Quick tweet storm on the Homeless Camping disaster in Austin.


In June, with almost no public input, the Austin City Council changed a city ordinance that would allow homeless people to sleep and camp in public places, to take effect on July 1. They then took a five week vacation.

Since July 1, the results have been absolutely disastrous for Austin. The Mayor and the City Council left the Austin police to deal with the mess they created. They promised to look st the policy in August. But they never put it on the agenda & never reconsidered the policy.

Austin has never been worse than it is today. Homeless people are everywhere, camping with tents and mattresses in public, in front of restaurants and hotels, in front of condo buildings, and in prohibited areas like parks. And not just in downtown. It’s everywhere.

Why would they pursue such a ridiculous policy? Their stated goal was to “decriminalize homeless existence”. I don’t doubt their intentions. But the results have been catastrophic.

Public safety, public health and tourism have all been made worse.

Where does the human waste go? That was never considered. Where does the public litter go? A person can only be ticketed for littering if a police officer witnesses it. What about theft of shopping carts? Same thing. Trash is everywhere. A vibrant downtown is a disaster zone.

On July 17, I launched an online petition to rescind the Homeless Camping ordinance.

The petition is located st SaveAustinNowPetition.com.

In roughly one month, with zero paid advertising, we’ve surpassed 27,000 signatures with no signs of slowing down.

I launched the online petition to allow Austin residents to easily express their views on this issue.

The response has been incredible.

The 27,000+ signers are from every zip code, every neighborhood, every demographic group and cross all ideological and partisan lines.

I’ve lived in Austin since 1984 (except for 9 years in DC after college).

I’ve never seen a local issue cause such broad & intense opposition in Austin.

Austinites hate this policy change. They don’t think it makes our city better.

So far, City Hall hasn’t listened.

This issue is harming the image of Austin. Our economy relies on tourism.

Yesterday a downtown official said we are losing conventions and business events and meetings due to this policy change.

Tourists have been shocked how bad downtown is now. The word is out.

Today The Washington Post reported on our homeless crisis.


This is happening as new hotels and condo buildings are being built and the city hopes to double the size of the convention center.

Major events are central to Austin’s economy. UT home football games, ACL Festival, SXSW, F1, and much, much more.

Austin is a hip city. Will it still be seen that way?

Why would City Hall jeopardize the economic engine that downtown represents?

Mayor Adler rationalizes the policy by saying he is “tired of moving people around” and “wasting taxpayers dollars”.

So how have we been spending $30M/year on homelessness?

What is the plan if we double that amount to $60M?

There is no accounting of the $30M and no plan.

We have about 800 beds currently. We have about 2,200 homeless people. We need 1,400 more beds. Can we not spend $22,000 per person to build that housing? Can we use current city property?

We can’t wait for new housing while Homeless Camping continues.

I wrote a guest column for @statesman a couple weeks ago that lays out why Homeless Camping isn’t working and what I think we should do.


My plan:

1) Isolate those w/ mental health problems, get them off the steeets and provide treatment.

2) Isolate those w/ a drug and alcohol abuse problem, get them off the streets and get them treatment.

3) Everyone else needs shelter, work, and a path to self sufficency.

How to evaluate Austin’s track record? Here are two troubling examples:

The ARCH downtown is the most dangerous block in the city. It must be relocated immediately.

Now a new shelter has been proposed in S Austin with zero local input near 3 schools at a cost of $8M.

City leaders should be commended for eliminating veteran homelessness entirely and cutting in half child homelessness. I agree with Mayor Adler that those efforts must be scaled.

But not while this disastrous Camping Ordinance is in place ruining Austin.

After refusing to reconsider this policy during August, it appears they will consider it at the Sept 19 council meeting.

The problem is 50k college students just returned. We have three home football games before then & ACL around the corner.

The violence will get worse.

City leaders are not acting with urgency. They are needlessly endangering our police and our citizens. A majority of residents see this policy as a disaster.

It must be repealed. Immediately.

I am starting a new nonpartisan nonprofit, Save Austin Now, to wage this battle.

What can Austin residents do?

Email Mayor Adler (saveaustinnow.com/email-mayor-ad…) and your council member (saveaustinnow.com/email-council).

Sign the petition at SaveAustinNowPetition.com.

Share the petition on Next Door and Facebook.

Soon we will be launching a petition to put this before the voters in May 2020. That’s the next opportunity. We will need 20,000 signatures and it will take significant fundraising and volunteer assistance. Stay tuned.

I am committed to fighting this battle until we win.


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More from @MattMackowiak

Aug 7, 2021
Three years ago I looked like the photo on the left. The second photo was taken a week ago.

There was no miracle diet. No surgery.

The only necessary ingredient is determination.

At the time of the first photo, I weighed 260 pounds.

We new commitment to being healthy started in March 2020 when I walked at least six miles a day, everyday, for two months. Walking at least 120 steps a minute, you burn calories. I lost 20 pounds in two months.

But I kept going. I coupled that with a better diet.

Not Keto or some other plan. I just eat less food, fewer carbs, no fast food, and never eat after 8:30pm. That’s it.

The first step is to get a Fitbit and track your steps. The second step is to figure out routes for walking that inspire you. Get AirPods.

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Jun 4, 2021
It is now clear that @AllenWest’s entire tenure as @TexasGOP chair was intended to do only what many suspected: Provide him a platform for his political future, not an opportunity to build the party.

Allen West inherited a strong party passed down from the heroic efforts of Steve Munisteri, ably transitioned and sustained by the work ethic of successor @jamesdickey after Tom Mechler’s failed reign.

Now, the party is in the weakest financial position in at least 10 years.

For 7+ months, our state chair has been unconscionably attacking our statewide officials, rallying with Alex Jones at the Governor’s mansion, attacking our new Speaker, and doing the rhetorical work of Texas Democrats.

Read 5 tweets
May 26, 2021
Here's a quick thread on the absolutely dire public safety situation in Austin ...

Austin has never been more dangerous than it is today. I've lived here since 1984 (except 8 years in DC after college).

It is true that major cities have been dealing with a violent crime surge since 2018/2019, but in Austin it has accelerated. Why?

It's simple: We have the same # of police officers in May 2021 that we had in 2008 (when Austin was 45% as large as it is today).

How is this possible?

With an 11-0 vote, the Austin City Council voted to defund the police (up to $150M) in Sept. 2020.

Read 14 tweets
Nov 8, 2020
Sunday Talk lineup:

Biden deputy camp mgr Kate Bedingfield
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT)
Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC)
NBC News’ Kristen Welker & Kelly O’Donnell
Dem pollster Cornell Belcher
NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell
WSJ's Peggy Noonan
Cook Pol. Report’s David Wasserman
ABC This Week:
Gov Andrew Cuomo (D-NY)
Gov Kristi Noem (R-SD)
Sen Chris Coons (D-DE)
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO)
ABC News’ Jonathan Karl & Rachel Scott
Fmr Gov. Chris Christie
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ABC News analyst Matthew Dowd
DFA CEO Yvette Simpson
Fmr Sen. Heidi Heitkamp
CBS Face the Nation:
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.)
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CBS News’ Mark Strassman
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Oct 10, 2019
Statement from @PeteSessions that I am releasing:

“Today there was information about an indictment released by SDNY and I have read it. There has been a suggestion that I am ‘Congressman One’, which I cannot confirm.

@PeteSessions However, I will vigorously defend myself against any allegations of wrongdoing.

As it relates to my role as a member of Congress and a candidate in 2018, the most important sentence in the indictment is this:

@PeteSessions ‘The defendants concealed the scheme from the candidates, campaigns and federal regulators’.

Therefore, if I am ‘Congressman One’, I could not have had any knowledge of the scheme described in the indictment or have involvement or coordination of it.

Read 7 tweets
Oct 7, 2018
#Kavanaugh tweet storm beginning now:

Today’s confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court is the most significant judicial victory for conservatives of my lifetime. All conservatives should thank @SenMajLdr & @ChuckGrassley for their extraordinary leadership through a grueling battle.

Moving the court from 5-4 liberal to 5-4 conservative will have sweeping ramifications for the country. Most importantly, it will restore the rule of law & the Constitution. Democrat efforts to end run state legislatures, Congress & the executive branch will now be fruitless.

Read 14 tweets

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