RELEASE: USCM, ADL Announce Mayors’ Compact

New York, NY/Washington, August 18, 2017 – The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and The Anti-Defamation League today announced a new joint plan to fight extremism and bigotry and promote justice and equality in response to the disturbing hate and violence seen in Charlottesville, Va. More than 240 mayors from across the country representing USCM so far have pledged to implement the plan.

 

USCM partnered with ADL to develop the 10-point Mayors’ Compact to Combat Hate, Extremism and Bigotry. Under the Compact, mayors commit to vigorously speak out against all acts of hate; punish bias-motivated violence to the fullest extent of the law; encourage more anti-bias and anti-hate education in schools and police forces, using ADL experts and resources for both; encourage community activities that celebrate their population’s cultural and ethnic diversity; and ensure civil rights laws are aggressively enforced and hate crimes laws are as strong as possible.

 

“Terrorism by white supremacists, like what took place in Charlottesville, is a clear and present danger to America’s cities,” said Austin Mayor Steve Adler. “Mayors are eager to join with the Anti-Defamation League to fight hate, and I’m honored that Mayor Landrieu asked me to help lead a coordinated campaign across this country to promote the Mayors’ Compact to Combat Hate, Extremism and Bigotry. Only the Statute of Liberty should be carrying a torch these days, and her message of respect must echo in America’s cities where this battle is being fought.” Continue reading

Mayor Adler: It’s a State Property Tax

“Only four years ago, the State got one third of what the City got. Only three years ago, the State got one half of what the City got. And next year, for the very first time, the State will be taking more than what the City of Austin gets. So to be clear, property taxes are no longer a local property tax. From this day forward, let’s call it what it really is. Ours is a state property tax. And the recent increases by the state of property taxes has been extreme, geometric, and irresponsible.

“Yet in this ‘Alice in Wonderland’ world, state leaders are blaming local governments for their property tax increases, and  that is simply not true. It’s not appropriate. As chairman [Dennis] Bonnen has said so clearly—chair of Ways and Means in the House—the attempt to cap local property taxes has nothing to do with property tax relief. To suggest otherwise is inaccurate, and it’s harmful.

“If the legislature wants to do something about our increasing property taxes, they need to fix their increases in our property tax. They have to hold down this out of control state property tax that citizens and residents of Austin are paying. If the legislature wants to do something about increasing property taxes, they need to fix our broken school finance system. That’s the only thing, the real thing, that people all over our state want our state legislature to do. And it appears to be the only thing they are not doing this special session.” Continue reading

USCM & ADL Mayors’ Compact: Mayor Adler’s remarks

What happened in Charlottesville could happen to any city. In fact it does. Domestic terrorism has killed more Americans since 9/11 than Al Qaeda & ISIS combined.

Austin has a long history of dealing with racism. We were officially segregated in 1928, and an interstate highway was later build on that dividing line. That segregation has led to inequitable outcomes in education, health, and prosperity and led to incidents of police violence.

Even if we mean well – and we do — mayors face the effects of institutional racism every day. We know that the problems might be complicate, but the evidence of racism is clear. Mayors live this problem. This isn’t politics for us. This is what we work on every day.

Mayors are well-situated to lead on this issue. We can tell the good guys from the bad guys. Only two sides to racism: right side of history and the wrong side of history. Only way to find a solution is to face the problem, and the only one who should be carrying a torch is the Statue of Liberty. Continue reading