Leftist-run cities like Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles have been in the news in recent months because of policies that aid and abet homelessness.
Essentially, these policies focus on the decriminalization aspect of homelessness: Local police and enforcement agencies are no longer empowered to clear streets and keep public areas free of the filth, debris, trash, drug paraphernalia, disease, rodents, and human waste created by masses of humanity.
But West Coast cities aren’t the only ones who have exacerbated the problem of homelessness in their communities. Now the liberal enclave of Austin in deep red Texas has joined the ranks of cities about to be overrun with filth and chaos.
As reported by CBS Austin last month, the city council adopted changes to existing ordinances that criminalized panhandling and ‘public camping.’ Specifically:
Overnight, the Austin City Council voted to approve changes to soliciting, camping, sitting, or lying down laws.
That means Austin Police will only be allowed to ticket or arrest a person who is soliciting, camping, sitting, or lying in a public space if they are a public health or safety hazard or blocking a walkway.
“It’s time to decriminalize homelessness in Austin,” said Holly Kirby with the Left-wing group Grassroots Leadership. (Related: Wow: Progressives in Seattle may back conservative who wants to stop doubling down on idiotic homeless policies.)
The change has upset Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and many Republicans, with the governor vowing to overturn the city’s new changes with a state law that overrides them.
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“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,” the governor posted on Twitter, according to the Austin Statesman. “At some point cities must start putting public safety & common sense first. There are far better solutions for the homeless & citizens.”
‘Gov. Abbott, help us!’
He’s not alone. Austin residents are also rising up as well and pushing back against the new law.
As NBC affiliate KXAN reported, some fear the changes will embolden homeless people, leading to more aggressive encounters and criminal activity.
“It is scary to be a woman at times on the street by yourself. We were chased. It’s not pleasant to be so frightened,” one woman who lives downtown told the city council recently, the station reported.
City residents are taking to social media to post pictures of camps, homeless squatting, and even fires underneath roadways and interstates:
🔥Homeless encampment at 290 & Westgate. @MayorAdler this is very concerning. Public health/safety must be a priority. Thank U @Austin_Police for responding quickly. #OneAustin #SaferTogether #PublicSafetyFirst SUPPORT FUNDING 4 First Responders. @GovAbbott please take action. pic.twitter.com/a6HW9wmiuA
— Joell McNew (@JSM_ATX) July 15, 2019
The news site reported further:
The camps and lawlessness are becoming a visible part of the Austin landscape all over the city. Austinites are posting photos on Twitter to alert Mayor Steve Adler — and the media, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, and each other — as they see new camps or campers.
One user — AnnsKitchen_ATX — has been actively posting example after example of how the homeless problem is exploding in Austin. The user name is a spoof on the name of Austin City Councilwoman Ann Kitchen, who voted with Adler and the others to enable homeless camping in public spaces throughout the city — except, of course, City Hall and public parks.
Free for all in Austin, Texas, unless of course you’re the tax payer. (SoCo) 7/8/19 Thanks @MayorAdler @D5Kitchen @CM_Renteria #austinhomeless #ATXcouncil @fox7austin @spencercronk @KXAN_News pic.twitter.com/uM8eF1B2XX
— AnnsKitchen_ATX (@AnnskitchenA) July 9, 2019
One user, in response to a tweet from Gov. Abbott about how Texas has become the country’s No. 1 state for business startups, wrote, “Who would want to start a business in Austin TX? Homeless drug users camping on the street. Guess that’s what the mayor and council wants.”
Who would want to start a business in Austin TX? Homeless drug users camping on the street. Guess that’s what the mayor and council wants pic.twitter.com/5sdWrcScQp
— Nick (@Ed_Nichols1) July 9, 2019
Homeless encampments are literally popping up everywhere:
@GregAbbott_TX when is the homeless prolem in austin gonna be addressed &cleaned up? This is an example of how bad the situation is in S Austin esp Dist. 5 which Ann Kitchen does not address. (Location: south congress & west Ben white blvd). disgusting pic.twitter.com/S0xd7VDWWL
— TechAddictz (@TechAddictz) July 9, 2019
Good news everyone free rooms outside the @JWMarriottATX! Just pitch a tent outside and bring all your stuff. This is 100% legal according to new Austin city ordinance. Lived on this block for 6 years, never a tent till today. #austinhomeless @MayorAdler @ATXPOA @KXAN_News pic.twitter.com/KRtrLzfa5X
— Neville Medhora (@nevmed) July 9, 2019
You’re definitely right….but hopefully less than here. Went downstairs to @RoyalBlueATX and in one block there’s THREE #austinhomeless. Most notably this guy right across the street taking a relaxing nap. Thanks to @MayorAdler ordinance there’s no repercussions. pic.twitter.com/ZkPvDpExuq
— Neville Medhora (@nevmed) July 10, 2019
Some have made a plea directly to the governor for help:
@GovAbbott you are the only hope in overturning this ridiculous law by @MayorAdler. Only 182 unsheltered #AustinHomeless are ruining the entire city. Within 8 days of the new ordinance passing, this is how Austin’s 6th entertainment district looks: pic.twitter.com/LuHqLNdVFM
— Neville Medhora (@nevmed) July 12, 2019
Adler said he didn’t think the changes in the ordinance would lead to an explosion of homeless encampments.