Monday, February 24, 2020

#atxcouncil: Save Austin Now *MIGHT* have firepower for serious change

"[R]edeeming the time, because the days are evil."
Ephesians 5:16

A group that has opposed city policy changes allowing camping in many public spaces in Austin announced plans Monday to take camping rules to voters in November.

Matt Mackowiak, chair of the Travis County Republican Party and co-founder of the nonprofit, nonpartisan group Save Austin Now, said the group plans to bring a petition to the November ballot that would reinstate a ban on camping in public throughout the city, restore ordinances banning sitting and lying in public places, including the University of Texas campus, and bar panhandling overnight from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.


By Monday, the online petition had more than 88,000 signatures. For the initiative from Save Austin Now to get onto the ballot, the group must get signatures from 5% or 20,000 of Austin’s voters, whichever number is smaller.
There are two relevant numbers: 289,450 and 88,000.  The first is the number of people who voted in the 2018 Mayoral election (assuming you trust Travis county's election results).  The second is the number of people who have signed the online version of the petition.  Obviously, 88,000 isn't enough to flip the city on its own.  But it's a pretty good start (and it's more than any of Adler's challengers got in '18).

That being said, there are a couple of other interesting #'s: 27,599 and 36,434. Those are the total number of voters in Districts 6 and 10 respectively in 2016. We don't know what will happen, but we guarantee you there's no way Jimmy Flannigan or Alison Alter want to run for re-election with the homelessness ordinance on the ballot.  That's pretty much the last issue those two will want to discuss.

Bottom Line: Many things remain up in the air, but there's good reason to believe this will be the best anti-status quo cycle since 2014.

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