Thursday, August 13, 2020

#TXLEGE: Honestly, just ABOLISH the damn #atxcouncil

"Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?"

Widely expected, but still:
The Austin City Council unanimously approved a $4.1B budget on Thursday that includes up to $150 million in cuts to police budgets over the coming year, although only $20 million will be cut immediately, city officials said.
What else is there to even say?!?

This will, obviously, be a complete debacle. As someone who grew up in New York City, the phrase "Dinkinsesque" comes to mind. Consequences are completely predictable.

But there real question is what's next?!?

There are those who will say we need to vote out the current council. Sure. We absolutely should. Rah, rah, Mackenzie Kelly and all that.

But we've done that before, and while it certainly helped, we're still here.

There are those who will say we need the legislature to step in. We're not opposed. But there past few years have shown that that's an inconsistent solution.

If we're going to take this to the legislature, we need to stop playing defensive whack-a-mole.

The Texas legislature has the authority to revoke the City of Austin's charter. They should use it. It's (long past) time.

We've actually been looking into this for awhile. At some point, we explain everything in more details. But some quick hits on pracitical considerations:
  •  All city ordinances would be null and void, we'd simply live under state law.
  •  State law already covers the crimes that actually matter (eg. murder, rape, assault, financial/property crimes).
  •  DPS could absorb APD (and their pension liabilities).
  • The county already covers the important courts/criminal functions.
  •  Besides public safety, the biggest item in the city's general fund is what's called "development services."  This basically means all of the land use/permitting/zoning restrictions that make it impossible to build anything in this town.  Adios.
  •  Defaulting on the City of Austin's municipal debt sends a good message to Wall St.
  •  Sell the soccer stadium/land parcel to the team at it's full assessed value at the time council approved their deal in 2018.
  •  The biggest challenge is how to privatize Austin Energy/Water in an open and transparent manner.  Obviously, they go private.  But it's got to be done properly.  Otherwise, you're looking at what happened with the oligarchs circa 1992 in the former Soviet Union.
Bottom Line:  We've tried everything else.

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