We should talk, Austin. You know we love you—Franklin BBQ and the Alamo Drafthouse were born there!—but sometimes your reputation as the progressive island of whatever in the middle of a red state is so ill-deserved, it embarrasses not just your own citizens, but everybody else in Texas: After all, Austin is more backwards when it comes to things like race than any of the other five biggest cities in Texas.
It’s hard to know for sure, but the fact that Austin city manager Marc Ott’s office scheduled a training and brought in outside experts to help them transition to the new city council—specifically, to the fact that 70% of the incoming city councillors are women—is not a great look for the fuzzy little hobbit’s shire that Austin sometimes likes to pretend that it is. (Worth noting: The seven-person city manager’s office is staffed by six men and one woman.)
Everybody knows how to deal with women at work: No bright light, don’t get them wet, and never, ever feed them after midnight. (Update: apparently that’s Gremlins, we regret the error.) But the city thought the staffers at Austin City Hall needed more advice:
The Capitol, Austin
Everyone loves this building, even if they don’t love politics. Luckily for you, the Legislature meets in regular session for only 140 days every other year, leaving you plenty of time to explore without the crowds. Yes, the dome is fifteen feet higher than the U.S. Capitol’s, and yes, it is the largest state capitol complex in the country. What else would you expect?
Get there early,” warned my friend Pam. “We had to wait for an hour!” So three companions and I arrived promptly at six o’clock on a Saturday. “The wait could be an hour,” said the host, looking harried as more and more people jammed themselves into the small waiting area. The weather in Austin was cold and wet, and the crowd was in no mood to linger outside, even in the pools of warmth provided by heat lamps.