Mayor Steve Adler’s Austin is still getting worse. He led the explosion of homeless camping citywide and the defunding of police.
Police are leaving in droves, crime is spiking hard, and homeless camping has spread serious blight all over the city. Now that blight is concentrating downtown, thanks to another of Adler’s addle-brained decisions.
If you walk or drive around city hall in Austin, Texas, now, you’ll see a new tent city. It sprung up after voters in the city overwhelmingly agreed to reinstate the ban on camping on public land on May 1.
Even when camping was legal everywhere else, it was still banned at city hall. Adler and the then-unanimous Democrat city council took care of itself that way, while allowing the rest of the city to become a trash heap and a disease and fire hazard.
Now, because the voters have spoken, the ban is being phased back in citywide.
But city hall is occupied. A tent city with its own machete-wielding “security” squats on space on which it has always been illegal to camp.
Mayor Steve Adler is doing nothing about it.
Last week, PJM reported on an incident that happened outside city hall when Councilmember Mackenzie Kelly was trying to speak to media. Kelly was harassed by an activist who repeatedly shouted profanities at her.
Since then, Kelly has been harassed repeatedly. In one case, the harassers carried weapons.
— Mackenzie Kelly ❗️ (@mkelly007) May 25, 2021
Local TV station KXAN reports:
Camping isn’t allowed at City Hall or in city parks. It was illegal even before the citywide ban.
“I’ve been told by the City Manager’s office and APD that this is a protest and a free speech zone, and so, as such, they’re not moving these individuals right now,” Kelly said.
On Monday, KXAN spoke with a woman experiencing homelessness at City Hall who explained that those camping outside of the building have formed their own “security detail.”
“We have a whole security team here,” Trisha English said, adding that she and others work shifts to make sure they’re securing the area 24 hours a day. She says when it’s her turn, she wears a bulletproof vest.
“I secure this camp to make sure everybody’s okay and make sure things do not get deescalated [sic] to the point where they have to call APD because APD is completely corrupted,” English said.
During the interview with English, a man with a machete came up, asking English if she wanted the KXAN News crew there. The man said to the news crew that he was part of the encampment’s security detail.
Those trading off shifts can often be seen wearing a vest, carrying one or more knives and using walkie talkies.
In a video shared with KXAN by The Liberty Broadcast, English and others can be heard saying they’re ready to fight.
“You know what I’m gonna do? I’m gonna fight back. If I’ve got to kill a cop before they kill me, you know damn well I’m gonna kill a cop,” English can be heard saying in the video.
As per usual, Mayor Steve Adler, Democrat, is allowing the situation to get out of control. He is allowing what amounts to an “autonomous zone” to occupy Austin city hall by calling it a “protest.”
The Texas legislature recently passed a new law that penalizes cities that defund police, as Austin did in August 2020 when it gutted the police budget by about one-third. That law allows people who live in areas annexed by such cities to secede from them.
Major sections of Austin may as well take that law in hand and get out of the city. It’s rotting from within with a radical mayor and majority city council who have no problem ruining it.