Well, here at The Austin Independent we didn’t exactly get the scoop on Mayor Steve Adler taking a trip to Mexico in early November. From there he recorded a Facebook message telling Austinites: “We need to stay home if you can. This is not the time to relax. We are going to be looking really closely. … We may have to close things down if we are not careful.”

It was Tony Plohetski in the Austin American-Statesman who broke the story. It then quickly spread around the country and even the world. This will likely be the single action for which Adler gets the most national and international publicity during his entire time in office. The memory may fade over time, but right now many people around the country and world know Austin as the Live Music Capital of the World, the home of South by Southwest, and the place where the Mayor went on an undisclosed trip to a Mexican beach resort town and then posted a Facebook video telling everyone back in Austin to stay at home.

Just in case you missed it, Plohetski reported yesterday afternoon (December 2) that in early November Adler and seven other friends and family members took a private jet to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico where they vacationed for a week in a family timeshare. According to Plohetski, Adler recorded the Facebook video “one night into the trip.” That was November 9.

Since then some version of the story has appeared not only in virtually every daily media outlet in Texas, but, among others, in the Washington Post, The Hill, Newsweek, Border Report, Business Insider, WBAP News Talk in Fort Worth, Sound Health and Lasting Wealth, the Washington Examiner, Reason, Forbes, the Morning Call in New Jersey, the Sacramento Bee, the Daily Wire, Newsfinale, the Daily DOT, and many more. Streaming services posted versions of the story, including: Yahoo, MSN, Huffington Post, and AOL.

The Associated Press did their own account, after Plohetski’s story. The AP lead with this paragraph:

“AUSTIN, TEXAS — Austin Mayor Steve Adler went on vacation to Mexico with family in November as he urged people to stay home amid worsening coronavirus caseloads in Texas, at one point recording a video during the trip in which he told residents back home that now was ‘not the time to relax.”’

The AP story was picked up widely including in: The Hartford Courant, Roanoke Times, Artesia Daily Press in New Mexico, US News, Greenwich Time, the Federal News Network, Access WDUN in North Georgia, WAOW in Madison Wisconsin, the Independent Record in Helena, Montana, and the Fresno Bee

Adler also made right wing media outlets like Breitbart, the National Review, the New York Post, the Washington Times, and of course Fox News.

International media also picked up the story, particularly in the United Kingdom where The Daily Mail, The Guardian, the BBC, The British Journal, and DailycelebUK all ran versions of the story. RT i.e. Russia Times also picked it up.

Another part of the Plohetski story was that before the trip on the private jet Adler hosted a wedding for his daughter at the swanky Hotel St. Cecilia on South Congress. Attendance was limited to 20 guests. We only bring up the wedding here to point out that Dr. Mark Escott unfortunately got pulled into the story. Plohetski wrote that Adler “said he consulted with interim health director Dr. Mark Escott prior to the wedding at the Hotel St. Cecilia on South Congress Avenue and established rules to ensure guests’ safety. The 20 attendees had to undergo a rapid COVID-19 test and maintain social distancing, he said.”

As most people in Austin know by now, Dr. Escott is the Interim Medical Director and Health Authority for Austin Public Health. In those two roles he is the lead medical authority and spokesperson on coronavirus. So, on top of those duties, Adler laid on Escott the additional burden of advising on the wedding of the Mayor’s daughter. Perhaps a case can be made that the Mayor should have at least informed Escott, but it seems terrible for the Mayor to bring up Escott to the Statesman and drag him into his scandal. Come on now.

Another aspect of this story is how privileged Adler is. Well, anyone could take a safe trip like Adler and his friends and family did. First just arrange to have rapid results COVID tests. Then get on a private jet where you don’t have to cram in like on a regular plane. By the way, Adler is a vocal champion of addressing climate change, but he took a private jet on vacation. 

In closing it seems like this saga deserves a song, a corrido. So we’ll start one here with a verse to the tune of Townes Van Zandt’s “Pancho and Lefty.” Sorry Townes.

Adler met his match, you know,

On the beaches down in Mexico

Everybody heard his posted words:

The rest of y’all stay at home. . .

And, if you want to learn more about Cabo San Lucas, click here.


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