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4 wild things said in Joe Rogan’s interview with Austin Mayor Steve Adler


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Here are some revealing points of conversation that came up between Rogan and the mayor of our state’s capital: 

1. Joe Rogan thinks Austin doesn’t have traffic? 

Oh, sweet summer child. When Adler mentioned that Austin reportedly has some of the worst congestion in the country, Rogan immediately pushed back, “Traffic here is literally a joke… You guys don’t have traffic.” Remember, this is a guy who moved to Texas during the pandemic, so he hasn’t experienced the hell that is either of Austin’s highways at 3 p.m. 

When I was a lowly newspaper intern in Austin, it regularly took me 35 minutes or more to get to my home only 3 miles away, and that was the faster route that avoided I-35. No traffic? I have to laugh. 


2. Rogan says 10 of his friends have moved to Austin since he got there. 

We know Texas (and especially Austin) has experienced a huge influx of newcomers in recent years. Rogan himself arrived sometime around September of last year. That 10 of his friends have moved there in just nine months really puts the migration into some sort of perspective. 

“When I ran for reelection there were lots of people coming up to me and their one ask was that I would stop the city from growing,” Adler said. 

Rogan put it differently: “It’s too good here. It’s such a good city.”

“I think Austin could easily be the center for comedy,” Rogan continued. “Ten friends have moved here within the last year and it’s continuing to pile up and as more comics here about the great Austin scene, more will move here.” 

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3. Homelessness is not that big of a problem in Austin 

With all the attention Austin gets for this issue, you’d think tens of thousands of people were experiencing homelessness in our capital city. But according to Adler, it’s a fraction of that size: around 3,000, a number Adler frequently threw out during the podcast. 

Adler praised Houston as a city that has successfully reduced its un-homed population through outreach and housing programs. Houston’s homeless population decreased from 8,400 in 2011 to around 3,800 in 2020, according to a 2020 Houston Chronicle report—a decrease of more than 50 precent. 

The mayor also told Rogan he hopes to achieve in three years what Houston did over 20. The mayor also mentioned there are 250 people experiencing homelessness in Austin who are frequently in emergency rooms or arrested, each person costing the city $220,000 per year, according to adler.

“I wish there was like a contest, where people from around the country or around the city or wherever could come in and like, there would be a prize if you could turn any of these 250 people into working productive members of society,” Rogan pondered.  “… Clean them up, counsel them… I wonder what could be done if there was real incentive, say if there was a million-dollar prize, … it seems like it could be done.” 

Cruz wasn’t the only politician who hopped down to Mexico during the pandemic. Adler was there in November 2020 after his daughter’s wedding and posted a video to Facebook encouraging Austinites to stay home while he was on vacation. 

“You had a little problem during the pandemic with that one thing you did, kind of told people to stay home when you weren’t staying home,” Rogan asked toward the end of the interview.

“I was already gone,” a sheepish Adler responded. “It was a mistake on so many different levels. I went on a trip at a time where it was okay to take a trip, got information while I was on the trip, I should never have warned people back home.” 

“I should have come home first, then reported it,” Adler said. 





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