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A new winter storm and old problems raise questions about Austin leaders’ response to crises

As newly elected Austin Mayor Kirk Watson and a City Council with an array of fresh faces review their first major crisis, the city’s top officials once again find themselves trying to figure out why the city botched its response to a significant weather event.

Austin Mayor Kirk Watson speaks with the press to discuss the city's response to mass power outages after a ice storm, at the Combined Transportation, Emergency, and Communications Center in Austin on Feb. 3, 2023.

“The idea of shutting your city down for a week is, from an economic development standpoint, insanity.”

— Steven Pedigo, director of the University of Texas at Austin’s LBJ Urban Lab.

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