Heat Related Special Called Meeting Request

Only City Council members and authorized staff are allowed to post on this message board.
Natasha Harper-Madison
Posts: 68
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2019 12:52 pm

Heat Related Special Called Meeting Request

Post by Natasha Harper-Madison »

Good afternoon colleagues. I am disappointed that the special called meeting I attempted to call couldn't make quorum though I completely understand that this is a difficult time of year for many folks to pull off a last minute council meeting. I'll lay out my concerns here about the stability of our electrical grid, local outages, marginalized communities at the greatest risk of heat related illness or death, Texas statewide- especially rural areas- and all of Austin.

Unexpectedly my office received a call from a D1 constituent on Friday in need of urgent assistance. They had experienced a power outage in their neighborhood the night before and because of the communication with Austin Energy that assured them power would be restored in "a few hours", they remained in the home. These elderly folks, one of whom is a cancer patient, stayed in their hot house overnight and half of the following day before we were able to coordinate with other folks to get relief with cold water and a hotel. Full disclosure, the power was in fact restored just as the advocate arrived to pick them up for transport to the hotel.

It was challenging for my office to locate information about where to go in inclement weather, cooling stations specifically. Without a comprehensive, easy access, widely disseminated, comprehensive list of hot weather safety resources- I have deep concerns for how Austinites will survive any interruptions in electric services, local or statewide, small and temporary or complete disaster sized emergencies. My specific request for this meeting were to have all responding agencies answer questions from the community and council, provide easy to follow instructions on how to access the information communities need and a firm deadline for when to expect what is not in place already.

We were told what we could expect to receive instead of a meeting is a comprehensive memo today, Tuesday 6/28. I look forward to the promised document but will note that it is 3:35pm as I type this note to you all and I have not received it yet. I remain optimistic that our staff will provide good information to our constituents and us and that there are concrete emergency response systems, structure and leadership in place. For any gaps that are detected through this process there should be a firm date of delivery for mitigating them. I welcome your questions and concerns here or via email- though believe it beneficial for our constituents to lay them out here. Thanks for your time and attention.

Kind regards,
Natasha Harper-Madison
Council Member District 1