Austin
4:07 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Mayor Leffingwell Hosts Reddit 'Ask Me Anything' Thread

Update: Mayor Leffingwell just finished fielding questions in his Reddit "Ask Me Anything" session. Here's a sampling of his answers.

A robust defense of South by Southwest:

In response to a question describing the "burden" of hosting SXSW, he wrote:

"SXSW brought $218 million of economic impact in 2013. Austin benefits incredibly from being on the international stage due to the festival. I believe it's well worth a week's worth of minor inconvenience for all of the positive impacts it brings. It is also a tourism festival. People come here, spend all of their money and then go home. Not too shabby."

A dig at Austin's wage floor:
In October, the Austin City Council approved a $11/hour wage floor for companies receiving city incentives. Leffingwell used his IAmA to take a swipe at the requirement, in answer to what can be done about Austin's growing economic divide:

"We collaborate with educational organizations, such as UT, ACC, etc. I believe increased training and education will help create more opportunities and a better quality of life. I support bringing manufacturing level jobs to our city, but this is challenging because of wage restrictions recently passed by council. I realize that this is an important issue."

Weighing in on Uber:

KUT reported earlier today on Uber, the transportation app that the City of Austin calls an unlicensed taxi service. Leffingwell defended the city's position:

"… Taxi franchises are regulated by the city. The number of cabs per company are also regulated by the city and a formula. I agree that this current situation needs work. I am open to considering alternative forms of transportation like Uber or other options, assuming these bureaucratic obstacles can be overcome.

Regulating companies like Uber would be extremely difficult for public safety purposes. To make sure that people are safe and that if they are in an accident they are properly compensated, is a difficult challenge to overcome."

Breakfast Taco Shocker:

Maybe the mayor's most controversial answer? His choice of breakfast tacos:

"Taco Shack or Taco Cabana. All breakfast tacos are good … My favorite breakfast taco ingredients are eggs, bacon, and bacon."

Original story: South by Southwest Interactive may be over, but Mayor Lee Leffingwell is still in a high tech mood: Starting today at 3 p.m., the two-term mayor will be hosting a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" thread.

The popular series of online discussions allows celebrities, politicians, and headline-makers to be queried by members of social-sharing site Reddit. And while you can ask them anything, what they decide to answer is up to them. Leffingwell has said he welcomes "questions about transportation, SXSW, Austin's economy, or anything interesting Redditors come up with."

You can check out Leffingwell's AMA here. KUT will check back in to note highlights from the discussion .