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Austin’s Social Inequality May Hurt Its Chances with Amazon

Guest column: The internet giant’s search for a second headquarters could prompt cities to improve.

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Illustration by Anna Donlan

In 1898, British stenographer Ebenezer Howard devised a plan for the ideal city. His short opus, “Garden Cities of To-Morrow,” became arguably the world’s most influential book on city planning. Howard’s ideal of balanced growth, proximate open space, clean efficient transportation and energy, public health and vibrant metropolitan culture caught the rapidly urbanizing world’s imagination.

Although Howard’s vision inspired international community design, spawned national New Towns legislation in several countries and more recently influenced China’s burgeoning new urban explosion, the United States, barring a few efforts, paid the Garden City idea little heed. Committed to highways, malls, subdivisions and office parks, the U.S. found no need for Howard’s “quaint” idea of compact green cities. However, Amazon’s recent announced search for an ideal city in which to locate its second headquarters could change that.

Specifically eschewing cities with congestion problems and an absence of accessible culture and recreational areas, Amazon’s Request for Proposals lists requirements for cities hoping to attract the internet retail giant. At stake is up to 50,000 jobs, hundreds of millions of dollars in payroll, and more than $5 billion in capital expenditures. No small incentive for cities to ponder.

The right city, Amazon states, will have, in addition to the perfunctory “good business climate,” close proximity to transportation infrastructure, mass transit (including light rail), walking and biking options, and easily accessible culture, recreation and green spaces. Amazon is also looking for cities embracing sustainability, renewable energy, recycling, green building and a creative approach to the built environment.

These attributes were fundamental to the Garden City ideal: unifying nature and city, technology and community, cultural innovation and tradition to help “a new civilization come into being.” And there can be no doubt that advances in technology, driven by companies such as Amazon and Lyft, are creating a new urban future. Amazon has made a powerful statement about the type of design and amenities cities will need to stay vibrant and viable.

However, something crucial is missing. Amazon and its kin all desire accessible, green, culturally exciting cities to attract and retain skilled employees. Yet their list of attributes, topped by a business-friendly environment, holds no mention of a city’s commitment to social equity. Without seeking a city committed to quality of life and affordability for all its residents, not just the doyens of tech, the amenities of affordability, low congestion, and business “stability” will be elusive.

That has been the fate of other leading tech cities such as San Francisco, Austin and Seattle. Research by Bloomberg released this year identifies these cities as first, fourth, and sixth, respectively, in U.S. income inequality. As middle and working classes fall behind the new urban elite, families with children, elderly people on fixed incomes and minorities are forced to leave the city. True quality of life deteriorates. San Francisco in the wake of the tech boom is now more akin to a corporate campus than the diverse urban mixture vital to the metropolitan experience. Austin, once the bohemian center of music and cowboy culture whose allure drew tech companies, is rapidly becoming, according to the Austin Business Journal, one of the least affordable housing markets in the nation. For the city fortunate enough to win Amazon’s favor, without a strong commitment to social justice, such will be their fate.

This type of wealthy, antiseptic urbanism was not what Howard, Jane Jacobs, Fredrick Olmsted, or the other founders of city planning sought. They were, rather, social reformers seeking to craft cities where health, well-being, culture and economic prosperity were permanently accessible to all. They worked to build cities firmly committed to social equality as well as financial success and indeed, saw the two as inextricably linked. While Amazon’s search is an important wake-up call to urban designers and metropolitan leaders, this greater goal is the larger challenge facing cities of tomorrow and today—to bind social and economic opportunity together and in doing so, as Howard wrote, help us “lead society on to a far higher destiny than it has ever yet ventured to hope for, though such a future has often been foretold by daring spirits.”

Robert F. Young is an assistant professor of community and regional planning in the School of Artitechture at The University of Texas at Austin.

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  • roadgeek

    Good. Too many people here now. Don’t need Amazon.

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  • John Bernard Books

    Why do democrats want to destroy America?
    ” Amid all this turmoil, we forget that diversity was always considered a liability in the history of nations—not an asset. ”

    History tells us they must destroy American culture to win.

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  • Just call me Joe

    The requirements of extensive mass transit, high culture and amenities is mutually exclusive to affordability.

    Affordability requires cheap land and low density housing. That makes mass transit fail and does not provide the density of patrons for high culture and amenities.

  • RuthAnn J

    Austin’s infrastructure alone seems to be enough of a deterrent.

  • Chris

    “Affordability for all it’s residents?” That’s inanity that sounds like social justice when it’s not. It’s implication is that anyone should be able to live in Austin including people with zero income. Based on that logic, Austin should build infinite public free housing … and that is the Democratic Party dream. But we tried that in the 70s and 80s and got the worst ghettos in history.

    People should live where they can afford to live. Austin is a “5th Avenue” of cities and certainly middle income people can afford to live there albeit in the least expensive neighborhoods and at a large expense relative to their income. But better, people should live where they can afford to live … if it’s 30 minutes outside Austin that’s fine.

    So much is wasted on “affordable housing” that could be spent on education which is the real cause of social inequality. And so far housing the poor in expensive cities has lead to education delinquency, crime, poverty and greater inequality.

    Check out “The Deuce” to see what “affordable housing” wrought.

    • anonyfool

      Actually “Show Me A Hero” is relevant to “affordable housing”. “The Deuce” is about when the USA finally legalized pornography. Unless you think affordable housing is pornography.

      • Chris

        Duh. I was referring to how horrible NYC became in the 70s/80s because of all the free housing and unlimited welfare which made it comfortable for jobless criminals to prowl the city. You can stay on episode 1 to see that. Or see “Panic in Needle Park” … that was 73rd Street and Broadway in the 1970s. Or any documentary about the city in the 1970s/80s like CNN’s The Seventies and The Eighties. The city and people before all these housing projects. People who can’t afford Austin should be encouraged to find someplace they can afford and that tax dollar should be spent on educating their children wherever in the USA. Affordable housing a pay-for-vote scheme by Democrats that always results in misery for the least off … witness Detroit.

        • Kozmo

          Most of us don’t rely on TV programs for our outlook on life (I hope), and your helpful advice for those who can no longer afford to live here to “get out” is appreciated. Not. This is the sort of attitude I won’t miss in the slightest when I *am* forced to relocate.

          • Chris

            I lived it; I grew up in NYC in the 70s and 80s.

            Look … if you want to live in Austin, go to school, get good grades, get a job that pays enough for you to live in Austin. If you don’t want to do that, live somewhere else. STOP trying to live off of other people’s blood, sweat and tears. That’s what “affordable housing” programs is. There are more important things for government to do than force taxpayers to pay for you to live someplace expensive. 99% of the US geographically is affordable housing. But the welfare “snobs” want only the best … for what?!?

            You’ve got the attitude problem. Someone else should pay for you to live in Austin because you like it there … thus someone else can’t live there who has worked harder to earn it.

            And Democrats exploit that … result … Detroit. And their goal is to turn Austin into Detroit and Texas into California … both places with so many people on the dole that Democrats win every election while everything turns to ruin. In San Diego they are now disinfecting the main streets because so many people defecate there every day and diseases are spreading into the surrounding restaurants.

          • SpiritofPearl

            No data. No respect. Try again.

          • Chris

            Look at how those in public housing treated that housing and responded to all that charity they received – still. They do far worse in school, are far more likely to remain poor, have children they can’t afford causing generational poverty, and have a much higher crime rate than the general population. Data? This is obvious. If all that affordable housing were met with genuine gratitude, Baltimore, Detroit, Philadelphia, and the South Bronx would be paradises. And the worst performing students and criminals are in Manhattan are those living in public housing. The projects are a nightmare.

            What great benefit is there – not just buying Democrat votes to control Austin – to subsidizing housing in Austin? Is the city better -no. Are the people living there better – no. And when they do get housing, they want more for doing less. Inequality is caused by those getting things for free coasting while those unwilling to live on the dole work hard to make more leaving them behind. And then they cry because they have less than the neurosurgeon. The bottom 50% in the USA, especially in Austin, get so much for free, but they want more … cheap housing in what many think is the best place in the USA, Austin. Hah. Work to get a high paying job … do more for the city before you seek more from the city.

          • SpiritofPearl

            “Gratitude” seems high on your list of requirements. Do you instead mean “grovel”? “Oh thank you white massa for what you give me.”

            Too much Fox News analysis from you . . .

          • Chris

            If the taxpayer is taking care of you – and the taxpayer is taking care of the bottom 70% of the income levels, you should be grateful. People work hard to be in the top 30%. 90% of millionaires are self-made, working hard and saving since they were 5 years old. Every time you go over a bridge, use the library, drink the water, you should be grateful … no … you want to live in Austin for $300/month, too … and in NYC on rent control … and on and on and on.

          • SpiritofPearl

            The taxpayer is taking care of the top 30% as well, dontcha know?

            I don’t live in Austin for $300/month.

            DJT is not one of those millionaires who is self made. Had he been he’d probably be more successful than he is.

          • Chris

            The top 30% are taking care of themselves and everyone else. The top 1% are taking care of the bottom 30%.

            Just about all those Goldman Sachs people are self made.

          • SpiritofPearl

            What planet are you on? The top 30% get big tax incentives and write offs. Their businesses are supported by our highway system, the internet, the Federal Reserve, the stock market, the educational system from K-12. Here in Texas the property tax base to support public schools is being gobbled up by giveaways by the corrupt GOP governance to attract corporations to partake of the so-called “Texas Miracle.”

            How do you know the G-S guys are self made? Data please.

          • BCinBCS

            Ahhh, Chris, I see. All the U.S. needs to do to eliminate poverty is move very-low income people out of the cities. Damn, I wish that I had thought of that.

            I don’t know if you presently live in a big city but, if not, maybe we should move very-low income people into housing next door to you. After all, you do want to help. Correct?

          • Chris

            So you want to spend enormous amounts of money to house people because why? Is there any evidence housing the poor near the rich helps either? The real reason is if you house poor people someplace 3x-10x more expensive than they’ve earned they’ll vote Democrat … then you can be in charge of the rich people next door and tax them. And what happens to the children … generations wrecked. Look at Detroit.

            How about, if we house them, we house them someplace cheap, then spend the money on their education so they won’t be poor.

            Nothing Democrats do is helping the poor … it’s only helping them get elected.

          • Chris


            3x more crime in LA housing projects – that’s the gratitude for free or cheap housing, biting the hand that would feed them.

          • SpiritofPearl
        • SpiritofPearl

          Housing projects in urban areas have been in existence since post-WWII. Design failures have caused them to be failures (see: Pruitt-Igoe, Cabrini Green) and they mostly been dismantled.

          Try again.

          • Chris

            Maybe but Democrats wielded them in the 60s to create the ghettos of the 70s and 80s and 90s. Howard Shultz grew up in a housing project in Brooklyn that was at least functional. But after the 60s, they turned into horror stories that ruined NYC. Such a shame; money wasted on the worst and the least grateful for it.

          • SpiritofPearl

            What are your sources for this info? Who is Howard Shultz? Why should I care? How do you know those who live in public housimg are the least grateful?

          • Chris

            How’d her son turn out?

          • SpiritofPearl

            He went into the military.

          • Chris

            Great; noble calling and gratitude in deed.

            How’d he do in high school? Did he apply to colleges?

            Still nothing about Detroit, huh? See, there is the proof I’m right. Democrats had their chance from the 60s to the 90s to show us how giving money to poor people would make them better off and the cities better. The opposite happened. Then Reagan and Giuliani came along (Reagan was 80s, but Democrats still had a strangle hold on cities).

          • SpiritofPearl

            He wasn’t too bright. I doubt he finished college. I did.

            I told you about Detroit. If you were old enough, you’d know that Detroit was Motor City, “By-day-I-make-the-cars-by-night-I-make-the-cars” Detroit.

            Reagan destroyed America. Rudy is limed up.

          • Chris

            What? Reagan saved America. Detroit was trashed in the 70s. Meanwhile, thanks to Reagan the USA has had a great 40 years. Detroit, run by Democrats gets worse and worse.

          • BCinBCS

            You show a profound ignorance of the conditions that existed for the poor before public housing came into existence. I suggest that you study a little history about the deplorable conditions that existed prior to the federal government getting involved and the lack of education and employment opportunities those previous conditions engendered.

            Were the huge public projects the perfect solution? Hell no, but they were certainly light-years better than the slums that they replaced. And, the single-family housing that is now replacing the projects is a consequence of what the government has learned from that experience.

          • Chris

            So, why not house the poor in central California where all these jobs are in the farm industry that illegal immigrants are doing? Apparently there are millions of jobs there and cheap housing/cost of living.

          • SpiritofPearl

            Mao tried something like that. It was called “The Great Leap Forward.” Millions died. You can watch a film called “Farewell My Concubine” to get a feel for that sort of authoritarianism.

          • SpiritofPearl

            How do you know they’re not grateful? I know several individuals who grew up in the projects and went on to become successful citizens. Sure beats living homeless.

          • Chris

            The choice is not living cheaply in Austin and homelessness. Hah. Austin is possible the best city in the world in terms of quality of life and expensive, too. Lots of inexpensive housing and jobs in other parts of Texas and the American West. Move where you can afford. People in NYC who are homeless could live and work in most of the USA.

            If public housing and welfare resulted in a good work ethic and good citizens, poverty would be gone, not generational and the ghettos would not exist at all.

          • SpiritofPearl

            You have a naive understanding about economics.

            Where are the jobs in rural communities? Where is the transportation? Many poor people depend on public transportation to get to work. Those who don’t have cars often live in “food deserts” because big grocery chains like HEB don’t build stores in impoverished communities.

            You prattle the white man’s fantasy.

          • Chris

            You have not explained how everywhere “progressives” run governments turns into horrible cesspools of crime, drugs, and devastation. If all these programs, like affordable housing, so poor people could be near jobs was good for the poor, their children, or a city, Detroit would be a shining example of success – note, there WERE jobs in Detroit 70 years ago before leftist Democrats took over.

          • SpiritofPearl

            Actually the jobs in Detroit left when the Japanese started making better cars. How old are you?

          • BCinBCS

            Where do you suggest that the people who do the low-income jobs live? Do you suggest that they live in the country and somehow commute to the big cities in order to do their minimum- and low-wage jobs.

            Or do you advocate that, like all Republicans, that these people earn a living wage so that they can afford to live in the cities?

          • Chris

            I suggest they live someplace they can afford to live based on the pay they’d get for the work they can do. Austin has low unemployment, 3.6%, I read. But it is also a very expensive city in which to live, median house price $400K, I read. Now it seems to me a few people making very little could share a cheap apartment somewhere on Austin’s East Side for very little or indeed live further out and commute in, perhaps share the cost of a car or take a bus – that’s part of the housing search. Where there’s a will there’s a way. That’s as is. But forget about that. The median house price in the USA is $190K. I know there are lots of places in the USA with median house prices under $100K. The problem in Austin is too many people want to live there who can’t get a job that pays for them to do so because it’s expensive. But there are lots of places needing unskilled workers that are more affordable, Casper, Wyoming – 5.0% unemployment, $214K median housing price. I just guessed that would be better and it is. It’s not a fun capital like Austin, but that’s the point of getting an education – to improve your options. But beyond that, lots of places outside of cities are less expensive. In the USA there are too many poor people crowding into the super-cities like Austin, LA, and NYC and then DEMAND the working people there take care of them. Have you ever seen Skid Row in LA? Were there fewer poor unskilled workers, employers would have to pay more for unskilled labor and then there would be more for them to buy housing and an equilibrium benefiting all would ensue.

            Here’s what I suggest – live someplace you can afford and only after you’ve exhausted that option should you seek public assistance – and not someplace expensive with high unemployment. There is a greediness of sorts wanting someone else to pay for you to live in a place like Austin, TX.

          • Sky Mirror

            In other words, you are all for ghettoizing people based on their income. Of course, if you are forced to live where all of the jobs are low paying, your job will always be low paying with little or no chance of advancement up the economic ladder.

            By the way, have you checked out the rents in Austin lately? There are NO inexpensive apartments in Austin and rents have been forced up from San Marcos to Georgetown as a result. We are talking about $1,500/month or more for a one bedroom. How many minimum wage earners would need to crowd into such an apartment to be able to afford such a rent?

          • Chris

            So don’t live in the Austin area! It’s the most sought after city in the USA. Hah. You implicitly call poor people “ghetto” types. It’s only a ghetto if people break the law and do drugs. A neighborhood of lawful poor is really just the same as a middle income neighborhood or a wealthy neighborhood, just not in as an ideal location with less attractive surroundings. You seem to want to house, for example, poor people on 5th Avenue so as to avoid, as you say, ghettoizing them. That would cost effectively $500K a year per family. That’s why when your type run things you get Detroit, and the 80s South Bronx, and Venezuela, and Puerto Rico – before and after the storm. You’d waste money on silliness to win votes and yet you never produce “progress” … the schools get worse, crime gets worse, the government goes bankrupt and then you blame … let’s see, white people, rich people, Republicans. The greatest enemy of the poor are progressive Democrats – been so since 1959.

            Housing the poor is an expensive waste of money that could help poor children spent wisely.

          • BCinBCS

            You draw conclusions from flawed logic. You state that since they are in positions of power, Democrats caused poverty in cities like Detroit when in reality the poverty existed before and continues to this day due to economic forces.

            If you would study history you would know that masses of Southerners, especially African-Americans, left the South prior to WWI and continuing until after WWII in The Great Migration. They left abject poverty in the south for northern industrial jobs. Through market conditions, those jobs have been largely both relocated overseas and replaced domestically by automation.

            You advocate relocating the millions and millions who are assisted by public housing. Who will pay for this move? Who will pay for their housing as they get re-established at new jobs? Where are these new jobs? Who will guarantee that these new jobs will exist in the future and another relocation will be necessary? Also, who will do the jobs that the employees did in cities like Detroit when they leave?

          • Chris

            These are 100 year transitions. People not in Detroit, have done the work in school to qualify for what jobs there are and certainly do not remain in Detroit jobless rather than move where they can work. Democrats have ruined the schools. Some of these high school diplomas are worthless signifying an 8th grade education or worsle.

            The market conditions were in part that Democrats made manufacturing in the US so expensive and ruined the workforce by wrecking the schools and introducing unlimited welfare ruining the incentive to work. New York is thriving (once we got rid of Democrat mayors for 20 years). The US has had a great 35 years even with the Financial Crisis of late.

            No – you are essentially deceiving people with that first sentence. Detroit has been a disaster relative to the US. The median family income is way up over these last 70 years.

            It would be a bargain to move people out of expensive no-job cities to inexpensive places to live even if they don’t work. Taxpayers would better off than housing them in Austin, TX or NYC. The real problem is the poor don’t want to leave, don’t want to study, and don’t want to do what the poor of the past do.

            They left abject poverty in the south because there was no welfare and public housing. Now, in Detroit there is both so they DON’T LEAVE – worse they are disproportionately criminal, drug abusive, and have children without marriage. Why – Democrats have made it so they can live in Detroit … and NYC in public housing or “affordable housing” and live on welfare and food stamps. Why – so they’ll vote Democrat in November. Democrats want to control cities because that’s where the wealth is. But look at how the children suffer.

            The unemployment rate in ND is 2.1%. Colorado 2.3%. Nebraska 2.8%. That’s state-wide. I’m sure there are localities where it’s 1%. …. And the schools are much better … But it’s boring there. Horror.

            Why move to a job when you can live in NYC (or Austin, TX) or Detroit for free … and vote Democrat?

          • BCinBCS

            It is hard to have a discussion with someone who has so little command of the actual facts.

            Almost every adult receiving assistance, be it housing or food, works. That’s a requirement for being on those programs. One of the major problems is that many businesses do not pay a living wage. The average age of all minimum wage workers is 35 years and 88% are not teenagers but adults bringing in half of their family’s income. What political party consistently opposes raising the minimum wage? Which one campaigns for raising it?

            Blacks participated in the Great Migration, not because there was no welfare, but largely to escape oppression, lack of opportunity and, yes, lack of jobs that was a result of discrimination.

            Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, Atlanta, Phoenix, San Jose, Columbus, Austin, Denver, Boston, Memphis, Nashville, Portland, Sacramento and Kansas City, oh, and New York are all major Democratically led cities that are doing fine, thank-you. Cherry-picking the one or two cities that were the hardest hit by changes in the meta-economy as examples of failed Democratic leadership shows your bias and lack of knowledge of the actual facts.

            Education is the key to better jobs but what political party consistently refuses to fund better schools and job training programs (Hint: think Texas)?

            From your postings, I assume that you are successful (and white). I suspect that you, like a lot of successful people, have no clue about the opportunities and help that you had to to get where you are. There’s even a large chance that you are one of those, like Comrade Trump, who was born on third base and believes that he hit a triple. A lot of people never get those breaks and opportunities in life.

          • Chris

            What? In NYC lots of people in public housing DO NOT WORK. It is not a requirement. Facts? https://www.cbpp.org/archives/hous212.htm This says 1/4 of people on AFDC live in public housing or govt subsidized housing.

            No, the problem is that people have children when the only job they can get is a job a 16 year old can get … and probably do better. And, so often, they aren’t even married. That is the problem of our time. All the money the generous rich have given the ungrateful poor in the USA has been wasted because so many of the poor behave so despicably, for example, having children they can’t afford, adding to their burden on others. Then … they live in places like NYC or Austin, the most expensive places in the world. Then, they want $15-20/hour so McDonalds will take care of their kids … along with the taxpayer. Before the welfare state, this was not possible. Women had a reason not to have children with some poor “scrub” if you will and not to have children without being married. It’s the poor making poverty worse despite the wealthy’s generous efforts to help them. That is the problem. Going to respond?

            OK, that’s why they left the south. Why aren’t unskilled blacks leaving Detroit? I see Michigan’s unemployment rate is in the 3s. There must be lots of places near Detroit where its less expensive to live, more jobs, and better schools. Why don’t poor blacks leave? Why don’t more poor whatever their race leave? That’s the problem. Going to respond?

            NYC remains a product of Giuliani and Bloomberg. DeBlasio has made it worse, more like Detroit. Those other Democratic cities are not super-leftist corrupt 70 year chokehold Democratic cities like Chicago, Philadelphia, and Detroit where government is causing poverty. Those other cities have moderate Democrats in charge. They’d be doing better – all of them – with 20 years of Giuliani and Bloomberg type leadership.

            And the schools and school spending is not the problem. We spend 4x more on education than in 1960 in constant dollars. It’s been wasted on unions who guarantee that Democrats win local elections and help them win in national elections. But even so, education requires dedication to getting an education on the part of children and their parents. We could spend 100x more on education, but if children don’t do the work the results won’t change. If kids start committing crimes and doing drugs and getting pregnant it won’t matter. Stop blaming the taxpayer … blame the student. It’s their job to learn and plenty do in every school in the USA. But with the welfare state, why bother right? You can goof off, commit crimes, do drugs, and get pregnant and the Democratic Party will take care of you. See that’s whats driving inequality. People who refuse to go for the free ride and leaving the parasites in the dust. It’s not rich people’s fault … they should be lauded for helping the poor so much. And more, most of these “bad schools” are in the places I’m begging poor parents to leave. You say they should stay until they get even more from Democrats.

            Hmmm. So wrong in your presumptions except I did not grow up financially destitute – OK – does not matter – either I’m right or wrong.

            You should look up Larry Elders, the Sage of South Central. He came up poor in the worst ghetto of the 70s and 80s and know the poor have everything they need to succeed. It requires hard work, not when you’re 30 and have 2-3 children you should not have had and can’t afford. You have to work hard when you’re 10, 15, 20, and 25; and don’t commit crime, especially violent crime; and don’t do drugs, including marajuana; and don’t have kids with out some wealth accumulated and a job and being married. Does that sound like a good description of African-Americans statistically in the USA? NO! It’s the opposite. Then they whine that they make less than white people. Just about all black people born poor and all poor people who do the right thing in life as I’ve described above rise like rockets in the USA. That’s why poor people die trying to get here. Poor black people around the world line up to be here and when they get here they do very well because they see how inexpensive education is and how eager employers are to hire decent people.


          • Chris

            So many people want to blame others for their problems. Not this time.

            Black people and poor people who remain relatively poor are not poor because white people are racist or rich people are greedy. It that were the case, the taxpayers, who are disproportionately rich and white as Census and IRS data shows would not lavish so much charity on the poor, particularly poor African-Americans … it’s trillions of dollars over the past 50 years … hard worked for tax dollars.

            The problem is too many poor people, and as statistics show, disproportionately poor black people do not behave what is merely reasonably decently despite receiving all this charity … do your homework in grade school and high school and college (every school in the USA provides the reasonably diligent student a AAA education compared to the rest of the world and the library system in the USA is the best), don’t commit crimes, don’t commit felonies, don’t commit violent crimes, don’t do drugs (at all, but certainly beyond reasonably), don’t have kids until you have some wealth accumulated – how about owning a home albeit with a mortgage – AND unless you are married, save wisely.

            Anyone, black or white, can easily be in the upper-middle income strata by the time they are 35 … 40 latest. It’s not that hard and lots of poor black people do it every generation. It’s just statistically they do the opposite relatively to other ethnic groups and that is 99.9% the reason for black poverty and inequality … not past slavery or racism or greedy Republicans. The Jews did it, the Irish did it, the Italians did it, the Polish did it, the Chinese and Indians and African-born are doing it.

          • Chris

            See below for Part I.

            Part II.

            I just checked online, there are 1 bedrooms for $500/month, studios for much less. That’s in Austin. Probably $300-350 further out. You could rent a house for very little further out.

            And maybe even better, pay less and buy a used car to commute or use light rail from Leander or both drive to Leander.

            Well, people who mop floors at McDonalds still become managers. But the point of a minimum wage job is to get another job or save for an education. You have to prove you have the discipline to show up for work 350 days a year for a couple of years to be someone wants to pay more to hire for something else. Same with education and grades. People graduate in the bottom 25% of a really lousy HS class and think employers should want to hire them. Grades prove dedication to work.

            People would be fine without more public housing in Austin.

          • BCinBCS

            Do you not see the flaw in your logic? You seem to be implying that poverty would be eliminated by simply eliminating public housing. If that were true, there would have been no poverty prior to the institution of public housing!

            It does not follow that when two things happen to occur simultaneously that eliminating one will eliminate the other. Two things happening at the same time does not mean that they are cause and effect.

    • SpiritofPearl
      • Chris


        These are all metro areas and many have unemployment as low as Austin. Salt Lake City, Witchita, Oklahoma City. I said live where there are jobs, not in the middle of a farmland area.

        • SpiritofPearl

          You haven’t thought this through.

          • Chris

            If these programs generally are so effective, explain Detroit (and NYC in the 70s and 80s). Now, to be clear, I’m for taxing the rich to HELP the poor. Democrats tax the rich to buy election victories and poor kids suffer the most generation after generation from the waste and neglect. Detroit is an example. Democrats have run Detroit for 70 straight years … 70! It was a great town, safe enough, clean enough, productive with reasonably good schools. Now? You haven’t accepted the truth. I’ve more than thought it through, I’ve witnessed the horror your mindset wrought. Austin is a AAA city, often ranked the best in the US which means to me best in the world. Just because people can’t afford to live there is not a “housing crisis”. They can live near there or somewhere else that’s less in demand. That should be the first approach and living off of others the last. But beside that, its not even good public policy for the poor generally speaking. Again Detroit, NYC in the 70s and 80s.

  • John Bernard Books
  • Kozmo

    Boo-hoo. As someone on a fixed income, facing forced emigration from Austin thanks to its declining quality of life and skyrocketing cost of living, I am crying a river for Amazon, its mindless boosters, and Austin’s never-ending, cancerous pursuit of growth for growth’s sake.

    • SpiritofPearl

      Lived in an apartment for two years when we moved to Austin six years ago. Bought a house in 2013. My apartment friends are paying almost 3x in rent what we pay for our house.

  • John Bernard Books
  • John Bernard Books

    You simply cannot let bureaucrats do negotiations…..they are lousy at it ie the Iran deal.
    ““When the original contract was given to me, if Kevin were to leave the next day there was no buyout provision,” he said. “I had worked with Steve Spurrier for years, and he was paid a heck of a lot less than Coach Sumlin. And he won national championships after conference championships. And then you are making this commitment to a person, and again I don’t blame Kevin, that’s never won a conference championship.””
    Sumlin’s contract much like his coaching is a crime. Liberals love them some John Sharp…..

  • Horde56

    We get it, Austin isn’t getting HQ2. But if we just gentrified the whole city, all the poor people would have to move and we would have perfect equality, right?