AUSTIN, Texas - A campaign has been launched to oppose the Save Austin Now campaign Prop A.
Organizations, activists, and city leaders are launching the "No Way to Prop A" campaign to focus on what they say is exposing "the truth about Prop A and the extreme harm it would cause to Austin if passed."
Austin City Council Members Vanessa Fuentes (District 2) and Alison Alter (District 10) spoke at a morning news conference to announce the launch of the campaign. They were joined by leaders from local organizations including the Austin Area Urban League, Austin Justice Coalition, and more.
SAVE AUSTIN NOW RESPONDS TO "NO WAY TO PROP A" CAMPAIGN
Save Austin Now PAC co-founders Matt Mackowiak and Cleo Petricek released a statement in response to the announcement of the "No Way to Prop A" campaign. The statement is as follows:
"Low income neighborhoods disproportionately hurt by skyrocketing homicide rates, 911 wait times, and other horrific residual effects of the council’s police defunding efforts are going to lead the way voting for Prop A. A police department with better trained, sufficiently staffed, and foreign language proficient officers are issues Austinites agree on. Paid activists on this list like Chincanchan are on the city’s full-time payroll yet are running this campaign. Just like last time, the city is out of touch with the on-the-ground impact their policies are having and are using city resources to fight the majority of voters. Our city can afford the same number of police officers that the city authorized just two years ago. City Hall may not support law enforcement, but city residents do. We will return safety to our city on November 2."
A list of questions for the "No Way to Prop A" campaign was also released by Save Austin Now:
- Is Austin safer now than it was a year ago?
- How many homicides are you comfortable with our city suffering in a given year?
- What is a reasonable response rate to priority one 911 calls?
- How many homicide victims have campaign leaders personally met with this year?
- How can we not afford the same police force authorized strength (1,959) that our city had two years ago?
- Do you oppose retention pay for our best officers, incentives for foreign language proficiency, and doubling police training hours?
- Dallas has 2.9 police officers per 1,000 residents and Houston has 2.4/1000. More than 200 cities have at least 2.0/1000. How can Austin not afford this?
- Do you trust our police department?
- Mayor Adler recently said he hopes we can get to a day where we have no police. Do you agree?
- What is your message to the victims of violent crime in our city?
WHAT IS PROP A?
On November 2nd, Austinites will be able to vote on the Make Austin Safe ordinance, a win for the group Save Austin Now who gathered enough signatures to do it.
In a recently released fiscal analysis, the Chief Financial Officer of Austin broke down what it would take if voters said yes to the ordinance rightfully petitioned by the group Save Austin Now.
"The proposal does call for two officers per 1000 and so to have two officers per 1000 employed at all times, we will essentially need to overhire because of the way cadet classes run," said CFO Ed Van Eenoo.
The CFO broke it down into two categories: a low and a high scenario. The low scenario estimates it would cost around $270 million for a total of five years with an annual cost of $54.3 million. The high end would be close to $600 million with an average of almost $120 million.
Without raising taxes, Austin City Council member Greg Casar (District 4) says that money would probably come from other city funds.
"[That would mean] 400 firefighters, 400 parks and library staff, 210 medics, 255 health and social service staff, and 160 courts and other staff to total $120 million a year. That is the number of firefighters parks in library staff, medics health and service staff, and court staff that it would cost us two if we just went and cut $120 million a year out of the budget and so just how big and how devastating it would be to our budget," said Casar.
Matt Mackowiak with Save Austin Now says this is just meant to protect Austin and the best way to do that is put more police on city streets.
"Our view is the council has put together something here that they want to try to use to scare people and try to defeat our effort. At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself, do you want Austin to be safe again? And if so, then you need to support the ‘Make Austin Safe" ordinance," said Mackowiak.
'Save Austin Now' petitions for city to hire more officers
City of Austin certifies Save Austin Now APD petition
‘Save Austin Now’ launches petition to address APD budget, staffing
Save Austin Now PAC looking at potential lawsuit over new petition
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