Are We Rewarding Failure? | SARC

 It is not unusual for legislators to pass pay raises for themselves. It’s understandable to ensure that our public servants are well fairly compensated. You don’t want the level of pay so low that you only attract mediocrities or create an environment in which accepting bribes is the only way for a legislator to make ends meet. It’s sensible to try to make sure that those in public employment have pay that keeps pace with out-of-control inflation. Sure, we don’t all just get to say “today, I make 10% more,” but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. 

But a 40% pay raise…is a bitter pill to swallow.  

Austin City Council voted to increase their pay by 40% last week by an overwhelming margin. Out of the eleven members, only three opposed this egregious hike in pay; Paige Ellis (D8), Vanessa Fuentes (D2), and the redoubtable Mackenzie Kelly (D6).  

This raise is more unseemly than most for reasons beyond its staggering scale—can you imagine what you would do with 40% more in your paycheck? No, the timing of this massive spike is particularly galling in a few ways.  

First, there’s the obvious; the economy is slowing down. Inflation is essentially giving all of us a major pay cut, and the cost of living in Austin is growing rapidly, forcing many people who have spent much of their lives in the city to look elsewhere. As businesses struggle to find workers, workers struggle to find jobs that cover their needs, and goods still seem oddly short on the shelves, the image of Council Members giving themselves tens of thousands more dollars is irritating. It’s bad policy and it’s political malpractice. Bill Clinton once famously said, “I feel your pain.” The current council seems more interested in cementing its own gain.  

Second, anyone with an eye on local issues and a memory that stretches back to last year may recall Save Austin Now’s fight for Proposition A, which would have refunded APD, and required certain levels of staffing. Those individuals who recall this ballot measure may also recall what we were told about the city budget. Simply put, we were led to believe that any increases in APD’s funding would need to be taken from other vital services. Now, the cost of the pay raise for the council—about $340,000/year—pales in comparison to what Prop A would have cost. But the argument that there simply wasn’t any more money in the budget was made so often, that I heard it in my dreams. Then we find out that the city had a surplus of $20 million (from its large sales tax on local businesses), and the first thing the Council does is give itself a raise. Perhaps the reader will understand why this particular vote got under the skin of many in Austin.

Third and finally, pay raises usually follow good, if not excellent, performance. Very few of us have the option of just choosing to make more money. Most have to prove to an employer that the work they have done is deserving of increased compensation. And any honest review of the Council’s performance lately would certainly be “mixed” at best. Let’s start with the good.  

Life has returned mostly to its pre-pandemic normal in the city, with large events taking place and schools opening as they should. Our city is still a boom town with thousands of new people flocking in every week. That, of course, is primarily due to the excellent business environment provided by the state government, from which every major city benefits.

Now, let’s get to the bad:

  • Failure of basic services. We have had three water shutdowns in four years. One of them was caused by rain. How was the city not ready for rain? Another was just a misunderstanding. Nothing went wrong—someone just thought it had and told everyone the water was unsafe. Our electrical grid is suspect. The whole state’s grid is probably inadequate for our needs and deserves a major investment, but the city has become undeniably worse in recent years. Lately anytime we get more than a sprinkle I hear from across the city of power outages.  
  • A gutted police force. APD is nowhere near fully staffed. As a result, APD is pulling detectives from desk work and sending them on patrol, has scrapped the DUI department, makes next-to-no traffic stops (meaning there are more reckless drivers, and yes; more traffic deaths), and has retired the sex crimes unit. Let me reiterate; there is no sex crimes unit in the city of Austin. This most basic service that every city should provide the victims of unspeakable crimes—overwhelmingly poor women of color, for the record—was cut because of the Council’s rash decision to remove about one-third of the police budget.  
  • Rising crime, especially murders. Given that in 2020, APD’s funding was slashed, it is sadly unsurprising that we have had more murders in the past couple of years than our city has ever experienced.  While we are not on track to set another new record for the number of homicides in the city, in 2020 and 2021, we hit all-time highs, and have established a new normal. While our murder rate is lower than that of poorer major cities, such as Houston, we are no longer the surprisingly safe, pristine city we once were.  
  • Homelessness. In 2019, the council removed a ban on homeless camping, leading to a massive surge in shanty towns under our bridges and homeless on our street corners. These sprawling camps were dangerous places of open drug use and casual violence. The homeless, for whom we should all feel deep compassion, were left to their own devices, preyed upon by human traffickers and drug dealers, and left to freeze and die in large numbers during winter storms. Too many of these men and women are drug-addicted or mentally ill—or both. They are not capable of making rational, long-term decisions. They should be cared for, as Community First! Village does. Instead, the Council’s response was to buy a hotel, house an infinitesimal percentage of the homeless, and pretend that the open camping wasn’t a major threat to the city’s wellbeing. The vast number of fires that broke out in these camps should dispel the idea that these were safe spaces. With no action being taken by elected officials, the voters of Austin mobilized to pass Proposition B. right before its passage, Kitchen and Kelly spearheaded the admirable H.E.A.L. Initiative which banned camping in a few key areas but left most of the city open to the blight of massive homeless camps. Even after the passage of Prop B, the council dragged its feet to enforce the law, taking many months before finally going about the sad business of clearing out the dangerous camps that had become all too common in our city.  
  • The rising cost of living. Despite this loss of safety, people continue to move to the city. Not to the dangerous parts, mind you; to the nice areas. But the ever-growing population has not been met with a commensurate investment in housing. There have been a number of luxury condos built, but for those who do not make mid-six-figure incomes, finding a home has become an increasingly difficult process. And forget about buying a home. The cost of a house in Austin has skyrocketed, leaving many longtime residents with no choice but to leave. The Council doesn’t set home values, and they don’t decide on rent in the city. But they have made building new homes so expensive that most investors don’t see the possibility of making a return on their investments in building new affordable units. Similarly, the Council’s fixation on increasing non-car traffic by adding bike lanes and increasing walkability has left our major roadways clogged and everyone outside of the dense urban core—most Austinites—underserved.  

In conclusion, this council’s record is one of failure. Our budget is bloated. Our taxes are too high. And, our services are too low.  

The Council is in the thrall of a small population of wealthy downtown dwellers who don’t have to see the effects of terrible policies elsewhere in the city.  

The Council Members didn’t deserve a raise. Most deserve to be fired.  

But most importantly, the city deserves better.  

Are We Rewarding Failure? | SARC

Image: Fox7

South Austin’s Narcan Dispenser: A Good Idea – A Frightening Precedent | SARC

Image: FOX7 As Texas deaths caused by opioid use have risen, Austin has installed its first Narcan vending machine. This machine was deployed by the N.I.C.E. Project (More Narcan In Case of Emergency) in conjunction with Sunrise Homeless Navigation.   What is Narcan? It is a nasal spray drug that prevents death from overdosing on opioids … Continue reading South Austin’s Narcan Dispenser: A Good Idea – A Frightening Precedent | SARC

South Austin News | SARC

“Roughly a dozen families living at a mobile home park in South Austin who received 60-day notices to leave will be able to stay for the time being after a Travis County judge issued a temporary restraining order Monday.” KUT 5 Fun Things in South Austin – DO512 “A 25-year-old man has been arrested for … Continue reading South Austin News | SARC

America the Violent | SARC

An anti-gun violence rally on the steps of New York City Hall in 2019. (William Alatriste/NYC Council)

An anti-gun violence rally on the steps of New York City Hall in 2019. (William Alatriste/NYC Council)


In the wake of mass shootings, Americans are regularly told that these atrocities do not happen in other developed countries. This, we are to believe, is the damnable result of the Second Amendment to the Constitution. Americans are told again and again that the key to solving this problem is to drastically reduce the number of firearms in circulation; specifically, the number of semi-automatic rifles. 

Of course, America isn’t entirely unique. As we’ll examine later, many other developed countries experience mass violence, including France, Norway, and New Zealand.  

Despite the hyperbole, though, there is an element of truth in the idea that America’s violence is unique in the developed world. As a country, we are much more violent, both in mass settings that capture our imaginations and headlines and in individual cases that tend to be accepted as somehow normal.  

For example, when we compare US cities to those of comparable nations—Western Europe, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia—we find that American murder rates are startlingly high in comparison.  Murder rates may not be a perfect indicator of overall violence but work very well as a way of identifying serious violent tendencies.  

Glasgow, Scotland ranks as perhaps the most dangerous major city in America’s peer nations with a murder rate of around 5.1/per 100,000 residents in 2020. 

That murder rate would make Glasgow, Europe’s deadliest city, the 62nd most deadly city in America in 2020, landing between San Francisco and Anaheim.  

So, does that prove it? Is it true that because Americans have access to so many guns, we are much more likely to murder each other?  

Not exactly.  

As it turns out, Americans do not rely on a single tool to commit murders.  

Indeed, according to the FBI in 2019, the most common murder weapon was the handgun, used in 45.7% of murders. Firearms of unknown type were used in 23.9%.  Knives were the second most common identifiable weapon at 10.6%.  

It is worth mentioning that murders with hands and feet (600) outstrip murders with rifles and shotguns combined (564).  

Now, there’s no doubt looking at those numbers, that the number of firearms almost certainly increases the number of murders—it’s just a lot easier to kill someone with a gun than with your hands. 

But when we have gun control debates, lawmakers focus almost exclusively on one type of firearm: the semi-automatic rifle. A weapon so rarely used in murders the FBI does not distinguish its use from that of other rifles. I’ll say that again; rifles are so seldom used that the FBI does not count semi-automatic rifles separately from other, slower-firing rifles.  

To further put this in perspective, in 2019, there were estimated to be 16,425 murders. 10,255 of these were committed with firearms. 364 were committed with rifles—that we can prove. We have to assume some of the unidentified firearms are rifles.  

Even so, this is a tiny fraction of the overall number of murders; about 2.2%.  

To put this further in perspective, there were 36,096 vehicular homicides in 2019.  

There are 271,000,000 cars in the US.  

There are believed to be more than 400,000,000 guns. 

Despite this, a regular point of argument is that if we had the same kind of regulations around cars as we did guns, there would be fewer deaths. The belief is that by requiring training, licensing, registration, and other qualifications, deaths caused by firearms would be reduced. But as we have seen, the numbers don’t really bear this out, as cars—which have numerous, onerous regulations to own and operate, are involved in far more yearly deaths than guns, despite there being far more firearms.   

But even if we were to impose greater regulations on gun ownership, we wouldn’t expect it to have much impact on their use in crimes. Simply put, weapons that are acquired through legal means are very rarely used in crimes. 

In 2019, just about 10% of guns used in crimes were obtained in retail environments according to the Department of Justice. Retail environments include gun stores, sporting goods shops, gun shows, pawn shops, and flea markets. While it is often difficult to prove the provenance of firearms otherwise acquired, very few purchased in this verifiably legal way are ever used in crime.  

About 20% of guns used in crimes fall into a legal gray zone, in which the criminal claims to have acquired the firearm from someone else, either through purchase or as a gift.  

In total, 70% of firearms are acquired in an explicitly illegal fashion.  

What this points to is that criminals generally seek out non-verifiable means to obtain firearms, meaning that adding further regulation to the acquisition of guns would have, if not negligible, very minor effects.  

But again, given Americans’ highly violent nature, even if we were to ban all guns, and remove all firearms immediately, Americans would still attack one another by other means more commonly than our peer societies. 

America, however, is not merely more violent than our peer nations. 

We are much more criminal overall, with 715 per 100,000 people being held as prisoners. Some might say this is because of over-incarceration, with nearly 45% of those in federal prison being held for drug offenses. However, the statistic is still meaningful, as it demonstrates that Americans incur the risk of incarnation at a higher rate than our peer societies.  

This tendency also appears when we look at traffic fatalities. We have nearly three times as many traffic deaths per capita as the European Union—11.7 vs 4.2, suggesting more reckless driving in the US. 

Indeed, social science regularly demonstrates that Americans perceive less risk than those of other developed nations.  

Lack of risk aversion is highly correlated with crime, and those who commit even low-level offenses are much more likely to also commit violent crimes.  

All of this suggests that guns are not the root cause of violence in America.  

American people are.  

A murder committed with a firearm is just as evil and tragic as it would be with a knife.  

Let us turn our attention now to mass shootings, the crimes that most often grab headlines and shake our nation.  

Even looking exclusively at these horrifying crimes, the handgun is the weapon of choice for offenders, not the semiautomatic rifle. Handguns were used in 98 mass shootings since 1982 compared to 52 in which rifles were used.  

Now rifles are disproportionately favored in mass shootings as compared to the more common individual murder—making up about 30% of the weapons chosen in mass murder, but only 2% in individual cases. They are, however, not universally, nor even particularly often used, making up—of the three categories (rifles, shotguns, and handguns)—about one-third of the weapons.  

To sum all of this data up, targeting semi-automatic rifles would have a negligible impact on the overall American murder rate, and would not even prevent the majority of mass shootings. It is worth noting, that once a person has come to the point of deciding to murder a classroom of eleven-year-olds, the choice of which type of firearm is probably not extremely important to the outcome. In the cases of Uvalde, Parkland, and Sandy Hook, it would be foolish to suggest that had the shooters chosen handguns, rather than AR-15 style rifles, there would have been less carnage. The AR-15, firing once every time the trigger is pulled would not kill any more efficiently than a handgun operating in the same manner.  

This makes the proposed ban on semi-automatic rifles—often erroneously called an “assault rifle ban”—window dressing, intended to allow lawmakers to claim to have “done something,” with little regard for the actual results of this policy.  

This might lead one to ask, “why not ban all guns?” This is a topic we will turn to shortly in another post.  

There is basically no support in the US for a handgun ban, despite this being the most commonly used murder weapon.  American support for such an idea is actually shrinking, reaching an all-time low in 2019 according to the latest available data from Gallup. This is likely because Americans understand that the handgun is also an essential self-defense weapon.  

In conclusion, we are a more violent people and a less risk-averse people than our peers. We kill each other at much higher rates than our peers, but rarely with rifles—semi-automatic or otherwise. Simply calling out our differences in gun laws and gun violence is not a strong enough reason to ban an entire class of firearms.  

As we continue, we will examine what such a ban might look like, and what laws would need to be altered to implement it. However, our next piece will examine mass shootings specifically. How are they defined, who commits them, and where do they occur?  

America the Violent | SARC

Are We Rewarding Failure? | SARC

Austin City Council voted to increase their pay by 40% last week by an overwhelming margin. Out of the eleven members, only three opposed this egregious hike in pay; Paige Ellis (D8), Vanessa Fuentes (D2), and the redoubtable Mackenzie Kelly (D6).

The incident happened inside Zilker Park. (CBS Austin)

Murders in the Park | SARC

In 2020, the city council removed $150 million from the Austin Police budget. While this author has given special attention in the past to the obscenity of losing our sex crimes unit, there is another element that was eliminated causing all too tragic consequences. 

Austin’s Doomed Experiment | SARC

by Dallas Emerson, Communications Director & Data Analyst

dallas@southaustinrc.org


Austin has decided to launch an experiment with Universal Basic Income (UBI) in partnership with the nonprofit UpTogether. The program, when implemented, will send $1000 per month to 85 low-income individuals in the city.  

This is part of a series of experiments with Universal Basic Income occurring throughout the country.  

And they’re all pointless.  

Let’s set aside the principle and even the theory underlying UBI.  Those are arguments to be taken up when the discussion is whether to implement such a program.  

No, I want to talk about this “experiment,” and its guaranteed unhelpfulness.  

The idea behind running the pilot program is, at first glance, understandable. Rather than unrolling a multi-billion dollar program, we will study a small group of people, and how their lives and behavior is changed by receiving additional income.  

But the results will be easily misunderstood or misinterpreted; indeed, I would go so far as to say that the results will be meaningless

Let’s look at the pilot program again: 85 low-income people receiving $1000/month. That’s not chump change. I would certainly not turn my nose up to that kind of money. And certainly, we can expect that their spending habits would change. Their work habits will likely change.  

And that means nothing when only 85 people are receiving this money.  

However, if every single Austinite, all 950,000 of them, were to receive $1000/month—or about $12 billion dollars a year—we can only guess at the rapid, unprecedented rise in inflation as we poured an additional one billion dollars every month into our economy. Keep in mind, that nothing else will have changed—there will not be more goods being produced or more workers contributing. There will not be higher quality goods.  

We can guess what kind of wild effect this will have on the prices of low-income housing, food, fuel, and childcare in the city.  

They will go up. 

As we have seen on a national scale, subsidizing demand, by sending cash out to consumers, leads to price increases. This is not an argued point. The only question is how much of the inflation can be attributed to government disbursement of funds.  

If the Council agrees to this experiment, they will be putting Austin on a path to receiving information that we know will be misleading. We know that the relatively small disbursement will help these few, chosen families. We also know that these families will be the most likely to suffer from inflation—low-income families are always hit hardest by price increases.  

The Council must exercise prudence and take any result of this futile experiment with skeptical eyes. 

Austin’s Doomed Experiment | SARC

An anti-gun violence rally on the steps of New York City Hall in 2019. (William Alatriste/NYC Council)

America the Violent | SARC

In the wake of mass shootings, Americans are regularly told that these atrocities do not happen in other developed countries. This, we are to believe, is the damnable result of the Second Amendment to the Constitution.

The Party of Lawless Disorder | SARC

By Dallas Emerson, SARC Senior Communications Director & Data Analyst

The rule of law is essential in a free society. Law and liberty are not opposed; they go hand in hand. In a lawless world, the powerful do what they wish, regardless of consequences. In a free society, even the rich and powerful can be held accountable.  

In America, there are essentially only two parties—regardless of what my Libertarian friends and Green Party…acquaintances say. Unfortunately, one party is increasingly clear that it opposes the rule of law at every level, from municipalities to the Presidency.  

While neither party is free of malcontentsviolent rule-breakers, or outright corrupt leadership, only the Democratic Party, at the moment, seeks to drive the country further away from the rule of law and brags about it.  

Here at home, in Austin, our Mayor imposed lockdowns and asked us all to stay home—while he vacationed in sunny Cabo. Democratic-aligned council-people gutted police funding, sewing the seeds of a heartbreaking spike in murders. These same councilors buried their heads in the sand about the frightening homeless problem until it became so glaring that it couldn’t be ignored. Their solution? Spend tens of millions of dollars on the problem—to no avail. When the citizens of this city put forward a plan to reverse this problem, the Mayor, and his predictably far-left associates, suddenly found they could take a firm stand—against implementing any kind of common sense law. Even while acknowledging their leadership had failed. When the initiative passed, the Mayor, and his predictably far-left associates, dragged their feet, refusing to do much at all to enforce the new law.  

When Save Austin Now PAC worked to get a new initiative on the ballot, the City Council so badly mangled the language of the measure that the Texas Supreme Court ordered a change.  

And this makes no mention of this city’s illegal “sanctuary” status.  

But the lawlessness continues to higher levels than our Council.  

The Texas Democratic House Caucus fled the state—in direct violation of the law—because they were afraid they might not get what they wanted. They were hailed as heroes by their national counterparts.  

 At the same time, this party opposes any kind of anti-majoritarian institution that doesn’t benefit them; the Senate, the filibuster, the Electoral College, and the Supreme Court come time mind. They even abhor it when state legislators flee to avoid losing a vote—so long as they’re Republican.  

The Democrats rightly bemoan the awful riot on January 6th yet have nothing but kind words for those who looted, vandalized, and murdered during the summer of 2020. They also had nothing to say as far-left demonstrators attempted to burn down a courthouse in Portland—while people were inside. Almost nothing was said about the separatist movement that seized several blocks of Seattle until there were enough murders to force the City Government to step in. The Seattle Councilors found it in their hearts to speak against vandalism. Of their own homes. In Minneapolis, the Council has cut police funding, while boosting their own security staff. Safety for me, but not for thee.  

But it doesn’t stop there.  

In California, the Governor gave orders to shut the state down, but exempted his own winery and did not stop dining out with lobbyists at gourmet restaurants. In Michigan, Governor Whitmer’s husband attempted to use her authority to take his boat out (she claims this was a joke—oh if only that defense worked for the rest of us.). In New York, the third straight Governor has left office under a shadow of doubt and a cloud of corruption. This was a man who said there should be zero tolerance for sexual harassment. His brother, allegedly a journalist, violated his professional standards by actively working on communication strategies with him. 

The last governor of New York to leave with honor and dignity? George Pataki—also the last Republican.  

But it doesn’t stop there.  

The Supreme Court ruled that President Trump’s eviction moratorium was illegal—a decision I believe is completely correct. The CDC has no jurisdiction over anyone’s lease.  

However, that didn’t stop prominent members of the Democratic party from calling on President Biden to directly refuse to abide by the Supreme Court’s ruling and reimpose the moratorium. 

Think about that for a moment. When a judge rules in court, his or her decision is law. Short of the Constitution, there is no higher legal authority in this country than the Supreme Court. Members of the Congress are sworn to uphold the Constitution. As is the President. In this instance, members of the House were violating their Oath of Office by demanding the President violate his.  

And he did.  

Even while admitting his decision was unconstitutional, President Joe Biden, reinstated the eviction moratorium.  

Which, again, is illegal. And, again, everyone was clear on this.  

And Joe Biden won plaudits from his chorus in the media and his co-conspirators in government.  

And then he did it again.  

After having professed for months that the federal government cannot instate a vaccine mandate, President Joe Biden unilaterally declared that all companies of 100 or more staff must ensure all staff are vaccinated.  

And more praise followed.  

To repeat, the President has now twice told us that he can’t do something only to turn around and do it.  

In Democratic politics, this is described as a reversal.  

For the rest of us, it’s a called a confession. 

The Democratic party is completely uninterested in enforcing the law. Our largest, most chaotic cities are dominated by Democratic machines. Our own city, once a beacon of safety, is increasingly dangerous, setting a record for the number of murders this year. The second most dangerous year? 2020.  

Yet they are intensely interested in ruling. President Biden even spoke of getting Governors “out of the way.” As though elected officials are mere obstacles to his rule. 

Lawless rule in other countries would be called corrupt or authoritarian. Here, we call it “progressive.”   

It may seem that this is all too big. I’ve written of several states, numerous cities, governors and presidents.  

But reform start at home. Waves start as ripples. Local elections become national landslides.  

Let’s fight here at home, together. Our city is not too far gone, and I do not believe our nation is either.  

Austin’s Doomed Experiment | SARC

Austin has decided to launch an experiment with Universal Basic Income (UBI) in partnership with the nonprofit UpTogether. The program, when implemented, will send $1000 per month to 85 low-income individuals in the city.

Winter Weather Preparedness

Severe winter weather can be deadly and we want you to be as prepared as possible for the next major storm that will hit the Austin metro area. Below, you will find ways to be prepared. Please take every suggestion seriously. The intention of this article: To ensure you have the soft/hard skills and options … Continue reading Winter Weather Preparedness

On May 1st a Change In Course Must Be Made | SARC

By Dallas Emerson, SARC Deputy Communications Director SARC

The City Council of Austin has failed to address homelessness in the city.  

Think that’s too harsh? Mayor Adler agrees

Don’t misunderstand, he doesn’t have a plan, and doesn’t want to reinstate the camping ban. He doesn’t really have any suggestions. Honestly, it feels a bit like he’s phoning it in at this time, given that can’t run for reelection.  

In June 2019, the Council legalized public camping, stating that the goal was to make the homeless more visible. They got what they wished. You can’t walk downtown without seeing encampments on many streets. You can’t drive along MoPac without seeing tent cities that remind someone of pictures from The Great Depression.  

Many of these encampents leaving people feeling unsafe. And for a good reason, according the Austin Police Chief, who noted a “growing crime trend” 

Despite achieving the goal of increased visibility, the number of homeless per capita hasn’t changed, according to Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO). If anything, it has gone up. And the number of available shelter beds has actually decreased while the city focuses on developing transitional housing.  

But if the city is changing tactics, why does the situation feel like its getting worse?  

The city allocated about $70,000,000 last year to help provide home and shelters for the homeless. As of December, $30,000,000 was left unspent. Untouched. Unused.  

Frankly, it seems that for some council members, running for Mayor is more important. Defunding the police is a higher priority. Giving the Mayor greater authority over legislations matters more.  

Meanwhile, our city suffers higher crime rates and infrastructure damage as a result of the 10-1 progressive dominated council.  

But laws will not fix the homeless issue.  

This may be a failure of our city’s culture. Certainly, our churches should feel indicted. The presence of large numbers of homeless suggests that something isn’t working. Perhaps we are not charitable enough. Perhaps we are not active enough in helping those in need.  

But it isn’t civil society on the ballot May 1st. We all must decide for ourselves how we will better help our neighbors.  

In the meantime, we must tell the Council that we agree with the Mayor. This hands-off approach has been a failure. Our city is less healthy and less safe than before their June 2019 decision.  

Moving forward I would hope that the city will actually get down to brass tacks and do the hard work of finding solutions to these problems, not merely treating our city as a laboratory for social theory. Allowing people to live—and die—on the streets hasn’t worked. These people need help, not a blind eye. 

I have participated in cleaning up after a camp behind a local VFW was abandoned. It was horrifying. Human waste, garbage, and rotting food were piled high. No one should live in these conditions, and it is a miracle that Austin hasn’t seen an outbreak of avoidable diseases like some of California’s major cities in the past years. 

For the sake of our city, vote yes on Proposition B. Helping the homeless doesn’t end there, but it is how we as citizens can alert our government to what they don’t want to acknowledge—a change in course must be made.  

Gov. Abbott Response to Austin Police Defunding | SARC

Austin city council has voted to defund the Austin Police Department and move funds to “social programs.” Does that make you feel safe? Does this make you want to move to Austin with your family? Check out the details in this article to come to your own conclusion. But, we are confident that you won’t be optimistic about the leadership in Austin by the end…

Gov. Greg Abbott and top Texas leaders announced Tuesday that they will push for legislation next year that would freeze property tax revenues for cities that cut police budgets, just days after the Austin City Council approved a budget that will cut police funding by up to one-third by moving areas like forensics outside of the management of the police department to become separate municipal offices and by reinvesting money in social services.

BY JUAN PABLO GARNHAM AND JOLIE MCCULLOUGH

These are some of the police department units that were cut or reduced during the budget approval:

  1. 911 Call Center – $17.7 million
  2. Forensic Sciences – $12.7 million
  3. Support Services – $14.1 million 
  4. Community Partnerships – $2.5 million 
  5. Victims Services – $3.1 million 
  6. Internal Affairs – $4.5 million 
  7. Special Investigations – $1.8 million 
  8. Special Events – $4.4 million 
  9. Mounted Patrol – $2.1 million 
  10. Traffic Enforcement – $18.4 million 
  11. Austin Regional Intelligence Center – $2 million 
  12. Park Police – $5.8 million 
  13. Lake Patrol – $1.4 million 
  14. Organized Crime/K-9 – $1.2 million 
  15. Nuisance Abatement – $312,000
  16. Canceling 3 Cadet Classes – $2.2 million this year
  17. Officer Overtime – $2.8 million 
  18. License Plate Readers – $133,000

Would you consider this to be “transformative?” No. Let’s explore some scenarios where these defundings directly impact you.

Scenario 1: You are in a wreck on I-35. Which will impact you? #’s 1, 3, 10, 16 and 17.

Scenario 2: You are driving with your families or friends and a drunk driver speeds through a stop sign. Which will impact you? #’s 1, 3, 10, 15, 16, 18 and 17.

Scenario 3: An intruder is trying to, or has, entered your home. Which will impact you? #’s 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 10, 14, 15, 16, and 17.

Is this okay? Is this the standard we hold for the great city of Austin?…

“Any city in the state of Texas that defunds law enforcement will have their property tax revenue frozen as of that time,” Abbott said in Fort Worth, where the press conference was held. “This will be an effective tool that effectively will prevent cities from being able to reduce funding support for law enforcement agencies. Some cities are more focused on political agendas than public safety,” said Gov. Abbott. “Austin’s decision puts the brave men and women of the Austin Police Department and their families at greater risk, and paves the way for lawlessness. Public safety is job one, and Austin has abandoned that duty. The legislature will take this issue up next session, but in the meantime, the Texas Department of Public Safety will stand in the gap to protect our capital city.”

Gov. Greg Abbott

The choice is yours. Make your voices heard and contact Austin City Council and Gov. Greg Abbott’s office bellow.

City of Austin
Name of Intended Department
ATT: Name of Intended Recipient
2006 East 4th Street
Austin, Texas 78702

Austin City Hall

Address: 301 W. Second St., Austin, Texas 78701

Mayor Stephen Adler512-978-2100
District 1 Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison512-978-2101
District 2 Council Member Delia Garza512-978-2102
District 3 Council Member Sabino “Pio” Renteria512-978-2103
District 4 Council Member Gregorio “Greg” Casar512-978-2104
District 5 Council Member Ann Kitchen512-978-2105
District 6 Council Member Jimmy Flannigan512-978-2106
District 7 Council Member Leslie Pool512-978-2107
District 8 Council Member Paige Ellis512-978-2108
District 9 Council Member Kathie Tovo512-978-2109
District 10 Council Member Alison Alter512-978-2110

Mailing Address:
Texans for Greg Abbott
PO Box 308
Austin, TX 78767

Office of the Governor
State Insurance Building
1100 San Jacinto
Austin, Texas 78701

Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, Texas 78711-2428

Email Address: Info@GregAbbott.com

Scheduling Requests: Scheduling@GregAbbott.com

Press Inquiries: Press@GregAbbott.com

Telephone

(800) 843-5789 – Information and Referral Hotline (for Texas callers)

(512) 463-1782 – Information and Referral and Opinion Hotline
(for Austin, Texas and out-of-state callers)

(512) 463-2000 – Office of the Governor Main Switchboard
(office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CST)

Call 711 for Relay Texas – Citizen’s Assistance Telecommunications Device, if you are using a telecommunication device for the deaf (TDD)