Hi my name is Kym Olson and I am running for Austin City Council District 9. Like many of us, I have had a lifetime of all the fun that Austin has brought over the years and what an amazing heart and soul community this used to be. These days, we find ourselves living in a constant state of overwhelming madness and confusion. I can’t sit by and watch this any longer knowing I have the qualifications, experience, and resources (Y’ALL) to assist.
There is absolutely no reason we should have these grandiose plans, still in development phases, that are set to consume the city, change the way we live yet the human toll on our quality of life with dislocation, construction, traffic, air quality, etc. to be taken into consideration. These projects are way over budget, behind schedule and not a single milestone of success to show as a viable measure. As anyone knows this demonstrates first hand the failure of leadership and accountability.
We have to go back to the basics, bare bones and fix this from the ground up. Austin, and our so-called leadership, has created a literal house of cards right now and it’s at a critical stage already. We have to regroup to get us back into shape: rescue, restore, rebuild with awareness, preparedness, & readiness before we find ourselves in another city meltdown.
In the process of the poorly planned or thoroughly thought out project chaos, we have put maximum strain on all of our city resources.
Our current officials are failing Austinites with the basic responsibilities a city is required by statute to provide: health/public safety, help those Austinites that need our assistance and must repair, rebuild, and enhance current utility infrastructure to ensure reliable power/water; just to name just a few things Austin is required by law of cities to provide.
Health and public safety are both in a state of disaster.
Ensure reliable and capable public utilities, water and power in a forward thinking climate changing environment to ensure we don’t find ourselves in dire living conditions ever again.and make sure we don’t find ourselves in the public health crisis we are seeing nationwide.
We need mental health services. (period).
Yes, providing the homeless a place to live is amazing service, however, it’s not a set up for success without proper coping skills to readjust let alone process the conditions that got them to their current state of affairs. Let’s prepare those for their next steps prior to the next step.
Of note, people across all socio-economic realities could have used mental health services during the blizzard, pandemic, etc. We had nor yet have any type of mental health service. Mental health doesn’t address one specific sector, it’s a larger portion of the population that’s not being included.
I served on the Board for the Texas Network of Youth Services (TNOYS) for around 9 years advocating for public policies and priorities to strengthen youth and families, specifically displaced and homeless youth. I received several legislative successes in receiving the first increase in appropriations for youth services, bed rates, and new policies, also receiving Volunteer of the Year. I have seen the success made, what works and lessons learned. We need to prioritize homeless youth first and foremost.
Furthermore, why is it we want to get the homeless into new homes prior to meeting basic needs? Also, has anyone asked what they want? What do they need most? Mental health!
Let’s take the burden off the dwindling police force. Let’s initiate a 211, or the like, to direct these calls to the proper mental health facility, and not the prison/justice system. By sending youth with nowhere to go to prison for not having a home, you're giving a criminal record to a juvenile and unnecessarily ruining the lives of youth. We need a community mental health center well equipped to suit people and youth with a variety of social and mental services. Job resources are not enough to pass out to those without a home and are actually kind of insulting. Basic utilities. Ensure reliable and capable public utilities, water and power in a forward thinking climate changing environment to ensure we don’t find ourselves in harrowing living conditions ever again.
Let’s also make sure we have the water plants, facilities and infrastructure needed so we don’t find ourselves in the public water crisis we are seeing nationwide.
Lastly, let’s then move forward with all these plans but in a responsible manner. Research: size and scope, risk management, and all stakeholders involved and then, with the will of the public, move forward and test a pilot project before uprooting our streets and homes. Carte blanche all or nothing revolutionary projects are not successful; tried and true. Try something new.
Beyond my lifelong association with Austin, I received a Masters in Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs. A professional career with decades of proven success establishing responsible policy.
I have graciously received many awards, recognitions and Commendations for my leadership through civic service, volunteer service and top fortune 500 companies. I unquestionably know what I am doing and it has all been accomplished by working , consulting, researching and advocating.
As Captain, Texas State Guard, I honorably serve as Protocol Officer and Deputy Public Affairs Officer. I deployed to the State Operation Command center during the first part of the COVID pandemic. I got first hand knowledge and experience on incident command management, receiving recognition for service. My leadership skills are self- evident and in urgent need for Austin.
Let's not be fooled by those keeping our eyes to these bright, shiny stars in the sky of futuristic visuals of a Jetson's family reality. Let's put a foundation down before building up further and before the house of cards falls.
Vote for me, Kym Olson, to rescue, restore, and rebuild our city together.
Bring back the peace, love and soul to our Austin community. All of us for all of us. We can. We will!