Houston Chronicle

Thumbs: Mayor Musk, Oiler Blues


Musktopia? Elon plans to build his own Central Texas town, according to reporting from the Wall Street Journal. We’re sure it’ll be just like George Mitchell’s The Woodlands, except with legal pot, solar energy and undergroun­d transit. Oh, and a really cute name: Snailbrook, a reference to the mascot of his tunneling company Boring Co, whose employees Musk had challenged to build boring machines that move “faster than a snail.” But how well will this concept in Bastrop County go over with the residents Musk is apparently hoping to lure, his employees at Tesla, SpaceX and Boring Co? We’ve never heard of anyone who has worked with Musk describing the experience as utopia. Just because people are willing to work for the demanding billionair­e, doesn’t mean they want to live a stone’s throw away. Musk’s apparent pitch is to offer employees convenient, below-market housing but he likely won’t mention the hidden tax: their eccentric, perfection­ist boss banging on the door at 2 a.m. demanding revisions on the latest project ASAP.

When Bud Adams committed the cardinal sin of moving the Oilers to Tennessee in 1997, he not only robbed Houston football fans of their beloved team, he also stole one of the best uniforms in NFL history. The iconic oil derrick logo was synonymous with Houston, the nation’s energy capital, and Adams knew it. It’s why after posing as the Tennessee Oilers for a couple of years — do they even drill in the Volunteer State? — they pivoted to become the generic, geographic­ally-neutral Titans. The Titans announced this week that they plan to wear the classic Oilers helmet and uniforms this season — perhaps even when they play the Texans at NRG Stadium. The only thing worse than seeing another team running around on our turf in those beloved powder blue and red threads would be losing to them. The Texans haven’t given us a lot to be proud of lately, but crushing the Titans this season would at least ease the sting of having an entire franchise history co-opted by a bunch of impostors from Nashville. Justice for Ol’ Riggy!

All hat and no cattle. There was a time Texans loathed to personify that expression. Apparently, state Rep. Bryan Slaton, R-Royse City, doesn’t care. He has filed a swashbuckl­ing bill to let Texans vote on seceding from the union to become an independen­t nation. The effort, all gussied up with a 10-gallon hashtag #TEXIT, seems worthy of attention until you realize it’s not actually a legal option. Or, of course, an original idea. It’s a Republican legislativ­e favorite (so perennial that the Texas Tribune has a story it’s been updating since 2016 with each new effort), especially when a Demothis

crat is in the White House. Secession at this point is just something Texans made up to put on bumper stickers and postcards — kind of like the jacka-lope. As the Chronicle reported this week, an 1869 court case determined individual states couldn’t secede from the United States even if people voted to do it. As the former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia once wrote: “If there was any constituti­onal issue resolved by the Civil War, it is that there is no right to secede.” We sometimes wonder, though, as Texas politician­s meddle in local elections, police budgets and contemplat­e a takeover of Houston ISD if a secession exception could be made for cities and counties trying to escape the tyrannical rule of the state.

Lost and found. UGK rapper Bun B was reunited with his poncho week after the custom-made item went missing following his RodeoHoust­on Southern Takeover performanc­e. The rapper initially offered a $1,000 reward for the garment but made clear in an interview with Culturemap that he was pretty sure he knew who took it. The rest of us still don’t know because the item was apparently returned, no fuss, no muss, no reward necessary. Now perhaps the world is full of good-hearted people who wanted to do the right thing or perhaps it’s full of clever marketing ideas that help draw attention to emerging designers like the one that made Bun B’s poncho. Who’s to say? Not us.

Houston’s airport food fight is over and in the end, Mayor Sylvester Turner and City Council had just one thing to say to a local longtime restaurate­ur’s epic appeal to let his company stay at Hobby Airport: “Pappa, deauxn’t.” After 20 years, Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen, Pappa’s BarB-Q and Pappasito’s Cantina will be booted from Hobby after a new, 10year, $470 million contract was awarded to a joint venture led by Areas, headquarte­red in Spain. Despite a last-ditch campaign to rally public support for the Houston-based chain, Turner maintained that: “This is a competitiv­e bid process. It is not a popularity contest.” Interestin­g point given what the Chronicle’s Mike Morris reported this week: that Councilmem­ber Michael Kubosh said the Spanish company finished no higher than third each of the first two times the city launched and then scrapped the procuremen­t. In the end, it was poised to win by a fraction of a point. The new group, which promises to bring in some other local names, is expected to begin taking over operations by November of next year. We hope TSA officers won’t be too harsh with Houstonian­s trying to bring to-go gumbo from an outside Pappas location in their carry-ons.

 ?? Suzanne Cordeiro/Getty Images ?? Billionair­e Elon Musk proposed a planned community in Bastrop County engineered for employees of Tesla, SpaceX and Boring Co., offering convenient, below-market housing.
Suzanne Cordeiro/Getty Images Billionair­e Elon Musk proposed a planned community in Bastrop County engineered for employees of Tesla, SpaceX and Boring Co., offering convenient, below-market housing.

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