There is just nothing good to say about police/community relations this week, but really, almost no point talking about anything else.
City Council will get a briefing on "protests in the city, including protocol and practices employed," as the agenda puts it, today (Thursday) at 3pm. Council members will have plenty to say as well, because those protocols and practices clearly left a lot to be desired – and left APD Chief Brian Manley fighting back tears at the press conference where he tried to make sense of what had gone wrong with his team's response. But they'll have to talk fast, because the next round of confrontations starts promptly at 6pm, when the Mike Ramos Brigade has called for a protest at APD Headquarters to "confront APD for the unjustified shootings of protesters."
Austin Police Association President Ken Casaday, in turn, has invited the mayor and council members, along with the public safety commissioners and the director of the Office of Police Oversight, to join him and other officers at what he refers to as the "Tell Us His Name Now! Protest the Austin Pig Department!" protest. The Brigade aren't calling it that, at least publicly, but Casaday calling it that does appear to send the message that his rank and file aren't expecting a peaceful demonstration, aren't in a mood to take any shit, and are perhaps not as chastened as their chief.
Or, perhaps, they just don't get why everyone's so angry all of a sudden.
Casaday closes the invitation by saying that he hopes the officials' "presence will promote an environment for protesters to express their First Amendment right to peaceably assemble ... without it devolving into a violent riot, opportunity for looting and destruction of our City." And, he might have added, if only the sensitivity training had worked, without anyone being shot by police.
The Democratic state convention continues this week, with online panels and workshops Thursday and live general sessions 4-7:30pm Friday and 10am-12:30pm Saturday – with a star-studded lineup of speakers, including Joe Biden, opening for musical headliners Little Joe y la Familia and Robert Earl Keen – before the 7pm U.S. Senate run-off debate between Royce West and MJ Hegar. It's all streamed live at TexasDemocraticConvention.com, with the debate also broadcast on KXAN.
In what could be good news for Austin renters, Realtor.com noted a trend last week: "In Airbnb Hubs, Furnished Short-Term Rentals Are Now Pouring Onto the Market." The report noted that as the vacation rental market has dried up, many of those units are now becoming available as furnished rentals for residents. "A pair of nightlife hot spots saw the biggest increases in furnished short-term rentals in the United States: Nashville, TN, with a whopping 185% leap, and Austin, TX, with 160%." The next highest metro area was Orlando at 82%; next on the list were Las Vegas, Chicago, San Antonio, New Orleans, and Honolulu.
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