The Clawback LIVE! Episode 41

logo-tr.pngEpisode 41!

Joining the show this week are Austin Firefighters Association President Bob Nicks, D6 resident and Founder of Movement Maker Terri Broussard Williams with special performance by Sho H

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Episode Transcript

Hello Austin! Hello District Six. Hello Clawback viewers. Welcome to the 41st episode of the Clawback. It seems shocking that we've been doing this for so long, but we have, and we've got another great show for you today. We've got the president of the Austin Firefighters Association, Bob Nicks, and we'll talk a little bit about the COVID response, and what they're going through. Terri Broussard Williams, an amazing D6 constituent who I don't even wanna go into all the amazing stuff she does. She's unbelievable. And a D6 musician is joining the show today. It's gonna be a good one. First, just to talk as we always do at the beginning, in this times, talking about the pandemic briefly. The hospitalizations continue to fall or level off kind of in that lower part of stage 3. You're doing a great job, Austin. Keep wearing masks, keep avoiding unsafe conditions. We're about to go into a holiday weekend: Labor Day holiday weekend. Don't put your guard down. This is the time to stay strong and to stay true to what we all have to do to get through this pandemic, Austin, I know that you're gonna do a good job this weekend, and we're all gonna be proud of it. Especially as we're about to see possibly school reopens, challenges at the university, all that stuff. You're doing great, Austin, keep up the good work. Something else that happened this week: We had two council meetings in a row: Council meeting last week; Council meeting yesterday. And we adopted a new and additional set of Quarter Cent Fund projects in District 6. These are small-scale transportation projects that my office has been able to move forward. We've got new sidewalks, new traffic lights, new crosswalks, all across the district. And you'll see new signs go up: Dynamic Speed Display Signs in Avery Ranch and Canyon Creek. New stoplights for Anderson Mill Road. You probably see Anderson Mill Road under construction right now; very exciting to see that project moving forward! New and additional improvements for every corner of the district: new sidewalk on McNeil, extending the sidewalks on McNeil. It's a lot of great stuff. All of that stuff approved in the last week. Really good stuff to keep your eyes peeled for in your own neighborhoods, all across District 6. Let's jump right in to our first guest. I wanna talk to one of the impacts of this pandemic that if you're doing your job right, you don't see is all of our first responders that are having to deal with these challenges and the changes about what it means to be a first responder during a pandemic. So I'm really proud to bring on – Oh wait, I got it backward. My first guest is actually not Bob! Bob's my third guest. My first guest is Terri. I've never done that before - Forty-one episodes in. It's a live show, y'all.

Founder of Movement Maker Terri Broussard Williams

My first guest is a District 6 resident and a close personal friend, the amazing Terri Broussard Williams. Hi, Terri! Hello! I will take first, second, third, any of these slots! I'm just happy to be here with you today. I'm so glad to have you join the show. Sorry I messed up the introduction. It's all good! Glad to have you here. Terri, you you've done such amazing work for the community. And as I've gotten to know you in our friendship… but first before: How's everybody doing? Everyone in the family safe? healthy? everybody good? Yes, I am from Louisiana, and it was a rough ride. It's still has been a tough time for my family in Louisiana between COVID, the intersection of Black Lives Matters, and the hurricane last week. But we are strong, resilient people. So we're doing great. Thanks for asking. I'm glad to hear about that. So tell the folks watching, what is Movement Maker? Oh my gosh. Yes, it is a passion of mine. I have had this varied career from being on television to being a nonprofit professional to serving as a lobbyist, and at every juncture I realized that I was giving people information so that they can make decisions for themselves or their community, and I had no experience with all of it. You know, I really believe that you don't need a pedigree to create change. So I created a platform called movement maker that gives people tools and strategies. But most important: inspiration so that they can make the changes that they wanna see in the community, and really be a part of a collective of people that would lift them up as they did it. That sounds amazing. What are the the components? I think you have a podcast as part of that, too? Yes, I have a blog, which is where I put most of my content, and you can find at or, as well as a podcast where I bring on friends to talk about the good, they're doing throughout the world, not just in the country, but throughout the world, as well as my book, and some some YouTube videos as well. Tell me more about the book. How exciting to publish a book? Oh it's beyond exciting. We're coming up on a month since the launch of Find Your Fire. Of course, I have tons of copies, But I, for the longest time just had these thoughts in my head about how easy it is to create change if you truly believe in the work that you're doing and you surround yourself with a great collective. So I pulled those things together and started to tell my own story about how I became a lobbyist. I literally had never met a lobbyist before my first day at work as a lobbyist. The only lobbyist I'd seen was Elle Woods on Legally Blonde 2, where Elle saves the dogs in DC. True story. I wanted to tell that story, but also the story of just everyday people that we're doing extraordinary things. So they're all included in Find Your Fire, but not only do I tell their story, I lay out, the Firestarter Formula, and the tools, and the steps they took to make it happen, so that anyone can do the same. So this is why I got confused with who my first guest was: it's a fire themed episode of the Clawback as it turns out. After me to put out the fire, right? There, we go. You're starting the fires. Bob puts out the fires. That's good. That's really exciting. When did the book publish? It launched on August 6. Oh brand new. One of those bookstore moments. That's great! Where can people find your book? On Amazon. Amazon has all the things including Find Your Fire. That's exciting. This is such a crazy- I feel like I'm running out of words. Right? How do we even describe this moment we are in, and all the various different ways people are going through this time? I think about my own family, where I can work from home, and I'm very fortunate to be able to do that. My boyfriend works at HEB, and he has to be out in the public. We have asked so much of our essential workers. We've conscripted them to be the bouncers of COVID. Oh, you're right! Where they're the ones enforcing masks when that's not what they signed up to be when they're working at the grocery store. And then all the other various experiences people are having. Life is still is going on. There's still people doing all the other things, and I'm just really hopeful. I want you to have a moment to talk about what, from your perspective with Movement Maker and Find Your Fire? How do you see this moment, and what do you say to folks that are struggling to find the next step? Yeah, at first before I get into that, I wanna say you get no hall pass life, right? No matter if you're in your home, and you are safe, and you have the ability to work at home. You're still dealing with things. You could be in isolation and just depressed because you might get your energy from others. You know, if you're out there, I say prayers - I'm a prayerful person. I say prayers for those people that work every day. You know, they are providing the food that we need, the water that we must get, the toilet paper when we needed it, right? But so we do have to keep all that top of mind. I'll tell a quick story before I answer your question. I was set to launch this book in March. It was ready last year, but I was ready to go, and drop it in March. And I will never forget the disappointment I felt when I had to push it back. But little did I know at that time that we would have, that the pandemic would be as big as it is. We'd have the most awful Memorial Day that we can remember with the shooting of George Floyd, and then all the other things that happened after. And so now is the time, this is the perfect opportunity for Movement Maker to launch, and that was a lesson within the lesson that I had to learn. So for the people that are interested in starting a movement: There are three things that I want them to know: The first is, if you hear something, if you feel called to do something, especially if it's something that others ignore, you have to listen to that, you have to take the first step and listen to it. The second, you do not have to have a pedigree. A fancy degree. You know, people in Austin and Texas will say you have to work at the Capitol before you, become a lobbyist. That is not true. I have had an incredible career and got to work with some amazing people without following the traditional path. So don't be afraid to try. And third: You just have to start. You just have to take that first step. And sometimes we get so caught up in wanting to have the perfect plan, and wanting to have the perfect message, and wanting to have the perfect look. None of that matters. People need you right now to step up. And so Jimmy, I'm so grateful for you. I remember the first time I met you when you were running for office, and you knocked on my door, and I was like, Are you a real-life person knocking on my door asking for my vote? Something that just isn't common place in District 6. And so I love that about you. You go above and beyond and make sure people know that they are people and that they are good people, and you also let them know that you are a fire starter, and you truly wanna create change. So thank you. Thank you so much Terri. I will say one of the hardest parts about campaigning in a pandemic is not being able to go and talk to people in person and nearly as much as we were able to do in the campaigns in '16 and '14, and that's a struggle. But we're trying to do everything else that we can and This show is a part of that, and I'm so thankful that you took some time today and join the show and share your words of inspiration and wisdom with the community. I'm so grateful to consider you, not just a constituent but a friend. Thank you. I'm a foot soldier in District 6, so I want you and everyone in the district to put me to work so we can create change! Excellent. Thank you so much Terri for being on the show today. Yes! Have a great weekend. Alright. Terri is really an unbelievable talent and inspirational leader for the whole region and even at higher levels, and really grateful that she had some time to join us today.

Sho H

I wanna go right into our musical guest. We've been bringing live musicians on to the show since we started doing live guests back in March. and it's always special when we can bring on a musician who is right here, lives right here in the heart of District 6, and so I'm excited to bring on Sho Humphreys! Hi, Sho. Hello, hello! Thanks for joining the show today. Thank you for having me. It's an honor to be here! First, is your family safe and healthy? Everybody doing okay? Yes! We're staying… … Oh, we lost your audio. Uh-oh audio just cut out. We can't, we can't, we can't hear. Where'd he go? I want to make sure it's not my audio. Can can you hear me? Oh boy. We're having some audio problems here. Huh. Well… Hold on folks, we're gonna take a pause, and we'll hopefully, be right back.

Okay, back to our guest. I think we've corrected our audio issues. Sho are you back with me? I think so, can you hear me? Yes! I'm sorry about that. We can hear you! Yeah! Okay. Well, I'm glad, I'm glad that we're able to make that work. Okay. So I'm glad that your family is safe. I'm glad that everybody's healthy. That was the last thing I heard you say before the audio cut out, but you're also a senior at Westwood High school, right? Yes. A senior, actually, I was just at my math class before I joined the show. I'm on lunch break right now. Oh gosh! Well. I'm glad that, well. Yeah, I guess during the pandemic if it wasn't for that, we wouldn't be able to do this. So I'm glad you're able to take a moment and join the show. What is it? What is it been like being in your senior year during this time, and just to what is that you've been having to deal with? Fortunately, not as much as some people. I've heard issues about 11% my school district the kids not having access to the internet. So thankfully that hasn't been a problem for me. I'm glad we've been able to get COVID cases down some and keep the schools closed then. Online school: I mean, I miss interacting in-person with my friends and my teachers, but it actually hasn't been too bad. It's been fairly easy for me to adjust to it. So I'm glad about that. I'm glad to hear that. I'm really excited to hear about your music. Yes! Sorry, so yeah… No, no. no, it's fine! Tell me about the music that you play. Yes, okay, so I play a ukulele. this is a Kamaka ukulele made in Hawaii. I was inspired to play by seeing Hawaiian ukulele player Jake Shimabukuro when he came through Austin a few years back. And I'd seen his YouTube performance of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" but playing the ukulele, and he had some embellishments - [plays a solo on uke] HA! And that kind of stuff. I saw this as a 9-year-old, I was like, Wow! I gotta do something like that. And I was inspired by the crazy scene here. Don't know if you know the band Peelander-Z but they go out out and call themselves a comic action punk band and there's all sorts of crazy, creative people in this town, and I was like, I wanna be a part of that! Ha ha! That's so that's so exciting. I mean just at eight or 9 years old to see it and then: Do it! You're putting out music? You've released songs during the shutdown, including with: as a collaboration, I mean how you've been able to pull that off? Well, the power of the Internet really is amazing, and in this day and age on these things, you know, digital audio workstation. So before you'd have to go into a studio and record. But now, with this mic, on this cable, I can record into a computer and use MIDI or digital instruments to fill in drums and bass. And then I've been using primarily Instagram to reach out to people, reached out to an Italian pianist - the song I'll play a little bit. We were both featured in the guitar YouTuber Ichika Nito's video for a fan cover, and he reached out to me, and he's like, Let's make a song together! So we never have talked face-to-face, but we're able to chat and he would send me a riff. I would send him some drums and Ukulele and we just went back and forth like that over the internet, and made a song together. That's so amazing and so creative! Tell me about this? Yes Okay. So that is the music video is a still frame from my music video for "Love you", which is a song I put out with our local musician, Evan Kolvoord, he sings and plays harmonica on this song. But this is something that I worked on this. I kinda like pecking away at it, just a little bit by little bit on my computer for 7 months or so. And this shot is actually in this room, and it was, I don't know, it's kinda, I had so much fun, creating different stuff for this. That's four of you, right? That's- you're not a quadruple? Um, I think not, I think not. Yes, that is really hilarious. So tell me… I'm excited to hear about the music, tell me what you're gonna play, and then I'll let you take it away. Alright so I'm gonna play "Digital Summer", which is a song I wrote with Italian pianist Cere and on the studio version, you'll hear some production by @aycollapse It's the second of two singles I've put out so far under Sho Humphries. My name. You can listen to the studio recording on Spotify or on Bandcamp or wherever you listen to music. For now, I'd like to bring you a little solo take on it, with me and my pedal board. I hope you enjoy it! [Digital Summer on Ukulele by Sho Humphries] [Digital Summer on Ukulele by Sho Humphries & loops] Wow! Thank you so much! Oh my god, that was amazing. Thank you! That was… I'm I'm blown away! And you were so into it, man. I mean just, I'm not, I don't have the hair that you have to really make it work, but that was really cool. That was really cool so unbelievably talented, Sho! And if you wanna see more of that, please check out my website: That's like my name SHO or YouTube or Instagram handle down below. I love that. Well last 2 things I wanna talk about before I let you go: Over your shoulder, you have the Asian Creatives logo? Yes, so it's the logo for the Asian Creatives of Greater Austin. I believe that snippet you showed from the "Love You" MV was in a video presentation in one of the city council meetings or no, sorry not city council but music director boards so I don't know if you were there or not. I was at school. It's a group about bringing an Asian voice to the table. As you know, K-Pop and stuff has been really taking off in the mainstream, but by the way there's not a ton of Asian artists around. You had BettySoo on last week. Yes, last week. She's one of the founding members of this, and I'm just someone that was invited to join. I really believe in this, but I've been lucky enough to grow up and see Asian artists around me like Peelander-Z that I mentioned. There's Japanese restaurant owners and and Korean restaurant owners and they are musicians, and there's a bunch of- like BettySoo, and I can look and see them performing. And I think that has helped me in deciding to really pursue it. And it's like you know, hey, there are people that look like me, as BettySoo said. But also I'm Japanese-American, so it's kinda cool to be able to have that extra connection with local musicians. And yeah: So I really want - that's awesome - moving forward. Yes that's great, and I'm glad to see that not only are you an incredibly talented musician as evidenced by your performance today, but that you're also participating in the community of artists, and that's such a critical way to support the next generation. I mean, you are the next generation. There will be a generation after you, and you gotta keep encouraging folks to show up and share their creative talents! And the last thing I wanna- You're participating in HAAM Day? Talk a little bit about this? So this will be my next performance, as part of HAAM Day If you don't know, it's the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians. Being a creative doesn't come with benefits. So groups like this are really helpful to the creative scene. And my brother and I will just be streaming it. So this will be with my brother, Shin, he is my brother. He plays guitar, and he also has his Instagram @ShinHumphries @ShinHumphries. And we'll be doing some duet stuff; please consider supporting the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians. That's excellent. HAAM is such a great organization and we've certainly supported it at the city, and I'm glad to see that you're participating in the livestream and having more Asian creatives participating in our beautiful live music scene in Austin. Sho, thank you so much for spending some time. I hope I haven't distracted you from your school work too much today! Oh not at all! Really, just unbelievable; your music today was just such a gift to share with the community. Thank you so much, Sho. Thanks very much for having me, council member! That was awesome. I don't think I've ever heard a ukulele played that way. OOOkulele, because how He pronounced it. Yeah, that was awesome, and you know, we rolled with the punches on our technical issues today. I think we're all learning how to do that during the pandemic - you just make it work. Thanks everybody for watching. Thanks again to Terri and Bob and Sho for joining the Clawback today. We're heading into the meat of the reelection cycle, and so I wanna make sure everyone knows you can go to you can sign up for a yard sign You can sign up to be a volunteer. You can always make a donation on the website for the campaign; help me keep this good work moving forward. You can also see on my website our new Solutions section, which talks about all of the amazing work we've done in just the last three and a half years to help District 6 solve the problems that this district has been facing and that frankly, prior to my being on the council, were being ignored and now we're getting our problems solved. And I hope I can count on everybody's support to keep this work moving forward into 2021. Thanks everybody for watching the show today. I think it's been a good one. Keep wearing your masks; keep avoiding those tight situations. The hospitalizations are down. We're gonna survive this thing as a community, and we'll see you all next week.

Austin Firefighters Association President Bob Nicks

Alright. So let's go and bring up our last guest, Bob Nicks with the Austin Firefighters Association. Bob, Thanks for coming on the show today. Yeah. Thanks for having us. I'm so glad we'll do a little bit of a dance here and see if we can get our audio issues corrected for Sho. But first, I like to start all of the interviews with: How's your family doing? How's everybody? Is everybody's safe and healthy right now? Well, thanks. Thanks for asking, Jimmy. My family is doing wonderful. I'm very blessed and staying healthy, and trying to get through this very disorienting time. So thanks for asking. Well, thanks for for all that you're doing with the Austin Firefighters Association. First, just tell folks what the association is and what is the firefighters association do. Well we're an association of firefighters who try to meet together and decide our collective interest, and then talk to people like yourself Jimmy, and our management. Our main impetus is – I don't think you've ever seen me pounding my fist on the desk asking for bread and butter issues like wages and benefits. I'm always talking about, and we're always talking about, how we can make our service better in the community and stay relevant. Well, thanks Bob. It's been great working with you in the time that I've been on the council. But this is such a bizarre time for firefighters and all of our first responders having to deal with this pandemic. How has it changed the work of your members? Well, I'm gonna talk in general about the work we do and then talk about the pandemic, too. I mean to understand the fire service, cuz fire seems like such a traditional sort of service, you have to realize, we're all-hazard organization. Anytime somebody has a life-threatening call, we have at least four trained firefighters within 4 minutes to respond and make sure your day gets better. And there's really, to look at EMS or fire, you need to kinda look at emergency versus non emergency calls. We're there for emergency calls. We gotta maintain emergency response posture at all times. But to the extent we can, we handle a host of non-emergency calls too. I think last time you put a statistic out that the fire is there about fires about .7% .7% of our calls are less than 1%, and that's true. But when you look at how much time we spend On-scene on fires, it's about 14% of our total time. And it's our highest call for what we consider emergency calls, where lives are at stake. And so a lot of people don't realize we make medical calls. Firefighters are actually- provide fairly advance medicine and advance airways, and we do CPR. We're usually the ones actually with their hands on the patients. We're the biggest first responders in Travis County. So we do a host of things that are related. Not just fire, and the name fire is kind of a traditional name we've stuck with, but it probably should be changed if you really want to reflect what we do. But moving into COVID? We're emergency service organizations. We're well-trained to handle these things, but it provides a different dynamic when you realize you might be taking this stuff home to your friends and family. And it has created additional stresses on the job that I've never seen before. I think the department has been good at managing those, but it's just a different sort of time I never thought I'd see in my life. And it has been a big challenge. Well, definitely pass my thanks along to all the members for for for adapting and being so good at their jobs at adapting to this really challenging time. And like you said, one of the most interesting things that I learned coming into the job was that the fire department is so much bigger than fires. And it really is an emergency response – in all these varied search-and- rescue and hazardous materials, and all those different things that it's a really critical service to the community. Two things that I wanna talk about specific to the fire department: wildfires District 6 is right on the edge of the Balcones Preserve, and there's a lot of tree cover, which we love. But those preserve areas also increase the risk of wildfires and we've invested in wildfire mitigation, but we know that the job is big. So can you talk a little bit about what wildfire mitigation looks like in the work of the fire department. Sure and let me talk about the hazards you guys are facing in District 6, because they really are immense. Austin and really District 6 and District 10 to some degree and maybe for the south, but really the North-West, excuse me, is the is the third highest risk in the nation. The highest risk in the nation behind Californian cities. So it is something we need to deal with. The association helped to form wildfire division several years ago. And I don't know if you know this, but we wrote some - we're in the midst of writing national curriculum on WUI [Wildland Urban] Interface firefighting. We're working with Cal Fire who's 6,000 firefighters in California fighting. They're the ones doing it. We're working with them and Colorado Springs. And we are happy to say that that that training has been finished and we're delivering to our firefighters soon - hands-on training, and they've already been through the online training. And all that's been developed largely because of what the association brought forward. So we're really excited about that. The main thing is, and Jimmy, you've been a good supporter of wildfire, and I think you know This, you gotta mitigate fuel, in terms of making sure the fuel loads are lower. And you gotta train firefighters to prepare, and those are the two main - the two-prong approach. There's other things as far as meeting with citizens and making sure they're doing their part, too. But from a fire department perspective that that's where we really- that's the tip of our spear. Well, thanks Bob. You've been a great leader in bringing wildfire increased attention to wildfire issues, and I've worked with a few of my colleagues to do the same, and do more investments in wildfire mitigation. It was a great experience when you brought in some of the firefighters from the West Coast who have really been fighting wildfires at a whole other level than we've been fortunate not to experience here in our community, and to get to tour around and see things live and in-person about where those dangers occur. And I'm glad to hear that the training is underway. Per usual, Austin leads. And you and the firefighters association are a critical part of how Austin leads the nation in solving all of these very challenging critical issues. And Jimmy, really quick, you talk about the fire fighters coming from California. That was something that we hosted, quite expensive to do, but the two fighters that we brought in and I know you met these folks… They were the instant commanders of the Camp Fire where 80 people in incinerated in their cars trying to exit, and the reason we brought them in, we brought them out here and do some of the stuff a few months ago, and they drove to your areas, and they said, Oh, my god, this is worst than the camp fire. And so they were really motivated to come out here and kinda relay that message, and I think it's - I don't wanna make people fearful, but it does mean that we need to prepare, and I appreciate your support in that area. Yeah. Thanks Bob. It's definitely a big important topic of conversation, and I'm glad to see us leading on the WUI code, which is the wildland urban interface code to make sure our building codes are improved and, frankly I think I it would have been better if the state had allowed counties to have land-use controls before all of this area got built. So much of the areas that the most risk were built prior to the the city having any of its voice involved in that and that's - We'll find a way; we'll find a way. And we've got the best firefighters in the business to do it so. Bob, the the last piece just real quick. We also have a new fire station coming to District 6, and you're your group's been great leading on getting those fire stations added to the council agenda and Mayor Pro Tem Garza leading on that initiative too, including one right here in District 6 for Canyon Creek. So Bob, thanks for all that you've done to keep our community safer and protecting us against wildfires but also all of the other hazardous conditions that your folks have to respond to. Well, thank you, Jimmy. Thanks for having us on. Thanks so much Bob. Here we go, okay. That was great. I'm so glad Bob took time to join the show. Wildfire issues, certainly in some neighborhoods in District 6, Canyon Creek, in Grandview Hills, and River Place, and part of Steiner Ranch that are in the City of Austin, a lot of questions about how we ensure that we're protected against wildfires, including new investments that the council has made in wildfire mitigation. And we gonna have our wildfire or firefighters out there solving those problems so glad that that Bob joined the show.

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