Austin Voters Ratified Defunding Their Own Police Department. But Why?

 

At risk of being overlooked amidst the general (and most welcome) celebration of conservative victories last night is the glaring defeat of Proposition A in Austin, which would have restored $120 million in police funding that the city council eliminated last year during the ‘defund the police’ mania.

With great effort, and after a failed earlier attempt, a local non-profit collected enough signatures to qualify the measure for the November ballot. It was carefully drafted to appeal to voters across the political spectrum and to address criticisms that have been leveled, rightly or wrongly, at police departments across the country.

According to the nonprofit that sponsored Prop A, Austin’s murder rate increased 300% this year and property crimes increased by double digits. My local Nextdoor and Ring app feeds seem to show a steadily increasing and ever more aggressive wave of property crime including armed robbery nearby and I have to think that’s a common experience around Austin now.

Yet Prop A failed yesterday with a whopping 69% opposed.

Though I’ve lived among leftists of various stripes my entire life, in family, personal, educational, and professional surroundings, I just can’t get my head around the mindset that says the problems of crime and incarceration are caused by law enforcement and can be improved by gutting local law enforcement budgets.

Even in Minneapolis they aren’t that far gone, as the voters there demonstrated last night by soundly rejecting a ‘re-imagine the police’ amendment to the city charter.

There will always be crazies among us, apparently especially in blue-tinted cities, but how can such a large swath of the population succumb to that kind of thinking (or ‘thinking’)? What am I missing?

Published in Policing
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  1. WiesbadenJake Coolidge
    WiesbadenJake
    @WiesbadenJake

    I grew up near Boulder, Colorado, at a time when it was referred to by Coloradans as “the People’s Republic of Boulder” in honor of its leftist tendencies. Sadly, Austin today seems as out of step with most of Texas as Boulder was to  the rest of Colorado. Sadder still, the Boulder mentality of the late 60’s, early 70’s, now dominates the population centers in Colorado. I wish Texas well.

    • #1
  2. Craig Member
    Craig
    @Craig

    Meanwhile, the demands for housing from people escaping Austin for Williamson County outside Austin City Limits (who kept their police funding) has skyrocketed (as well as the housing valuation).

    • #2
  3. WI Con Member
    WI Con
    @WICon

    I’m guessing (?) that the partisanship of the local voters was greater than their self-interest. They evidently feel that things aren’t bad enough, that things have not degraded enough. 

    Good luck, get out if you can.

    • #3
  4. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    How was the wording of the proposal?  I have seen a number of proposals, particularly here in Pennsylvania, that are intentionally so obfuscated that even when you know what the intent is supposed to be, are nearly impossible to discern from reading while in the voting booth. 

    Did it fail because people were fooled into voting against, when they thought they were  voting for? 

    • #4
  5. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Communities have the right to determine how they are policed.  I am just fine with somebody voting to defund the police.  Hopefully the government will now return that money back to the taxpayers, but I suspect they will find ways to keep it and use it elsewhere so blue cronies will be able to dip their beak.

    As for increased crime.  As long as they keep it out of liberal neighborhoods all will be fine.

    • #5
  6. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    It’s Austin. The slogan there is “Keep Austin Weird.” Yesterday they voted for just that.

    • #6
  7. Ole Summers Member
    Ole Summers
    @OleSummers

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    It’s Austin. The slogan there is “Keep Austin Weird.” Yesterday they voted for just that.

    :) back when I was coaching we had a new, out of state coach who was assigned the Austin area for recruiting – he came back one day complaining about the traffic on the north end of town where all those highways run together with no real way of managing it (they do have the toll road now to go around it some) , “why the hell havent those people done something about that” – I had to inform him that Austin was where all the hippies go to die and if you dont plan for growth, it might not happen!!

    My daughter is the county  ag extension agent for Burnet County and has to explain to all the escapees from Travis County why their trees die in a drought – and they increasing every day

    • #7
  8. DoubleDare Member
    DoubleDare
    @DoubleDare

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    How was the wording of the proposal? I have seen a number of proposals, particularly here in Pennsylvania, that are intentionally so obfuscated that even when you know what the intent is supposed to be, are nearly impossible to discern from reading while in the voting booth.

    Did it fail because people were fooled into voting against, when they thought they were voting for?

    It may have been more complex than it needed to be.  For example, they wanted civilians in government who had oversight responsibility over the police department to take part in ride-alongs with the officers so they’d understand the realities of policing.  But I don’t think it was confusing as to which side you were voting for.

    • #8
  9. DoubleDare Member
    DoubleDare
    @DoubleDare

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Communities have the right to determine how they are policed. I am just fine with somebody voting to defund the police. Hopefully the government will now return that money back to the taxpayers, but I suspect they will find ways to keep it and use it elsewhere so blue cronies will be able to dip their beak.

    As for increased crime. As long as they keep it out of liberal neighborhoods all will be fine.

    Agreed of course – the majority will choose as they will.  I’m just having trouble understanding the choice.

    As for keeping the crime out of liberal neighborhoods, it will remain outside the gated communities and the luxury high-rise condo buildings with 24-hour doormen.  But even those people have to go outside sometimes. . .  and park their cars in the city sometimes, etc. etc.

    • #9
  10. Raxxalan Member
    Raxxalan
    @Raxxalan

    I suspect although I don’t know for sure that the problem areas, outside of downtown, are likely East and South in Austin while Politics is dominated in Austin by West and North.  I am going to go out on a limb and say that crime hasn’t risen much in West Austin.  This means that the people voting against this proposition are not the people who are likely to be affected by it.  It would be hard to say for sure; however, I escaped to Round Rock years ago so I don’t keep as close a tabs on Austin as I use to/ should.

    • #10
  11. Raxxalan Member
    Raxxalan
    @Raxxalan

    Additionally Austin suffers from Portland envy, so I suspect they are trying to lure in the Antifa influence so they can continue in that vein.

    • #11
  12. DoubleDare Member
    DoubleDare
    @DoubleDare

    Raxxalan (View Comment):

    I suspect although I don’t know for sure that the problem areas, outside of downtown, are likely East and South in Austin while Politics is dominated in Austin by West and North. I am going to go out on a limb and say that crime hasn’t risen much in West Austin. This means that the people voting against this proposition are not the people who are likely to be affected by it. It would be hard to say for sure; however, I escaped to Round Rock years ago so I don’t keep as close a tabs on Austin as I use to/ should.

    That’s how it started, for sure.  But it’s happening here in northwest now too.  My next door neighbor’s car was broken into last week – parked in his driveway under a big streetlight.  Reportedly, a car was stolen a few weeks ago nearby – from a garage that (initially) had its door closed.

    • #12
  13. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    DoubleDare (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Communities have the right to determine how they are policed. I am just fine with somebody voting to defund the police. Hopefully the government will now return that money back to the taxpayers, but I suspect they will find ways to keep it and use it elsewhere so blue cronies will be able to dip their beak.

    As for increased crime. As long as they keep it out of liberal neighborhoods all will be fine.

    Agreed of course – the majority will choose as they will. I’m just having trouble understanding the choice.

    As for keeping the crime out of liberal neighborhoods, it will remain outside the gated communities and the luxury high-rise condo buildings with 24-hour doormen. But even those people have to go outside sometimes. . . and park their cars in the city sometimes, etc. etc.

    Well you have two things.  The bleeding heart liberals that can afford to keep their stuff secure do not have to worry about it because they can insulate themselves from it.  Then you have certain groups that do not like the police because they do not like their family and friends getting locked up for breaking the law.  While I may not want to live there it will be fun to watch Austin burn.   

    • #13
  14. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Communities have the right to determine how they are policed. I am just fine with somebody voting to defund the police. Hopefully the government will now return that money back to the taxpayers, but I suspect they will find ways to keep it and use it elsewhere so blue cronies will be able to dip their beak.

    As for increased crime. As long as they keep it out of liberal neighborhoods all will be fine.

    Except . . . Austin is the state capitol. The policies enacted by the residents of Austin, and the resulting crime, are causing Texans to refrain from their constitutional rights and duties to engage with their state government. People from elsewhere in the state are afraid to go to Austin to take care of state government business. This has caused Gov. Abbott to suggest bringing in state resources to deal with local crime. I dislike the concept of using state resources to fight local crime, but understand his frustration that the level of local crime has gotten so hight that it interferes with the ability of citizens to engage with their state government, and in some cases interferes with the ability of the state government to function effectively and efficiently. 

    • #14
  15. Raxxalan Member
    Raxxalan
    @Raxxalan

    DoubleDare (View Comment):

    Raxxalan (View Comment):

    I suspect although I don’t know for sure that the problem areas, outside of downtown, are likely East and South in Austin while Politics is dominated in Austin by West and North. I am going to go out on a limb and say that crime hasn’t risen much in West Austin. This means that the people voting against this proposition are not the people who are likely to be affected by it. It would be hard to say for sure; however, I escaped to Round Rock years ago so I don’t keep as close a tabs on Austin as I use to/ should.

    That’s how it started, for sure. But it’s happening here in northwest now too. My next door neighbor’s car was broken into last week – parked in his driveway under a big streetlight. Reportedly, a car was stolen a few weeks ago nearby – from a garage that (initially) had its door closed.

    Which of course is how it always starts and progresses and was very predictable.  I feel sorry for you.   Austin is going to become a lot less pleasant place to live after this.

    • #15
  16. Raxxalan Member
    Raxxalan
    @Raxxalan

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Communities have the right to determine how they are policed. I am just fine with somebody voting to defund the police. Hopefully the government will now return that money back to the taxpayers, but I suspect they will find ways to keep it and use it elsewhere so blue cronies will be able to dip their beak.

    As for increased crime. As long as they keep it out of liberal neighborhoods all will be fine.

    Except . . . Austin is the state capitol. The policies enacted by the residents of Austin, and the resulting crime, are causing Texans to refrain from their constitutional rights and duties to engage with their state government. People from elsewhere in the state are afraid to go to Austin to take care of state government business. This has caused Gov. Abbott to suggest bringing in state resources to deal with local crime. I dislike the concept of using state resources to fight local crime, but understand his frustration that the level of local crime has gotten so hight that it interferes with the ability of citizens to engage with their state government, and in some cases interferes with the ability of the state government to function effectively and efficiently.

    Which is why this is ultimately counter productive.  I can assure the liberals in Austin they will be a lot less happy with DPS enforcing the law in Austin then they were with APD.

    • #16
  17. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Communities have the right to determine how they are policed. I am just fine with somebody voting to defund the police. Hopefully the government will now return that money back to the taxpayers, but I suspect they will find ways to keep it and use it elsewhere so blue cronies will be able to dip their beak.

    As for increased crime. As long as they keep it out of liberal neighborhoods all will be fine.

    Except . . . Austin is the state capitol. The policies enacted by the residents of Austin, and the resulting crime, are causing Texans to refrain from their constitutional rights and duties to engage with their state government. People from elsewhere in the state are afraid to go to Austin to take care of state government business. This has caused Gov. Abbott to suggest bringing in state resources to deal with local crime. I dislike the concept of using state resources to fight local crime, but understand his frustration that the level of local crime has gotten so hight that it interferes with the ability of citizens to engage with their state government, and in some cases interferes with the ability of the state government to function effectively and efficiently.

    Move the capital.   It should be spread out anyway, especially in Texas.  One of the problem with this country is that our government is concentrated in certain areas and then dictate laws to places they do not even visit.  

    • #17
  18. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    This has caused Gov. Abbott to suggest bringing in state resources to deal with local crime. I dislike the concept of using state resources to fight local crime,

    That may be the point.

    • #18
  19. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    What was it Mencken said:  The voters know what they want, and they deserve to get it good and hard?

    • #19
  20. DonG (CAGW is a hoax) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a hoax)
    @DonG

    DoubleDare: There will always be crazies among us, apparently especially in blue-tinted cities, but how can such a large swath of the population succumb to that kind of thinking (or ‘thinking’)? What am I missing?

    College town+State capital=lots of Lefties.   Soros spent a ton of money advertising against prop-A. 

    On Sunday, in West Campus, which is a very safe area of town, some guy was shot and police took 53 minutes to respond.  They said their confusion about possible fireworks in the area.  Even that failed to move the needle.

    • #20
  21. DonG (CAGW is a hoax) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a hoax)
    @DonG

    WI Con (View Comment):

    I’m guessing (?) that the partisanship of the local voters was greater than their self-interest. They evidently feel that things aren’t bad enough, that things have not degraded enough.

    Good luck, get out if you can.

    Austin is 80/20 Democrat.

    • #21
  22. DonG (CAGW is a hoax) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a hoax)
    @DonG

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    How was the wording of the proposal? I have seen a number of proposals, particularly here in Pennsylvania, that are intentionally so obfuscated that even when you know what the intent is supposed to be, are nearly impossible to discern from reading while in the voting booth.

    Did it fail because people were fooled into voting against, when they thought they were voting for?

    No.  The wording was confusing about guaranteed per-capita staffing levels (2 per 1000, which is pretty standard).  But there were a lot of ads that made it clear.  The Firefighters were against it.  All the Lefty groups sucking off the tax-payer were against and that is lot of people.  Their reasoning is that any dollar spent on cops is one less dollar spent on their whatever.

    • #22
  23. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Good.  
    Let Austin burn.  

    • #23
  24. DonG (CAGW is a hoax) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a hoax)
    @DonG

    Raxxalan (View Comment):

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Communities have the right to determine how they are policed. I am just fine with somebody voting to defund the police. Hopefully the government will now return that money back to the taxpayers, but I suspect they will find ways to keep it and use it elsewhere so blue cronies will be able to dip their beak.

    As for increased crime. As long as they keep it out of liberal neighborhoods all will be fine.

    Except . . . Austin is the state capitol. The policies enacted by the residents of Austin, and the resulting crime, are causing Texans to refrain from their constitutional rights and duties to engage with their state government. People from elsewhere in the state are afraid to go to Austin to take care of state government business. This has caused Gov. Abbott to suggest bringing in state resources to deal with local crime. I dislike the concept of using state resources to fight local crime, but understand his frustration that the level of local crime has gotten so hight that it interferes with the ability of citizens to engage with their state government, and in some cases interferes with the ability of the state government to function effectively and efficiently.

    Which is why this is ultimately counter productive. I can assure the liberals in Austin they will be a lot less happy with DPS enforcing the law in Austin then they were with APD.

    DPS is just going to safeguard state government facilities in the city center, which they already do.  They are not going to patrol neighborhoods or respond to 911 calls.    UTPD says they will further expand their patrols.  They used to stick to campus, but a few years back expanded some (after a co-ed got snuffed out by a drifter).  Now they will expand more.

    • #24
  25. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    DonG (CAGW is a hoax) (View Comment):

    Raxxalan (View Comment):

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Communities have the right to determine how they are policed. I am just fine with somebody voting to defund the police. Hopefully the government will now return that money back to the taxpayers, but I suspect they will find ways to keep it and use it elsewhere so blue cronies will be able to dip their beak.

    As for increased crime. As long as they keep it out of liberal neighborhoods all will be fine.

    Except . . . Austin is the state capitol. The policies enacted by the residents of Austin, and the resulting crime, are causing Texans to refrain from their constitutional rights and duties to engage with their state government. People from elsewhere in the state are afraid to go to Austin to take care of state government business. This has caused Gov. Abbott to suggest bringing in state resources to deal with local crime. I dislike the concept of using state resources to fight local crime, but understand his frustration that the level of local crime has gotten so hight that it interferes with the ability of citizens to engage with their state government, and in some cases interferes with the ability of the state government to function effectively and efficiently.

    Which is why this is ultimately counter productive. I can assure the liberals in Austin they will be a lot less happy with DPS enforcing the law in Austin then they were with APD.

    DPS is just going to safeguard state government facilities in the city center, which they already do. They are not going to patrol neighborhoods or respond to 911 calls. UTPD says they will further expand their patrols. They used to stick to campus, but a few years back expanded some (after a co-ed got snuffed out by a drifter). Now they will expand more.

    Where are the Texas Rangers when you need them?

    • #25
  26. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Voters are not rational. 

    They did not vote to have more crime. Well, they did, but that is not what they were voting for in their heads. They were voting to be in the right tribe and feel good about how much they care. Or something like that. 

    Many people vote for Trump just to throw a finger at the establishment. 

     

    • #26
  27. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    DonG (CAGW is a hoax) (View Comment):

    Raxxalan (View Comment):

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Communities have the right to determine how they are policed. I am just fine with somebody voting to defund the police. Hopefully the government will now return that money back to the taxpayers, but I suspect they will find ways to keep it and use it elsewhere so blue cronies will be able to dip their beak.

    As for increased crime. As long as they keep it out of liberal neighborhoods all will be fine.

    Except . . . Austin is the state capitol. The policies enacted by the residents of Austin, and the resulting crime, are causing Texans to refrain from their constitutional rights and duties to engage with their state government. People from elsewhere in the state are afraid to go to Austin to take care of state government business. This has caused Gov. Abbott to suggest bringing in state resources to deal with local crime. I dislike the concept of using state resources to fight local crime, but understand his frustration that the level of local crime has gotten so hight that it interferes with the ability of citizens to engage with their state government, and in some cases interferes with the ability of the state government to function effectively and efficiently.

    Which is why this is ultimately counter productive. I can assure the liberals in Austin they will be a lot less happy with DPS enforcing the law in Austin then they were with APD.

    DPS is just going to safeguard state government facilities in the city center, which they already do. They are not going to patrol neighborhoods or respond to 911 calls. UTPD says they will further expand their patrols. They used to stick to campus, but a few years back expanded some (after a co-ed got snuffed out by a drifter). Now they will expand more.

    Where are the Texas Rangers when you need them?

    There are actually very few of them (about 166 for the whole state) and they got a whole bunch of things for which their skills are better used than dealing with local crime. They are part of DPS (Department of Public Safety) that has a whole lotta State Troopers. Though many of those State Troopers have been busy dealing with the crime wave coming over the southern border of the U.S.

    • #27
  28. Hammer, The (Ryan M) Member
    Hammer, The (Ryan M)
    @RyanM

    Easy solution.  Let all the cops move out to places where they are appreciated, and ship all of the criminals to austin.  Let the city burn down, and a good riddance it will be.  Same goes for Seattle.  I don’t even visit Seattle, anymore, and if it is reduced to a pile of rubble, so much the better.

    • #28
  29. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    Cleveland passed a similar measure last night.  Issue 24, as it is known, creates a civilian board that will oversee the police department.  The power of disciplining and firing police officers will be transferred from the Chief of Police and the Mayor, over to this civilian board.  They will also oversee police recruitment and training.  It is required that this 13-person board  be demographically representative of the City of Cleveland specifically in terms of race, class, sexual orientation, and gender identity (believe it or not), among other things.  This means that there will be a required number of Blacks, Hispanics, Rich and Poor(?), Women, Gays, and Transgendered people.  Though, when it comes to gays and transgenders, I expect their demographics are less than 2% of the city, so realistically shouldn’t they be excluded from membership?

    There is already an existing civilian oversight board monitoring the police, along with a Consent Decree forced upon them by the Obama administration.  It will remain in place and be given expanded powers, such as bringing their own complaints against the police department without having  first being generated by citizen complaints.  The budgets for these groups will be extracted from the police department budget, a sort of minor defunding of police.

    The issue passed by a 60/40 margin, with only 23% of eligible voters showing up to the polls, despite a Mayoral race on the ballot.  The candidate who won the mayoral race is also the one who supported the issue.  The wording of the issue on the ballot was pretty much incomprehensible lawyerese English.  It was one long continuous sentence of over 400 words, tenuously held together by a dozen semicolons and a similar number of commas.  I would expect that most people who weren’t familiar with it just left the vote blank, but who knows?  The complicated details of the issue were only apparent to those who had the initiative to read about it beforehand.  To the general public it was sold by proponents as “holding police accountable” and was deemed by opponents as “restricting and defunding police.”

    On top of this, out of the approximately $800,000.00 spent to get the issue on the ballot and to advertise it, only $2,000.00 of that came form sources within Cleveland.  The majority of funding came from leftist groups outside of our community meddling in our business.  By the way, Cleveland’s murder rate has gone up exponentially from 79 murders in 2010 to 190 last year.  This year’s pace is even higher.

    • #29
  30. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Wish I had thought ahead and bought a gun shop or a home security business in Austin. Cha-ching!

    • #30