CREDIT: Jeff Charles/RedState

 

Local Austin political activists caused quite a stir at the residence of Mayor Steve Adler. Residents are desperately fighting to make sure their city does not come to resemble Los Angeles, San Francisco, and other cities run by left-leaning local governments. 

On Sunday, about 30 activists with Take Back Austin, a local advocacy group,  gathered in front of Austin’s City Hall to call for the ouster of Mayor Steve Adler. Together, the group marched from the building to Adler’s place of residence: a 4700 square foot suite in the W hotel. Upon arriving at the hotel, members of the group chanted “Recall Adler” while holding a large banner that read, “HONK if you wanna FIRE Mayor Adler!” 

Members of the group urged local passersby to sign petitions calling for the removal of the mayor, explaining how the failed policies of the city’s government have led to rampant homelessness and an increase in violent crime. Indeed, Texas Governor Greg Abbott took Austin’s government to task after a slew of stabbings occurred in January. 

The homeless issue worsened after the city council repealed a law that prohibited homeless people from camping in public spaces. Many of the city’s residents have complained about being accosted and — in several cases — assaulted by homeless individuals. 

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As the protesters demonstrated, drivers honked their horns in support of the group as they passed by. Several pedestrians stopped and signed the petition. In one case, two young men saw the signs from across the street and eagerly ran over to provide their signatures. 

CREDIT: Jeff Charles/RedState

Claudia Cuchia told RedState about her experience after the ordinance was rescinded. She said that in her neighborhood there are, “People that are urinating, leaving feces, needles, trash, and they make it dangerous.” She continued, stating that she can’t walk to her local grocery store because of the harassment. “People spit in my car if I don’t give them money,” she said. “It’s become an unsafe neighborhood.”

Cuchia also explained that the situation is unsafe for the homeless as well. “I spoke to one gentleman who, last week, had been punched in the face,” she said. “He had his wallet stolen and his cell phone. I saw him yesterday at Randall’s — he told me he could no longer feel the right side of his face.” 

The city has struggled to come up with ideas to address the homelessness problem. While they find it undesirable to allow these individuals to pitch their tents on public sidewalks, the influx of homeless caused by the repealing of the ordinance has presented a problem with no easy solutions. 

Fortunately, efforts are being made to deal with the issue. Last year, Gov. Abbott allocated about seven acres of state-owned land in southeast Austin for the use of homeless residents. About 140 transients have made the trek to the area and formed their own society which they call Camp RATT (Responsible Adult Transition Town). 

Earlier this year, Gov. Abbott offered to rent the land to a coalition of non-profit organizations called, “ATX Helps,” for $1 per month. Last week, the deal was finalized, and the group will take over the administration of the land. 

Mackenzie Kelly, the president of Take Back Austin, told RedState that the camp could provide a viable solution to Austin’s homeless problem: 

“I believe that Abbott’s Camp RATT can teach us all that if the homeless population in Austin is given a safe and supportive place to transition back towards having a home, then it should be replicated so that more homeless will have somewhere safe and appropriate to go.”

If initiatives such as Camp RATT provide reasonable solutions to the homeless problem without an unnecessary reliance on the government, it could provide an effective template for other cities that have the same issue. While the city’s leaders do not seem up to the task, others seem willing to implement actionable measures to deal with the issue. The question is, will Austin’s government contribute to the solution, or will they become a hindrance to those who are?

CREDIT: Jeff Charles/RedState

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