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December 30, 2020      3:54 PM

Keel and Wilson: An offer to host lawmakers for a tour of a decaying capital city you will not see in the capitol complex

In this op-ed, former House members Terry Keel, a Republican, and Ron Wilson, a Democrat, argue conservatives and liberals alike may find reasons to leave public safety in Austin to city hall, but in that case the Legislature will have “shirked its duty”

It’s a huge story, but the capital city’s daily newspaper - editorially simpatico with the Austin City Council - doesn’t dare run pictures of it. You also won’t see it elsewhere, like in Houston’s daily. Austin police do not have the manpower to deal with it, even if citizens or businesses were to call them, which they’ve given up doing.

As legislators return to Austin from different parts of the state, we will take any House or Senate member on a personal insider’s tour of the decaying and dysfunctional capital city. You won’t get to see this in the 50 square blocks around the capitol complex.

A few short months ago, Austin’s mayor and council loudly touted that tens of millions were cut from the city’s police budget and announced the indefinite cancellation of future cadet classes. This was done to an already chronically underfunded police department struggling with burgeoning officer vacancies.

The move exacerbated crime problems related to the council’s previous recent decriminalization of camping in public. That had created de facto legalization of a myriad of misdemeanor state crimes within the city limits of Austin.

By Former Representatives Terry Keel and Ron Wilson

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