Anyone who lives in Texas, and most anyone who’s driven through the Lone Star State, is familiar with one city slogan: “Keep Austin Weird.”
In a heavily conservative state, Austin stands out as the hotbed of leftism. And when the war against the police erupted, their city council slashed law enforcement.
Amid nationwide protests seeking police reforms last summer, the Austin, Texas, city council decided to cut about one-third of its police budget – the largest cut of any major city in America.
Councilman Greg Cesar, a progressive who spearheaded the push to cut funding, said the vote offered a moment to “celebrate what the movement has achieved for safety, racial justice and democracy.”
But since the budget cut, Austin has gotten much less safe. According to statistics compiled by the data analysis firm AH Datalytics, the city has seen a nearly 71% increase in homicides over the past year. While homicides have increased nationwide since 2020, Austin’s increase is one of the largest the firm has tracked.
Between the “millions” of covid deaths, and the massive increase in murders, it’s a miracle that people are still living in the city. Things have spiraled so far out of control that the citizens are ready to stage a takeover.
No Where to Turn
Unfortunately, the city acts as if their hands are tied. They pretend there is no path to improving law enforcement.
The article continues:
The funding cuts brought with them a series of changes to the Austin Police Department. Cadet classes were canceled, making it more difficult to bring more officers onto the force. Certain specialized units were cut back. Attrition soared. By May 2021, police staffing shortages led to a 30% increase in 911 response times.
“Recently, the Austin Police Department asked the public here to start calling 311 instead of 911 for a host of emergencies and certain crimes, citing, in part, the staffing shortage that they have. They just simply don’t have the manpower,” Lars Trautman, national director of Right on Crime, told Fox News.
In August, the council – under pressure from a rise in violent crime and a new state law that penalizes cities that defund the police – reversed course on its cuts, approving a substantial increase in police funding.
Too Little Too Late
While the city clearly knows they screwed the pooch, their efforts to dig out of the disaster aren’t making the kind of impact Austin needs. I live an hour from the liberal hell hole. There was a time when I happily took my children to the capitol city to visit festivals and live music events. Now, I have five teenagers and you can bet your bottom dollar I don’t let them go to Austin with friends. Because I don’t trust the city to keep them safe.
…activists at Save Austin Now think it’s too little, too late. They successfully worked to put a referendum, Proposition A, on the ballot, with a special election set for Tuesday. The measure would require the city to maintain two police officers per 1,000 residents (Austin is currently around 1.6), promote additional training and offer incentives to recruit officers who speak additional languages.
“People here locally do not want to fund defund-the-police efforts. They do not want to defund the police,” Save Austin Now co-founder Matt Mackowiak, who is also a long-time Republican activist, told Fox News.
It would be easy to think Save Austin Now is tilting at windmills, given that the city is known for its progressive values. But despite opposition from most local politicians and progressive activists, voters in the spring supported a ban on on homeless encampments – another Save Austin Now effort.
The battle lines around Proposition A are similarly drawn.
The Travis County Democratic Party and dozens of progressive organizations have formed No Way On Prop A, a coalition that argues that shifting tens of millions of dollars into police staffing and hiring would undermine other city priorities. Their signs, which dot left-leaning neighborhoods across Austin, implore voters to “protect Austin parks & libraries” by voting against the measure.
“What they are trying to do is create an unfunded mandate that … would then defund our schools, defund our libraries, defund our parks and EMS and fire,” Travis County Democratic Party chair Katie Narjanjo told Fox News.
In other words, they don’t have a plan. Nor do they have a solution. And believe me, Austin’s vulnerabilities are so obvious they’ve caused themselves to be exploited.
In a time when police are constantly subjected to possible attacks, and law enforcement faces a troubling new level of liability, it’s not exactly a cake-walk to hire new officers.
There’s also the question of whether funding alone could solve the police staffing problems.
“APD has a hiring problem. They don’t have a funding problem,” Naranjo said. “And so I do support them being fully staffed. At the same time, they don’t need the additional officers or the additional funds if they can’t even staff the positions they have now.”
Recently, the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office put up a billboard advertising a $15,000 signing bonus to lure Austin police officers away. Indeed, eastern Washington would likely offer a friendlier climate to officers than Austin, which saw substantial rioting aimed at officers in 2020. It’s not clear that handing the department a bigger budget would solve staffing problems alone if Austin’s political climate is seen as unfriendly to potential police recruits.
In other words, there’s not a lot of hope floating around Austin right now.
If you haven’t seen Kevin Jackson’s movie, Bleeding Blue, NOW is the time to watch it. In fact, you can find in on the Flick Fest. Jackson’ film captures the spirit of policing in America right now. And the BS is only getting deeper.
City officials desperately want to back-peddle the policies destroying the city. But They clearly have no idea how to make Austin great again.
In early October, the Austin Firefighters Association came out against Proposition A. AFA President Bob Nicks is no anti-police ideologue. He is sympathetic to the police, and he told Fox News about how his own son, who is also a firefighter, was attacked with firecrackers during the anti-police riots.
But he worries the referendum would harm his department.
“The problem is the law is poorly written and will literally eviscerate other public safety entities,” Nicks said
Residents know the city is becoming increasingly dangerous. Yet, they don’t believe hope exists.
A recently released Pew survey found that 47% of Americans think police spending in their area should be increased, while 37% say it should stay around the same. Just 15% supported cutting police funding.
While residents agree the current budget is inadequate, the next step feels like a last ditch effort with the odds stacked against it. Hopefully, voters use their power to reshape the situation before leftists allow their vile narrative to continue to lead the way.