history in Austin, told the political news site. He added that the big question is whether McConaughey would run as a Republican, a Democrat or an independent.
Brendan Steinhauser, an Austin-based GOP strategist, told Politico he's surprised McConaughey isn't being taken more seriously. "Celebrity in this country counts for a lot," he said. "It's not like some C-list actor no one likes. He has an appeal."
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott plans to run for a third term and remains popular among Republican voters, 77% of whom approve of his performance as of April, according to the Texas Politics Project.
Some strategists believe an independent McConaughey run would benefit Abbott. But a recent poll from The Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler found that McConaughey would beat Abbott, 45% to 33%, with 22% opting for someone else.
Mimi Swartz, an executive editor at Texas Monthly, mulled a McConaughey run in a recent opinion essay from the New York Times. "Texas may not be ready for a philosopher king as a candidate, much less governor," she wrote. "May the best man win, man."
- Matthew McConaughey featured on the cover of People Magazine ... ›
- Minister of Culture Matthew McConaughey talks preserving Austin ... ›
- McConaughey to showcase Texas talent in winter storm benefit ... ›
- Texans vote McConaughey in latest governor poll - austonia ›
Some JuiceLand production facility workers and storefront employees are organizing to demand wage increases, better working conditions (including air conditioning in the warehouse) and pay transparency, among other asks. They are also calling on staff to strike and customers to boycott the Austin-based company until their demands are met.
JuiceLand responded on Saturday. "We are listening," the company wrote on their Instagram story. "JuiceLand crew now makes guaranteed $15 an hour or more companywide."
JuiceLand, which was founded in 2001 by Matt Shook and now has 35 locations in Austin, Houston and Dallas, acknowledged the rising cost of living across Texas and the added stress of the pandemic in an email to employees on Saturday, part of which @juicelandworkersrights shared on social media. "There's no denying that times are tough and financial security means more now than ever," the company wrote.
Organized JuiceLand workers rejected this proposal, according to a recent post on the @juicelandworkersrights Instagram account, and reiterated their demands.
"Cost of living in Austin is rising exponentially and will only continue to get worse with the tech boom," the post read. "$15 is barely a sustainable living."