AUSTIN, Texas - Austin Mayor Steve Adler gave his State of the City address on August 5 but due to the COVID-19 pandemic it was presented online.
Mayor Adler addressed topics surrounding COVID-19 in Austin, homelessness, and the ongoing debate over Austin Police Department funding and policing issues.
Regarding COVID-19, Adler said around 10 to 15 percent of Austin's population is infected with the coronavirus and he expressed concerns about the University of Texas at Austin football gatherings at DKR Stadium in the fall.
The mayor says in order for other businesses and schools to open that it's important the city drive down the infection rate further.
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Adler also touched on the need to invest in affordable housing and efforts to prevent homelessness in the city.
As for policing and the city budget, the mayor expressed support for removing $100 million from APD's budget and moving overtime funding into mental health intervention and community programs. He says he wants Austin City Council to look at appropriate use of force levels within APD and examines ways to provide the most effective public safety.
Cap Metro's Project Connect was also highlighted in the mayor's address. He said many people of color live near the rail line proposals for the project which will help give them equal access and opportunity to transportation within the city.
On the issue of racial disparities in Austin, Adler called on the national government to develop a national program of restitution for descendants of slaves while also calling for social justice and quality within Austin.
"History will remember 2020 as the moment that pointed us in the direction of justice, because this was the year that forced us to see injustice unlike any time. like someone grabbing and holding our face between their hands and not letting us turn away, forcing us to look at the unfairness around us and our part in perpetuating it," Adler said.
You can see the full address on the City of Austin's Facebook page.