I promised in an earlier email to state my positions on the Propositions on the May 1st Ballot. Don't miss the blue highlighted links below, but first a little background on where these propositions came from. Here we go:


Prop. A is from an Austin Firefighters' petition circulated at the polls in Oct.-Nov. 2020.

Prop. B is from a petition circulated over the past winter for a second time to reinstate the City's camping ban, sit and lie & panhandling ordinances.

Prop. C was put forth by Greg Casar via the City Council to be on the ballot.

Props D - H are from a petition circulated at the polls in Oct.-Nov. 2020 by a newly formed group, Austinites for Progressive Reform, which was founded and financed by a newcomer to Austin, Andrew Allison, that group recently being supported by the Soros family, et al.

Voters Guide - Virden's May 1st Prop Picks:

Neutral -- Prop A -- Firefighters Union Charter Amendment - "If the Austin Firefighters Association and the City of Austin reach an impasse in collective bargaining negotiations, if this passes, either side can force labor negotiations into binding arbitration. The next time the two sides will come to the negotiating table is Spring 2022," Community Impact summary. However, my take is that the Austin Firefighters are some of the the highest paid in the state, meaning the City has taken good care of its Firefighters. The Firefighters will wage a strong campaign for this proposition.

For!!! -- Prop B -- Reinstate The Public Camping Ban and Related Ordinances - "Enough is Enough!" Restores the ordinance to disallow public camping citywide. Also restores the ordinance on lying/sitting on public sidewalks in the Downtown and UT Campus area, and creates an ordinance against aggressive panhandling citywide and against panhandling from 7pm to 7am. Solutions for after Prop. B is passed.

Against -- Prop C -- Changing the Appointment Process of the Director of Police Oversight - This already existing position should continue to be appointed by the City Manager (As per: § 2-15-2 - The Office of Police Oversight). No need to have City Council create new rules and responsibilities for this appointment, especially if Prop. F fails, as expected. This is a Greg Casar initiated Prop. C, via the City Council, to be on the ballot.

Against -- Prop D -- Changing The Dates of Mayoral Elections - Changing the year of Mayoral elections from Gubernatorial year elections to Presidential year elections. Quietly intended by its sponsors to have an even higher left-of-center turnout influence on Mayoral elections in Austin than already exists in Gubernatorial years.

Against -- Prop E -- Establishing Rank-Choice Voting for City of Austin Elections - "A ranked-choice voting system (RCV) is an electoral system in which voters rank candidates by preference on their ballots. If a candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, he or she is declared the winner. If no candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, the candidate with the fewest first-preference votes is eliminated. First-preference votes cast for the failed candidate are eliminated, [with the vote counting software re-allocating] the second-preference choices indicated on those ballots. A new tally is conducted to determine whether any candidate has won a majority of the adjusted votes. The process is repeated until a candidate wins a [tabulated] 'majority,'" from Ballotpedia. Here is a graphic of how its supporters explain RCV. Rank-Choice voting winners may win without receiving a true majority of ACTUAL votes, which at present is not legal in Texas law. Here is the Attorney General Opinion from 2003 that indicates Rank-Choice voting is not legal in Texas.

Strongly Against!! -- Prop F -- Adopt Strong-Mayor, Abandon City Manager - This is the cornerstone of Propositions D - H, seeking to fundamentally change Austin's governance. This would make an elected Mayor, rather than a professional City Manager, the chief executive of Austin's multi-billion dollar budget and resources. The Mayor is not required to have management experience as is a City Manager. Under this proposal, the Mayor would have veto power over almost everything the City Council passes - not even the City Manager has that. The Mayor would also have unilateral power to hire or fire employees, including departments heads, as he/she pleases, with little to no accountability or oversight. Steve Adler says he's not running again, so can you imagine Comrade Casar as a 'Strong Mayor'?

Against -- Prop G -- Adding an 11th Council Member District - This was originally petitioned to be if 'Strong Mayor' passes and the Mayor is no longer voting on the dais, in order to keep an odd number voting on the dais. Council split the two as different propositions, thus creating the possibility of an even number (12) voting on the dais (Prop F fails, Prop G passes). I do not view an even number of that many votes on the dais as a real problem. The 11th District will allow all of the districts to be smaller and more representative, also might allow the ICRC Redistricting Commission to map more compact districts this year (per the City Charter [Art. II, Sec. 3, {E}{5}]) than what was mapped last time (2013). I do not agree with Greg Casar that a 12th Council Member district should be considered in 2 years.

Against!! -- Prop H -- New Tax Funded Public Campaign Finance for City of Austin Elections - Would be funded mostly by the City's General Fund, i.e. property tax dollars. Supporters have nicknamed this proposal "Democracy Dollars," giving it a positive connotation. "The program would provide all registered voters with one $25 voucher for each of their City Council and Mayoral elections, which those voters can then donate to the candidates of their choice. Candidates must qualify to receive 'Democracy Dollars' by demonstrating significant public support, evidenced by meeting minimum thresholds for signatures and donors. Candidates will also only be permitted to receive 'Democracy Dollars' from voters in their district. The total cost of the program is [estimated to be] $850,000 per year," according to Andrew Allison's organization that petitioned to put this on the ballot. This proposal is patterned after a similar one in Seattle. Some Prop. H supporters want to have this pass by the voters, and then allow City Council to change it after the fact to allow non-voters to donate $25 vouchers to candidates they will not be allowed to vote upon. Greg Casar has already drafted that amendment (here) in case Prop. H passes. A strong argument against this proposal is that it is a system that could easily be harvested, either legally (consultant canvassers) or potentially illegally, and will be hard to control especially if people not registered to vote are allowed to receive and donate these vouchers, as with Greg Casar's amendment linked above.

Early Voting in-person starts in a week. Ballots-by-Mail began being mailed out this past week from the Travis County Clerk's office. Last day to request a Ballot-by-Mail from the County Clerk's office is April 20th.

Spread the word to your family and friends about these propositions on the ballot, and feel free to share this voters guide with like-minded voters. Help the Prop B. campaign any way you can. Help them here.

Will be in touch! More good news coming about our campaign soon...

-- Jennifer Virden
Pol. adv. paid by Jennifer For Austin Campaign.
Jennifer for Austin |