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[Austin Mayor Steve Adler 2021 State of the City Address ]

[00:00:12]

SO GOOD EVENING.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING ME FOR THE 2020 ONE'S DAVID CITY ADDRESS IN A COVID FRIENDLY ENVIRONMENT.

THANK YOU, CITY MANAGER, CROCK, AND TO MY COLLEAGUES WHO I'M GOING TO LIST BY NAME, BECAUSE I DON'T THINK THAT THERE'S EVER BEEN A COUNCIL DRAWN TO SUCH A LEVEL OF WORK.

AS WE HAVE FACED THESE PAST SEVERAL YEARS, MAYOR PRO TEM HARPER, MADISON COUNCIL MEMBERS RENT.

THE REEF WENT THIS CASAR KITCHEN, KELLY, PAUL ELLIS TOVO AT ALTAR.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR LEADERSHIP AND UNPARALLELED COMMITMENT TO AUSTIN.

THANK YOU TO OUR CITY EXECUTIVES, DEPARTMENT HEADS AND THE ENTIRE CITY STAFF, INCLUDING MY OWN STAFF AND THE MAYOR'S OFFICE AND THE OTHERS ON THE SECOND FLOOR OF CITY HALL FOR NEVER WAVERING IN YOUR SERVICE TO THIS COMMUNITY, YOU HAVE ALL KEPT THIS CITY MOVING FORWARD, A SPECIAL THANKS TO THE CITY'S FIRST RESPONDERS, THE POLICE, THE FIREFIGHTERS, AND EMERGENCY PARAMEDICS WHO PUT THEMSELVES AT RISK TO PROTECT US ALL.

LET'S REMEMBER FOUR OF OUR FINEST THAT HAVE PASSED AWAY IN THE LINE OF DUTY.

JUST THIS PAST MONTH, SENIOR SERGEANT DARIUS OFFICER'S BOYD OFFICER TRAILER AND FIREFIGHTER, RODNEY KELLY, AND TO OUR HEALTH AUTHORITY.

DR.

WALKS AND HER PREDECESSOR, DR.

S SCOTT AUSTIN, PUBLIC HEALTH FORMALLY LED BY, UH, ASSISTANT CITY MANAGER, STEPHANIE HAYDEN, HOWARD, AND NOW DIRECTOR ADRIAN STIRRUP.

THEY AND THEIR STAFF AT AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH HAVE HELPED KEEP AUSTIN COVID DEATH RATE HAD LESS THAN HALF OF THE RATE IN THE STATE OF TEXAS WORK.

THAT WAS ONLY POSSIBLE TOGETHER WITH COUNTY JUDGE, ANDY BROWN AND THE COUNTY JUDGE.

NOW SENATOR SARAH ECKHART BEFORE HIM AND THE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS CONSTABLES, ESPECIALLY CONSTABLE MORALES AND FIRE CHIEFS, ESPECIALLY CHIEF BAILEY ARE HARD WORKING AND WONDERFUL STAFF AT TRAVIS COUNTY AT OUR CRITICAL PARTNERSHIPS WITH THE BLACK, LATINO, AND AAPI COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS, AS WELL AS THE CLOSE COLLABORATION WITH OUR MAJOR HOSPITAL NETWORKS, ASCENSION BAYLOR, SCOTT AND WHITE AND ST.

DAVID'S OUR MEDICAL SCHOOL AND OUR MODELER, DR.

LAUREN ANSELL MYERS.

YOU KNOW, IF THE STATE HAD THE SAME COVID RATE AS AUSTIN, TRAVIS COUNTY, MORE THAN 25,000 TEXANS WOULD NOT HAVE DIED OF THIS VIRUS.

THAT'S MORE THAN 25,000 LIVES THAT WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN LOST.

THANK YOU TO OUR TEACHERS AND SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS WHO HAVE TAUGHT US ALL BY FINDING WAYS TO TEACH AND CARE FOR OUR CHILDREN AGAINST ALL ODDS EDUCATION.

FIRST RESPONDERS WHO EVEN TODAY ARE BATTLING AT THE FRONT LINES THAT ARE CONFUSING AND CONTRADICTORY RULES AND COMMUNITIES SEDIMENTS ARE WITH A SINGULAR FOCUS OF HELPING OUR KIDS.

THANK YOU TO OUR MEDICAL FIRST RESPONDERS, THE NURSES, DOCTORS, RESPIRATORY THERAPISTS, TECHNICIANS, AND OTHER HEALTHCARE WORKERS.

YOU KNOW, I SIMPLY JUST, I DON'T HAVE THE WORDS YOU LOOK DEATH IN THE FACE.

YOU STAND UP TO OUR WORST NIGHTMARES.

YOU ARE EXHAUSTED AND EMOTIONALLY SPENT, YOU ASSUME THE GRAVE RESPONSIBILITY OF SAYING GOODBYE FOR US ALL.

AND THE MOST AMAZING THING TO ME IS THAT TOMORROW YOU'LL COME BACK AND YOU'LL BE THERE AGAIN.

AND I RECENTLY HAD THE PRIVILEGE OF MAKING THE ROUNDS AT AN ICU.

WE WERE WITH A PREGNANT WOMAN WHOSE BLOOD WAS BEING PUMPED OUTSIDE HER BODY SO THAT AN ECMO MACHINE COULD RE OXYGEN HATED A RESOLUTE TECHNICIAN, NEARBY NURSES COMING AND GOING FOCUSED ON THE HOPE OF HER AND HER BABY'S RECOVERY.

I DON'T KNOW THAT I COULD DO THIS.

THANK YOU TO, TO THOSE WHO HAVE HAD TO GO TO WORK.

WHEN MANY OF US WERE STAYING HOME TO KEEP THE POWER ON AND THE WATER RUNNING AND THE PHONES WORKING AND THE NEWS COMING, THANK YOU TO OUR MUSICIANS, ARTISTS, AND THOSE IN THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY WHO ARE NOT ONLY THE LIFEBLOOD OF OUR CULTURE AND ECONOMY, BUT HAVE BEEN OUR, THOSE THAT HAVE BEEN HIT THE HARDEST.

AND THERE ARE SO MANY MORE THANK YOU TO THE GROCERY STORE CLERKS, THE RESTAURANT WORKERS, AND THE COOKS IN THE KITCHENS ACROSS THE CITY THAT HAVE MADE SURE THAT WE HAVE ALL HAD FOOD TO EAT TO THE TRANSIT WORKERS

[00:05:01]

AT CAP METRO THAT HAVE CONTINUOUSLY THIS OLD TIME OPERATED TO ENSURE THAT EVERYONE COULD GET AROUND.

AND I NOTE HERE THAT CAP METRO LIKE OTHER FRONTLINE PUBLIC AGENCIES AND PRIVATE EMPLOYERS HAVE HAD WORKERS FALL VICTIM TO THIS VIRUS WHILE SERVING IN OUR COMMUNITY.

AND WE THANK THEM, ALTHOUGH IT DOESN'T SEEM TO BE ENOUGH.

THANK YOU TO THOSE THAT IN THIS COVID WORLD HAVE REACHED OUT TO NEIGHBORS AND FRIENDS TO MAKE SURE THEY'RE OKAY.

VOLUNTEERS WHO BROUGHT FOOD TO THOSE WHO MIGHT BE HUNGRY WATER WHEN THE FAUCETS WEREN'T RUNNING AND WARMTH, WHEN THE POWER WASN'T ON.

THANK YOU TO THOSE WHO FIGURED OUT HOW TO DO THEIR JOBS IN SUCH TAXING AND STRESSFUL TIMES.

OFTEN AT HOME, MANY TIMES NEARLY ALONE, KEEPING OUR ECONOMY WORKING AT THE HIGHEST POSSIBLE LEVELS LEVELS THAT WILL HELP US SPEED AND RE AND GAIN THE REACH OF OUR RECOVERY AT THE END OF THIS NIGHTMARE, THANK YOU TO OUR PARENTS WHO HAVE BEEN STRETCHED TO THEIR LIMITS, MANAGING MULTIPLE ROLES AND MODELING RESILIENCE FOR THEIR CHILDREN AND TO OUR KIDS.

SOME OF WHOM CAN BARELY REMEMBER A TIME WHEN WE WEREN'T WEARING MASKS AND DIDN'T FEAR BEING AROUND TOO MANY OTHER PEOPLE YET HAVE STILL FOUND A WAY TO EMBODY JOY AND HOPE.

THANK YOU TO ALL THOSE THAT HAVE NOT GIVEN UP THAT HAVE NOT LAID DOWN.

THAT DESPITE ALL THAT HAS BEEN THROWN OUR WAY HAVE DEMONSTRATED THE WILL AND THE SPIRIT TO OVERCOME, AND WHO HAVE BY THEIR EXAMPLE, GIVEN STRENGTH TO OTHERS, TO DO THE SAME.

AND FOR THOSE STRUGGLING WITH THEIR MENTAL HEALTH DURING THIS TIME, I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT YOU ARE NOT ALONE AND IT'S ABSOLUTELY OKAY TO GET THE HELP YOU NEED AND DESERVE.

AND THANK YOU FOR RECOGNIZING THAT SELF-CARE IS AN ACT OF COURAGE.

THANK YOU TO ALL THOSE THAT HAVE GOTTEN VACCINATED.

AND THOSE THAT STRUGGLE WITH THE DECISION AND ARE STILL WILLING TO LISTEN AND LEARN WITH AN OPEN MIND, THANK YOU FOR SAVING OUR ECONOMY, BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, MANY LIVES, PERHAPS EVEN INCLUDING YOUR OWN.

THANK YOU FOR THOSE WILLING TO PUT BACK ON THEIR MASKS.

OFTEN AMONG A GROUP OF FOLKS WHO ARE UNMASKED, BECAUSE DOING WHAT'S RIGHT, ISN'T ALWAYS EASY.

AND THE REWARDS ARE OFTEN THOSE YOU REALIZE IN YOUR HEART, IF THERE WAS NOTHING ELSE ACCOMPLISHED, IN MY WORDS THIS EVENING, LET IT BE THAT WE RECOGNIZE THAT WE SHOULD LOOK AT EVERYONE AROUND US AND SAY, THANK YOU.

WE HAVE SHARED AND SURVIVED, INCREDIBLE ODDS.

ALL OF US TOGETHER.

WE HAVE EACH OF US EARN THE APPRECIATION OF THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY.

AND WE HAVE EACH OF US INCURRED A DEBT AND AN OBLIGATION TO APPRECIATE WHAT THOSE AROUND US HAVE WEATHERED AND DONE FOR US TOGETHER, BECAUSE THIS IS WHAT COMMUNITY IS ALL ABOUT.

LET US REMEMBER TO SAY THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WE ENCOUNTER, YOU KNOW, ALMOST 50 YEARS AGO, I WAS PASSING THROUGH AUSTIN, BUT I STAYED.

I OFTEN JOKE THAT IT WAS THE BREAKFAST TACOS.

SOMETIMES I HAVE JOKE.

AND I SAY THAT IT WAS THE LIVE MUSIC AND BARTON SPRINGS IN TRUTH.

IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN ABOUT THE PEOPLE THAT HAVE CHOSEN TO LIVE HERE.

WE ARE A CITY WHERE PEOPLE GENUINELY CARE IN AUSTIN.

PEOPLE WALKED OUT OF THE STREETS AND ACTUALLY MAKE EYE CONTACT AND THEY SMILE PEOPLE OPEN AND HOLD DOORS FOR ONE, ANOTHER NEWLY ARRIVED IN TECH IN AUSTIN ARE SUSPICIOUS WHEN AUSTIN NIGHTS OPEN UP AND SHARE THEIR CONTACT LISTS.

AND A YEAR LATER, THEY FIND THEMSELVES DOING THE SAME THING.

REMEMBER HOW IT FELT WHEN WE PULLED TOGETHER IN RESPONSE TO A BOMBER, DELIVERING EXPLOSIVES TO RANDOM PORTUS WHILE WE WERE A COMMUNITY GRIPPED WITH FEAR, WE ALL DID OUR PART TO BE MORE VIGILANT ABOUT WATCHING FOR ANYTHING OR ANYONE OUT OF PLACE.

WE INCREASED OUR EFFORTS TO GET TO KNOW OUR NEIGHBORS AND OFFERED SUPPORT TO ANYONE WHO MIGHT FEEL ALONE AND ISOLATED.

WE ACTED QUICKLY TO RAISE FUNDS TO SUPPORT GRIEVING SURVIVORS.

AND IN RECENT WEEKS IN THE MIDST OF REACTING TO THE DELTA VERA VIRUS HAD OUR OVERWHELMED ICU'S.

AUSTINITES GOT WORD THAT AFGHANS MIGHT BE SEEKING REFUGE AT OUR CITY, AND AUSTIN DID NOT BLINK OUR CITY.

COUNCIL ISSUED A RESOLUTION TO WELCOME AFGHANS IN NEED OF SAFETY

[00:10:01]

AND SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS HAVE BEEN FLOODED WITH OFFERS OF GROCERIES AND GIFT CARDS AND EVEN FURNITURE.

IT REMINDS ME OF ONE OF MY FAVORITE MEMORIES IS MAYOR A FEW YEARS AGO, DIANE AND I MADE A PUBLIC CALL FOR CENTRAL SUPPLIES FOR HURRICANE HARVEY, EVACUEES THAT WERE COMING IN TO AUSTIN, THOUSANDS, STOPPED WHAT THEY WERE DOING AND LITERALLY EMPTY THE SHELVES AT WALMART.

AND TARGET'S IN TOWN TO MAKE WELCOMING BASKETS BECAUSE THAT'S WHO WE ARE AT OUR CORE.

KEEPING AUSTIN WEIRD MEANS WELCOMING, CARING FOR AND RESPECTING ONE ANOTHER FOR WHO THEY ARE, EVEN WHEN THEY ARE DIFFERENT, EVEN WHEN THAT MEANS THAT SOME PEDAL THROUGH DOWNTOWN WEARING ON THE, A THONG, EVERYTHING THAT GOES WELL IN THIS CITY BEGINS WITH OUR PEOPLE.

AND TODAY WE CAN SAY THE STATE OF OUR CITY IS THE STRONGEST IN THE COUNTRY.

YOU KNOW, BY JUST ABOUT EVERY TRADITIONAL AND FREQUENTLY USED MEASURE.

AUSTIN IS THE ENVY OF CITIES ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

AUSTIN HAS JUST ADDED JOBS IN 14 OF THE LAST 15 MONTHS.

IN FACT, AUSTIN HAS REGAINED MOST OF THE PANDEMIC RELATED JOBS THAT WERE LOST DURING THE SPRING OF LAST YEAR.

AUSTIN'S UNEMPLOYMENT RATE TO 4.2% ANTICIPATED TO BE A SEASONALLY ADJUSTED RATE OF 4.0% IS THE VERY LOWEST AMONG THE 25 LARGEST CITIES IN THE COUNTRY.

AUSTIN RANKS IS THE SECOND BEST PERFORMING MAJOR JOB MARKETS.

SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE PANDEMIC, AUSTIN IS THE SAFEST OF THE FOUR BIGGEST CITIES IN TEXAS.

AND AS AMONG THE FIVE SAFEST BIG CITIES IN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY, AS OF JULY, MORE THAN 16,500 JOBS HAVE BEEN ANNOUNCED FROM ROUGHLY 60 COMPANIES MOVING TO THE REGION AND NEARLY 70 EXPANSIONS OF COMPANIES ALREADY IN THE AUSTIN AREA.

THIS IS YET ANOTHER REFLECTION OF HOW MUCH IS GOING WELL HERE AND HOW DESIRABLE A CITY WE ARE.

WE'VE ATTRACTED NEW CLEAN MANUFACTURING THAT WILL BRING MUCH NEEDED MIDDLE-SKILL JOBS, JOBS THAT DON'T REQUIRE A DEGREE TO A CITY WHERE THAT IS OUR MOST SIGNIFICANT EMPLOYMENT NEED.

AND THE WATER IN BARTON SPRINGS REMAINS COLD AND CLEAR COMPLETION OF THE CITYWIDE.

ALL AGES AND ABILITIES.

BICYCLE NETWORK IS WELL AHEAD OF SCHEDULE.

SUBSTANTIAL.

FIRST STEPS ARE BEING TAKEN TO ADDRESS LONG-TERM SAFETY AND SECURITY NEEDS ASSOCIATED WITH WILDFIRES AND TECHNOLOGY ATTACKS.

I AM PARTICULARLY PROUD OF OUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND TRANSPORTATION, WHICH HAS BEEN A KEY PRIORITY FOR ME AND FOR MY COLLEAGUES ON THE ENTIRE CITY COUNCIL.

WE'RE WELL ON OUR WAY TO A NEW MASS PUBLIC TRANSIT SYSTEM AND A SUBWAY RAIL UNDERGROUND DOWNTOWN, A TUNNEL UNDER LAKE AUSTIN THAT CROSSING IT SOON TO BE A NEW PEDESTRIAN TRANSIT ONLY BRIDGE.

OUR COMPLETE SYSTEM DESIGN IS NOW BEING BROUGHT TO THE COMMUNITY FOR COMMENT AND INPUT IT PRELIMINARY, COMPLETE SYSTEM DESIGN, EVEN WHILE DESIGNS ARE BEING DEBATED, MONIES HAVE BEEN DESIGNATED FOR A MULTI-BILLION DOLLAR PROJECT THAT SHOULD LOWER THE FREEWAY AND STITCHED BACK TOGETHER THE EAST AND WEST, WHILE PROVIDING TRANSIT LANES TO ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO GET OUT OF THEIR DAILY AUTO COMMUTES, OUR CITY AND OUR UTILITIES ENJOY HON HIGH BOND RATINGS AND THE CONFIDENCE OF THE FINANCIAL MARKETS, BECAUSE WE HAVE SUCH A STRONG ECONOMY.

THE AUSTIN CITY COUNCIL WAS ABLE TO LOWER THE CITY PORTION OF THE TYPICAL HOMEOWNERS PROPERTY TAX BILL FOR ONLY THE SECOND TIME IN RECENT MEMORY, BY DOUBLING THE HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION AND DRAMATICALLY INCREASING EXEMPTIONS FOR SENIORS.

AND FOR THOSE WITH DISABILITIES, AUSTIN MAINTAINS OUR POSITION AS ONE OF THE INTERNATIONAL LEADERS IN CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION WITH NEW INITIATIVES THAT ELECTRIFICATION, SUSTAINABLE ENERGY AND BATTERY TECHNOLOGY.

THE STATE OF OUR CITY IS NOT ONLY STRONG, BUT THE STRONGEST IN THE COUNTRY.

AND WE SHOULD PAUSE AND CELEBRATE THIS ACHIEVEMENT AND I LOVE THE COVID APPLAUSE.

AND AT THE SAME TIME, WE ARE HERE TODAY WITH OUR EYES WIDE

[00:15:01]

OPEN TO THE RACIAL AND ETHNIC DISPARITIES THAT EXIST FOR OUR BLACK AND BROWN COMMUNITIES.

OUR WORK IS NOT DONE UNTIL ALL AUSTINITES SHARE ACCESS AND OPPORTUNITY EQUALLY.

AND WHILE WE HAVE SO MUCH WORK AHEAD, WE ARE TAKING GREATER ACTION TO AFFECT JUSTICE AND EQUITY THAN EVER BEFORE.

AND THE HISTORY OF THIS CITY AUSTIN'S EQUITY OFFICE IS LEADING THE REVIEW MEASUREMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION OF NEW EQUITY INITIATIVES IN CITY DEPARTMENTS AND IN OUR BUDGET, THOUSANDS OF PRIVATE SECTOR, COMMUNITY LEADERS AND CONNECTORS HAVE GIVEN THEIR TIME TO GO THROUGH FOCUSED MULTI-DAY TRAINING, TO UNDERSTAND THE SHORTCOMINGS AND OPPORTUNITIES THAT EXIST WITH RACIAL EQUITY.

AND THEN TURN THAT, THAT, THAT LEARNING INTO PRACTICE TENS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS HAVE BEEN DEVOTED TO CREATING THOUSANDS OF UNITS OF DEEPLY AFFORDABLE AND PERMANENT SUPPORTIVE HOUSING UNITS, MANY ALREADY ON THE GROUND AND 15,667 OTHERS PLANNED AND OTHER DEVELOPMENT WILL SOON APPEAR ON PROPERTIES SUCH AS AT THE ST JOHN'S AND RYAN DRIVE.

CORRECT.

IN FACT, OVER JUST THE LAST FEW YEARS, OUR CITY HAS PRODUCED AND SET INTO MOTION SIGNIFICANTLY MORE DEEPLY AFFORDABLE AND SUPPORTIVE HOUSING THAN EVER BEFORE.

AUSTIN HAS ONE OF THE LOWEST PANDEMIC EVICTION RATES AMONG US CITIES IN PART BECAUSE OF ORDERS FOR ME AND THE COUNTY JUDGE, AS WELL AS THE ACTIONS OF THE CITY COUNCIL AND THE COMMISSIONER'S COURT, AND OVER $50 MILLION IN FEDERAL RENTAL ASSISTANCE THAT HAS GOT A TENANTS AND LANDLORDS EFFORTS THAT HAVE KEPT PEOPLE IN THEIR HOMES AT THIS DANGEROUS TIME.

FIRST EVER REGIONAL WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT PLANS, INCLUDING TRAININGS, CHILDCARE, APPRENTICESHIPS, JOB FAIRS ARE OPERATING TO CONTINUE TO MOVE THOUSANDS OUT OF POVERTY AND INTO LIVING WAGE JOBS.

WE'RE MAKING TRANSFORMATIONAL INVESTMENTS AND PROVIDING QUALITY CHILDCARE, INVESTING OVER $6 MILLION IN CARES FUNDING AND OVER $11 MILLION IN AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN FUNDING.

AND WE'VE BROUGHT CHILDCARE SERVICES TO OVER 500 AUSTIN CHILDREN ABOUT THE SERVE HUNDREDS MORE AUSTIN LEADS NATIONALLY FOR RE-IMAGINING HOW TO DO PUBLIC SAFETY IN A WAY THAT WILL MAKE OUR ALREADY SAFE CITY EVEN SAFER.

AND FOR ALL, WE ARE ENDING DISPARITIES AND ARRESTS AND PROSECUTIONS FOR LOW LEVEL OFFENSES, INCREASING COMMUNITY OVERSIGHT OF POLICING RESTRUCTURING, THE ACADEMY TRAINING, NEW POLICE OFFICERS, INCREASING INVESTMENTS IN MENTAL HEALTH, FIRST RESPONSE AND EMS COVERAGE AND RESPONSE INCREASING SHELTERING CAPACITY FOR VICTIMS SEEKING PROTECTION FROM DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, WE INITIATED NEW PROGRAMS TO FIGHT INCREASED VIOLENCE, INCLUDING THE ILLEGAL GUN INITIATIVE OF INTERIM POLICE.

CHIEF CHACAN PARTICIPATION IS ONE OF A 15 CITY WHITE HOUSE CONVENED COHORT TO DRIVE COMMUNITY VIOLENCE, INTERVENTION, AND NEW INVESTMENTS IN GUN SAFETY AND OTHER VIOLENCE INTERVENTIONS.

WE SHOULD BE PROUD TO BE PART OF A COMMUNITY THAT WHEN VOTERS APPROVED, AS WE DID LAST NOVEMBER PROJECT CONNECT, WE APPROVED A $300 MILLION ANTI-DISPLACEMENT AND AFFORDABILITY COMPONENT, THE LARGEST SUCH EQUITY COMPONENT OF ANY TRANSIT PROGRAM IN THE COUNTRY AND LED BY BLACK AND BROWN COMMUNITY ACTIVISTS AND ORGANIZERS.

OUR CITY HAS TAKEN MEANINGFUL FIRST STEPS TOWARD ADDRESSING RACE-RELATED GENERATIONAL WEALTH DISPARITIES, THE RESTITUTION AT A TOME AND PRESERVING BLACK CULTURE HISTORY AND ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY AND PLANNING FOR A BLACK EMBASSY JUST EAST OF 35.

AUSTIN IS AMONG THE FIRST CITIES IN THE COUNTRY TO MAKE A SUBSTANTIAL INVESTMENT IN DEVELOPING A GUARANTEED INCOME TOOL AS A MORE EFFICIENT AND EFFECTIVE WAY, WAY TO DEAL WITH POVERTY.

DESPITE THE SIGNIFICANT DISPARITIES WE FACE ACROSS RACE AND ETHNICITY AT AUSTIN, OUR COVID DEATH RATE FOR HISPANICS AND FOR AFRICAN-AMERICANS IS ALSO LOWER IN THE STATES AND LOWER THAN THE URBAN COUNTIES LIKE HOUSTON'S AND SAN ANTONIO, WHETHER YOU ARE WHITE, BLACK, ASIAN, HISPANIC, THIS HAS BEEN A TRAGIC AND DIFFICULT YEAR, BUT KNOW THAT YOUR LIFE WAS SAFER HERE IN AUSTIN THAN IN OTHER CITIES.

THANKS TO OUR COMMUNITY'S EFFORT.

THERE IS STILL MUCH WORK TO BE DONE FOR AUSTIN TO BE TRULY A FAIR AND JUST CITY FOR

[00:20:01]

EVERYONE.

NOW I'M THE LESS WE SHOULD STOP AND TAKE MEASURE OF ALL THAT IS BEING DONE TO ACHIEVE GREATER EQUITY AND ON AN ACCELERATED SCHEDULE.

AND WE NEED TO RECOGNIZE THAT IT IS THE STRENGTH AND OPPORTUNITY AND RESOURCES THAT COME WITH HAVING SUCH A SUCCESSFUL ECONOMY THAT PROVIDE THE PROMISE AND THE TOOLS AND THE ABILITY TO REALIZE IDEALS.

AND I WISH THAT THAT WAS ALL THAT WE NEEDED TO TALK ABOUT THIS EVENING.

AS I SAID BEFORE, THE STATE OF OUR CITY IS SO STRONG AT THE SAME TIME.

HOWEVER, OUR SENSE OF COMMUNITY IS AT RISK.

DESPITE ALL THAT AS GOOD AROUND US, THERE ARE SOME WHO WOULD WANT TO POLARIZE AND DIVIDE OUR COMMUNITY WITH MISINFORMATION WHILE WE SHOULD BE CELEBRATING OUR SHARED SUCCESSES.

THERE ARE THOSE WHO SEEM TO SEEK OUT WAYS TO FOSTER FEAR AND ENGENDER HATE.

IT'S ALMOST IF CREATING A CLIMATE AND A MOVEMENT THAT SEEK TO SEPARATE AND DIVIDE US FROM ONE ANOTHER HAS BECOME A, A PASTIME OR A SPORT.

THE PROLIFERATION OF BAD INFORMATION.

SOME ARE KNOWING IN SOME INTENDED TO MISINFORM RESULTS IN THE SUCCESSES OF OUR CITY, OFTEN BEING LOST OR TWISTED OR TURNED, HIDDEN AND DROWN OUT BY CALLS FOR DIVISIVENESS AND SELF DOUBT.

OFTEN OUR DAY SEEM HARDER AND MEANER AND FAR TOO MANY OF US FEEL OVERCOME WITH WEARINESS AND EMOTIONAL FATIGUE.

RETIRED.

WE'VE HAD ENOUGH AND MOST REGRETTABLY FOR A CITY THAT TAKES ITS STRENGTH FROM THE COMMUNITY TOO FREQUENTLY.

WE'VE HAD ENOUGH OF EACH OTHER NO LONGER DO WE FIND OURSELVES JUST DISAGREEING WITH OTHERS.

THERE IS A CORRESPONDING AND ALMOST INHERENT NEED TO DISLIKE DISTRESSED AND EVEN DEMONIZE THOSE WITH WHOM WE DISAGREE.

AND JUST BECAUSE WE DISAGREE NO LONGER CAN WE CIVILLY DISPUTE WHAT MIGHT BE THE BEST POLICY TO DEAL WITH THE REAL CHALLENGES WE FACE.

FIRST CIVIL DISCOURSE IS BECOMING INCREASINGLY RARE AND SECOND TO MANY FEEL.

THEY ARE ENTITLED TO NOT ONLY THEIR OWN OPINIONS, BUT ALSO TO THEIR OWN ALTERNATIVE FACTS.

HOW DO WE MAKE SOUND POLICY DECISIONS AS A COMMUNITY WITHOUT A SHARED SENSE OF REALITY? THE RISE OF HYPER PARTISAN MEDIA OUTLETS AND RIGHT-WING ALTERNATIVE NEWS SITES, THIS INFORMATION CAMPAIGNS ON SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS AND CONTEMPT FOR EXPERTS, OPINION POSE A DANGER FOR AUSTIN AND FOR OUR COUNTRY.

THIS PHENOMENON IS NOT UNIQUE TO AUSTIN IT'S HAPPENING NATIONALLY, BUT IT FEELS MORE STRANGE AND FOREIGN TO AN AUSTINITE BECAUSE OF OUR STRONG LOCAL HISTORY.

AND WHAT HAS BEEN THE POWERFUL INCOME INTERCONNECTIVITY OF THOSE THAT CHOOSE TO CALL AUSTIN HOME.

I WANT TO TOUCH ON THREE ISSUES AS EXAMPLES OF THIS CHALLENGE, HOW WE RESPOND TO THE DELTA, OUR SURGE, PUBLIC SAFETY AND POLICING AND HOMELESSNESS, THE TEST OF HOW WE MOVE FORWARD AS A COMMUNITY WILL BE FOUND IN HOW WE RESPOND TO THESE THREE CHALLENGES.

OUR CITY'S MOST IMMEDIATE CHALLENGE IS TO STOP THE DELTA COVID-19 VARIANT, IT'S KILLING MANY OF OUR NEIGHBORS AND PUTTING IT RISK AND EVEN LARGER NUMBER.

IT'S FILLING OUR HOSPITALS IN ICU AND CROWDING OUT NOT ONLY OTHER COVID PATIENTS, BUT ALSO ENDANGERING ANY OF US WHO MIGHT BE IN AN ACCIDENT OR HAVE A HEART ATTACK.

THE STRAIN ON OUR EMERGENCY RESPONSE NOW REQUIRES THE CLOSING DOWN OF EVENTS AND GATHERINGS JUST BECAUSE OF THE RISK OF VIRAL SPREAD, BUT BECAUSE GATHERINGS IN THE BEST OF TIMES, RESULTS IN A SMALL NUMBER OF EMS CALLS AND HOSPITAL VISITS, AND THE DELTA VARIANT IS ROBBING US OF THE CAPACITY TO EVEN HAVE WELL THIS IN 2020, THE VIRUS AND THE LACK OF TOOLS TO FIGHT OFF ITS SPREAD WAS OUR COMMON ENEMY.

TO SPITE THE CHALLENGES ASSOCIATED WITH THE PANDEMIC AUSTIN'S ECONOMY GREW WHILE MAINTAINING SOME OF THE LOWEST INFECTION RATES AND UNEMPLOYMENT NUMBERS IN THE NATION BECAUSE OF OUR ABILITY TO REMAIN SAFE AS A COMMUNITY MASKING AND SOCIAL DISTANCE PRACTICES, THE CURRENT SURGE IS SIMILARLY PREVENTABLE.

AND SO IT IS OUR CLEAREST ILLUSTRATION OF THE HARM CAUSED BY DISCIPLINE INFORMATION AND POLARIZATION

[00:25:02]

THAT IT HELPS CREATE WHAT MAKES IT MAKES OUR CURRENT SITUATIONS.

SO FRUSTRATING IS THAT WE ARE OUR OWN WORST ENEMY.

THERE ARE CERTAIN AND UNDENIABLE TRUTHS.

THE ONLY WAY TO STOP THIS VIRUS IS WITH VACCINES AND IN THE INTERIM WITH MASKING, OUR CITY SUCCESSFULLY LOWERED EVERY PRIOR SURGE.

EVERY TIME WE HAVE IT, YEAH.

IMPLEMENTED A MASKING MANDATE.

THE VACCINES ARE SAFE AND EFFECTIVE, FAR SAFER THAN EXPERIMENTAL TREATMENTS, FAR SAFER THAN GETTING THE DELTA VARIANT, BUT YOU DON'T HAVE TO TAKE MY WORD FOR IT.

JUST LOOK AT OUR EYES.

WE USE 90% OF THE PEOPLE IN OUR ICU'S ARE UN-VACCINATED.

AND YOU KNOW WHAT THESE ICU ARE FILLED WITH.

PEOPLE ARE NOT FILLED WITH PEOPLE EXPERIENCING VACCINE SIDE EFFECTS.

OUR HOSPITALS ARE NOW USING THE WORD DANGEROUS TO DESCRIBE THE OVERCROWDING SITUATION THEY ARE NOW EXPERIENCING ON ACCOUNT OF UNVACCINATED INDIVIDUALS.

AND SURELY THE REASON THAT WE REQUIRE A VACCINATION FOR MEASLES AS WE DO FOR OUR SCHOOL, CHILDREN IS NOWHERE MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE NEED FOR THEIR PROTECTIONS AGAINST COVID.

IT IS SO HARD FOR ME TO UNDERSTAND HOW WE COULD BE FACING SUCH RISKS, KNOWING EXACTLY WHAT WE NEED TO DO AND HAVE OUR GOVERNOR AFFIRMATIVELY, TRYING TO STOP OUR SCHOOL BOARDS FROM DOING ALL THAT THE EXPERTS SAY IS BEST TO KEEP OUR CHILDREN, PARENTS ACROSS THE STATE.

IT SHOULD BE OUTRAGED AND THEY SHOULD MAKE THEIR ANGER KNOWN.

IT IS SHAMEFUL THAT OUR PRIVATE BUSINESS GETS THREATENED WITH THE LOSS OF A STATE OPERATING LICENSE, BECAUSE IT CHOSE TO TRY TO PROTECT ITS EMPLOYEES AND CUSTOMERS BY SETTING RULES FOR THEIR OWN PRIVATE PROPERTY.

IT IS NOT ENOUGH TO MERELY RECOMMEND VACCINES AND MASKING PEOPLE WHO CHOOSE NOT TO TAKE THESE TIME.

PROVEN PUBLIC HEALTH MITIGATION MEASURES ARE NOT JUST PUTTING THEMSELVES AT RISK.

THAT'S WHY AS MAYOR, I WILL DO EVERYTHING I CAN DO TOGETHER WITH THE COUNTY JUDGE AND MY COLLEAGUES ON THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY MANAGER TO USE EVERY POWER WE HAVE FOR HOWEVER LONG WE CAN TO FIGHT, TO KEEP OUR CHILDREN SAFE, OUR WORKPLACES, SAFE FOR OUR EMPLOYEES AND OUR BUSINESSES AND EVENTS OPEN.

I WILL CONTINUE TO WORK TOWARD A VACCINE MANDATE FOR CITY EMPLOYEES OR ALTERNATIVELY, A TESTING MANDATE THAT ALLOWS FOR WAIVERS FOR THOSE THAT VOLUNTARILY CHOOSE TO GET VACCINATED.

I BELIEVE THE CITY SHOULD LEAD BY EXAMPLE.

I DON'T KNOW THE ANSWER TO THE GREAT HARM CAUSED BY THE MISINFORMATION CASTING ITS SHADOW OVER AUSTIN.

BUT I KNOW IN THE END THAT IT IS UP TO YOU, WE SHOULD EACH SEEK OUT AND BE GUIDED BY THE TRUTH.

IN THE END, REGARDLESS OF WHAT THE COURTS SAY CAN OR CANNOT BE ORDERED OR MANDATED BY LAW.

EACH OF US IN THE SOLITUDE OF OUR OWN CONSCIENCE WILL HAVE THE ABSOLUTE POWER TO MAKE FOR OURSELVES AND OUR FAMILIES.

THOSE CHOICES THAT BEST PROTECT OUR NEIGHBORS AND THEIR FAMILIES TOO.

IT'S WHAT IT MEANS TO BE PART OF A STRONG COMMUNITY.

YOU KNOW, AS INTERIM POLICE CHIEF TO CONE RECENTLY SHARED AT A PUBLIC MEETING, AUSTIN IS ONE OF THE FIVE SAFEST, BIG CITIES IN THE COUNTRY.

AGAIN, OUR COMMUNITY SHOULD PAUSE FOR A MOMENT AND CELEBRATE THIS ACHIEVED.

I HAVEN'T YET THERE ARE SOME OF THE CITY WORKING REALLY HARD TO CONVINCE YOU OTHERWISE AND THEIR EFFORTS FOLLOWING THE NATIONAL POLITICAL DEBATE OR THE USE OF YET ANOTHER LAW AND ORDER FRAMED, ORGANIZED POLITICALLY HAVE LEFT OUR COMMUNITY POLARIZED AND DIVIDED.

THERE IS A POLITICAL ADVANTAGE BEING SOUGHT BY THOSE CREATING THE FALSE IMPRESSION THAT AUSTIN IS UNSAFE.

EVEN ONE LIFE LOST IS TOO MANY.

AND AUSTIN HAS SEEN A SIGNIFICANT INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF MURDERS THIS VERSUS LAST YEAR WE SHOULD.

AND WE ARE WORKING TO TAKE ILLEGAL GUNS OFF THE STREETS WITH INITIATIVES TO FIGHT GUN AND OTHER TYPES OF VIOLENCE IN OUR CITY.

BUT THE SAME DATA THAT SHOWS THAT THE NUMBER OF HOMICIDES IN AUSTIN IS RISING.

ALSO SHOWS THAT THE RATE

[00:30:01]

OF HERBICIDES IN AUSTIN IS AMONG THE LOWEST AMONG THE FOUR BIG CITIES IN TEXAS AND AMONG THE LOWEST IN SUCH BIG CITIES AROUND THE COUNTRY, WE ARE NOT DEALING WITH A CITY THAT IS UNSAFE, BUT WITH THOSE WORKING HARD TO CREATE THE PERCEPTION THAT WE ARE UNSAFE, THOSE WHO WISH TO DIVIDE OUR COMMUNITY, USE INFORMATION AS A TOOL FOR THEIR WORK.

A PIECE OF INFORMATION THAT I BELIEVE IS PARTICULARLY HARMFUL AND PERSONALLY OFFENSIVE IS THIS SUGGESTION THAT THE AUSTIN CITY COUNCIL DOES NOT RESPECT NOR SUPPORT OUR POLICE FORCE ASSOCIATED WITH THIS SPECIFIC INFORMATION IS THE CLAIM THAT THE COUNCIL OF THE FUNDED AND TOOK $150 MILLION OR A THIRD OF THE POLICE BUDGET AWAY FROM POLICE FUNCTIONS TO WHICH IT WAS BEING PUT.

AND NONE OF THIS IS TRUE THAT MAY CLEARLY SPEAK FOR MYSELF.

AND I BELIEVE FOR EVERYONE ON THE COUNCIL, I RESPECT AND SUPPORT THE OFFICERS OF THE AUSTIN POLICE DEPARTMENT.

I BELIEVE THEY ARE AMONG THE BEST OFFICERS IN THE COUNTRY, WHICH IS WHY I'VE ALWAYS SUPPORTED PAYING THEM AT THE VERY TOP OF THE COMPARABLE SALARY SCHEDULE.

EVERY INDIVIDUAL OFFICER THAT I HAVE COME TO KNOW PERSONALLY IS A CREDIT TO THEIR PROFESSION.

SOMEONE I TRUST AND BELIEVE HAS THE ABILITY TO HELP KEEP OUR COMMUNITY SAFE AND IN A JUST AND FAIR WAY, EACH IS SOMEONE I RESPECT.

I BELIEVE THAT IN TODAY'S WORLD, THERE IS A NEED FOR CITIES LIKE AUSTIN TO HAVE STRONG PROFESSIONAL AND WELL-SUPPORTED POLICE FORCES.

I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT ALL OF OUR OFFICERS ARE OUT TO DO HARM, NOTHING ABOUT WHAT I BELIEVE IS INCONSISTENT WITH ALSO BELIEVING THAT WE EXPECT TOO MUCH OF OUR OFFICERS AND THAT, THAT THIS CAN CAUSE HARM TO OFFICERS AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS ALIKE CITY SHOULD NOT RELY ON THEIR OFFICERS FOR HOW THEY INTERSECT WITH POVERTY AND OUR OFFICERS SHOULD NOT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR HOW WE INTERVENE WITH AND SUPPORT THOSE WITH MENTAL HEALTH CHALLENGES.

I CAN SUPPORT AND HONOR OUR POLICE AND STILL CONFRONT INSTITUTIONAL RACISM AND SUPPORT, CHANGING A WARRIOR CULTURE TO ONE THAT LEADS WITH A GUARDIAN MINDSET.

DOING THIS REQUIRES US IN PART TO CHANGE HOW WE TEACH NEW CADETS AND ULTIMATELY MEANT PAUSING THREE CADET CLASSES.

WHILE THE CHANGES OVER 20 OF THEM RECOMMENDED BY THE AUSTIN POLICE DEPARTMENT ITSELF COULD BE PUT INTO PLACE.

NOW I DESERVEDLY GET CRITICISM WHEN I MAKE MISTAKES AND I HAVE MADE THEM, THIS IS ALSO TRUE OF OUR INSTITUTIONS AND OUR OFFICERS.

WE CAN SUPPORT OUR POLICE OFFICERS WHILE ALSO BEING CRITICAL OF THE HARM, DONE TO PEACEFUL DEMONSTRATORS AT THE GEORGE FLOYD AND MIKE GRANDMA'S PROTESTS.

WE CAN ADMIRE THE HEROISM OF POLICE OFFICERS WHILE ALSO DISAPPROVING OF INAPPROPRIATE POLICE INTERACTIONS.

IT IS NOT RIGHT.

THAT'S SO MANY IN OUR COMMUNITY, ESPECIALLY MANY OF THOSE OF COLOR DO NOT FEEL AS SAFE WITH OUR POLICE AS DO OTHER PARTS OF THE COMMUNITY.

THE HARD FACT IS ME BEING STOPPED BY THE POLICE WHEN I'M DRIVING, DOES NOT INVOKE THE SAME ANXIETY, FELT BY MANY IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY.

AND I NEVER GOT A LECTURE FROM MY MOTHER ABOUT WHAT I NEEDED TO DO TO STAY ALIVE IN SUCH AN ENCOUNTER.

THIS IS NEITHER RIGHT, NOR JUST EVERY BUSTED, CORRECT IT.

GEORGE FLOYD, SANDRA BLAND, AND COUNTLESS OTHERS CAN NOT HAVE DIED IN VAIN.

WE DON'T GET TO SAY NEVER AGAIN AND THEN FORGET THEIR NAMES AND THEN DO NOTHING BECAUSE IT'S UNCOMFORTABLE OR DISRUPTIVE.

I BELIEVE WE NEED MORE POLICE OFFICERS.

AND THAT'S WHY I SUPPORTED STARTING THE CADET CLASSES EARLY THIS YEAR AND SUPPORTED WITH MY COLLEAGUES HAD AT LEAST TWO ADDITIONAL CLASSES.

THE NEXT YEAR IS APPROVED.

AND THE RECENT BUDGET, I BELIEVE WE WILL MAKE A SAFE CITY, EVEN SAFER WITH A COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH TO PUBLIC SAFETY STAFFING.

THAT IS DATA DRIVEN, IS ABLE TO DO ADAPT TO CHANGING NEEDS AND CONSIDERS THE COLLECTIVE PUBLIC SAFETY EFFORTS OF OUR POLICE, OUR FIREFIGHTERS, EMS RESPONDERS, MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT PROFESSIONALS, AND VIOLENCE, PROFESSIONAL VIOLENCE PREVENTION PERSONNEL.

IT IS TRUE THAT WE ARE EXPERIENCING POLICE STAFFING SHORTAGES.

A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF THIS IS NOT THE DIRECT RESULT OF AUSTIN CITY COUNCIL ACTION, BUT RATHER AS CONSISTENT WITH

[00:35:01]

NATIONAL TRENDS BEING EXPERIENCED BY CITIES ACROSS THE COUNTRY, I'VE INCREASED POLICE RETIREMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS OVER THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS, ESPECIALLY MOST RECENTLY.

AND I DO RECOGNIZE THAT FOR SOME OFFICERS, THEIR DUTIES HAVE CHANGED.

SOME OF THIS ATTRITION HAS BEEN EXACERBATED BY THEIR PERCEPTION WITHIN OUR POLICE FORCE, THAT THEY ARE NEITHER RESPECTED, VALUED NOR SUPPORTED IN THIS COMMUNITY.

MY EXPERIENCE TELLS ME THAT SUCH A PERCEPTION IS NOT TRUE.

I SPENT A LOT OF TIME IN, IN THE COMMUNITY AND MY PERSONAL BELIEFS, AS I OUTLINED A MOMENT AGO ARE SHARED BY MOST OF THE PEOPLE IN THIS CITY, REGARDLESS OF WHAT YOU SEE ON SOCIAL MEDIA.

AND APD OFFICER RECENTLY REACHED OUT TO ME A FEW WEEKS AGO BECAUSE THEY BELIEVED I HAD NOT SPOKEN UP TO RECOGNIZE AND THANK THE OFFICERS FOR THEIR HEROIC ACTIONS AND SAVING LIVES AT THE MASS SHOOTINGS ON SIXTH STREET.

I WAS SO GRATEFUL FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO SHARE WITH THEM THE WAYS THAT I HAD ACTUALLY DONE THIS BOTH WITH LOCAL AND NATIONAL MEDIA BEGINNING WITHIN HOURS OF THE EVENT JUSTICE I HAVE DONE IN THE PAST.

IT GAVE ME A CHANCE TO, TO, TO, TO, TO HEAR THEIR CONCERNS.

BEING ABLE TO COMMUNICATE DIRECTLY WITH THIS OFFICER WAS A PRIVILEGE AND AN OPPORTUNITY I VALUE.

MAYBE THERE'S A PATH FORWARD IN THIS EXPERIENCE WHERE WE FIND WAYS TO PERSONALLY CONNECT CORRECT MISINFORMATION AND MEANINGFULLY COMMUTE.

AGAIN, COMMUNICATE AGAIN.

WE WILL ALL BE SAFER APPROPRIATELY STAFFING AND BY REFORMING POLICING TO 21ST CENTURY STANDARDS.

BUT WE ARE MORE UNSAFE IF WE ARE DIVIDED BY THIS INFORMATION AND NO DISCUSSION ABOUT DIVISIONS IN OUR COMMUNITY WOULD BE COMPLETE WITHOUT A DISCUSSION ABOUT HOMELESSNESS, EXCEPT AGAIN, THE LACK OF ACCURATE INFORMATION RESULTS IN INCREASED DIVISIONS IN OUR COUNTRY COMMUNITY, OUR COMMUNITY IS UNITED AND WANTING TO HELP PEOPLE EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS, GET OFF THE STREETS OUT OF TENTS.

AND BACK INTO GENERAL, SOCIETY ARE SAFELY SITUATED IN STABLE HOMES.

WE DON'T WANT TO SEE TENT AND CAMP MINTS, UM, UH, ARE THERE HIGHWAYS OR, OR OUR ROADS? WE WANT THOSE WITH MENTAL HEALTH CHALLENGES TO RECEIVE THE CARE AND SUPPORT THEY NEED.

THE TRUTH IS THAT WE KNOW, I KNOW HOW TO GET THESE THINGS DONE.

WE REACHED EQUILIBRIUM WITH VETERANS EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS, WHEREBY WE CAN GET THEM HOUSED AND WITH SERVICES AT THE SAME RATE THAT WE FIND THEM ON OUR STREETS.

WE'RE GETTING CLOSE TO GETTING MOST OF THE CHILDREN EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS OFF OUR STREETS.

AND RECENTLY WE CLOSED ENCAMPMENTS AT THE LIBRARY ON CESAR CHAVEZ, JUST EAST OF IHI 35 AT THE BEN CHAKKA INTERSECTION WITH BEN WHITE AND FROM AROUND CITY HALL AND SAY THERE CHAVEZ NEAR CONGRESS AVENUE.

WE'VE BEEN ABLE TO BUY AND PUT HOTELS UNDER CONTRACT FOR CONVERSION, INTO PERMANENTLY SUPPORTIVE APARTMENTS OR OTHER TYPES OF HOUSING AT A SIGNIFICANTLY LOWER COST.

AND WITH GREATER SPEED AND PAST ALTERNATIVES, MANY IN THE COMMUNITY, INCLUDING THE CITY COUNCIL HAVE ADOPTED THE GOAL OF HOUSING.

3000 PEOPLE CHRONICALLY EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS IN THE THREE YEARS AT ARE DOING THE WORK TO GET THIS DONE.

THOSE ADVOCATING FOR THE BUILDING AND SUSTAINING OF A PERMANENT INTEGRATED SYSTEM ARE SEEKING ADDITIONAL PARTNERS, SUCH AS SYSTEM WE'LL HAVE ALL STAKEHOLDERS PULLING IN THE SAME DIRECTION IN A COORDINATED FASHION, RATHER THAN MERELY SEEKING TO FUND AND EXECUTE NEEDED PROJECTS.

ONE AT A TIME AS ONE-OFF EFFORTS, THIS WILL TAKE INVESTMENT AND IT WILL TAKE TIME, BUT IT WILL DELIVER ART CITY, THE CHANCE TO MEET THE CHALLENGE OF HOMELESSNESS INDEFINITELY BY CREATING THE INFRASTRUCTURE TO MAKE HOMELESSNESS BRIEF RARE.

AND NON-RECURRING HAVE VOTERS IN MAY PASS PROPOSITION B THAT RETURNED OUR CITY TO THE CAMPING ORDINANCES IN EFFECT TWO SUMMERS AGO.

AND I EXPECT THE CITY MANAGER TO ENFORCE IT.

THIS MEANS THAT MANY PEOPLE CURRENTLY INTENSE WILL BE RETURNED IN PLACES WHERE THEY ARE NOT SEEN AND WHERE THEY ARE MOVED AROUND WITH NOWHERE, REALLY TO GO.

WE CANNOT BE SATISFIED WITH LEAVING THESE PEOPLE IN THIS SITUATION.

SO THE EFFORTS THAT I'VE MENTIONED A MOMENT AGO BECOME EVEN MORE IMPORTANT AND MORE IMPORTANT TO BE DONE QUICKLY.

THERE IS SO

[00:40:01]

MUCH TO BE DONE AS WE STILL HAVE ABOUT 1500 PEOPLE SLEEPING UNSHELTERED ON OUR STREETS ON ANY GIVEN EVENING.

NOW, SOME ARE CALLING FOR EVERYONE CURRENTLY IN A TENT TO BE IMMEDIATELY HOUSED.

UNFORTUNATELY, THESE PROPONENTS DO NOT COME WITH THE RESOURCES TO ACCOMPLISH THIS, AND THEY ARE NOT ABLE TO PROPOSE ANY SPECIFIC LOCATION THAT WOULD BE SUPPORTIVE AND ACCEPTED.

EVEN IF WE COULD FIND AN ACCEPTABLE LOCATION FOR SANCTIONED CAMPERS FOR OVER A THOUSAND PEOPLE, WE HAVE LEARNED HARD LESSONS FROM OTHER CITIES, CITIES THAT HAVE TRIED TO DEAL WITH THE CHALLENGE OF HOMELESSNESS WITH SUCH CAMP AREAS AND FIND THE STRATEGY ALONE DOES NOT WORK.

MANY PEOPLE WILL ONLY GO TO ENCAMPMENTS IF THEY BELIEVE THEY WILL ULTIMATELY BE MOVED INTO SOMETHING MORE PERMANENT AND PRIVATE AND THE WRAPAROUND SERVICES.

SO INTEGRAL TO RECOVERY ARE MANY TIMES MORE SUCCESSFUL FOR PEOPLE LIVING IN HOMES.

AND IN ENCAMPMENTS.

NOW WE NEED TO LEARN FROM THE CITIES THAT HAVE TRIED.

THIS APPROACH SPENT TOO MUCH OF THEIR DOLLARS ON IMMEDIATE AND TEMPORARY ANSWERS.

ONLY TO FIND THAT THERE ARE INSUFFICIENT RESOURCES LEFT OVER TO BUILD THE PERMANENT SYSTEM AND ITS PHYSICAL AND SERVICE CAPACITY NECESSARY TO MEET THE CHALLENGE.

LONG-TERM WE SEE SUCCESS BY GETTING HUNDREDS OUT OF TENTS AND INTO HOMES WITH SERVICES RATHER THAN MOVING PEOPLE FROM ONE CAMP AREA IN ONE NEIGHBORHOOD TO ANOTHER CAMP AREA AND ANOTHER NEIGHBORHOOD.

AND I BELIEVE MOST PEOPLE IN THIS CITY OF AGREE THAT WE NEED TO MEET THIS CHALLENGE, REMOVE THE TENSE HOUSING, AND SUPPORT THE PEOPLE AND ACCOMPLISH THIS IN A WAY THAT INVESTS OUR DOLLARS IN LONG-TERM SOLUTIONS.

AND WHILE THIS TAKES TIME, WE ARE ALREADY SEEING SUCCESSES ALREADY LOWERING THE POLARIZATION.

AND IN THIS ACTION AND RESULT, WE ARE FINDING ANOTHER PATH TO WORK COMMUNITY COHESION.

SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THIS PANDEMIC, THE CITY COUNCIL HAS PURCHASED HOTELS AND DISTRICTS 3, 4, 6, AND SEVEN, ALONG WITH NEW PARTNERSHIPS WITH KERATITIS FOUNDATION COMMUNITIES AND OTHERS TO CREATE OVER 600 HOMES FOR THOSE COMING OUT OF HOMELESSNESS.

BY COMPARISON, IN OUR FIRST TWO YEARS ON THE DAYAS COLLEAGUES, THAT NUMBER WAS 46 HOMES IN TOTAL FOR THOSE EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS, OUR COMMUNITY IS MAKING UNPRECEDENTED AND TRULY PROMISING EFFORTS TO MEET THE CHALLENGE OF HOMELESSNESS.

SO BY MOST ALL TRADITIONAL MEASURES OF SUCCESS.

AUSTIN IS THE STRONGEST MAJOR CITY IN THE COUNTRY, AND THIS IS NO SMALL FEAT.

AND THAT MEANS FOR THE MOST, THERE IS GREAT OPPORTUNITY AND AN EXCEPTIONAL QUALITY OF LIFE.

THIS POSITIONS, OUR CITY TO DO MORE THAN ANY OTHER CITY TO FOCUS ON AND IMPROVE THE DISPARITIES THAT WE AND EVERY OTHER MAJOR CITY FACE.

IN FACT, OUR SUCCESS MAKES THAT OUR DUTY AND RESPONSIBILITY, AND WE ARE A CITY THAT IS STEPPING UP TO THAT CHALLENGE.

I SHARE WITH MOST EVERYONE IN AUSTIN AND IMMENSE THANKFULNESS AND APPRECIATION FOR THE PRIVILEGE AND OPPORTUNITY TO LIVE IN THIS CITY.

AUSTIN IS A MAGICAL PLACE.

THIS REQUIRES US TO DO BETTER, TO MITIGATE THE IMPACT THAT OUR AFFORDABILITY IS HAVING ON OUR ABILITY TO HELP PEOPLE CONTINUE TO LIVE HERE AND PRESERVE THE DEBT DIVERSITY.

THAT IS THE FABRIC OF OUR CITY AND THESE ISSUES ARE NEXT BIGGEST CHALLENGE, BUT THE IMMEDIATE CHALLENGES WE FACE, WE NEED TO OVERCOME TOGETHER THAT DELTA VARIANT, POLICING AND HOMELESSNESS, THESE ARE THE ONES THAT HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED AND WE ARE PURSUING THE PATH FORWARD TO SUCCESS.

WE CANNOT LET OURSELVES BE DISTRACTED OR CONSUMED BY MISINFORMATION OR THE DESIRE BY SOME TO DIVIDE US, TO GAIN A POLITICAL OR RHETORICAL ADVANTAGE.

WE NEED TO REACH DEEP INTO THE RESERVOIR.

THAT IS OUR COMMUNITY, OUR COMMON CULTURE, OUR CORE VALUES, ALL THE ELEMENTS THAT MAKE AUSTIN SPECIAL AND FIGHT FOR OUR COMMUNITY.

FIGHT FEAR WITH FACTS AND MISINFORMATION, WITH LISTENING AND TRUTHS.

IF WE DO, WE WILL FIND THE STRENGTH AND THE POWER TO REALIZE THE PROMISE AND POTENTIAL OF AUSTIN.

AUSTIN IS AN EXCEPTIONAL CITY WITH VERY REAL CHALLENGES.

THE STATE OF OUR CITY IS STRONG.

OUR FUTURE IS BOUNDLESS.

YOU KNOW, I KNOW THROUGH MY WORK AND INTERACTIONS WITH MAYORS NATIONALLY AND EVEN GLOBALLY, I CAN ATTEST THAT EVERY MAYOR WANTS TO SERVE A CITY LIKE AUSTIN.

WE ALSO RECOGNIZE AND CLEARLY SEE THE MOST SIGNIFICANT CHALLENGES CONFRONTING US.

[00:45:02]

WE MUST STAY TRUE TO WHO WE ARE.

WE MUST FIGHT AGAINST THE FORCES THAT WOULD DIVIDE US, DISCREDIT OBJECTIVE DATA AND MAKE US SCARED OF AND DEMONIZE ONE ANOTHER.

WE MUST COMMIT TO SEEK OUT AND SHARE ONLY REAL AND TRUTHFUL INFORMATION.

AND WE MUST LISTEN.

WE MUST TALK TO AND TRY TO UNDERSTAND ONE ANOTHER.

NOW IS THE MOMENT FOR US TO SHOW THE WORLD AND OURSELVES THAT WE ARE STILL AUSTIN, TEXAS, STAY SAFE AND LET'S KEEP TAKING CARE OF WOMEN.

THANK YOU.



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