Top Embarrassing Moments of Our Worst Residents

They live here, they give (us hell) here

Alex Jones, the sad clown (Illustration by E.W. Beard)

1) Elon Musk. Elon Musk just really wants to dig impractical tunnels all over Austin and the country for reasons that we don't fully understand. Also for unclear reasons, some city staffers met with Boring Co. in April in Las Vegas about public transit. Seems this communication is behind us now. Just as well, as Boring Co. has delivered on pretty much nothing despite the many projects it has agreed upon with cities around the U.S.

2) Joe Rogan. "I think Ron DeSantis would work as a good president," Joe Rogan said on his infamous podcast. "I mean, what he's done for Florida has been admirable." He wouldn't, and it hasn't.

3) Ken Paxton. It's so hard to pick with A.G. From Hell Ken Paxton (and we consider him a top-tier worst Austinite because he's here enough and owns an Austin home), but one elevated moment of assholery came in the form of a lawsuit countering the Biden administration's guidance that doctors must provide lifesaving abortions in emergency situations, per federal law on emergency care. Paxton said nuh-uh, because that would turn every ER into "a walk-in abortion clinic." Precisely, Paxton. Emergency room = walk-in clinic offering lifesaving procedures.

4) Alex Jones. "Mr. Jones, did you know that 12 days ago, your attorneys messed up and sent me an entire digital copy of your entire cellphone with every text message you've sent for the past two years?" Mark Bankston, lawyer for Sandy Hook parents, asked Alex Jones on the stand Aug. 3. Jones had testified that he never mentioned Sandy Hook in text messages – whoops!

5) The Covino Family. Ammon Covino, who opened the Austin Aquarium with his brother in 2013, has been convicted of wildlife trafficking and sentenced to federal prison for those crimes twice. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is now investigating the aquarium (currently owned by Covino's wife) after PETA sent them a report detailing all kinds of alleged animal welfare and worker safety violations.

6) Ken Paxton No. 2. Paxton fled his home to avoid being served a subpoena with his wife, state Sen. Angela Paxton, getaway-driving. Enough said.

7) The Round Rock One Family PAC. We get it, you're funded by oil billionaires and banning books is your thing, but when Round Rock ISD's sole Black trustee is receiving used tampons in the mail and emails that say things like, "We haven't played cowboys and n----rs yet but keep on running your fat racist n----r mouth" – maybe reel it in.

8) Nate Paul. In a 43-second interview with the Austin Business Journal right after a hearing at the Travis County Courthouse, the Austin real estate investor (linked to abuse-of-office allegations against Paxton) said his multibillion-dollar holding company will continue to be "opportunistic" in 2023. He recently bought up a collection of buildings at 11530 Menchaca Rd. near Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ and hasn't revealed what for. Whoopee!

9) Elon Musk No. 2. Elon Musk took the stage Sunday, Dec. 11, at a Dave Chappelle show, yelled Chappelle's Rick James impression ("I'm rich, bi--h"), and was fittingly booed for several minutes straight. This followed his barrage of transphobic and QAnon-trope tweets, Workers Defense Project filing two labor standards violation referrals alleging wage theft, and Musk firing Twitter staff en masse. In December, he fired 48 janitors who then joined the growing picket line. Olga Miranda, the janitor's union president, pointed out, "And it just so happens that it's three weeks before Christmas."

10) Texas Monthly. The Austin-based magazine's annual Bum Steer Award (for the worst of Texas) didn't go to any of the folks mentioned above, or any of the many insane people and entities wielding power across this state. It went to Austin. Why? Because Austin is "now a surf-park town." Look, no hard feelings. You've gotta sell ads to orthodontists in Frisco somehow.

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