Candidate questionnaire: Linda Guerrero – City Council District 9

Candidate questionnaire: Linda Guerrero – City Council District 9

ATA issued a candidate questionnaire to all candidates running in the November 2022 general election. All questions were the same for Mayor, City Council, County Clerk and County Judge. Responses have not been edited. View all responses here.

Linda Guerrero – City Council District 9

1. As we head into the 4th year of Covid-19, what learnings have you taken from the pandemic and how will you apply those to your policies and community outreach moving forward?

We’ve learned the importance of social distancing, masks, and vaccinations to reduce the spread and most serious consequences of Covid-19. Austin Public Health needs to continue to sponsor vaccination clinics, designed for families and including language interpreters on-site, particularly in areas of town with higher need. If new variants or diseases appear that put public health at risk, Austin Public Health now has the necessary experience to make recommendations limiting the size of social events and requiring the wearing of masks in public places.

On the positive side, we have learned during the pandemic that employees in many fields can get their work done remotely. Austin should continue to encourage work from home and flexible hours to reduce traffic.

2. How will you work with City leadership to provide a housing plan for unhoused residents?

There are different populations in the homeless community, and one size does not fit all. The city should develop a system to aid people appropriately.

The following 4 steps can help with homelessness:

  • Get the data: Identify and engage people at risk of and experiencing homelessness.
  • Support those who have housing now who are in danger of losing it. Intervene to
    stop people from losing their housing and divert people from becoming homeless.
  • Have shelter and crisis service available for immediate access.
  • Connect people who are homeless to housing assistance and services that they need to help them get and maintain stable housing and deal with problems including mental health, addictions, and unemployment.

3. How will you work with City leadership to support marginalized communities in Austin?

City leadership needs to meet with, listen to, and –most importantly –consider the concerns of marginalized communities. Two prime examples of marginalized communities being ignored are these:

  1. The approval of new zoning on East Riverside, which resulted in the loss of hundreds of units of affordable housing.
  2. The approval of a new fuel storage facility at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport despite the concerns of neighbors.

I understand that many Austin residents, not only traditionally marginalized groups, believe that the City holds community engagement meetings without using the feedback or results from those meetings to address the public’s concern. I am adamant about holding city staff accountable for the feedback they receive from the public. This is vital for transparency and effective process. Involving the City’s Equity Office in community engagements is always a good idea to ensure that no group is marginalized. In my own office, I will create an open door policy and hold quarterly round table discussions to understand residents’ most pressing concerns.

4. Homeowners and renters experienced enormous increases in Travis County Property Taxes in 2022. How will you address Austin’s ongoing housing shortage and displacement issues?

I will introduce a collaboration between AISD and the City of Austin to make use of schools that have been closed, such as Pease elementary. These properties can be used for affordable housing for teachers and school staff (school crossing guards, clerical workers, and lunchroom workers, among others).

One way Austin can impact the affordability crisis is to provide housing supply for those at the lowest end of the affordability spectrum. The best opportunity for this housing supply is to develop city-owned property. Mueller is an excellent example of this approach, although the income-restricted housing is not at the lowest end. All city land used for housing must include 100% housing at 80% MFI and a percentage at 30% MFI. At least 50% of the development must be family friendly, with two or more bedrooms, and the development must include ownership units.

Another useful tool is Community Development Corporations – nonprofit organizations focused on revitalizing the areas in low-income, underserved neighborhoods. As a Council Member, I will work with these organizations to increase housing stock at the lowest level of affordability.

The City’s anti-displacement strategy should include the purchase of existing structures to rehabilitate and keep for permanent affordable housing. This strategy would prevent existing affordable housing from being converted into high income housing.

5. As our community continues to rely on virtual spaces, how should the City address the digital divide? What steps would you take to bridge that divide?

  • Provide free wifi at homeless shelters and permanent supportive housing.
  • Offer reconditioned cell phones at a low cost.
  • Continue to provide free wifi in city facilities, including City Hall, Austin Energy,
    Development Services, libraries, recreation centers, etc.
  • Make computers available for public use at City facilities, including recreation
  • Start a pilot program allowing the borrowing of laptops at the library.

6. What are your thoughts on the City of Austin using cryptocurrency (AustinCoin)?

Cryptocurrency is risky and I would oppose its use with taxpayer funds. I would also oppose the use of cryptocurrency for environmental reasons. Mining cryptocurrency takes large amounts of fossil fuel-generated energy, which increases global warming. Cryptocurrency mining has also encouraged people to hoard computer parts, causing a spike in prices and issues with availability.

7. How can the City better work with Austin’s tech community to bring innovative approaches to civic challenges?

In 2020, Habitat for Humanity partnered with tech companies to build the first tech-build affordable home in the Scenic Point neighborhood in northeast Austin. A handful of homes built by Habitat for Humanity with tech company assistance will help a few families in need, but Austin’s needs are much greater. Austin needs to work with our tech companies to obtain commitments to provide affordable housing on a scale similar to those that have been made in the Bay Area and Seattle. Apple committed $2.5 billion to combat the housing crisis in California;, Microsoft committed $500 million to affordable housing; Facebook pledged $1 billion to fund construction of about 20,000 low- and moderate-income housing units; and Amazon is supporting the creation and preservation of more than 568 affordable homes with support from the Amazon Housing Equity Fund. Without this type of assistance, Austin’s skyrocketing housing costs will make it difficult for companies to employ workers in Austin.

Several cities in Florida use software (sold by a local company) to perform planning and development analysis using a data-driven approach. These tools serve as a development-services virtual front counter, speed up approval times, and reduce costs associated with development approval. Austin’s tech community could provide similar services, and to facilitate that, Austin could sponsor tech competitions in specific proposal areas, offering prize money and collaboration opportunities to the winner.

For more information visit

Share this post: