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Jo Clifton is the Politics Editor for the Austin Monitor.
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Friday, March 19, 2021 by Jo Clifton
No on B aims to fight with Republicans
A new political action committee called Homes Not Handcuffs has announced its presence in Austin with an email declaring that “every part of Travis County’s big tent Democratic Party” is joining together to oppose Proposition B in the No on B campaign.
Proposition B would prohibit camping in most areas of the city and allow police to arrest people sitting or lying on the sidewalk or other public property.
Democrats are clearly portraying the enemy in this fight as the Republican Party. Mackenzie Kelly, the only Republican member of City Council, is the only member to tell the Austin American-Statesman she would vote in favor of the camping ban. Council members Kathie Tovo and Alison Alter, both Democrats, voted against repealing the old anti-camping law in 2019, but Tovo now says she will not vote for Prop B and Alter said she was undecided.
Travis County Republican Party Chair Matt Mackowiak co-founded Save Austin Now, the group pushing to put Proposition B on the ballot, with Cleo Petricek, a Democrat. But Mackowiak said Thursday that Republicans would not consider officially supporting or opposing any of the May 1 ballot propositions until their meeting on April 20. Clearly, they do not plan to label the proposition as Republican-sponsored.
Prominent supporters of the No on B campaign include Mayor Steve Adler, Council Member Greg Casar and former Democratic congressional candidates Mike Siegel and Julie Oliver.
Organizations supporting the campaign to defeat Proposition B include the Travis County Democratic Party, University Democrats at UT, Circle C Area Democrats, Texas Working Families Party, Bend the Arc Austin, the Grassroots Law Project, UT Young Socialists of America, and Sunrise ATX.
In looking at the city’s online list of registered political action committees, Homes Not Handcuffs did not appear early Wednesday. City Clerk Jannette Goodall told the Austin Monitor the PAC was not on the website because the city had not yet received its filing. Campaign manager Briana Burns learned Wednesday that the paperwork never made it to the clerk’s office, saying it was filed during the February snowstorm. The document appointing Heidi Sloan as treasurer for the PAC did appear on the state Ethics Commission’s website, however. Burns promised that her group would send the documents to the city right away.
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Key Players & Topics In This Article
Austin City Council: The Austin City Council is the body with legislative purview over the City of Austin. It offers policy direction, while the office of the City Manager implements administrative actions based on those policies. Until 2012, the body contained seven members, including the city's Mayor, all elected at-large. In 2012, City of Austin residents voted to change that system and now 10 members of the Council are elected based on geographic districts. The Mayor continues to be elected at-large.