More Texas/California

Just a quick note about the ‘Green Power” failure.
For years my brother worked for a renewable power company based in Waitsfield, Vermont.  One of his many trips to install and service solar and wind power took him to Antarctica.


The failure of “Green Power” in Texas has zero to do with the mechanisms of wind and solar in cold climates and everything to do with private power companies who don’t want to pay to have their equipment prepared for the weather.

Rich Costey
Putney, Vermont


Green energy didn’t fail. Windmills are running in sub zero temps all over the world. Those windmills are winterized. The ones in Texas? They are not. No regulations mean cut corners and pay yourselves king ransoms.

Rob Meder


I don’t get it. I live in Canada and our windmills don’t freeze. We live in winter 6 months of the year. It goes far deeper.

Mike Hansen


Life goes on in Iowa.  Overnight temperatures have been below zero for 10 days straight, and the snow is 16″ deep, but our homes are warm and water is flowing.  Ho-hum.



Wow, sometimes its hard to understand how almost half the country voted for #45 and then the reality hits, like how they seem to focus on BLM’s socialist founder and not the idea that police target African Americans, or how they link climate change with the Welfare state. Sometimes they use the False Equivalency fallacy sometimes Ad Hominum, but it always is some kind of definable fallacy.

Do you remember when conspiracy theories were fun…  it’s not fun anymore.

Keep up the good work. Regards Chris Kavanaugh


Well I’ve lived in MN most of my life and I love it here in the twin cities.
I love NYC to visit. mMy Son and my younger Brother lived in Cal. for a bit. Both loved it, but they had to leave because it just cost too much to pay the rent there.
Bill Scherer live in MN.


“where the fuck are all the smart people?”

We didn’t move from Jersey to fucking Texas! hahaha

Kevin Kiley


Yikes. Who are these people?

“Don’t mess with Texas.”

No reason to – it’s already a mess!

Best regards,

Darryl Mattison




Nancy Nalley


Fuck Texas…ok, except for Austin.
Guess you might need a functioning govt sometimes, huh?

Jan Ramsey


The problem in Texas is not preparation, but supply.  My whole family lives in Texas while I enjoy life in the sun of L.A., but the main issue was not preparedness – they just did not have enough power to feed the 11 million households.  60% of Texans heat their homes with electricity unlike those in the Upper Midwest and Northeast with oil and gas to do the job.  Yes, ERCOT is a mess and that’s an issue unto itself, but they’re main problem is that they can’t get power from bordering states in times of crisis; they have to allocate within the state and there was not enough to do so.

Let’s stop making this about politics and just blame the cold ass weather.

Chadd Barksdale


Some of the people who’ve emailed you get it. Others saying that it’s “green energy” are just clowns. Perhaps they should stop watching the garbage on Fox all day and start actually thinking. Someone should point out to them that 2/3 (67%) of Texas’ electricity production is fossil fuels – coal and gas-fired plants. Only 20% wind, 1 % solar and the rest is nuclear. The gas lines froze, that’s what caused their outages. As several have pointed out, their infrastructure sucks. If windmills can continue working year round in Denmark and Alaska, why not Texas? And this is from a neutral observer up in Toronto, Canada.

Hope you are well Bob.

Baris Ozyetis


To paraphrase Yogi Berra: Nobody goes to California anymore, it’s too crowded.

Paul Ruta


I love how people love to dis CA. Especially those who have never lived here or toured anything but Hollywood and SF. We left SF. But, as have most who have left SF, we just moved a little further out. In our case,  70 miles north to Sonoma County. Today, we decided to drive to the coast for lunch. We drove through rolling hills and farmland, wonderous at the beautiful place we live in. Dis us all you want. We live a good life.

Dave Smith


Damn, I love reading your in-box. And maybe I’m just a tourist visiting my kid and granddaughter in the Bay area twice a year (pre-Covid), I love California, its climate, the landscape, the ocean, the skiing, the diversity in all things, and the people. Easy to knock the Golden State, the traffic, real estate prices…just like they do New York. I’ve loved the state since 1962 when my parents took us to Disney world and then drove up the coast through Big Sur, Monterey and on into SF. There was and is definitely a magic and spirit about the place. I did a good bit of business in LA in the 70s and 80s and loved being out there having fun, in that warm California sun! (I hate to offend my Texas friends, but here’s a joke for you: “What’s the best way to see Texas?” In your rear view mirror. Stay safe…and warm…ha ha ha!

Chip Lovitt


Move to Michigan, all four season, a few crazies but at least we don’t have some in high places of power in Congress, cue Kevin McCarthy and Devin Nunes,  easy to obtain solar power, I know as I have it now, took 6 months with COVID happening, Bill Maher is still waiting……no earthquakes, a tornado rarely, no big fires, and the largest supply of freshwater in the continental US. Added bonus homes under 1M, + Homes with acreage and Detroit will come back.

LA is on fire, droughts, and earthquakes.  Nice weather just don’t live anywhere at risk which is where again?

Adam Bauer


These replies are all an exercise in subjective opinions. Everyone is so sure they are right.

I love Cali, but the traffic and smog would not be good for my health.

I love TX, well, really just Austin.

We all have free will, and if you end up someplace you don’t like, you are free to relocate or change your vote.

I would not leave Maryland, because all our friends are here. And what’s life without friends?

Armand Sadlier


I loved California when I moved there in ’72, but when I left 23 years later, it was no longer the same California that had drawn me like a magnet.

I moved to Nashville temporarily, by accident, because of the Gibson gig. I’ve since fallen in love with it for many reasons, but the main ones are that existence is less stressful, people are kinder, prices are lower, and Nashville is indeed music city (it’s not just a marketing tagline, it’s a specification). Yeah, it’s a red state, but it’s a lighter shade of red, with a fairly high level of tolerance.

As you know, I’ve travelled and toured over pretty much the entire United States as well as significant parts of the world. From a practical standpoint, I could live anywhere. Yet here is where I’ve landed.

Just tell people from LA not to move here, unless they want a combination of the midwest and south. Tennessee has little in common with the coasts, and anyone who enjoys that particular ambiance will be disappointed.

Craig Anderton


I was born in STL and spent my working days in several large Midwest cities.  My wife and I visited most of the 50 states on various business trips and family vacations over the years and we most enjoyed visiting LA and SD.   But yes, housing in both markets is expensive.   We wanted to retire early to SoCal and wound up relocating to Palm Springs in the Coachella Valley (Riverside County).   It is everything we could have hoped for:  culturally, politically, and is the most affordable resort town we could have chosen to make our dreams for the next chapter come true.

Yep, hot in the summer, but that’s why we have air conditioning.  People are great and the desert has a cool vibe.   And we have learned that with 350 days of sunshine a year, and winter temps in the 80s, we don’t have to shovel snow or scrape ice off the windshield. Working part time now, so only semi-retired, but we want to stay active, make a contribution someplace and we are living the dream.   Nothing like blue skies, snow capped mountains off in the distance flanked by tall palm trees here in the Coachella Valley.  And from PSP, both LA and SD (and the beaches, museums, concerts) are both a short drive away.

Bill Knopf


That’s some feedback…probably a little slanted at the moment as folks in Texas are living through hell.  It will pass…

Reminds me of the late seventies in Chicago…big snowstorm and the first new Mayor not named Daly was blamed for being slow plowing the streets…next election the city’s first female was elected, Jane Byrne…she made sure there was enough salt and snowplows…but the city continued its long and steady slide into the abyss.  She lasted 4 years…then Chicago first black mayor, Harold Washington…no change…then Richy Daly…no change…then Emanual…no change…now Lightfoot…all very nice people, but it’s just musical chairs…it wouldn’t have mattered if the mayor was white, black, female, male, democrat or republican…they are all the same…the city and state continues its decline hoping, while the dumb Governors and City Alderman continue to find they look good in orange jumpsuits, the rest avoid getting caught…and the good folks hope the Feds will bail them out…

I’ve lived in San Fran and Carmel for a decade in the 90s…like Chicago a great place to visit, but like many I can no longer live there…taxes, traffic primarily…all my neighbors living in those multi million dollar homes have transitioned them to their second and third homes as they prefer to visit and have long moved to WA, NV, TX, TN or FL…CA was definitely the best place to live many decades ago…and even today as long as you don’t earn much and you bought your home decades ago paying little in property taxes…I may look forward to retiring there some day.  However, I did find my paradise.  It’s no well kept secret, but no reason to tell others, they are finding it all too fast as it is…

Take care my friend…

Ed Kelly


I’m 57 and a life long Texan, living in Austin. We have experienced nothing like this in my lifetime.  I’m told the last snow like this in Austin was in 1937.  Yes, ERCOT failed us, no question.  It was designed for 105 degree summers, not 7 degree winters.  Normal low is in the 20s and only one to two short times a year.  ERCOT will be fixed.  It must be.  But everyone should know you can always prepare for the 4-6 standard deviation event, it just cost more money, sometimes a lot more.  Its not a red/blue thing, it’s a how much to invest on what thing.  It may be another 83 years before we see this again or maybe not.  Yes, the market should be prepared for the unexpected.  Politicians on both sides of the isle fail us, and the quants that run the numbers fail us at the extremes.  Fortunately most me can get past the rhetoric to the truth.

Brad L. Beago, CFA


I’d be interested to know the age of some of those replying.  My wife and I are in are mid/late 30s, with a 5yr old daughter and one more on the way in June.  My wife is from NorCal and we lived in the Bay Area for 12 years.  We are artists, musicians, teachers, and non-profit employees.  WE CAN’T AFFORD California!   We worked directly with the homeless population in the Tenderloin district of SF.  Necessary, important work, with decent salaries (for non-profits, though not nearly enough).

Our back up plan was always to move to the foothills of the mountains, so beautiful, but deep, dark red fire danger every year from Sept-Oct and only getting worse.  Even if you manage to escape the fire, the smoke and particles are everywhere.   And, it was already so expensive out there in the mountains, we were about 10 years too late.   We could pay a high rent to live in fire danger year after year, NEVER able to buy a home, commuting farther and farther because its too expensive near SF.   Or we could live in a tiny apartment closer to the city in a rough area of Oakland or even farther out?  No way.  It sucks and was/is still heartbreaking.  We would love to live in California for the ethos, history, and natural beauty.  But the cost of living, the amount of people, the lack of water (just wait over the next 20-30 years), and the fires make it very very scary and unsustainable for people like us.  Factor in we don’t have rich parents and the future looks very sketchy raising a family in CA.

-What about those of us that aren’t techies, lawyers, or have business degrees?  The people you mentioned that can make it..the dreamers, doer’s, nonconformists, etc.  Can people like us raise a family in California anymore?  It surely didn’t feel like it.  We moved to a college town, a beautiful forested area in a Midwest red state.  The college town affords us the amenities and arts/culture we want, and the cost of living and quieter pace gives our daughters a great place to grow up.   If it were just me and my wife, we may have risked staying longer in CA due to her family and our deep love of the state, but it was no place to raise a family, unfortunately.

Kirby Hammel

-Former Bay Area resident and reluctant mover to the Midwest.


I am in the Dallas Texas area.
We had rolling blackouts, and lost internet service until last night.
I guess we were feeling pretty good about Texas until this disaster hit.
As a nation, we seem very bad in handling disasters – whether it is pandemics, fire, or extreme weather events.
We also enjoy schadenfreude – ha ha California – not so funny when it happens to us.

I am hoping as a nation we move towards more resilience – making our systems more secure.
I would like us to move our supply chain home which would serve multiple purposes:
Reduce shortages in extreme events
Provide higher paying jobs
Eliminate the threat of a hostile “partner” nation in withholding essential commodities.
This may raise our prices, but reducing the number of poor people is worth it. Plus the added benefit of being more self-reliant and secure.

When I read Catch-22 over 40 years ago as a new immigrant, the one part of it that made the biggest impression on me was Milo Milerbender – the mess officer – who was paid by the Germans to bomb his own base. At the time I thought – how American!
Our top CEOs sent our jobs overseas to increase profits and quarterly bonuses. They did this, not because foreign workers were better at the time, but because they could pay them a tiny fraction of US wages. Eventually much of our best technology followed.

Dave Machanick


It seems to me that what we’re seeing is a glimpse of what happens when the unfathomably complex public systems that have been developed and evolving over centuries, to run, organize and keep stable, a country of now 330 million people, are abandoned, privatized, and thought of by 75 million Americans as being “the man” trying to control their lives. Those systems took a huge hit under the previous president, who unfortunately never had the capacity to understand the importance or functioning of any of them, or even the good sense to surround himself with those who might have, and a lot can unravel in four years of neglect and dismantling. (Just take his early act of tossing out of the Pandemic Playbook alone.)  Fear is the new currency and the ensuing chaos creates more fear, begets more guns and on it goes.

Please America – learn from this. Continue to vote in the people who genuinely care about you and your families’ well being, and will prepare your states for these tougher times – and stick it out with you.

Shari Ulrich

Vancouver, BC (formerly California ’til 1973)


we are one of the lucky ones, had power the whole time. Lost water supply, so feeling gross can’t shower or wash hair.

People have shown to be a big part of problems and solutions.

For instance, water came on slightly today and Austin Water asked everyone to still boil and conserve—but within hours it was gone again—due to massive overuse.

Food is another issue. Trudged through ice and snow to market on Tuesday, stood in line over an hour watching people leave with massive carts of food that could last them a month. By the time the people in my part of the line got in shelves were and still are empty.

Supply chains should be back early into the week, so stocking up massive amounts was unnecessary and caused others to go without. I know humans are not by nature egalitarian, but come on.

But on the other side of the swinging pendulum, a stranger on twitter offered to bring my mom over—she’d been without power for days. I live in hills and without a 4w drive vehicle, driving is too risky. Plus so many trees broke and and fell over under the weight of the ice, including a large cedar that blocked my car in, even if I did want to risk driving.

So I vetted the stranger who turned out to be a samaritan and had been giving rides to several people. He got stuck leaving my house and a guy came to help, saw my car blocked by tree, showed up an hour later with a chainsaw and dismembered the tree so when roads are drivable, I can get out!!

AND, 2 people I met on the street when we walked on Tuesday—I had pointed out my house and said we were able to get very little at market, they show up yesterday, unnannounced, with bottled water, fruit and oatmeal. And a coveted 12pack of LaCroix.

unbelievable day.

The end is in sight. May not have normal water, enough to shower etc until next week. I have to walk on ice to pool and try to bring back buckets of water without slipping and breaking a bone so we can flush pooop. I have to boil snow to wash dishes and it takes a very long time. I pretend I’m a pioneer woman.

Temperatures rising. We can live off pasta til tomorrow! And we are warm!!!!  Lucky.

Next I’ll be looking at thousands to repair and replant all my beautiful landscaping. All the sega palms, jasmine, cactus, succulents, ferns, flower beds—I love my plants—my favorite juniper tree fell down. Sad about that. but we are warm!!!

I wanted to smack “Ted” who wrote you blaming wind turbines. idiots.

Kathy Valentine

P.S. So much snow melted in the afternoon after I sent this that I could get out and drive!
Luxury! went to the market, found produce, arugula!! no water. amazing how thirsty you are when your water is limited.


Hi Bob….emailing you from Austin…it was a rough week, especially when you care for a senior citizen in your household like I do….I was livid.

And somehow, with power outages, and a frozen water well, I was still showing up to work every day in my office to set up records and get them played.

How many people really died this week?  Do we even really know yet?

As for the politics behind this…’s the deal….the GOP Republicans in this state do NOT want to invest in its own people.  Unless you are one of them, that is.

Probably why we rank #39 in education, yeah?  I love living in TX, but we can be running this state so much better.  We don’t need folks in CA and NY telling us that either, Bob…WE KNOW!

Like marijuana legalization….we let Oklahoma beat us to that?   Have you seen the property taxes we pay in Texas?  Voters would approve legalization in a heartbeat if they knew if meant lowering their property taxes, paying teachers and first responders better,  and improving infrastructure.

But NO….the GOP here can’t think progressively outside of figuring out how to keep themselves enriched by our state’s resources (I bet someone got rich from this winter debacle, yeah?)

And that’s why the power grid failed….instead of mitigating these issues, they played the, “let’s see what happens” card..and it came back to bite’em in the ass!

This is where change will come from the younger generation….but hey, I’m 49 now, and all the guys I was smoking dope with back in high school in rural west Texas now think they’re some sort of gateway to morality and values…..they were drop outs or C students that never went to college, THAT is the reality.  The guys I thought would help push change with me just fell into the same line of thinking as their daddies and each other.

Look at ol’ Rick Perry…that turd went to my alma mater, Texas A&M..a very “red state” school….but it didn’t make me one of them….that school taught me how to think for myself.

So…what will change after this?

I’m not sure yet…but I do hope some heads will roll and awaken the many Texans in the dark about how poorly the GOP is running our state.

I’ve lived here for 35 years….I never want to live in LA or NYC…even after this week, Bob…no way.   Texas CAN be better…..hopefully we WILL be better.

When AOC delivers more to our state than Ted Cruz can, that says a LOT……but with a state as poorly educated as ours that has this Trump tribalism oozing through it, will they even notice?  These folks are about to face a true reckoning with reality!  I HOPE!

Have a good weekend!

Michael Starr


Hi Bob,

I would like to add my two cents.

In regards to your post, and comments on living in Texas, versus California, etc.

I was raised in Chicago, IL. I have moved around in my music business career a number of times.

A career in the music business is a unique path.

I’ve lived in Chicago, IL, Oxford MS, Denver, CO, New York City, San Francisco, CA, before settling in Austin, TX, 15 years ago.

I’m very happy to call Austin, TX, my home now.

Our youngest daughter was born in Texas, she will be a Texan for the rest of her life.

Something people do not understand, unless you were born and raised in TX, my wife is from Austin, TX.

What most of these comments really miss about Texas, and the most important part of living in Texas…


People from Texas are warm, welcoming, genuine, and really do care about their neighbors, people who are visiting, you name it.

I could not think of a better environment to raise kids in, they learn the most important things you can in life, to be FRIENDLY and to genuinely CARE about other people.

SXSW brings people from all over the world to Austin, and the one comment everyone makes over and over, year in – year out.

“Wow the vibe here is so great, everyone is so friendly”… because it’s real.

Bands who play in Austin ALWAYS have special shows, they can feel the energy coming back from the audience, and the appreciation the folks in the crowd have.

A musician playing on a stage is something they know is deserving of respect and admiration.

I loved the people and history of the deep South, the nature available in Colorado, the pace of NYC, and the beauty of Northern CA.

However, in my opinion, nothing can replace a wave from your neighbor, or a call to make sure everyone is doing ok after this past weather, snowstorms and power outages, how the community of Austin helped each other when this last week became a real crisis.

It’s incredibly important to me, to know the people who you live with in your community.

Texas has some things to figure out, yes, the State of Texas leadership needs a change, but this will happen, future generations will make these changes – it’s happening already.

I know California is always sunny, day to day living in CA is VERY pleasant.

I have some of my fondest memories ever of hiking on Mt Tam in the setting sun, just the beauty of living in the Bay Area.

California is a Wonder.

I just could not shake one nagging feeling, though, when I was living in California.

“Hey, it’s nice to meet you, but if we never see each other again, that’s ok with me too”.

I don’t know, this made life in CA always feel a little lonely, anonymous, no waves from the neighbors, just don’t block my view, don’t get in the way of me living my life.

A larger and more problematic symptom we are finding ourselves living with more each day, we are becoming more disconnected from each other, sadly.

Anyway, I felt compelled to write and share my thoughts, and hopefully stick up for my new found home.


Matt Hickey
High Road Touring


“Where are all the smart people?”


Michael Patterson

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