Ott Tackles Austin's Racial Divide
The city manager won't abide changing the subject when it comes to I-35
The biannual PeopleTalk Speaker Series is presented by PeopleFund, a nonprofit dedicated to improving economic opportunity, particularly on the Eastside. "Are we what we say we are, given our heightened level of sophisticated sensibilities?" Ott asked, gently provoking the progressives eating pizza at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar. "We don't want to talk about it."
The city manager then asserted with some heat: "Well, I intend to talk about it! And I intend to do something about it." After describing "you need not apply" racial discrimination that he personally encountered early in his career, he said that now, as Austin's city manager, he believes he's finally in the right place, at the right time, to speak out. "I'm not going to be silent about it. And to the extent that I can redirect resources to do something about it, I will." Gesturing toward Shade, he added, "The only way I'm going to stop is if the seven of them stop me!" He received enthusiastic applause.