Austin is one of the most liberal cities in Texas and like many other left wing cities, they have a serious homeless problem.
The city council just ruled that from now on, homeless people will be allowed to camp out on sidewalks.
But not in front of city hall.
The Statesman reports:
Camping comes to Austin public spaces — but not at City Hall
After emotional testimony last week regarding homelessness in Austin, City Council members rescinded prohibitions on camping on public property. Starting Monday, so long as they are not presenting a hazard or danger, people will be able to sleep, lie and set up tents on city-owned sidewalks, plazas and vacant non-park space.
Except, not in front of City Hall itself.
City Hall building guidelines implemented by former City Manager Marc Ott in 2012 disallow anyone from using the outdoor plaza, covered amphitheater or raised mezzanine from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. unless a city meeting is going on inside. The rules specifically prohibit sleeping, camping, storing personal property and erecting tents.
City spokespersons confirmed this week that the camping prohibition remains in place. City Manager Spencer Cronk said in a text message that staffers are reviewing the policy, but did not indicate whether he intends to rescind it.
Mayor Steve Adler said Friday that he does not think the City Hall camping ban should be immediately rescinded. He said it should be reviewed as staffers seek to identify, by August, the places where people should and shouldn’t be allowed to camp in Austin. Adler acknowledged that some business owners objected to the ordinance changes out of concern about the impact people camping in front of their businesses could have, but he said they shouldn’t consider the City Hall ban to be hypocritical.
The reason why city hall is being exempted from this is so typical.
KXAN News reports:
Camping was banned at City Hall in 2012 after Occupy Austin protesters refused to leave.
The group was allied with the Occupy Wall Street, a movement against economic inequality.
Many started living on the steps of City Hall. After four months, the group had cost the city almost a million dollars in public safety and cleanup fees.
That’s when Austin started banning people in the city plaza from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott says the state might override this decision:
If Austin— or any other Texas city—permits camping on city streets it will be yet another local ordinance the State of Texas will override.
At some point cities must start putting public safety & common sense first.
There are far better solutions for the homeless & citizens. https://t.co/xYezoovVCg
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) June 24, 2019
Abbott makes an excellent point.
Other cities are suffering because of this.