Last year, Austin residents became fed up with their city’s progressive governance. A group of Austinites formed a political action committee whose objective is to oust Mayor Steve Adler along with five members of the Austin City Council. The initiative has continued into 2020 as the PAC, which is called “Our Town Austin,” is working on gathering enough signatures to bring about a recall election.
KXAN reported that, in addition to Adler, the seeks to remove council members Natasha Harper-Madison, Pio Renteria, Ann Kitchen, Paige Ellis, and Kathie Tovo. The city’s failure to address problems like homelessness, law enforcement, and other issues has prompted Austin residents to push for change.
RedState spoke with Mackenzie Kelly and Steve Martin, volunteers supporting the PAC’s efforts, outside of President Trump’s speech to the Farm Bureau on Saturday. They were standing near various groups of demonstrators collecting signatures for the recall effort. When asked why they decided to attend the event, Kelly explained,
“I think it’s the perfect opportunity to educate people who are from Austin and also not from Austin about the issues that are coming to light with Adler in office. His overspending and lack of accountability is really an issue.”
She added, “Plus, we don’t want Austin to end up like San Francisco.”
Martin chimed in, pointing out that the city does not have enough police officers to keep residents safe. He asserted that they “definitely need more public safety support,” and criticized the city for holding up the police academy graduating class. “Because they’re putting a hold on the police academy graduating class…there is a need for more police officers and they’re just not hiring.”
According to Kelly, Austin’s police department is woefully understaffed, which makes it harder for them to enforce the law. “There are about, I think, last look, they were about 180 police officers behind where they need to be based on the population of the city of Austin,” she said. “And so, putting a hold on the police academy is going to put us even further behind.” She continued: “Our police officers are very stressed out and stretched to the max and they need to have the infrastructure and staffing to support a city of our size.”
Along with the overspending and lack of an adequate police force, Kelly indicated that homelessness is also an issue. Last year, Austin’s City Council passed an ordinance lifting the ban on homeless individuals camping in public areas. That decision has resulted in a significant number of homeless individuals pitching tents on city sidewalks and under freeway overpasses. It has also contributed to a rise in crime.
Kelly stated that she believes “we need compassionate and safe solutions for the homeless,” but also pointed out that it is “not safe for the public when you have people who are being released from the jail several times,” on the streets. She also argued that the solution would be to come up with a “positive solution for the community as a whole that the community can get behind.”
If the effort to remove one of the council members is to succeed, the group must gather signatures from at least 10% of residents living in their districts. To oust Mayor Adler, they will need to get 10% of registered voters in the city of Austin. If this happens, the mayor will have to either resign in five days or face a recall election.
Volunteers are working hard to obtain the number of signatures necessary to accomplish their goals. They have even created a website where Austinites can go to find out where they can sign the petition. Similar to residents of Amelia, Ohio, who voted to dissolve their city’s government due to excessive taxation, Austin residents are showing they are not content to simply allow their city to make decisions that negatively affect them. Perhaps they will find more who are also fed up.
Let me know what you think in the comments below!
Follow me on Twitter: @JeffOnTheRight