Austin goes to the polls this Saturday to vote on a series of municipal issues. We’ve done our research and are offering you our opinion of the amendments from the perspective of what we believe is in the COLLECTIVE BEST INTEREST OF BLACK AUSTIN.
We of course urge you to do your own research. Voting (especially for smaller non-presidential campaign years) is a long-game pro-active strategy. but as with most things – the devil is in the details.
Proposition B – an amendment to basically re-criminalize homelessness – is receiving all of the buzz. But there is also Proposition C which deals with the Office of Police Oversight. Currently – the OPO reports to Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk. As does the Austin Police Dept. Given that there are naturally bound to be conflicts between the OPO and APD – it’s an obvious conflict of interest. (And Cronk has already indicated where his loyalties lie when he ignored not only pressure from the community to fire former APD Chief Brian Manley – but he also ignored pressure from several city council members.) Proposition C will authorize the city council to figure out a better reporting structure for the OPO, perhaps including citizen oversight.
A more independent OPO is a no-brainer benefit when it comes to advocating for police reform and accountability.
No matter how you ultimately vote on these two items – or any of the other items up for a vote this Saturday – we encourage you to do your own research. You can start by checking out the Non-partisan Voters Information Guide from the League of Women Voters Austin; endorsements from The Austin Chronicle and The Statesman.
The polls are open 7 am – 7 pm this Saturday. Visit the Travis County Clerk’s website for full details on polling locations, a sample ballot, and more.