AUSTIN, Texas - Austin Mayor Steve Adler took the stage at the Texas Democrats annual fundraising dinner Saturday night. Adler spoke about the letter Governor Greg Abbott sent him earlier this week calling on the city to end its homeless crisis.
“So, I'm not sure if you heard, but I got a letter from the governor this week. I'm not exactly sure how to read the letter. I think when I first read it, when we read it, we thought he was going to lay siege to Austin here at the end of the month," Adler said. "If that happens, kind of like Berlin, we're going to be looking at the other cities around the state to be doing airdrops for us here in Austin. But, you know, we read that letter also and said well maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe the governor actually wants to help. Probably not.”
Andy Hogue, communications director for the Travis County GOP, says he was taken back by the mayor's rhetoric.
“I think if a Republican were to use such language, about airdrops and support from other cities and government entities to come in and take that, I think that may be something more objectionable, they might consider us to be using warmonger like language,” he said.
Hogue also highlighted the difference in tone the mayor adopted Saturday night and when he first spoke about the governor's letter at a city hall press conference Wednesday.
“Now that said, I have now a letter from the governor. And again, I understand the concern he has for Austin," Adler said Wednesday. "Not only because it’s a Texas city and he’s our governor, but also because he’s a constituent of Austin. There are some people that read this letter as a threat. I want you to know I understand the seriousness of this letter, but I choose to read this letter as an offer of assistance. And this is not a city challenge it is a statewide challenge.”
Hogue says one thing that did remain the same between Wednesday and Saturday, the mayor's calls for additional funding.
“We know what works if only our community were willing to scale it, if only we had the resources to do what we know works,” Adler said Wednesday.
“The state should be helping with homelessness in all of our cities. Other states in the country are helping their cities. California last year, actually just a few months ago gave $650 million dollars to the cities in its state $145 million to Los Angeles alone.” Adler said Saturday.