Mayor Adler sends tongue-in-cheek response to man upset over ‘Wonder Woman’ screening

Austin Mayor Steve Adler used a witty approach Wednesday in responding to an email he received last week, in which the writer voiced his opposition to the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema’s plans to host two women-only screenings of the movie “Wonder Woman” on Tuesday.

GAL GADOT as Diana in the action adventure “WONDER WOMAN,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

The writer called for a male boycott of the entire city of Austin.

“I hope every man will boycott Austin and do what he can to diminish Austin and to cause damage to the city’s image,” he wrote. “The theater that pandered to the sexism typical of women will, I hope, regret it’s [sic] decision. The notion of a woman hero is a fine example of women’s eagerness to accept the appearance of achievement without actual achievement.”

You can read the rest of his musings here – because Adler posted the exchange on his blog – if you’re interested in hearing the writer’s thoughts on makeup, military service, the Olympics, inventors and the “women’s movement.”

Adler decided to alert the writer “that your email account has been hacked by an unfortunate and unusually hostile individual.”

“Please remedy your account’s security right away, lest this person’s uninformed and sexist rantings give you a bad name,” Adler wrote. “After all, we men have to look out for each other!”

In response to the writer’s – possibly rhetorical – request to “name something invented by a woman,” Adler noted that “women invented medical syringes, life rafts, fire escapes, central and solar heating, a war-time communications system for radio-controlling torpedoes that laid the technological foundations for everything from Wi-Fi to GPS, and beer.”

Adler wished the writer luck in securing his email account.

“I hesitate to imagine how embarrassed you’d be if someone thought you were upset that a private business was realizing a business opportunity by reserving one screening this weekend for women to see a superhero movie,” Adler wrote.

This isn’t the first time Adler has used his blog to counteract hostile rants from members of the public. Last year, after voters defeated a referendum on ride-hailing rules that led to Uber and Lyft leaving town, Adler put up a post featuring some of the most profane tweets he had received on the topic. His spokesman said that post “speaks for itself and quite loudly.”

Keep Austin City Council Weird: The 5 strangest things from City Hall in 2016

At this point, “Keep Austin Weird” has become more of a callback to a bygone era than an actual lifestyle tip. But every now and then, something happens here that truly couldn’t happen anywhere else. And in 2016, a year that has proven to keep getting weirder by the day, Austin City Council provided us with some truly odd moments.

Whether it involved zombies, Satanists or salamander DNA testing, this year’s top 5 strangest moments from Austin City Council proved that if nothing else, we have some unique legislative matters in Austin.

5. With others away, Austin council’s conservative trio prevails for a day

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In June, while Mayor Steve Alder and Council Members Delia Garza and Ann Kitchen were in Washington, D.C., campaigning for a $40 million federal transportation grant in the Smart City Challenge, the three conservative members left on the council (Don Zimmerman, Ellen Troxclair and Sheri Gallo) tried to block several items on that meeting’s agenda from passing. One of those items was a $210,000 grant to the Salvation Army to expand social services at the Austin Shelter for Women and Children (already included in the budget).

4. Austin Council Member Leslie Pool’s mistaken and loaded tweet

Twitter fingers turned to butter fingers for Council Member Leslie Pool back in January after she accidentally tweeted about Council Member Sheri Gallo in what was supposed to be a direct message.

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Pool posted the tweet after she and Gallo split on a rule change for certain kinds of planned unit developments – including one known as The Grove at Shoal Creek, a controversial development that Pool opposed at the time while Gallo supported it.

“It was intended to be a private message, but I should never speak badly about my colleagues,” Pool told the Statesman at the time.

3. Zimmerman slams salamander DNA testing while Austin has rape kit backlog

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In September, amid a DNA rape kit backlog at Austin’s police crime lab (which would go on to create more problems for the department), a representative from the Watershed Protection Department went before the council to request $13,000 to do DNA sequencing on Barton Springs salamanders. Council Member Don Zimmerman asked why the funding wasn’t going to be used to test the rape kit backlog, despite the two departments drawing funds from different sources. The salamander funding passed 9-1-1, with Zimmerman opposed and Council Member Ellen Troxclair not present.

2. Austin leaders debate blocking zombies from city cemeteries

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Yeah, you read that right. During a September council meeting, the council members went down a rabbit hole that started with a question about a $1.2 million construction contract to rehabilitate an Oakwood cemetery chapel and ended with speculation about skeletons, zombies, parties and weddings at area burial grounds. The discussion arose after a cemetery advocate complained about people visiting cemeteries in zombie attire or taking selfies with prop skeletons.

“I’m not sure who the zombies are who come through there… but I’m not sure how we would manage keeping zombies out,” Council Member Ora Houston said.

1. Austin council member offers Satanic amendment to compassion measure

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Coming in at first place is another “How did we get here?” moment. In April, Council Member Ann Kitchen offered a resolution involving support for the Charter for Compassion, a 2009 document crafted by religious leaders worldwide that calls for compassion to be a “clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world.”

Council Member Don Zimemrman objected, according to our report:  “Zimmerman [said] the language urged ‘idolatry’ of Earth rather than its creator and talked about compassion breaking down ideological boundaries when Jesus did that better than anyone. He also said the resolution was ‘marrying religion with politics.'”

Zimmerman eventually went on to add wording from the Satanic Temple website to Kitchen’s resolution in an effort to prove the resolution was a mix of religion with politics. “The three sentences that came from a religious, Satanist website were included without objection because they’re so very nearly the same as what the Charter for Compassion already has,” Zimmerman said. “So those are accepted under the excuse that they’re not religious, but they are religious. I think you would insult my Satanist constituents. They say their religion is a religion.”

Later, in November, a Satanist almost gave the invocation at a city council meeting, but had to back out because of a scheduling conflict.

The Austin Code Department’s YouTube channel features a flirting mosquito

We don’t know what’s going on with the series of comedic videos the Austin Code Department has produced, but we can’t turn our eyes away, either.

The code department has taken to YouTube to explain some of the most common code violations and how to fix them.

“Code Support Group” follows a small group of Austinites who meet to explain why they violated city codes, while a code enforcement officer explains how they can do better in the future.

The video series is filmed with a “Parks and Recreation“-style mockumentary feel, complete with talking head shots and field footage of the delinquent residents screwing up code in the wild. It’s an idea Tom Haverford or Leslie Knope would be proud of.

Each video focuses on a specific person and their code violation, like the above grass and weed violations with Meadow the Hippie.

The best part? One of the meetings features a life-sized mosquito menace who seeks shelter after the standing water he was living in got removed by the city. Also, he hits on Abby the Illegal Dumper (not what you think it is) from Episode 3.

Now, we get it, we miss “Parks and Rec” too, but that doesn’t mean we want to see a Michael Ian Black lookalike in a mosquito costume saying stuff like “What’s your type? You seem like an O Negative, or an AB Positive kind of person!”

YouTube screenshot.
YouTube screenshot.

Besides the already mentioned characters, the support group includes Virgil the Baby Oil Salesman, who keeps putting up “bandit” signs; Roscoe the Club Promoter, who wants to put broken glass in his club to make it feel more authentic; and Carleene the Hoarder, who is Abby the Illegal Dumper’s twin. There’s one other character in the support group that hasn’t been featured, a young businessman-looking type. Will he be featured in Episode 6? Will there be crossover episodes of the city’s confused code violators? The people need to know! (Personally I’m hoping for a crossover episode with Virgil and Roscoe—think of the business opportunities!)

The city gets an “A” for effort on this initiative, but these videos are confusing—are they creating a policy discussion or are they making a “Parks and Rec” parody? Do jokes like mosquitoes hitting on women and hippies saying stuff like “Grass is meant to grow, that’s the purpose, man, and as humans, we shouldn’t try to fight that” add to the policy discussion, or fall flat?

Some people aren’t happy with the videos. Austin resident and YouTube user Dale Flatt posted a parody of the series on his own YouTube channel Nov. 20 to talk about what he feels are hypocrisies with the way the code department enforces its rules.

All five episodes are up on YouTube now.