AURA lies about homelessness

From a post on the page of the only sitting city council member to which I donated (ask me why!), I replied:

The multiple people associated with AURA commenting on this thread are doing well to continue that organization’s history of shameless public dishonesty.

1. Prop B does not “criminalize” or (slightly less inaccurately) “recriminalize” homelessness. The only way that statement could be true is if cops could go into Camp Esperanza or the ARCH and write people tickets. Anybody using the phrase “criminalize homelessness” is therefore either dishonest or ignorant. (AURA contains both!)

2. I’m an urbanist; I want more housing supply! So what happened? Well, one of the main reasons urbanists no longer have a slim majority on City Council is the District 6 election, in which Jimmy Flannigan was pantsed by a complete novice, because people did in fact pay attention to the breakdown of public order and safety. (In the general, the candidates getting support because of the failure to deal with unregulated encampments split the anti-Flannigan vote; in the runoff, he lost pretty definitively).

3. AURA previously wasted those years of a supposed urbanist majority producing basically zero or even negative housing supply (the main ‘achievement’ being an ordinance related to advanced notice of non-renewals in demolition cases pushed by Casar that if anything REDUCES housing supply). They played footsie with DSA activists who never had any real interest in increasing market supply (because they don’t believe in it).

If you’re an urbanist, stay away from AURA; they’ve been co-opted by a combination of the DSA and other liars and fools.

On Proposition A

Dealing with a work fire but this comment from Austin’s only good urbanist group deserved something more visible/accessible….


The housing bond is dumb when it doesn’t focus primarily on new supply.

In a city with 10 houses and 15 people that need houses, we start with 10 people in houses and 5 people homeless; and the 10 people with houses are the ones that had more money than the 5 homeless people.

Taking 2 of the houses off the market and reserving them for the 2 poorest people just makes people 6 and 7 suddenly homeless. It doesn’t house any new people; it actually spends money and we still end up with 10 people in houses and 5 people homeless. We are actually worse off overall, not better, and the people the most worse off are the poorest people who were able to afford housing before.

New supply doesn’t mean “build income-restricted apartments on a tract that was already zoned MF that the market would have gotten to soon anyways”. It doesn’t mean “take an existing apartment complex that has low rents and is in danger of being redeveloped off the market”. Neither one of those actually adds supply.

When the mayor cravenly surrendered on CodeNEXT, he made it even more clear that Proposition A would arguably make things worse. If your goal is to increase a regressive tax to pay to take the poorest N people currently served by the market and replace them with a different N of poorer people, then Proposition A is worth your support.