Decibel Tries New Outreach Initiatives For Upcoming Elections

By Jonathan Puente | Friday, September 2nd 2022

At Willard’s Brewery in Pflugerville, a large garage door creates a path into the brewery. People mill around, enjoying conversations and laughter over craft beers. And some of those conversations veer towards the upcoming citywide races as they chat with our Decibel team.

This year they will vote for mayor and the City Council Place 1 seat. We believe it’s critical to hear directly from local residents about the issues on their minds when it comes to their city and their elected representatives. Decibel attended several events during the summer to talk with Pfolks and get their feedback on these upcoming elections. Our biggest question to them was “what would you like candidates to discuss or be aware of when campaigning this year?”


Senior Multimedia Journalist Blair Waltman-Alexin and Reporting Intern Briana Senegal listen to Carlos Gonzalez, a Pflugerville resident who stresses the importance of affordable health care for his community. “Here in the United States people ration care,” says Gonzalez. Photo by Jonathan Puente.

On Saturday, Jul. 30, the Pflugerville Library held its “Pay It Forward Pflugerville” community event to wrap up the library’s Summer Reading Program. Kids created pet toys for the animal shelter and decorated kindness rocks to leave at the park. Decibel talked with several people about their thoughts on the upcoming races.

“One thing I’ve talked about and have heard other Pflugerville families talk about is wanting more family friendly spaces around the city,” says Jessica Young, who was there with her daughter. “Putting more money into family friendly spaces…events and places to go.”

Others wanted to see Pflugerville leaders extend legal protection for those seeking abortions. Anna Martin pointed to Austin as a framework she’d like her town to take up. .

“I know that in the Austin city limits they’re been doing a lot of work to make sure that abortion is decriminalized,” Martin says. … “I would like to see maybe an extension of that.”


Members of the community work on a paint by numbers mural on the side of Pflugerville’s city hall. At this summer event, we spoke to several residents who brought up issues of affordability and inclusion for their community. Photo by Samantha Guzman.

At the “I Painted It My Selfie” event on Friday, Aug. 12, the public was invited to complete a ‘paint by numbers’ mural on an exterior wall of city hall. We spoke with more residents who shared their comments and thoughts on issues for the candidates.

Pflugerville resident Mubaraka Malbari is a member of the Dawoodi Bohra of Austin. Their congregation is building a new mosque in town. She stressed the importance of inclusivity.

“I think especially with people moving from New York and California, diversity is always important, for people to make sure we’re living in an environment that’s open and accepting to different types of people,” Malbari says “Especially as we build…a flagship location in Pflugerville.”

Diversity was an important topic for Kimberly Deckel as well. She spoke to us about moving her family from Phoenix to Pflugerville.

“Pflugerville appealed to us because there is such a wide range of diversity especially in terms of race and ethnicity,” Deckel says. “A big part of that is focused around housing… We’d love to know what their plans are to keep Pflugerville affordable and diverse.”


Locals face the challenges of trivia at Willard’s Brewery in Pflugerville. Full Sass trivia invited Decibel to attend and speak with residents about issues they want addressed during this upcoming city election. Photo by Jonathan Puente.

Affordability and housing were on residents’ minds at other community events as well. Decibel partnered with Full Sass Trivia on Wednesday, Aug. 24, to meet and talk with Pflugerville residents at Willard’s Brewery. While people sat and stood, enjoying conversations and laughter over beer while trivia buzzed in the background, Corbin Black discussed affordability concerns.

“How do they intend to…address their concerns to not be displaced by gentrification and cost of living, again?” Black said. “This is a great small town next to the capital of Texas, let's keep it that way and make sure we don’t lose our identity.”

Residents also discussed health care costs. Carlos Gonzalez said he wants to see responses from city leadership on how to address medical prices.

“Here in the United States people ration care,” Gonzalez said. “I think it’s important for the entire nation to find something even on a local level, to help cover those people, especially underserved communities.”

While health care continues to be a subject on the minds of people, cost of living and housing continues to be relevant to residents both in and outside of Pflugerville. We continued our outreach efforts during the grand opening of our new home, the Austin Media Center. We spoke to visitors about questions they may have about the midterm elections, and upcoming mayoral races in Austin and Pflugerville.

Clay Leben wanted to know what city leaders plans were for EMS service in Pflugerville, which has undergone several changes recently.

“I understand the ambulance service has changed quite a bit,” Leben said. “What is the future of emergency services, ambulance services for our growing Pflugerville population?”

Community engagement will continue to be at the center of our election coverage. As part of our coverage we’ll be sharing more of our conversations with community members, as well as trying to talk to city leaders about residents’ concerns. As we move towards elections in November, we will continue to develop these conversations and other stories happening in Pflugerville.

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