Austin, TX voters overwhelmingly reject propositions pushed by progressives
There are signs that the left has created a backlash by overplaying its hand. Even in a stronghold of the left like Austin, Texas, where in 2019 homeless people were allowed to erect their tents on city-owned land, including parks and sidewalks, thanks to the progressive-dominated city council. All the problems any sane person would predict started happening immediately. And that led to a voter initiative to reinstate the camping ban, Proposition B. Here is a tweet from the group that petitioned to get the proposition on the ballot, demonstrating the need for the ban:
Our city last week. pic.twitter.com/SiBo1wLO1E— SaveAustinNow (@SaveAustinNow) April 16, 2021
It won Saturday in a vote that was startling for its margin in a city often compared to Berkeley and Madison. KVUE TV reports:
Austin voters have approved Proposition B, which aims to reinstate the public camping ban that was reversed in July 2019. The results were 57% to 43%, with the majority voting to approve the proposition.
The camping ban makes it illegal to camp in any public area not designated by the Parks and Recreation Department; to sit or lie on a public sidewalk or sleep outdoors in and near the downtown area and the area around the University of Texas campus; and to panhandle at specific hours and locations.
Graphic credit: KVUE TV.
Even progs don't like strangers setting up tents in front of their houses and urinating and defecating on the sidewalks (and much worse) there. You could say the progs of Austin are edging in the direction Irving Kristol described 30 years ago to define neoconservatives: "a liberal who's been mugged by reality." While I don't expect Austinites to start backing endless foreign wars and "nation building," they are clearly unafraid to challenge progressive orthodoxy when it has been shoved down their throats.
A second proposition backed by progressives, this one aimed at political reconfiguration, also failed — and by a margin so gigantic that it can only be called resounding. Phillip Jankowski of the Austin American-Statesman reports:
Austinites have resoundingly rejected a switch to a "strong mayor" form of city government.
Final but unofficial results on Saturday showed Proposition F, which would have delivered far more power into the mayor's hands, lost by a margin wider than any in recent memory.
The results were overwhelming:
The unofficial result was 14% for and 86% against with 147,657 ballots cast.
The proposition was a progressive plot:
The Austin City Council placed Prop F on the ballot after the political action committee Austinites for Progressive Reform successfully circulated a petition for it and a slate of other items to come up for election.
But opposition developed from both the left and the right:
Campaign manager Jim Wick said after he saw the wide variety and large number of groups that endorsed against Prop F, they all but abandoned the campaign choosing to focus their attention and dollars on the other propositions they brought.
Even prog groups opposed handing so much power to the mayor.
[I]t became clear soon after Austinites for Progressive Reform announced they had the signatures to place strong-mayor on the ballot that many initial supporters had softened on the idea after learning about the mayor's veto power.
Had it passed, the mayor would have the ability to veto any ordinance passed by the City Council. A two-thirds majority could overturn the veto.
Opponents said giving that much power to a single official would water down the district system that has pushed the Austin City Council to the left.
I take it as a healthy sign that even progressives prefer locally responsive representatives wielding power, not central authority figures like a strong mayor.
Hat tip: David Paulin.
Photo credit: KVUE screengrab (cropped).
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