A tale of two Austins: Jason Baskin has found himself at the receiving end of Austin, Texas, complaints

Published 8:22 am Thursday, August 29, 2019

When Jason Baskin was elected to the Austin City Council, he was looking forward to listening to and serving the people of Austin — he just didn’t think it would be Austin, Texas.

Jason Baskin, Austin councilman, Ward 2

Starting Sunday night, Baskin, who is the councilman for Ward 2 in our own Austin, began receiving emails from constituents in Austin, Texas, railing against the 5G cellphone service being implemented in the state.

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Among the things these people were complaining about were the health concerns surrounding electromagnetic ions being sent out by the 5G. They also would like to get rid of wireless in schools.

“They think it’s a health issue,” Baskin said. “They think rolling out 5G is going to negatively impact their health.”

Baskin said he didn’t think much of it, however, when he got the fourth and fifth emails he started to pay a little more attention.

“I was confused,” Baskin admitted. “I had no idea what they were talking about. I’m reading through this and I thought, ‘I’m not familiar with this in Austin.’”

However, once Baskin saw where the letters were coming from it started to make sense. In the meantime, Baskin estimates he’s received, “in the low double digits,” of emails.

For each email he said he kindly replied, letting them know he was in Austin, Minnesota. However, only one has replied back to apologize.

Baskin figures that somehow people were getting his name and email through a national list of some kind, noting that the letters had a very copy-and-paste feel to them.

On the surface, a person might think the idea that so many people could confuse Austin, Minnesota, for Austin, Texas, would be silly, but Baskin can see the confusion from his time of service.

“I don’t know if it’s disheartening,” he said. “I think it’s understandable. Until I started getting involved … I was confused. I now have an appreciation for the confusion. I can’t imagine how confusing it is with a million plus people.”

Baskin has labeled the week as “interesting,” but he can still see the citizens of Austin, Texas, point of view.

He understands their passion as he understands the passion of those people he serves here in Austin, Minnesota.

“It’s entertaining,” he said with a chuckle.