Austin is a city for all. As we continue to attract and welcome newcomers, we must be sure not to lose the original community spirit.
Policy making and spending that affect the lives of all Austin residents in the short and long term, must be centered by the community's voice and priorities – not those of special interests.
In order to truly achieve this, community education, support and engagement is vital. Austin has enormous human capital with expertise in a vast range of fields – that often goes untapped due to poor or nonexistent community planning and engagement. Decisions on key issues should not be made without residents involved and in the room.
DISTRICT 4 PRIORITIES
As a life-long district 4 resident, Jade recognizes and appreciates this to be the most diverse and unique district in Austin. However, it is apparent in many ways that District 4 has also been one of the most underserved and underinvested communities. District 4 deserves a full piece of the attention and financial pie.
Community engagement with focused results to include:
Community space and park investment and additions. There are areas of District 4, especially in north and southeast, that the City considers “Park Deficient”, and overall as a City we have fallen short of our parkland accessibility goals.
Overall community safety, including drug use and crime prevention. District 4 has experienced the worst crime, on average, in the City over the last 5 years (using Greater Austin Crime Commission methodology and APD data). We have the most robberies in the City, and led the City in murders for four of the last 5 years – yet virtually no one speaks to crime or has taken material steps to address this. While there is no question that police reform and violence prevention are priorities, we cannot continue to ignore the need for improved public safety measures in District 4.
Improved infrastructure including roads, sidewalks and bike routes. We want to ensure next time there is a mobility bond or similar initiatives that District 4 infrastructure is part of the solution. We also need to understand specifically how Project Connect will affect District 4 and how it will improve mobility and congestion – information that has yet to shared or fully explained. Such an enormous project requires equally robust planning, transparency and oversight – especially after our experience with CapMetro and the Red Line over the last 20+ years.
Homelessness and mental health investment. The City’s strategy for people experienced homelessness has been haphazard at best and nonexistent at worst. Repealing the camping ban without having a plan in place was a colossal blunder. And it’s unclear that the City is the best agent to house and serve thousands of homeless when they have virtually no experience in this space. We can do better: there are opportunities to partner with countless organizations who have the experience and wherewithal to serve our homeless neighbors who suffer from comorbidities - as other municipalities have successfully done - and without further burdening residents with incredibly expensive programs.
Affordability consistently ranks as one of the top issues Austinites are concerned about. Yet, the lack of affordability and exponential increase in home prices continues unabated. Tangible solutions must come from the actual needs of the community rather than the perceived needs of the community or special interests. Too often over the last five years I have watched Council attempt to throw money at problems without undertaking an inclusive, responsible approach that seeks to understand the problem and use all the tools and community capital at our disposal to solve it. Not only is this ineffective as policy, but it also increases the cost of living to every single person in the Austin area.
Land use and frivolous changes to the land code must be vetted through checks and balances and reviewed based on long-term impacts and repercussions, not solely short-term "gains". We are suffering as a community due to an “artificial” housing crisis which is a fundamental piece of the affordability crisis. As someone with experience in this space, I am astonished with the degree of misrepresentation involved in our housing conversation. Simply building more housing stock will primarily produce more luxury housing targeted at future predominantly privilege class residents, with little regard to those already here. After all, we approved an unprecedented number of new units over the last five years – yet Austin still dropped five ranks in US News & World Report this year specifically because of our unaffordability. We desperately need a more candid and inclusive approach to land use. I intend to work with our community leaders and fight for that.
Ultimately, I am committed to ensuring that our children and the generations to follow are able to afford to live here instead of being forced move out as they begin their adult lives.