City Council’s decision to lift the public camping ban was a mistake, and hurt both Austin resident’s and the homeless. In an effort to correct that decision, City Council made a further mistake by deciding to spend millions of dollars on hotels and other shelters. But the “Housing First” model has failed in cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles, and will fail in Austin. Richard’s work with Mobile Loaves & Fishes has shown him that housing alone will not end homelessness. Richard is ready to use his experience with the homeless to help mitigate the homelessness crisis, while keeping our streets and public places safe and clean.
The first duty of the Austin City Council is to provide for the safety of its residents. Austin City Council’s move to defund the Austin Police Department was a grave mistake and put the lives of Austinites in harm’s way. Austin homicide numbers are on track to far exceed 2020, and response times to 911 calls are unacceptable and a predictable result of decimating the police department. It is time that we restore our police funding and show our community that we care for their safety. Richard supports a fully funded Austin Police Department to ensure the safety of District 8 residents and Austinites across the city.
Average homeowner’s property taxes have increased 54% from 2015 to 2020. Richard will work toward limiting the amount of property taxes to no more than the previous year, and will seek to actually reduce property taxes. Richard will push for an independent, comprehensive efficiency audit of city expenditures, including for Project Connect and Homelessness. Since public safety is City Council’s first duty, Richard will work toward fully budgeting for police, EMS, and firefighters before considering other expenditures.