Mayoral candidate Steve Adler: Austin has to do better

As mayor, Adler wants to improve Austin by ensuring the city executes long term plans.

Despite having no city council experience like his rivals, civil rights attorney Steve Adler, 58, believes he is the right person to lead Austin under the new city government structure.

“I think if we are going to hold onto what makes Austin special and magical, its spirit and soul, we have to do better with the decisions we are making,” he said. “We actually have to get out in front of some serious challenges that this city has that we are not in front of.”

If elected, Adler wants to implement long-term plans that he hopes are executed well. Some of these plans include controlling the growth of ACL and SXSW to prevent accidents like the one during SXSW last spring.

“I think students should vote for me in part because of how I see government and government responsiveness,” Adler said. “Austin has never been a city that does long-term plan executions well.”

Adler said that if he is elected, his office will be open for all people, especially students, to voice their concerns, like transportation.

“You know, eight years ago, when this council came into office, we were the 26th most congested city in the country,” he said. “We’re now the fourth most congested. We’re moving in the wrong way.”

While his office would be open, Adler does not plan to sit and let citizens come to him. He plans to visit St. Edward’s and talk to the community.

“I think it’s real important for people to have access to the mayor, and I think it is important for the mayor to be proactive and to get out to people,” he said. “St. Ed’s is a tremendous resource and opportunity for this city.”

A major piece of Adler’s campaign is changing what he calls “the status quo” in Austin. The status quo includes people like Martinez and Cole who are used to operating under an old way of thought, Adler said.

Adler’s slogan for his campaign is “a new way forward,” and that’s how he wants to change the status quo. That slogan encompasses what Adler hopes are new ideas, a more efficient city government and more thoughtful and deliberative ways of solving Austin’s issues.

Other campaigns have pushed back at Adler, saying that none of that can be accomplished without city council experience.

“One of the biggest challenges we have is that there will be lots of voices that will be telling us how to do things the old way, because that’s what we are familiar with. We need to fight past that,” Adler said.

While he may not be as familiar with the nuances of city council like his rivals, Adler says he knows key city processes that are key to operating as an effective mayor.

Along with that knowledge, Adler says his experiences as chair of The Texas Tribune, Anti-Defamation League and Ballet Austin will be beneficial if elected.

“I think it is much more beneficial to the city to walk into that situation and draw upon a broader experiential base,” Adler said.

Adler believes there is great power within the student community when it comes to elections.

“You know, there was a time in the city of Austin college kids decided the mayor’s election,” he said. “They showed up in numbers that were unexpected by the rest of the community and literally decided who the mayor was going to be.”

The candidate plans to utilize St. Edward’s more if elected.

“I think the city ought to be relying more on the expertise that’s walking around that campus,” Adler said.