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[Austin 2020 City Council Candidate Run-off Forum District 10]

[00:00:04]

WELCOME ALL TO THE CITY OF AUSTIN'S RUNOFF DEBATE.

I AM CAROL ECHO CAMP WITH THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS, AUSTIN AREA.

TODAY, WE HAVE PARTNERED WITH THE CITY OF AUSTIN ETHICS COMMISSION TO HELP YOU GET TO KNOW THE FINAL TWO CANDIDATES VYING FOR YOUR BOAT.

VOTE IN DISTRICT 10 AND DISTRICT SIX, ALL, ALL QUESTIONS AND TOPICS ARE PUT TOGETHER BY THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS, AUSTIN AREA, AND HAVE NOT BEEN SEEN IN ADVANCED BY THE CANDIDATES.

THESE QUESTIONS COME TO US FOR MANY OF OUR COMMUNITY PARTNERS AND THROUGH OUR PUBLIC FORUM EMAIL ADDRESS, HERE'S OUR FORMAT FOR BOTH DEBATES.

THIS EVENING, THE CANDIDATES RESPONSES TO THE MODERATOR QUESTIONS WILL BE LIMITED TO ABOUT 90 SECONDS OR LESS.

REBUTTALS WILL BE LIMITED TO 60 SECONDS OR LESS.

THE MODERATOR AND THE LEAGUE VOLUNTEERS WILL KEEP CANDIDATES INFORMED OF THEIR ELAPSED TIME AND WILL ENFORCE THE TIME LIMITS.

THE MODERATOR MAY PROMPT TO FOLLOW UP DISCUSSIONS.

FOLLOWING THE CANDIDATES INITIAL RESPONSES.

THE DEBATE MAY INCLUDE A LIGHTNING ROUND OF SHORT QUESTIONS AND SHORT ANSWERS.

DURING A LIGHTNING ROUND CANDIDATES RESPONSES WILL BE LIMITED TO 60 SECONDS OR LESS.

THE ONE MINUTE CLOSING STATEMENTS OFFER EACH CANDIDATE AN OPPORTUNITY TO SPEAK ABOUT THEMSELVES.

ROBERT, THAT MAKE CHARGES OR ATTACKS THAT HAVE NOT BEEN PREVIOUSLY RAISED DURING THE DEBATE.

IF A CANDIDATE VIOLATES THIS RULE AND THE ATTACK CANDIDATE HAS ALREADY COMPLETED HIS OR HER CLOSING STATEMENT, MODERATOR MAY OFFER THE ATTACKED CANDIDATE, THE RIGHT TO MAKE A SHORT REBUTTAL.

IF TIME PERMITS AFTER THE CLOSING STATEMENT SEGMENT HAS BEEN COMPLETED, IT IS THE INTENT OF THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS, AUSTIN AREA, TO ENCOURAGE DISCUSSION RATHER THAN AN A SCRIPTED ANSWERS.

THIS FORMAT IS FREER FLOWING THAN OUR PAST FORUMS. DEBATES CAN HIGHLIGHT THE HEALTH OF A DEMOCRACY AND SHOW THAT POLITICAL RIVALS THOUGH, THEY HAVE DIFFERENCES CAN TREAT EACH OTHER WITH MUTUAL RESPECT.

WE LOOK FORWARD TO GIVING VOTERS AN OPPORTUNITY TO SEE THIS IN EACH OF YOU.

WE WILL USE BALLOT ORDER TO BEGIN THE QUESTIONS.

AND FOR DISTRICT PENN CANDIDATE, ALISON ALTER IS FOLLOWED BY CAMP CANDIDATE.

JENNIFER, VERDUN OUR FIRST QUESTION.

YEAH.

FOR CANDIDATE ALTAR, ACCORDING TO THE CITY'S DEMOGRAPHER, THE POPULATION OF DISTRICT 10 IS THE MOST AFFLUENT OF AUSTIN CITY COUNCIL DISTRICTS.

WHAT RESPONSIBILITY DO YOU FEEL YOU HAVE, IF ANY, TO ENSURE THAT YOUR DISTRICT RESIDENTS UNDERSTAND AND RESPOND TO THE CHALLENGES AND FRUSTRATIONS POSED BY RISING INEQUALITY AND LACK OF AFFORDABILITY ACROSS THE ENTIRE CITY.

YOU CAROL, THAT'S A GREAT QUESTION.

AND I WANT TO THANK YOU FOR HOSTING TONIGHT WITH THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS, VOTERS AND THE ETHICS COMMISSION.

IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT THAT WE HAVE THIS OPPORTUNITY.

YES, MY DISTRICT IS AMONG THE MOST AFFLUENT, AND THAT IS WHY, UM, IN PARTICULAR WITH COVID, I'VE REALLY TRIED TO COMMUNICATE VERY CLEARLY HOW THE PANDEMIC HAS IMPACTED DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE COMMUNITY IN DIFFERENT WAYS AND HIT HARDER, UM, FOR MORE VULNERABLE POPULATIONS.

AND I HAVE WORKED HARD TO MAKE SURE THAT PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THAT WE HAVE RESPONSIBILITY AS A CITY TO PROTECT OUR HOMELESS, TO PROTECT OUR ELDERLY, FOR, TO PROTECT OUR ESSENTIAL WORKERS.

UM, WITH THE PANDEMIC, WE HAVE SEEN LAID BARE INEQUALITIES THAT HAVE EXISTED ACROSS OUR CITY.

FOR MANY, MANY YEARS, WE HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO ADDRESS THEM AND OUR RESPONSIBILITY, NOT JUST TO OTHER MEMBERS OF OUR COMMUNITY, BUT ALSO TO OURSELVES TO KEEP OURSELVES SAFE.

ONE OF THE JOBS THAT YOU HAVE AS A COUNCIL MEMBER IS TO HELP GOVERN THE WHOLE CITY.

YOU DON'T JUST REPRESENT YOUR OWN DISTRICT.

AND ONE OF THE THINGS I'VE REALLY ENJOYED ABOUT BEING A COUNCIL MEMBER IS LEARNING ABOUT THE OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES IN DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE CITY, WHETHER IT IS FOOD INSECURITY, WHETHER IT'S OVER POLICING, WHETHER IT IS LACK OF HEALTHCARE, ALL OF THESE THINGS COMBINE TO MAKE UP THE FABRIC OF OUR CITY.

UM, AND DISTRICT 10 HAS A RESPONSIBILITY TO LEAVE.

ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I HAVE DONE IS MEET WITH MANY LEADERS IN DISTRICT 10, AND MANY OF THOSE LEADERS LEAD BUSINESSES OR LEAD NONPROFITS THAT ARE INVOLVED ALL OVER THE CITY AND THEY HAVE A VERY BROAD PERSPECTIVE AND I WORK WITH THEM TO INFORM MY THOUGHTS ABOUT HOW TO APPROACH THINGS ACROSS.

THANK YOU,

[00:05:01]

KEN INADVERTENT, WOULD YOU PLEASE REPEAT THE QUESTION, CAROL? I THINK SHE GOT OFF ON COVID AND I DON'T THINK THAT WAS WHAT THE QUESTION WAS ABOUT TO BEGIN WITH.

ACCORDING TO THEM, THE CITY'S DEMOGRAPHER, THE POPULATION OF DISTRICT 10 IS THE MOST AFFLUENT OF AUSTIN CITY COUNCIL DISTRICTS.

WHAT RESPONSIBILITY DO YOU FEEL YOU HAVE, IF ANY, TO ENSURE THAT YOUR DISTRICTS RESIDENTS UNDERSTAND AND RESPOND ONTO THE CHALLENGES AND FRUSTRATIONS POSED BY RISING INEQUALITY AND LACK OF AFFORDABILITY ACROSS THE CITY? WELL, THANK YOU FOR HOSTING TODAY.

TONIGHT.

NOW I, TO JUST START OUT BY SAYING THAT, UH, AS, AS FAR AS THE REPRESENTATIVE OF DISTRICT 10, UM, THE, OUR FIRST AND FOREMOST JOB ON THE COUNCIL IS TO REPRESENT OUR DISTRICT.

THAT'S ALL WE HAVE A TEN ONE.

AND, UH, REGARDING THE, UH, COMMENTS ABOUT THE PO THE, OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO THE WHOLE CITY, THE FIRST THING I WOULD SAY IS THE CUTS IN THE APD BUDGET WOULD BE SOMETHING THAT WOULD AFFECT THE WHOLE CITY ON, HAS DRAMATICALLY AFFECTED THE WHOLE CITY.

I THINK WE'VE ALL WITNESSED THAT.

AND AS FAR AS AFFORDABILITY, UM, I'M GONNA GO AHEAD AND START WITH THE FACT THAT WE, THAT THE COUNCIL UNANIMOUSLY DECIDED VOTED TO PUT PROP A ON THE BALLOT, KNOWING THAT WAS GOING TO BE THE LARGEST TAX INCREASE IN AUSTIN'S HISTORY.

AND THAT DEFINITELY AFFECTS AFFORDABILITY FOR AIR.

IT'S A TEXAS, SORRY, I'M HAVING PROBLEMS WITH MY HEADPHONES.

CAN YOU HEAR ME? WE CAN, YOU WERE A LITTLE BIT JUMBLED THERE, SORRY.

WELL, I WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU HEARD THAT, THAT THE, UM, THE FACT THAT COUNCIL VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO FIT PROPERLY ON THE BALLOT WAS, UM, VERY IRRESPONSIBLE AND DISINGENUOUS ON THEIR PART.

I BELIEVE.

UH, JENNIFER, LET ME JUST CHECK ON THE, UM, ONE MOMENT PLEASE.

I'M NOT SURE IF I'M HAVING PROBLEMS WITH MY HEADPHONES WITH THE WATER.

OKAY.

OKAY.

SORRY.

SO REGARDING THE PROP A, THAT IS, UH, THAT AFFECTS AFFORDABILITY FOR EVERYONE IN AUSTIN.

I'M SORRY.

I'M GOING TO GO AHEAD AND LET ALISON TAKE OVER FROM HERE TO MAKE SURE MY HEADPHONES ARE WORKING.

OKAY.

UM, AND I WROTE ABOUT THAT A LITTLE BIT, UM, BECAUSE, UM, I'M AN EDUCATOR BY TRAINING.

UM, AND ONE OF THE THINGS THAT'S REALLY IMPORTANT TO DO THAT IS TO COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR CONSTITUENTS ABOUT ALL OF THE ISSUES GOING ON AROUND THE CITY.

THE REASON THAT I SPOKE ABOUT COVID IS THAT COVID IS A REALLY GOOD EXAMPLE OF HOW WE CAN HAVE A DIFFERENT LENS AND HELP THE COMMUNITY TO UNDERSTAND HOW NOT EVERYONE EXPERIENCES A PARTICULAR SITUATION IN THE SAME WAY.

UM, AS A COUNCIL MEMBER, YOU HAVE TO BALANCE ISSUES.

AND THERE ARE A LOT OF THINGS THAT COME BEFORE YOU THAT HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH DISTRICT 10 PER SE, AND YOU WERE STILL CALLED UPON TO MAKE DECISIONS, AND YOU STILL ARE ACCOUNTABLE TO THE CONSTITUENTS OF DISTRICT 10 ON HOW YOU VOTE ON THOSE.

UM, SO I THINK THIS QUESTION IS REALLY GETTING AT SOME BROADER ISSUES OF WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A COUNCIL MEMBER, WHAT IT MEANS TO UNDERSTAND ABOUT WHERE WE ARE AT IN AUSTIN.

THESE ARE ALL PART AND PARCEL OF CONVERSATIONS THAT HAVE BEEN GOING ON.

IF YOU'VE BEEN INVOLVED IN CITY POLITICS OVER THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS, THAT YOU WOULD UNDERSTAND.

IT'S WHY WE ENDED UP WITH TEN ONE IN THE FIRST PLACE.

MAY I READ THAT CAROL COUNCILMAN A VERDUN YES.

CAUSE WE WERE TALKING ABOUT THE CHALLENGES AND FRUSTRATIONS POSED BY RISING INEQUALITY AND LACK OF AFFORDABILITY ACROSS THE CITY AND SHE ADDRESSED IT.

NOW YOU MAY.

OKAY.

THANK YOU.

UM, I WANT TO GO BACK TO, UH, THE IRRESPONSIBILITY OF OUR COUNCIL MEMBER TO VOTE, BUT PROPOSITION A ON THE BALLOT, KNOWING THAT IN DISTRICT 10, WE WOULD ABSOLUTELY HAVE NO WAY TO BOARD THAT TRAIN OR ANY OF THE PROJECTS, BUT WE BEAR THE MOST FINANCIAL EXPENSE FOR IT.

SO I JUST WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT DISTRICT 10 HEARS ME SAY THAT, THAT I, UM, DEFINITELY WILL TAKE THAT INTO CONSIDERATION WHEN I'M VOTING ON DIFFERENT DIAS.

THANK YOU.

AND WE ARE GOING TO, WE ARE GOING COVER.

UM, THE NUMBER ONE ISSUE COMING INTO OUR INBOXES, UH, IS, WAS THE PANDEMIC.

AND WE ARE GOING TO GET TO THAT AND TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THAT ACROSS THE CITY.

RIGHT NOW, I'D LIKE TO GO OVER TO THE AUSTIN POLICE DEPARTMENT AND ON NOVEMBER 27TH, I'M IN CANDIDATE VERDUN, YOU WILL BEGIN ON THIS ONE AND YOU'LL HAVE 90 SECONDS.

AND THEN WE'LL GIVE THEM A BIT OF REBUTTAL TO CANDIDATE ALTAR ON NOVEMBER 27, THE STATESMAN ARTICLE REPORTED ON A VOLATILE TEXT STRING AMONG A CURRENT AUSTIN POLICE OFFICER WHO HAS SINCE BEEN FIRED AND FORMER OFFICERS THAT DISPLAYED POOR JUDGMENT AND RACIAL BIAS.

THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST RECENT ISSUES TO PLAY GUARD POLICE DEPARTMENT.

THERE HAVE BEEN OTHER EXAMPLES OF RACIAL BIAS AS RECENT AS OCTOBER SOME IN THE COMMUNITY BELIEVE THAT RETRAINING OF THE CURRENT FORCE AND NEW PROTOCOLS FOR INCOMING CADETS SHOULD BE

[00:10:01]

IMPLEMENTED.

DO YOU BELIEVE THERE IS A SYSTEMIC PROBLEM IN THE HOSPITAL, AUSTIN POLICE DEPARTMENT? IF SO, HOW WILL YOU ADDRESS THIS AND UPCOMING COUNCIL AND COMMITTEE MEETINGS? IF NOT, HOW CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE RECENT FINDINGS OF INTERNAL INVESTIGATIONS AND INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING? FIRST OF ALL, I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT THERE IS A SYSTEMIC PROBLEM IN THE AUSTIN POLICE DEPARTMENT REGARDING RACISM AND THAT SORT OF THING.

ALTHOUGH I DO FIND THOSE REPORTS EXTREMELY DISTURBING.

I DO THINK THEY'RE RARE AND THEY'RE NOT THE COMMON OCCURRENCE, BUT, UM, I WANTED TO TOUCH ON THE, UH, RE-IMAGINING THE PUBLIC SAFETY, WHICH IS JUST A REBRANDING OF THE FUNDING, THE POLICE, UH, UH, THAT IS NOT SOMETHING THAT I WOULD HAVE EVER BEEN IN FAVOR OF ON THE DIOCESE.

I THINK IT'S ONE OF THE MOST DANGEROUS THINGS WE'VE EVER DONE FOR THE CITY OF AUSTIN.

I THINK THAT ALSO KNOWING THAT IT TAKES 18 MONTHS FROM, FOR THE AUSTIN POLICE DEPARTMENT TO FILL A CADET CLASS, GET THEM THROUGH THE CLASS AND GET THEM OUT ON PATROL THAT 18 MONTH PIPELINE HAS NOW BEEN COMPLETELY CUT OFF.

WE HAVE NO NEW OFFICERS IN TRAINING AND WE ARE APPROXIMATELY 500 OFFICERS SHORT AT THE MOMENT, WHICH MEANS THAT WE DON'T HAVE AN OFFICER.

WE DON'T HAVE EXTRA OFFICERS AVAILABLE TO HAVE ANY SORT OF POLICE PRESENCE TO DETER A CRIME WHILE THEY'RE RUSHING FROM NINE ONE ONE CALL TO THE NEXT NINE 11 CALL.

AND THEY'RE ALREADY SHORT-STAFFED.

SO THAT'S SOMETHING THAT I AM JUST, I BELIEVE THE AUSTIN POLICE DEPARTMENT IS JUST A WONDERFUL GROUP OF MEN AND WOMEN, AND THEY DESERVE TO BE TREATED WITH RESPECT AND FULLY FUNDED, AND THEY NEED TO FEEL THAT THEY'RE CARED FOR AND VALUED BY THE CITIZENS THAT THEY SERVE.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU, CANDIDATE ALTAR.

UM, KAREN, WHAT DO YOU MIND REPEATING THE QUESTION? I THINK SHE WENT WAY OFF ON TO HER TALKING POINT ABOUT THE QUESTION WAS THERE WAS AN ARTICLE IN THE STATEMENT.

IT WAS REPORTING ON A TEXT STRING BETWEEN AN OFFICER WHO HAS SINCE BEEN FIRED AND OTHER OFFICERS, AND IT DISPLAYED POOR JUDGMENT AND RACIAL BIASES.

AND THAT WAS JUST THE MOST RECENT ISSUE.

THERE WAS ANOTHER, UH, REPORT IN OCTOBER AND THE QUESTION THAT SOME IN THE COMMUNITY THAT CAME IN OUR INBOX BELIEVE THAT RETRAINING OF THE CURRENT FORCE AND NEW PROTOCOLS FOR INCOMING CADETS SHOULD BE IMPLEMENTED.

DO YOU BELIEVE THERE IS A SYSTEMIC PROBLEM IN THE POLICE DEPARTMENT? AND IF SO, HOW WILL YOU ADDRESS THIS? AND IF NOT, HOW CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE RECENT FINDINGS OF INTERNAL INVESTIGATIONS AND INVESTIGATIVE REPORTS? SO THANK YOU.

THAT'S A VERY DIFFERENT QUESTION THAN WHAT SHE WAS ADDRESSING.

SO I CERTAINLY BELIEVE THAT WE NEED TO ROOT OUT SYSTEMIC RACISM IN THE POLICE DEPARTMENT AND BELIEVE THAT THERE IS A SYSTEMIC PROBLEM.

NOW THAT DOESN'T MEAN THAT EVERY OFFICER ON THE FORCE IS RACIST.

IT MEANS THAT WE HAVE A SYSTEM, UM, THAT LENDS ITSELF TO RACIST OUTCOMES, RACIAL PROFILING, AND THE KIND OF COMMUNICATION THAT WE SAW, UM, IN THIS REPORT.

UM, ONE OF THE KEY REASONS THAT WE HAVE PAUSED THE CADET TRAINING ACADEMY IS THAT WE HAVE BEEN WORKING SINCE DECEMBER OF 2019 TO ADDRESS CLEAR EXAMPLES OF RACISM THAT ARE MANIFESTING, NOT JUST IN WORDS LIKE THIS, BUT IN HIGH ATTRITION RATES IN THE ACADEMY, ET CETERA.

UM, WE HAVE CONSULTANTS WHO HAVE LOOKED AT THE TRAINING ACADEMIES AND SAID THAT THEY NEED TO BE REVAMPED.

AND WE ALSO HAVE, UM, ABOUT TO INTRODUCE, UH, TRAINING WHEN WE HAVE OUR NEXT CADET CLASS OF THE HISTORY OF POLICING, THE HISTORY OF RACISM IN AUSTIN.

AND ONE OF THE THINGS THAT A POLICE OFFICER NEEDS TO BE ABLE TO DO IS THEY NEED TO BE ABLE TO ADDRESS VARIOUS COMMUNITIES ACROSS THE CITY AND UNDERSTAND, UM, THEIR OWN CULTURES AND WHERE THEY'RE COMING FROM AND HOW THEY COMMUNICATE TO KEEP EVERYONE SAFE.

ALL RIGHT, WHAT WE'RE GOING TO, WE WERE GOING TO COME BACK.

WE HAVE ANOTHER QUESTION ON THAT.

AND RIGHT NOW WE'RE GOING TO MOVE OVER TO, THIS WAS THE NUMBER TWO ISSUE THAT CAME IN AND WE HAD MULTIPLE, MULTIPLE EMAILS FROM ALL OVER THE CITY.

AND, UH, AND ALSO UP FROM YOUR DISTRICT.

AND THERE WAS A, UH, EDITORIAL, THERE WAS NOT AN EDITORIAL, THERE WAS A LETTER TO THE EDITOR THAT KIND OF SUMMED UP A LOT OF WHAT THE QUESTIONS WERE.

AND IT WAS IN THE STATESMAN THIS WEEKEND, THIS PAST WEEKEND, AND A FELLOW CITIZEN IN AUSTIN WRITES THE FOLLOWING AFTER DRIVING OUT OF TOWN ON UST TWO 90 NEAR AIRPORT BOULEVARD.

AND ON THE NORTH SIDE OF TEXAS, 71 HAD BEEN WHITE BOULEVARD.

HE OBSERVED TENTS, BIKES, CARS, AND TRASH.

MANY OF US WITNESSED THESE SITES DAILY, AND THIS GENTLEMAN ALSO WALKED ALONG SHOAL CREEK AND LADY BIRD LAKE, AND SAW UNSIGHTLY LITTER, FECES, AND TENTS ALONG THE TRAILS.

HE ASKED THIS QUESTION, HE ASKED, HAD THE MAYOR AND THE CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS WHO VOTED TO REPEAL THE LAW, BANNING HOMELESS FROM CAMPING, VENTURED OUT TO SEE THESE CONSEQUENCES.

MANY OF US HAVE THIS QUESTION IN OUR MINDS.

SO IF ELECTED, WHAT WILL YOU DO TO ADDRESS THESE MAKESHIFT CAMPSITES? AND THAT'S THE QUESTION, WHAT WILL YOU DO TO ADDRESS THESE MAKESHIFT CAMPSITES? AND WE WILL BEGIN WITH A

[00:15:01]

CANDIDATE ALTAR.

THANK YOU, CAROL.

UM, I WANT TO BEGIN BY BEING REALLY CLEAR ABOUT THE RECORD BECAUSE, UM, MS. VERDIN HAS TRIED TO OBFUSCATE, I VOTED AGAINST REPEALING THE CAMPING BAN AND I VOTED AGAINST REPEALING THE CAMPING BAN BACK IN JUNE OF 2019, PRECISELY BECAUSE THERE WERE VERY PREDICTABLE CONSEQUENCES SUCH AS THE THINGS THAT WE HEARD JUST DESCRIBED HERE.

SO I AM JUST AS FRUSTRATED AS ALL OF YOU ARE ABOUT THAT IN THE PLACES THAT YOU'RE SEEING IT UNDER THE ORDINANCE, THOUGH, IT IS LEGAL FOR PEOPLE TO CAMP THERE.

WHAT I HAVE BEEN DOING BECAUSE THERE IS NOT A MAJORITY ON COUNCIL THAT WILL REVISIT THE BAN, AS I'VE BEEN FOCUSING ON MAKING SURE THAT WE MANAGE OUR PUBLIC SPACES, THAT WE HAVE SANITATION AND IMPROVED.

NOW, THE COVID COVID DID COMPLICATE THAT AND MAKING SURE THAT WE HAVE A COMPREHENSIVE STRATEGY TO ADDRESS HOMELESSNESS THAT IS TARGETED AT THE DIFFERENT POPULATIONS SO THAT WE CAN MOVE PEOPLE, MOVE OUR HOMELESS NEIGHBORS INTO HOUSING.

AND I'M MAKING SURE THAT WE MAKE INVESTMENTS THAT ARE WISE THAT HELP US TO MEET WHAT IS OUTLINED IN OUR STRATEGY.

IN DISTRICT 10, WE HAVE WORKED WHERE IT HAS BEEN ILLEGAL, PARTICULARLY IN HIGH WILDFIRE ZONES AND IN PARKS TO MOVE PEOPLE INTO HOUSING AND TO CLEAN UP THOSE AREAS.

UM, I AGREE COMPLETELY THAT THIS IS AN AREA THAT WE NEED TO RETHINK AND REFOCUS ON.

UM, WE NEED TO HAVE A 30, 60 DAY 90 DAY PLAN, UM, TO BE MOVING FORWARD.

THAT REQUIRES A MAJORITY ON COUNCIL TO WANT TO MOVE IN THE SAME DIRECTION, CANADA BURDEN, A ONE MINUTE RESPONSE, YOU ARE MUTED.

OKAY.

SO, UH, AUSTIN AT THE MOMENT IS THE ONLY CITY IN TEXAS.

AND IN FACT, THE ONLY CITY IN THE SOUTHERN UNITED STATES THAT ALLOWS PUBLIC CAMPING AND WE NEED TO REINSTATE THE CAMPING BAN.

THE GOOD NEWS IS WE DO NOT HAVE TO REINVENT THE WHEEL TO CARE FOR THE HOMELESS.

WE HAVE EXISTING MODELS OF CARE THAT ARE PROVEN TO WORK SUCH AS, UM, SAN ANTONIO'S HAVEN FOR HOPE AND, AND TRAVIS COUNTY'S, UH, MOBILE FISHES AND LOAVES, UM, UH, COMMUNITY FIRST, THESE LOCATIONS PROVIDE REGULAR SERVICES AS FOOD DELIVERY MEAL SERVICE, UM, SOCIAL SERVICES, SANITARY FACILITIES, AND 24 HOUR SECURITY.

AND FOR THE SUBSET OF OUR HOMELESS POPULATION THAT PREFERS TO CAMP, WE HAVE THE STATE SANCTIONED FIVE ACRE CAMP SITE NEAR A BIA.

THIS, UH, RESTATING OF THE CAMPING BAN IS A TOOL THAT MUST BE REINSTATED TO, IN ORDER TO CONSOLIDATE OUR HOMELESS POPULATION SO THAT WE CAN THEN, UH, ENACT THE OTHER, UM, HELPED GET THEM INTO THE HOUSING AND SERVICES THAT THEY NEED, BUT WE CAN'T.

UM, WE, WE JUST MUST REINSTATE THE CAMPING BAN AS A TOOL.

THANK YOU.

COUNT, UH, CANDIDATE ALTAR.

WE'LL GIVE YOU ONE MINUTE TO RESPOND.

THANK YOU.

UM, I WANT TO BE REALLY CLEAR THAT THAT'S NOT A PLAN, UM, AND IT'S NOT A PLAN THAT ADDRESSES THINGS QUICKLY.

UM, WE KNOW OVER AT CAMP AVID, IT'S BEEN LIKE LORD OF THE RINGS AT TIMES, AND THE ONLY REASON IT'S FUNCTIONING AT ALL RIGHT NOW IS BECAUSE THE OTHER ONE'S FOUNDATION IS GOING THERE.

UM, TO BE PART OF THAT MOBILE LOAVES AND FISHES IS A GREAT ORGANIZATION, BUT IT IS LOCATED OUTSIDE OF THE CITY AND OUR HANDS ARE TIED IN TERMS OF HOW MUCH INVESTMENT WE CAN PUT IN HAVEN FOR HOPE IS A MODEL.

IF YOU WANT OUT OF SIGHT OUT OF MIND.

UM, AND IT'S ALSO A VERY, VERY EXPENSIVE MODEL THAT TAKES A VERY LONG TIME TO MOVE FORWARD.

THE MODELS THAT WE HAVE WITH THE HOTELS THAT WE HAVE ADOPTED, THAT WE ARE MOVING FORWARD WITH OUR, WHY HAS THEY GET SET UP AND RUN MUCH MORE QUICKLY? IT IS MUCH EASIER TO TAKE AN EXISTING BUILDING AND CONVERT IT THAN IT IS TO CREATE NEW ORGANIZATIONS.

SO UNLESS YOU WANT HOMELESS CAMP IN GROUNDS IN DISTRICT 10, THAT IS NOT A SOLUTION THAT'S GOING TO GET US TO MOVE FORWARD.

AND FINALLY, I WANT TO POINT OUT THAT THE SO-CALLED PLAN THAT SHE HAS ON HER WEBSITE ADDRESSES AS IF WE ONLY HAVE THE 2000 PEOPLE WHO AREN'T PUT IN TIME COUNT, UM, AMONG THE HOMELESS THAT WE NEED TO WORRY ABOUT.

WE HAVE OVER 10,000 PEOPLE IN OUR CITY EACH YEAR THAT ARE AT RISK OF HOMELESSNESS.

THAT'S WHAT I WANT TO, WHAT I WANT TO DO.

COUNCIL, UH, KENNETH VERDIN.

I WANT TO GO AHEAD AND START WITH YOU.

EACH OF YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE A MINUTE BECAUSE WE DID ASK THIS OF THE OTHER, UH, CANDIDATES IS THAT THAT HOTEL PLAN HAS BEEN PUT INTO PLACE.

THERE HAS BEEN A HOTEL PURCHASED.

AND DO YOU FEEL LIKE THAT IS A VALUABLE USE OF CITY RESOURCES FOR TRANSITIONAL HOUSING? I'LL GIVE YOU ONE MINUTE TO RESPOND TO THAT CANDIDATE VERDIN AND THEN CANDIDATE ALTAR.

ALSO, I ABSOLUTELY DO NOT FEEL LIKE THAT THE HOTEL PURCHASES WERE A GOOD USE OF OUR MONEY.

WE CURRENTLY BUDGET 62 AND A HALF MILLION DOLLARS FOR THE HOMELESS POPULATION.

THAT'S APPROXIMATELY 24,000 TO 30,000 PER HOMELESS PERSON

[00:20:01]

IN THIS COMMUNITY THAT WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO TAKE CARE OF IN THE EXISTING FACILITIES THAT WE HAVE CANADA, ALL OUR COUNCIL MEMBER ALTAR DID IN FACT VOTE TO REPEAL THE SIT LIGHT ORDINANCE AND THE, UM, UH, PANHANDLING ORDINANCE AND THOSE THREE ORDINANCES WORK TOGETHER IN ORDER TO CONTROL OUR HOP, OUR HOMELESS POPULATION.

AND, UH, SO I, I THINK SHE'S BEING VERY DISINGENUOUS WHEN SHE SAYS SHE'S NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS HOMELESS POPULATION CRISIS THAT WE'RE HAVING IN OUR CITY RIGHT NOW.

AND FOR HER TO SAY THAT SHE HAS NO OTHER COUNCIL MEMBERS, UH, SUPPORT ON REINSTATING THE CAMPING BAN.

WELL, I WOULD MAKE THAT MY FULL-TIME JOB BRINGING UP TO EVERY SINGLE COUNCIL MEMBER ONCE A WEEK, CAN WE REVISIT THIS? WE KNOW THERE'S A PROBLEM.

IT'S OBVIOUS IT WAS A MISTAKE TO REPEAL AND LIFT THE CAMPING BAN.

AND SO I WOULD JUST MAKE, THERE IS NOTHING MORE IMPORTANT THAN RE REINSTATING THE CAMPING BAN AND RESTORING FUNDING TO OUR AUSTIN POLICE DEPARTMENT.

THANK YOU.

SO WE DID ASK ABOUT THE HOTEL AND THE USE OF RESOURCES.

SO, UH, CANDIDATE ALTAR, WOULD YOU ADDRESS THAT? DO YOU FEEL LIKE THAT IS A GOOD USE OF RESOURCES FOR A TRANSITIONAL HOUSING? I DO THINK IT'S A GOOD USE OF RESOURCES.

IT ALLOWS US TO GET THEM UP RUNNING QUICKLY AND ALLOWS US TO HAVE A MODEL THAT CAN TRANSITION OVER TIME TO HAVE FEDERAL FUNDING.

SO WE DON'T HAVE TO FUND THEM IN PERPETUITY.

UM, WE'VE ACTUALLY BOUGHT TWO.

WE HAVEN'T PUT THEM INTO SERVICE FOR PERMIT SUPPORTIVE HOUSING BECAUSE THEY'RE BEING USED AS PROTECTIVE LODGES FOR COVID.

UM, I AM VERY, UM, THESE ALSO CAN GO AROUND THE CITY, UM, IN DIFFERENT LOCATIONS, UM, AND THEY MAKE FOR LIVING ARRANGEMENTS THAT THE HOMELESS ARE MORE LIKELY TO WANT TO GO INTO.

AND IT ALSO MEETS WITH OUR STRATEGY BECAUSE IT IS EXACTLY WHERE OUR STRATEGY POINTS.

WE HAVE THE BIGGEST GAP.

FINALLY, I WANT TO SAY THAT FACTS AND DATA MATTER, UM, AND MS. BURDEN IS CITING DATA THAT IS BASED ON A POINT IN TIME COUNT THAT DOESN'T COUNT THE FULL 10,000 PEOPLE THAT BECOME HOMELESS EVERY YEAR.

NOT TO MENTION THE PEOPLE THAT WE PREVENT FROM BECOMING HOMELESS WITH OUR BUDGET.

UM, THAT MONEY IS MUCH LESS PER PERSON, IF YOU ACTUALLY CALCULATE IT PROPERLY.

ALL RIGHT, WE'RE GONNA, WE'RE GONNA MOVE OVER TO THE PANDEMIC.

THAT WAS THE NUMBER ONE, UH, ITEM THAT CAME IN OUR INBOX, UH, DURING THIS RUNOFF EFFICIENT AND EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION OF THE COVID-19 VACCINE AND AVAILABLE WILL BE JUST ONE STEP IN A LONG ROAD TO RECOVERY.

HOW CAN THE CITY BEST GUIDE ITS RESIDENTS THROUGH THE NEXT YEAR? AND WE'LL BEGIN WITH THE CANDIDATE VERDIN.

I'M SORRY, CAN YOU REPEAT THE QUESTION, CAROL? YES.

IT SAYS EFFICIENT AND EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION OF THE COVID-19 VACCINE WHEN AVAILABLE WILL BE JUST ONE STEP IN A LONG ROAD TO RECOVERY.

HOW CAN THE CITY BEST GUIDANCE RESIDENTS THROUGH THE NEXT YEAR? I THINK THE OBVIOUS ANSWER IS THAT WE NEED TO NOT MAKE THIS A POLITICAL ISSUE.

THIS IS DEFINITELY SOMETHING THAT WHERE WE NEED TO BE LISTENING TO OUR SCIENTISTS AND OUR MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL COMMUNITY.

THIS IS NOT, UM, SOMETHING THAT IS, UH, ON THE, ON ANY SORT OF POLITICAL SPECTRUM WHATSOEVER.

I THINK THAT THE COVID RESPONSE HAS BEEN AMAZING IN THE CITY OF AUSTIN.

I THINK, UH, AUSTINITES HAVE BEEN AMAZING IN MASKING UP AND, AND SOCIAL DISTANCING AND, AND PREVENTING A CATASTROPHE WHERE WE WOULD HAVE HAD TO USE THE CONVENTION CENTER FOR EMERGENCY, UH, HOSPITALIZATION, BUT THEN ALSO NOT JUST WANTING TO COMPLIMENT THE, THE HOSPITAL SYSTEMS AND, AND WORKING SO WELL TOGETHER IN THIS VERY UNUSUAL TIME FOR US.

AND WHILE WE WERE LEARNING WHAT THIS VIRUS WAS ALL ABOUT AND HOW TO TREAT IT NOW, WE'VE COME A LONG WAY AND WE'VE DONE A GREAT JOB AS A CITY IN THAT REGARD, I BELIEVE CANDIDATE ALTAR.

THANK YOU.

SO, YOU KNOW, WE HAVE A LOT OF WORK TO DO WITH RESPECT TO PANDEMIC RESPONSE, WITH RESPECT TO THE HEALTH AND THE ECONOMICS.

I'M GOING TO FOCUS ON THE HEALTH PIECE.

UM, AND THE HEALTH PIECE IS ALL ABOUT MAKING SURE THAT WE ROLL OUT THAT VACCINE IN AN EQUITABLE AND FAIR WAY.

NOW THERE'LL BE PIECES OF THAT THAT ARE CONTROLLED BY THE STATE AND THE FEDERAL LEVEL.

UM, BUT I THINK WE ARE PREPARING OURSELVES TO DO THAT ALREADY.

UM, IF YOU HAVEN'T GOTTEN YOUR FLU SHOT, GET YOUR FLU SHOT.

UM, WE'VE BEEN USING THE FLU SHOTS AS A WAY OF PRACTICING AND DOING THE DISTRIBUTION THROUGH MOBILE, UM, SITUATIONS.

UM, AS A COUNCIL, WE ALSO HAVE TO MODEL, UM, BEHAVIOR AND WEARING OUR MASKS AND WASHING OUR HANDS AND ENCOURAGING FOLKS, UM, TO SOCIAL DISTANCE AND DO EVERYTHING THAT THEY CAN, UM, TO KEEP THE COMMUNITY SAFE.

UM, THESE VACCINES, WE ALSO HAVE TO CREATE TRUST IN THE VACCINES.

UH, WE CAN'T INTRODUCE ANY DOUBT, UM, THAT YOU HAVE A CHOICE ABOUT WHETHER TO TAKE THE VACCINE OR NOT REALLY.

WE NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT PEOPLE ARE MAKING THE RIGHT DECISION TO KEEP OUR COMMUNITY SAFE.

MOVING FORWARD.

WE RECEIVED A NUMBER OF EMAILS FROM THE

[00:25:01]

OLDER CITIZENS LIVING IN YOUR DISTRICT.

AND SO A COMMON COMPLAINT AMONG AUSTINITES IS THAT PROPERTY TAXES ARE TOO HIGH.

AND THE PASSING OF BOTH PROP A AND PROP B IN NOVEMBER WILL RAISE TAXES AGAIN.

WHILE THE MAJORITY OF VOTERS BELIEVED THE TRANSPORTATION UPGRADES WERE WORTH, IT, IT WILL BE FAR EASIER FOR SOME TO AFFORD THE TAX INCREASE THAN OTHERS GOING FORWARD.

HOW CAN WE SOLVE INFRASTRUCTURE ISSUES WITHOUT TAXING HOMEOWNERS OUT OF THE CITY, A CANDIDATE ALTAR? WELL, ONE OF THE SOLUTIONS THAT WE HAVE IS ON OUR AGENDA THIS WEEK, WHICH IS TO IMPOSE STREET IMPACT FEES ON DEVELOPERS, SO THAT THEY'RE PAYING FOR THEIR SHARE OF THE TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE.

THIS IS A FEE THAT WOULD BE PAID ON DEVELOPMENT.

IT WOULD MAKE IT CLEARER FOR THE DEVELOPERS THROUGH THE PROCESS, BECAUSE THERE WOULD BE A VERY CLEAR PROCESS AND ASSESSMENT THAT THEY COULD COUNT ON.

UH, BUT IT WOULD ALSO PROVIDE THE FUNDING.

WE DID THIS SEVERAL YEARS AGO WITH RESPECT TO OUR WATER INFRASTRUCTURE, WITH OUR WATER AND DRAINAGE FEES ON DEVELOPMENTS.

AND THAT IS PRECISELY THE KIND OF FEED THAT HAS ALLOWED US TO LOWER OUR WATER RATES.

SINCE I'VE BEEN ON COUNCIL, OUR WATER RATES HAVE BEEN KEPT VERY LOW.

UM, WE NEED TO, SO THAT POINTS IN THE DIRECTION OF ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WE NEED TO DO IS KEEP OUR FEES LOW.

SO IF, UM, YOU KNOW, WE CAN MANAGE OUR AUSTIN WATER, AUSTIN ENERGY, ET CETERA, IN IMPORTANT WAYS THAT ARE, KEEP THEM FUNCTIONING AT OPTIMAL LEVELS.

THEN WE CAN, UM, KEEP THOSE FEES LOW, WHICH I'M PROUD TO SAY THAT WE HAVE BEEN DOING, UM, THE OTHER THING THAT WE NEED TO DO.

AND WE'VE BEEN DOING THIS IN AUDIT AND FINANCE WHERE I'M CHAIR IS.

WE'VE BEEN MAKING SURE OUR PROJECT MANAGEMENT, UM, SYSTEMS ARE IN PLACE SO THAT WE DON'T HAVE TO REDO DESIGNS AT THE LAST MINUTE.

AND SO THAT THE MONEY THAT WE ARE ENTRUSTED WITH FROM OUR CONSTITUENTS, UM, IS SPENT WISELY AND ACHIEVES WHAT WE NEED TO ON THE OTHER END.

THANK YOU, CANADA VERDIN.

WELL, FIRST OF ALL, I'D LIKE TO SAY THAT SEEMS TO BE, UH, THE COUNCIL'S, UM, ANSWER TO EVERYTHING IS IMPOSING MORE FEES ON BUILDERS THINKING THAT THAT DOESN'T AFFECT AFFORDABILITY IN THE CITY OF AUSTIN.

EVERY TIME WE RAISE FEES ON BUILDERS THAT GETS PASSED DIRECTLY THROUGH TO CONSUMERS THAT AFFECTS AFFORDABILITY FOR HOMEOWNERS AND FOR RENTERS.

SO THAT'S NOT ALWAYS THE SOLUTION.

THEY LIKE TO SAY THAT BUILDERS JUST ABSORB FEES.

AND THAT IS ABSOLUTELY NOT TRUE.

AND THEY'RE, UM, DESPERATELY DOES NEED TO BE SOME REWORKING OF OUR BUILDING AND PERMITTING PROCESS.

AND I SPEAK FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE AS A PERSON WHO HAS BEEN EXTREMELY FRUSTRATED BY THE PERMITTING PROCESS AT THE CITY OF AUSTIN.

AND WE MUST DO WHAT, WHATEVER WE CAN TO FINALLY GO AHEAD AND IMPLEMENT SOME OF THE RECOMMENDATIONS THAT WERE PUT FORTH IN THE ZUCKER REPORT IN 2015.

AND WE NEED TO TAKE THAT VERY SERIOUSLY.

UM, THE OTHER THING THAT I WANTED TO MENTION ABOUT, UH, AFFORDABILITY FOR ESPECIALLY DISTRICT 10, BUT FOR, FOR EVERYONE, IS, UM, MY DESIRE TO HELP MAYOR ADLER GO AHEAD AND MEET HIS PROMISE OF RAISING OUR HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION TO 20%.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU.

ALL RIGHT.

LET'S TAKE A BREATH AND WE'RE GOING TO GO TO A LIGHTNING ROUND AND THIS'LL BE, YOU'LL EAT YOU'LL EACH HAVE ONE MINUTE.

AND ALL WE'RE GOING TO DO IS HOLD UP THE 32ND MORNING.

AND SO WE WILL START WITH, UH, CANDIDATE ALTAR.

UH, VERDUN, WE'LL START WITH YOU WITH ALL THIS DISRUPTION OF THE PANDEMIC, IF ELECTED, WHAT WILL THE, WHAT WILL BE THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY FOR CITIZENS TO EXPRESS THEIR CONCERNS TO YOU AND OTHER CITY LEADERS? WELL, OF COURSE, WE'RE GOING TO CONTINUE USING ZOOM I'M SURE, BUT WHAT I'D LIKE TO DO AS A COUNCIL MEMBER TO ENCOURAGE COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT, ESPECIALLY WITH MY OFFICE, IS I'M GOING TO OPEN UP A DISTRICT OFFICE HERE IN OUR DISTRICT AND HOPEFULLY HAVE A WEEKLY OR A BI-WEEKLY COFFEE.

KLATCH WHERE NEIGHBORS CAN COME BY WITHOUT AN APPOINTMENT AND JUST HAVE AN INFORMAL OUTDOOR MEETING WHILE WE HAVE TO DO IT SOCIALLY DISTANCE.

AND EVENTUALLY WE'LL HOPEFULLY BE ABLE TO MOVE DOES IT INDOORS, BUT I, I'M JUST, I'M REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO PROVIDING REALLY GREAT CONSTITUENCY SERVICES AND INCLUDING MY NEIGHBORS, EVEN ONCE I DON'T INITIALLY AGREE WITH, I WANT TO HEAR THAT THE, THEIR IDEAS AND THEIR CONCERNS.

AND I HOPE TO DO THAT IN PERSON AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

THANK YOU, CANDIDATE ALTAR.

CAN YOU JUST REPEAT THE QUESTION? CAUSE I HEARD THE PANDEMIC IF ELECTED, WHAT WOULD BE THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY FOR CITIZENS TO EXPRESS THEIR CONCERNS TO YOU AND OTHER CITY LEADERS? SO, YOU KNOW, WE'RE NOT GOING TO BE IN THE PANDEMIC FOREVER, BUT WHILE WE ARE, UM, WE ARE OPERATING VIRTUALLY AND AS A COUNCIL MEMBER, IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT THAT WE MODEL THAT BEHAVIOR AND WE DON'T HOLD MEETINGS THAT DON'T NEED TO HAPPEN,

[00:30:01]

UM, AND GIVE PEOPLE THE IDEA THAT THAT'S OKAY WHEN THEY CAN VERY WELL BE DONE, UM, BY ZOOM OR, OR TEAMS OR SOME OTHER OTHER MODEL.

I'VE WORKED REALLY HARD TO COMMUNICATE WITH MY CONSTITUENTS THROUGH MY REGULAR NEWSLETTER, WHICH PROVIDES OPPORTUNITIES FOR FOLKS TO ENGAGE.

UM, WE DO SURVEYS.

I HAVE A MEETING SCHEDULED, I THINK IT'S ON WEDNESDAY OF THIS WEEK WITH NONPROFITS AND BUSINESS LEADERS WHERE I'M OPEN TO LEARNING FROM THEM AND TELLING THEM ABOUT THE STUFF THAT WE ARE UP TO AS A CITY.

UM, COMMUNICATION HAPPENS IN MANY DIFFERENT WAYS.

IT HAPPENS THROUGH EMAIL, IT HAPPENS THROUGH PHONE CALLS.

IT HAPPENS THROUGH YOUR STAFF.

AND I'M REALLY PROUD TO HAVE PROBABLY THE BEST STAFF AT CITY HALL.

I HAVE STAFF MEMBERS WHO, UM, HELP OUR CITIZENS IN DISTRICT 10, NAVIGATE ISSUES, ADVOCATE FOR THINGS, UM, AND HELP THEM UNDERSTAND THE INS AND OUTS OF WHAT'S GOING ON, WHETHER IT'S THE PANDEMIC OR NOT.

AS WE MOVE FORWARD OUT OF THE PANDEMIC, WE WILL CONTINUE OUR TOWN HALLS, WHICH WE HAVE DONE VIRTUALLY.

UM, IN THE MEANTIME, UM, I ALWAYS ENJOY THOSE OPPORTUNITIES TO SHOW UP AND TALK WITH MY CONSTITUENTS AND ANSWER THEIR QUESTIONS.

THANK YOU.

AND THAT, SO THIS QUESTION FOR BOTH OF YOU AND WE'LL BEGIN WITH A CANDIDATE ALTER, WHAT HAS SURPRISED YOU MOST ABOUT POLITICS IN AUSTIN? SO I THINK THAT WHAT HAS SURPRISED ME MOST IN POLITICS IN AUSTIN IS THAT WE OFTEN FORGET OUR HISTORY.

WE FORGET WHERE WE'VE BEEN AND WHAT WE'VE DONE, UM, AND THAT WE WOULD BENEFIT GREATLY FROM UNDERSTANDING THAT WHETHER IT HAS TO DO WITH, UM, ENVIRONMENTALIST'S AND OUR WORK TO ADVOCATE FOR CLEAN AIR AND CLIMATE VERSUS DEVELOPERS, UM, WHETHER IT IS REMEMBERING WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE 1926 PLAN, WHETHER IT'S REMEMBERING SOMETHING LIKE AT LYONS, WHERE WE DESEGREGATED, UM, THE GOLF COURSE, UM, KNOWING THAT HISTORY AND UNDERSTANDING WHY WE HAVE THE POLICIES WE HAVE AND WHERE THEY ARE, HAS BEEN REALLY IMPORTANT TO ME.

UM, I'M MARRIED TO AN HISTORIAN AND I UNDERSTAND THAT IMPORTANCE I'VE DRAWN ON THAT HISTORY.

UM, YOU KNOW, IN MY WORK TO MAKE SURE THAT WE PUT FORWARD POLICIES THAT ARE GOING TO WORK.

IF YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND THE MISTAKES OF THE PAST, YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND THE DYNAMICS OF HOW DEVELOPERS WERE ABLE TO TAKE OVER A CITY, UM, IN THE PAST, THROUGH THEIR PUPPETS ON COUNCIL, ET CETERA, THEN YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND, UM, WHERE WE'RE GOING AND THE CHOICES THAT YOU'RE MAKING.

THANK YOU, CANADA.

YOU ARE STILL MUTED.

WHAT, WHAT SURPRISED ME THE MOST ABOUT POLITICS IN AUSTIN IS AS YOU KNOW, THIS IS MY FIRST TIME TO RUN FOR A POLITICAL OFFICE, BUT, UM, I'M EXTREMELY, UM, SURPRISED AT HOW MUCH MONEY IT TAKES TO RUN A SUCCESSFUL CAMPAIGN FOR A LOCAL OFFICE AS THIS.

BUT THEN ALSO, UM, I'M ALSO A LITTLE BIT SURPRISED ABOUT HOW, UM, ALTHOUGH WE'RE NEIGHBORS, UM, THIS CAMPAIGN HAS BEEN RUN MORE LIKE A STATEWIDE OR NATIONAL CAMPAIGN WHERE WE FORGET THAT WE'RE ACTUALLY NEIGHBORS, THAT WE MIGHT EVEN LIVE JUST TWO OR THREE MILES FROM EACH OTHER.

BUT THE OTHER THING THAT I'VE REALLY LEARNED IS I HAVE MET SO MANY AMAZING PEOPLE, THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE THAT HAVE COME OUT TO SUPPORT US.

SO ENERGETICALLY AND ENTHUSIASTICALLY, AND THEY'RE SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS CAMPAIGN AND THIS OPPORTUNITY THAT WE HAVE RIGHT NOW IN DISTRICT 10, TO DO SOME THINGS, TO REALLY HAVE SOME REAL REPRESENTATION OF THE THINGS THAT ARE MOST IMPORTANT TO US, WHICH ARE SAFETY SECURITY, AND GETTING OUR CITY CLEANED BACK UP INTO WORLD-CLASS STATUS.

THANK YOU.

WE HAVE ONE MORE LIGHTNING ROUND QUESTION AND WE'LL START WITH CANDIDATE VERDIN.

WHAT IS THE ONE THING THAT AUSTINITES SHOULD KNOW ABOUT YOU AND YOUR ABILITY TO GOVERN OUR CITY? WELL, UM, I COME WITH A VERY UNIQUE BACKGROUND.

I, ESPECIALLY FOR THE CITY OF AUSTIN POLITICS, I'M A NATIVE AUSTINITE, I'M A LIFELONG RESIDENT OF DISTRICT 10.

I HAVE A BUSINESS BACKGROUND, A 30 YEAR SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS BACKGROUND.

I'M A REAL ESTATE BROKER AND I HAVE BEEN A DESIGN REMODELING CONTRACTOR FOR ABOUT 15 YEARS.

ALSO.

I HAVE RAISED MY FAMILY HERE, BUT, UM, MOSTLY I BRING MY, MY BUSINESS EXPERIENCE, WHICH I DON'T BELIEVE THAT ANYONE ELSE ON THE COUNCIL HAS.

SO THAT WOULD REALLY LEND ITSELF WELL TO SOME BUDGET BASED ENTERPRISE, UH, TRYING TO WORK WITHIN THE BUDGET AND, AND REALIZE WE HAVE TO OPERATE, UM, NOT DO EVERYTHING WE WANT, BUT WE CAN DO A LOT OF THINGS WE WANT.

AND THE FIRST THING WE NEED TO CONCENTRATE ON THE CORE MUNICIPAL SERVICES AND THE FIRST THING THERE IS PUBLIC SAFETY.

THAT'S THE POLICE DEPARTMENT, THE FIRE DEPARTMENT AND EMS, AND I COULD GO ON AND ON FOREVER, BUT, UM, I JUST REALLY FEEL LIKE I, UH, AM UNIQUELY POSITIONED TO LEAD ON THE COUNCIL AND ESPECIALLY IN DISTRICT 10.

THANK YOU, CANDIDATE ALTAR.

CAN YOU REPEAT THE QUESTION PLEASE? YEAH.

THIS IS WHAT IS ONE THING THAT AUSTINITES SHOULD KNOW ABOUT YOU AND YOUR ABILITY TO GOVERN OUR CITY.

THANK YOU.

SO, ONE THING YOU KNOW ABOUT

[00:35:01]

ME BECAUSE YOU ELECTED ME IN 2016 AND I'VE BEEN YOUR COUNCIL MEMBER FOR THE LAST FOUR YEARS.

YOU KNOW, THAT I SHOW UP, I SHOW UP TO TALK TO NEIGHBORS.

I SHOW UP TO TALK TO BUSINESS PEOPLE.

I SHOW UP TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS, TO HEAR YOUR CONCERNS, TO HELP YOU NAVIGATE YOUR WAY THROUGH.

I'M NOT AFRAID OF A HARD QUESTION, AND I'M WILLING TO WORK WITH YOU TO MEET YOUR NEEDS AND TO WORK THROUGH THE CITY'S BUREAUCRACY.

I HAVE A PROVEN TRACK RECORD.

I'VE CHAMPIONED THE ENVIRONMENT, MAKING SUSTAINABILITY RESILIENCE AND COMBATING CLIMATE CHANGE.

ONE OF MY PRIORITIES I'VE STOOD UP TO DEVELOPERS AND FOUGHT TO GUIDE AND MANAGE GROWTH, NOT UNLEASH IT.

I WORKED CLOSELY WITH NEIGHBORS ON KEY DEVELOPMENTS LIKE CAMELBACK CHAMPIONS.

THE HOLDS WERE CENTER AUSTIN, ALEX LYONS, THE GROVE AND BULL CREEK AT DUPONT AND MORE, I WAS ELECTED TO ANSWER, ASK TOUGH QUESTIONS AND WORK TOWARDS LONG-TERM SOLUTIONS.

AND THAT IS WHAT I'VE DONE.

ESPECIALLY IN THE AREA OF PUBLIC SAFETY.

I HAVE TRANSFORMED HOW WE RESPOND TO SEXUAL ASSAULT.

I'VE ADVANCED GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION ACTIONS HAVE ACCELERATED WILDFIRE PREVENTION EFFORTS, AND I'VE ADDED AMBULANCES IN EMS STAFF AND TRANSFORMED OUR HEALTHCARE, UM, CLINICAL OVERSIGHT PROCESS.

THANK YOU.

ALL RIGHT, THAT, THAT THAT'S FINISHED WITH OUR LIGHTNING ROUND.

WE'RE GOING TO GO BACK TO OUR QUESTIONS AND YOU WILL HAVE 90 SECONDS FOR THIS CANDIDATE VERDIN.

WE WILL START WITH YOU AND YOU'LL HAVE A REBUTTAL OPPORTUNITY CANDIDATE ALTAR.

UM, AND THIS IS ON THE, UH, CODE ENFORCEMENT AND CODE THE CITY OF AUSTIN CODE DEPARTMENT.

WHAT ARE ALL WE ARE ALL FAMILIAR WITH THE TERM TIME VALUE OF MONEY, ACCORDING TO SEVERAL DEVELOPERS, CURRENTLY BUILDING PROJECTS IN OUR CITY, THE LENGTH OF TIME AND THE DIFFICULTY OF THE CITY AND THE CITY OF AUSTIN PERMITTING PROCESS IS A CONTRIBUTING FACTOR TO THE INCREASED RENT AND RISING HOME PRICES.

THE TIME IT TAKES TO BUILD IN THE CITY OF AUSTIN IS TWICE WHAT DEVELOPERS EXPERIENCE IN OTHER MAJOR CITIES YOU AGREE OR DISAGREE WITH THIS, PLEASE EXPLAIN.

I WHOLEHEARTEDLY AGREE.

I HAVE ACTUALLY SLOWED DOWN MY BUILDING BUSINESS BECAUSE IT IS SO DIFFICULT TO WORK IN THE CITY OF AUSTIN THAT I HAVE CHOSEN TO FOCUS ON MY REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE, JUST BECAUSE A BUILDING IS SO EXPENSIVE.

AND YOU, WHEN YOU GO INTO APPLY FOR A PERMIT, THE AMOUNT OF TIME THAT IT TAKES TO ACTUALLY RECEIVE A BUILDING PERMIT IS SO UNPREDICTABLE.

YOU DON'T KNOW IF YOU'RE GOING TO BE SITTING THERE HOLDING A PROJECT, PAYING INTEREST IN MORTGAGE PAYMENTS ON IT FOR ONE MONTH OR SIX MONTHS OR 12 MONTHS.

AND THAT, AND THAT JUST ADDS EXPONENTIALLY TO THE ACTUAL, UH, COST THAT GETS PASSED THROUGH TO THE ACTUAL CONSUMER.

IT JUST EATS AWAY AT ANY CHANCE WE HAVE OF AFFORDABILITY.

AND TO ME, IT'S JUST NOT THAT COMPLICATED.

I MEAN, 15 YEARS AGO, IT WASN'T THAT HARD TO GO DOWN AND GET A BUILDING PERMIT.

AND THAT DURING THE 15 YEARS THAT I'VE BEEN BUILDING, IT WENT FROM BEING IN BEING A TIME WHEN I COULD GO IN AND WALK IN AND OUT WITH A PERMIT AND ABOUT AN HOUR.

NOW YOU'RE LUCKY IF YOU CAN EVEN SUBMIT THE APPLICATION WITHIN AN HOUR.

SO, UH, YES, I DO AGREE THAT, UH, WE, THAT IS OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE FOR, FOR ALL OF OUR BUILDERS AND OUR DEVELOPERS AND ALSO FOR AFFORDABILITY IN AUSTIN.

THANK YOU, CANDIDATE ALTAR.

THANK YOU.

SO I AGREE THAT THERE IS TIME VALUE OF MONEY ON THAT THE, THE DEVELOPMENT PROCESS CAN BE STREAMLINED.

UM, THAT IS WHY I SPONSORED AND SUCCESSFULLY SECURED OMBUDSMEN FOR SMALL BUSINESSES AND RESIDENTIAL FOLKS WITHIN THE PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT SERVICES DEPARTMENT.

I HAVE INCREASED STAFF OVER TIME, UM, TREMENDOUSLY, SO THAT WE WILL BE ABLE TO ADDRESS THINGS, UM, IN A MORE TIMELY FASHION.

UM, WE COMBINED THE PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT SERVICES INTO A ONE-STOP SHOP, WHICH I THINK IS REALLY IMPORTANT.

ONE OF THE NEXT THINGS THAT WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE THAT WE CONTINUE TO DO IS MAKE SURE THAT THE OTHER DEPARTMENTS LIKE ENERGY AND FIRE AND WATER THAT ARE INVOLVED HAVE, UM, HAVE, UM, YOU KNOW, AN OPPORTUNITY TO WEIGH IN MORE QUICKLY ON STUFF.

UM, AND THEN, UM, YOU KNOW, JUST BROADLY, I THINK IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT THAT WE HAVE A PREDICTABLE PERMITTING PROCESS, BUT THAT PROCESS PREDICTABILITY ISN'T SUCH THAT WE JUST LEAVE IT UP TO THE DEVELOPERS.

MY OPPONENT HAS SAID TO RICA THAT SHE WANTS TO UNTIE THE HANDS OF THE DEVELOPER DEVELOPERS AND JUST LET THEM MARKET GOVERN.

I DON'T AGREE WITH THAT CANDIDATE VERDICT.

WELL, I WILL SAY THAT THAT'S A MISREPRESENTATION AND I, YOU KNOW, THAT'S NOT WHAT I MEANT BY THAT AT ALL.

AND YOU'VE TOOK IT OUT OF CONTEXT, BUT THEN I WOULD LIKE ALSO TO SAY THAT THE BUILDING AND PERMITTING DEPARTMENT HAS TURNED INTO A PLACE WHERE AN INDIVIDUAL HOMEOWNER CANNOT GO IN AND GET THEIR OWN BUILDING PERMIT WITHOUT HIRING AT LEAST ONE, IF NOT A WHOLE STAFF OF PROFESSIONALS IN ORDER JUST TO WALK OUT WITH A REMODELING PERMIT.

AND THAT IS UNACCEPTABLE AND IT'S SPEAKS TO THE AFFORDABILITY ON EVERY LEVEL

[00:40:01]

AS WELL.

ALL RIGHT, LET'S MOVE ON TO THE, UH, PANDEMIC AGAIN.

UM, WITH PANDEMIC RELATED SUPPORT PROGRAMS, PHASING OUT AUSTIN RESIDENTS, WE'LL SOON SEE MORE EVICTIONS.

THIS COULD RESULT IN MORE, AUSTINITES EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS, EXACERBATING AN ALREADY DISTURBING LEVEL OF HOMELESSNESS IN THE CITY.

HOW DO YOU PROPOSE THE CITY ADDRESS? THIS EVER-GROWING PRICES OF SUPPORTING RENTERS AND HOMEOWNERS AND CANDIDATE ALTAR? WE'LL START WITH YOU.

THANK YOU.

I THINK IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT THAT WE UNDERSTAND THAT THE PANDEMIC IS HAVING REALLY BIG IMPACTS ON PEOPLE'S LIVES AND THEIR HOUSING SECURITY.

UM, SO ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WE NEED TO DO IS WE NEED TO MAINTAIN PROTECTIONS FOR RENTERS TO MINIMIZE EVICTIONS, UM, BUT WE NEED TO DO SO WHILE ALSO PROVIDING DIRECT FINANCIAL RELIEF TO BOTH RENTERS AND LANDLORDS, SO EVERYONE CAN REMAIN SOLVENT.

UM, SO THE THING THAT WE HAVE TO DO IS MAKE SURE THAT WE HAVE THE FACTS.

UM, I THINK WE ALL PREDICTED THAT WE WOULD HAVE MASSIVE, UM, SITUATIONS OF FOLKS NOT PAYING THEIR RENT.

WHAT WE ACTUALLY SAW IN REALITY, ACCORDING TO REPORTS FROM, UM, ABEL OR ET CETERA, IS THAT MOST PEOPLE WERE PAYING THEIR RENT.

NOW THAT WAS IN PART A FUNCTION OF THE FEDERAL AID THAT WAS COMING IN UNEMPLOYMENT.

SO ANOTHER THING THAT WE HAVE TO DO IS BE ADVOCATING AT THE STATE AND FEDERAL LEVEL TO MAKE SURE THAT THAT FINANCIAL RELIEF IS FLOWING DIRECTLY TO PEOPLE, BUT ALSO WHEN IT COMES TO THE CITY THAT WE ARE STARTING THAT WISELY AND BUILDING OFF WHAT WE'VE LEARNED FOR THE MANY THINGS THAT WE'VE ALREADY DONE TO HELP IN THIS REGARD.

UM, I ALSO HAVE GOING TO MEETING WITH BUSINESS LEADERS AND NON-PROFIT LEADERS, AND, UM, HOPE THAT IN THE NEXT LEGISLATIVE SESSION THAT WE CAN BAND TOGETHER TO HELP ADVOCATE FOR SOME RELIEF AT THE STATE LEVEL THAT WILL HELP OUR SMALL BUSINESSES AND HELP OUR RENTERS AS WELL.

THANK YOU, CANADA VERDIN.

WELL, YOU'LL BE SURPRISED TO KNOW THAT I DON'T HAVE MUCH TO ADD TO THAT, ALISON, UM, EXCEPT FOR, I JUST WANT TO DECIDE THAT WE DO HAVE THAT MORATORIUM ON, UH, RENT GOING THROUGH, I THINK THE END OF THE YEAR, BUT OTHERWISE I AGREE WITH YOU ON THAT.

THANK YOU.

THAT WAS, UH, WE WERE RUNNING UP AGAINST OUR TIME AND THAT WAS OUR LAST QUESTION.

AND YOU ALL WILL HAVE, UM, A ONE MINUTE CLOSING AND WE WILL START WITH, UM, LET'S SEE, WHO DID WE START WITH IN THE BEGINNING? WE'LL START WITH CANDIDATE VERSUS BURDEN SINCE WE GAVE CANDIDATE ALTAR.

THE FIRST QUESTION.

SO CANDIDATE BURDEN, GIVE US ONE MINUTE TO THE, TO YOUR CONSTITUENTS.

OKAY.

THANK YOU.

THANKS TO THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS FOR HOSTING THIS FORUM, I'M RUNNING FOR CITY COUNCIL TO BRING DIVERSITY OF THOUGHT AND BRING A MODERATE AND FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE VOICE TO OUR CITY GOVERNMENT.

I BELIEVE THE PRIMARY ROLE OF CITY GOVERNMENT IS TO PROVIDE CORE MUNICIPAL SERVICES, NOT TO PUSH A TRANSFORMATIONAL CHANGE OF SOCIETY.

THE FIRST JOB OF CITY GOVERNMENT IS TO PROVIDE PUBLIC SAFETY.

I WILL WORK TO RESTORE THE POLICE BUDGET CUTS, INCLUDING REINSTATING THE CADET CLASSES DAILY AND HOMELESS, CAMPING, AND PROVIDE REAL SOLUTIONS TO OUR HOMELESS CRISIS AND INCREASE THE HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION ON CITY PROPERTY TAXES TO 20%, I WILL WORK FOR A LAND DEVELOPMENT CODE THAT WILL PROTECT OUR NEIGHBORHOODS FROM INCREASED RESIDENTIAL DENSITY AND FIGHT AGAINST THOSE WHO WOULD USE PROJECT CONNECT RAIL LINE TO JUSTIFY DESTROYING NEARBY SINGLE FAMILY NEIGHBORHOODS VOTE FOR COMMON SENSE, VOTE FOR SOMEONE WHO WILL REPRESENT YOUR INTERESTS.

VOTE FOR VERDIN WHEN EARLY VOTING STARTS ON DECEMBER 3RD.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU, CANDIDATE ALTAR.

SO FIRST OF ALL, THANK YOU TO THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN, VOTERS AND CAROL FOR HOSTING AND TO ALL OF YOU FOR TUNING IN THIS EVENING.

IN 2020, WE FACE MULTIPLE CRISES OF PANDEMIC, HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT, SYSTEMIC RACISM AND CLIMATE CHANGE.

I'M RUNNING FOR REELECTION BECAUSE THIS IS A TIME FOR A LEADERSHIP INTEGRITY AND PROVEN EXPERIENCE.

I HAVE WORKED MY HEART OUT EVERY DAY TO SERVE YOU AND TO BE A REPRESENTATIVE YOU CAN TRUST.

YOU MAY NOT AGREE WITH ME ON EVERY VOTE.

THAT'S OKAY.

THINK ABOUT HOW MANY PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE.

YOU ALWAYS AGREE WITH EVEN 90% OF THE TIME, BUT I HAVE PROVEN WITHOUT A DOUBT THAT YOU CAN ALWAYS COUNT ON ME TO SHOW UP, BE PREPARED, WEIGH THE OPTIONS AND WORK FOR THE BEST POSSIBLE OUTCOME THAT REFLECTS OUR SHARED VALUES.

I'M ALWAYS HONEST WITH YOU.

I ASK THE HARD QUESTIONS AND FOCUS ON LONGTERM SOLUTIONS, AND I'VE DEMONSTRATED THAT I AM WILLING TAKE THE TOUGH VOTES IN 2020.

THESE ARE REALLY IMPORTANT QUALITIES FOR YOUR REPRESENTATIVE.

I INVITE YOU TO LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT I'VE ACCOMPLISHED WHILE IN OFFICE@ALISONALTER.COM.

IT'S WAY TOO MUCH THAN I CAN COVER IN 60 SECONDS.

LET ME JUST CONCLUDE BY SAYING THAT I BELIEVE THE BEST DAYS FOR AUSTIN ARE IN FRONT OF US AND THAT WE SHOULD NOT BE MOTIVATED BY FEAR AND DIVISIVENESS.

MY NAME IS ALISON ALTER, AND I HOPE I HAVE EARNED YOUR VOTE.

[00:45:01]

THANK YOU TO BOTH OF YOU FOR BEING HERE THIS EVENING.

AND THANK YOU FOR A LIVELY DISCUSSION.

WE HAVE SOME REMINDERS FOR OUR VOTERS THAT THE ELECTION IS TUESDAY, DECEMBER 15TH AND EARLY VOTING IS STARTS THURSDAY, DECEMBER 3RD, AND IT ENDS FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11TH.

THE POLLS ARE OPEN FROM 7:00 AM TO 7:00 PM, MONDAY THROUGH SATURDAY AND ON SUNDAY FROM 12:00 PM TO 6:00 PM.

THERE ARE LESS POLLING PLACES DURING THE RUNOFF ELECTION, AND YOU CAN FIND YOUR NEAREST POLLING PLACE ON THE TRAVIS COUNTY CLERKS WEBSITE.

THAT IS WWW COUNTY CLERK, ALL ONE WORD DOT TRAVIS COUNTY, TX.GOV.

AND IF YOU WILL SEARCH FOR POLLING LOCATIONS FOR 2020 RUNOFF, THAT THAT SITE WILL COME UP.

I'D LIKE TO CLOSE BY SHARING THE WORDS OF NELSON MANDELA.

LET US VOTE IN SUCH OVERWHELMING NUMBERS THAT WE SHOW EVERYONE HOW MUCH WE LOVE OUR COUNTRY, HOW MUCH WE LOVE OUR PEOPLE AND HOW MUCH WE LOVE PEACE AND HOW MUCH WE LOVE LIFE ITSELF.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH AND HAVE A GOOD EVENING.

WHAT THEY DON'T KNOW HOW .

* This transcript was compiled from uncorrected Speech-to-Text.