It was inevitable. Hollywood types and the tech crowd, after advocating and voting in their idea of what a progressive utopia should look like, realize that they are not going to be exempt from its effects. So, what do they do? They move on to greener pastures, leaving the regular folks to live with the consequences.
Look out, Austin: Hollywood and tech are converging on you like locusts.
— Will (@warr1979) August 8, 2021
From the Hollywood Reporter:
The Texas capital has undergone a pandemic influx unlike anywhere else in the country thanks to a flood of invading tech companies (Samsung, Oracle) along with quarantine-exhausted, remote-working transplants from major cities seeking a lifestyle upgrade — including some notable actors who, like Padalecki (an Austin resident since 2010), suddenly decided that the Texas Hill Country was more alluring than the Hollywood Hills.
Elon Musk might have called it. The mogul — who is opening a Tesla gigafactory the size of 138 football fields just outside the Austin city limits — declared in February that the city is going “to be the biggest boomtown America has seen in 50 years.”
Musk is probably one of the biggest beneficiaries of the progressive largesse of California, with his tax incentives and coddling by California's Governor Hair Gel, because electric cars are the “progressive future.” We see how well that turned out. After Musk battled to open up his Alameda, CA, plant in the midst of the lockdowns, he decided Austin was the new mecca in which to build his kingdom; California is just so yesterday.
Thanks for all the tax breaks! Now, onto my next meal ticket.
Yet even those accustomed to Austin's growing pains have been stunned by the pandemic's fallout, which rocketed housing prices by 43 percent in one year — the steepest climb of any major metro area in the country. Tales abound of home sellers being bombarded with all-cash offers the moment a property hits the market. During the first half of the year, 1,440 Austin-area houses sold for more than $100,000 over asking (versus 22 houses in the same period the previous year). “The market is so crazy — our house we bought in the fall is already worth so much more than we purchased it for,” says actor and L.A.-to-Austin transplant Becca Tobin (who wrote a guest column for this week's THR titled “Why I left Hollywood for Austin”). “It's like, ‘Do we turn around and sell this house again?' ”
The Hollywood glitterati seem to make an art form of this. Back in the '90s, they did the same thing to certain regions of Idaho and Montana; scooped up Summer and Winter homes for a song, and drove up the prices so high that the local folks who had lived there for generations, and weren't planning on going anywhere else, were now priced out of the market. This is essentially what Tobin said she'd do in the companion op-ed mentioned above:
L.A. is a wonderful place. It's still going to be the mecca for what we do for a living and it probably will be for the rest of time. I'd never say never to going back. I have a hard time sitting still. I don't get attached to houses. I don't get attached to cities. So if I need to return, I won't go kicking and screaming.
Must be nice to be that cavalier about the destruction one leaves in one's wake. But, hurray for Hollywood!
Apparently, actor Matthew McConaughey has been a one-man welcome wagon:
“I've been just waiting for the secret to get out,” drawls Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey, who's evolved into an unofficial Austin brand ambassador (and, many hope, a Texas gubernatorial candidate challenging Republican incumbent Greg Abbott in 2022). “I'm excited for the growth. We're not going back. We don't have a landmark like Niagara Falls or Disney World or the Eiffel Tower. They're all coming for the vibe — we've got people.”
Along with the people, you also have the crime. Austin has been seeing rising crime like every other progressive city. Like all good liberal bastions, the Austin City Council voted to defund the police, and now they are suffering the consequences.
I reported on a shooting during the Republic of Texas (ROT) Biker Rally back in June. While Mayor Steve Adler tried to jump on the gun control train, Governor Greg Abbott keeps slapping the progressive posturer down–it's still Texas, after all. But like any pestilence, if left unchecked, it will ultimately eat away at what makes Texas great — and Austin is ground zero.
You were warned.
Austin also has a growing homeless problem, although the residents are trying to push back. These Hollywood and tech snowflakes were tired of stepping over homeless on Hollywood Boulevard and the Embarcadero? Now, they get to do it in Downtown Austin.
Austin residents voted overwhelmingly to reinstitute Prop B, an anti-camping ban that restricts encampments on public and restricted property. But, the better angels of the Austin City Council are choosing not to enforce it.
This is after today’s attempted clear-out of tents:
– Brazenly setup in front of City Hall
– Knew it was 100% illegal
– Each offered multiple services but refused.
— Manna (@Moozle6) June 15, 2021
Among the Hollywood set that now domiciles in the Lone Star State:
[…] newcomers are Zachary Levi (who plans to build a studio on his property in nearby Bastrop), Scott Eastwood, Adrianne Palicki, Adrian Grenier and James Van Der Beek. “At the park in Beverly Hills near the house we just moved away from, you were not allowed to fly a KITE,” The Beek groused on Instagram as he moved his family to Texas in November. “Also not allowed at any park in Beverly Hills: Riding a bicycle, climbing a tree, learning anything from an instructor, using weights … when people ask why we're moving our kids out of L.A., these are just some of the reasons.”
Well, James, try not to mess it up, mmmkay? Don't bring along the voting habits that created the political climate and the restrictions that caused you to flee California. Because if you do, you'll be looking to domicile elsewhere in 10-15 years.
If the locusts haven't razed most of the country by that point.