Exploring Austin with Mayor Adler

Max Domel, Staff Writer

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Steve Adler was re-elected as mayor of Austin during the midterm elections on Nov. 6, 2018 with the promise of changing the future of Austin.

Mayor Adler is a Princeton graduate and a former University of Texas Law School student. Adler was first elected as the mayor of Austin in 2014, beating former Austin City Council member Mike Martinez with a margin of 67 percent to 33 percent. This fall, Adler once again received over 60 percent of the votes beating lead contender Laura Morrison and five other candidates.

Adler said a big part of his campaign was his work assuring the forward development of the city of Austin and how that could strengthen progressive thinking among the city’s voters.

“I think it was the promise that given another four years we would increase and accelerate acting in forward looking ways,” Adler said. “Part of this election was about people wanting to look forward and make the changes necessary to preserve who we are and the people looking backward to try and not have change.”

Texas voters demonstrated forward thinking during the midterms by turning down Propositions J and K, according to Adler. Proposition J would have forced the city of Austin to get voter approval before redeveloping land and Proposition K would have made the city of Austin hire an outside firm to oversee finances, according to KXAN.

Adler sought to improve the future of Austin by promoting involvement in education which would hopefully expand the abilities of many more citizens.

“I think the city of Austin needs to be involved with schools and education because they have a huge impact on the quality of life and the ability of people who live in the city to meet their full potential,” Adler said.

The Austin Independent School District (AISD) worked on methods to partner with the city of Austin in August 2017 while creating the city budget. Adler thinks the city and AISD could help people meet their full potential through tax swaps which is a strategy aiming to fund AISD while allowing many citizens to see tax relief.

“Tax swaps was the idea of having the school district lower its taxes while the city would raise its taxes by a lesser amount,” Adler said. “The city would take the additional money it got to help fund some of the things the school district was having to pay for.”

According to Adler, another major advancement for the future would be improving transportation and housing methods throughout Austin.

“We need to do something about traffic and the most significant thing we could do there would be to get a high capacity transit system that actually works and provides a meaningful alternative for cars,” Adler said. “I think our city needs that. We also need to increase the supply and diversity of affordable housing for people with low to mid incomes.”

Adler recently spoke with Don Garber, commissioner of Major League Soccer (MLS), and was told that Austin would have its own professional soccer team by 2021 but did not know what the team would look like.

“One option would be that the Columbus [Crew S.C.] would come down here,” Adler said. “Another thing would be the owner bringing the team down but leaving the name and players in Columbus, creating a new team down here. It could be an expansion team. One way or another we’re going to have an MLS team playing here in the Spring of 2021.”

With the constant workload that comes with being the mayor of Austin, Adler still finds lots of joy and satisfaction from his position and looks forward to guiding the city during his second term.

“I thought I knew the city of Austin, I’ve lived here for 40 years and came as a student at U.T.,” Adler said. “But in this job you see how much you didn’t know [through] the number and different kinds of people who you meet and seeing what they’re doing. [I also love] being able to impact people’s lives and improve the quality of life for lots of people.”