AUSTIN, Texas - Austin Mayor Steve Adler began his State of the City address by remembering the first responders who recently passed due to COVID-19, Senior Sgt. Urias, Officer Boyd, Officer Taylor, and Firefighter Rodney Kelley.
Adler went on to discuss the transportation plans expected for the city like Project Connect as well as the efforts for affordable housing before moving on to three key topics he says are impacted by misinformation.
"The state of our city is strong but at the same time however our sense of community is at risk," said Mayor Adler.
Adler said this misinformation is causing a devision in the community and is making challenges for the city, especially when it comes to the Delta variant for COVID-19. "The vaccines are safe and effective. Far safer then experimental treatments, far safer than getting the Delta variant but you don’t have to take my word for it, just look at our ICUs," he said. "90% of the people in our ICUs are unvaccinated."
Adler said in the near future the city will either have a vaccine mandate for employees or a COVID-19 test mandate with the option to exempt if vaccinated.
Another issue Adler said is being impacted by misinformation is the crime in the city. "There is a political advantage being sought by those by creating a false impression that Austin is unsafe…The same data that shows the number of homicides in Austin is rising also shows that the rate of homicides in Austin is the lowest among the four big cities in Texas and among the lowest in big cities around the country."
Adler did acknowledge the city is experiencing a police officer shortage but how this is something seen across the country not just Austin.
The last issue Adler said was being impacted by misinformation is the homeless issue in the city, especially when it comes to enforcing the camping ban.
"Now some are now calling for everyone in a tent to be immediately housed, unfortunately these proponents do not come with the resources to accomplish this and they are not able to propose any specific location that will be supported and accepted," he said.
Adler also took aim at the governor’s executive order banning masks in schools. He said he will continue to fight alongside Travis County to allow school boards to follow the direction of health experts.
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