California blamin’

I don’t blame former Californians for anything I don’t like about Austin, but a lot of people do. Most recently, John Kelso ascribes a plague of valet parking and fish tacos to outlanders from the West Coast. Fish tacos? I’ve never tried them. Someday, maybe. Valet parking is a plague, but it has nothing to do with Californians. Just blame the city government for granting those permits, and so cheaply. And if people didn’t patronize these services, they wouldn’t exist. I detest those blocked parking spaces; the hoods seem to go onto the meters well before the hour permitted. So, just as I don’t wait in line or go anywhere that requires reservations, neither do I ever use valet parking, “free” or not, although it’s certainly an interesting concept in theory and practice, wherever it came from. Sushi seemed to be here long before I met the first new Austinite hailing from California. Kyoto says it opened in 1984. Everybody I’ve consulted believes it to be the first, and for a long time the sole, sushi emporium, although only the brave (and I wasn’t one of them) sat at the counter in the front room while the rest of us felt very bold enjoying the exoticism of bento-box lunches. No Californians were in evidence, just adventuresome Austinites. It isn’t former Californians who go caroming around parking lots at high speed in Chevy Suburbans, is it? I hold no Californians responsible for the fact, reported in the local daily this morning, that on Stassney between Congress and IH-35, there’s nearly a mile between one pedestrian crossing and the next one. Is there really any degradation in the quality of life here or failure to improve it for which out-of-staters in general or Californians in particular should be held to account? I don’t think so; we can probably lay all the blame at our very own doorsteps.

3 Comments so far

  1. Holmes (unregistered) on September 27th, 2007 @ 10:16 am

    If Californians brought the fish taco with them, then God bless ’em. I know we’re not exactly coastal, but I’ve had a few good fish tacos in this town. As for any problems they’ve brought with them, the only one I’ve heard any even slightly compelling evidence for is the increase in home prices, though I seriously doubt that Californians are the source of that issue.

  2. Rantor (unregistered) on September 27th, 2007 @ 10:33 am

    I sure don’t understand what Kelso has against fish tacos, either, even though I, personally, like my fish unadorned and something non-fish for taco contents. What are the best fish tacos, and why are they the best? I vow to try them one of these times. Over the last decade, a few neighbors have parachuted in from the West Coast, marveling at the comparatively low prices of houses here, but they’ve all returned to California, selling their Austin homes to non-Californians, mostly people coming in from West Lake Hills or Dallas.

  3. mss (unregistered) on September 28th, 2007 @ 4:17 pm

    Kyoto downtown was the only place to get sushi in Austin in the early/mid-1980s that I know of. I think the only other “Japanese” restaurant was a Benihana. I had to go live in Japan for two years to satisfy my cravings at a price I could afford. Seems to me most of the Japanese restaurants came to town during the tech boom of late 1990s, along with Starbucks and dot-coms. Perhaps that could be considered a sign of an influx of west coasters (not exclusively Californians). I always thought it was just part of the 90s vibe.

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