By Bill Oakey – April 16, 2014
As I waited for the appointment at Cafe Josie’s on Monday, I had no preconceived notions about Steve Adler. Most of us have heard by now that he is running for Mayor. The other primary “heavyweight” in the race is current City Council member, Mike Martinez. I had met Steve briefly on two other occasions, and was quite curious to meet him and learn about him.
Prior to the meeting, I had emailed him 10 candidate questions on affordability. That list has gone out to several announced candidates in various district races. When Steve arrived at the table, he opened a portfolio with my question list ready for discussion. But before getting into that, he pulled out a spreadsheet that he had obtained by doing some research at City Hall. He had picked up my cue on an unexplained $6 million fee waiver for U.T. that was mentioned in this blog. Steve discovered through Council Member Bill Spelman’s office that the City has since renegotiated that fee waiver down to $3.57 million. This is welcome news on a cost savings for the taxpayers.
Like me, Steve believes that the City needs a fee wavier policy that is fair and consistent. There are plenty of challenges and unanswered questions on this affordability topic. But progress is being made.
Steve and I had a very interesting and cordial meeting. His background as an attorney in civil rights cases and cases defending workers sounds impressive. On current City issues, he agrees with me that citizens should not have to wait six hours to speak to their elected City leaders at Council public hearings. And his interest in the various affordability issues seems encouraging. A decision on an endorsement from this blog in the mayor’s race will come after careful consideration of the leading candidates.
Mr. Adler does not have a well established name in all of the circles of local civic activism. But he has lived in Austin since 1978. It would be my recommendation that folks should try to attend forums and organizational meetings where Steve will be speaking. I plan to ask him if he would be interested in setting up one or more town hall meetings, so that plenty of people can get to know him better.