Political rhetoric on Prop A heats up as early voting begins

The Carver Library in East Austin was used as a back-drop Monday for a Prop A opposition rally.

"How many Breonna Taylors, how many more Mike Ramos we actually need before we realize that we can’t police our way out of public safety," said Chas Moore with the Austin Justice Coalition.

That question was initially acted on almost 2 years ago when the Austin City Council diverted $150 million from APD’s budget to other programs. This new vision in law enforcement resulted in shutting down a cadet class at the police academy, as well as several special police units. 

The city recently put more money back into APD's budget, and Monday at the rally, Austin Mayor Steve Adler made it clear where he stands on doing more. "Let me begin with the fact that, this is an irresponsible and reckless proposition," said Mayor Adler.

Congressman Lloyd Doggett and Travis County Commissioner Brigid Shea were part of the Monday rally. They were joined by Mayor pro-tem Natasha Harper Madison who declared Prop A is a form of racism and will result in the closing of parks as well as libraries.

"You don’t have to lose anything to make necessary investments in communities, and compromising this facility, this asset, in order to push an agenda that is so deeply rooted, so deeply rooted in Supremacy."

The group even sent a warning to its own political party members. "And any Democrat texting you or calling you for Proposition A is a liar," said Travis Co Democratic Party Chair Katie Naranjo.

That last accusation was taken as a personal shot by Cleo Petricek.

"I absolutely take that personally, because I am the co-founder of Save Austin Now. I am a proud Democrat, I've only voted for Democrats, and this has nothing to do with party politics or even the race issue, my community, the Latino community has been on the front lines of the police staffing crisis. 72% of the murders today bin Austin have been black and brown victims," said Petricek.

Save Austin Now wants the staffing level at APD to return to what was budgeted in 2019. Along with setting a standard of 2 officers per 1,000 residents - the measure would also require more training in de-escalation tactics and more community interaction. 

The measure, according to supporters, will cost about $35 million. But city officials claim the estimate could be as high as $120 million.

"So apparently we had the money 2 years ago, what happened to it. How could we all of a sudden not find the money? It’s a scare tactic," said Petricek.

Early voting runs until October 29th. Hours are Monday thru Saturday 7:00 am - 7:00 pm. On Sundays, from noon until 6:00 pm

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Campaign launched to oppose the Save Austin Now campaign Prop A
Travis County shares early voting locations for November 2 election
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