In the summer of 2019, Austin, Texas, Mayor Steve Adler and Councilman Greg Casar led a unanimous council vote to change the city’s ordinance concerning homeless camping.
Tents and tent cities sprung up citywide almost overnight. Citizen opposition to allowing the tent cities emerged almost as quickly.
Adler stubbornly refused to learn best practices from cities that are handling their homeless populations without simply allowing tent cities under every overpass and other places throughout the city. He traveled to cities that are handling the issue poorly, such as Portland, Seattle, and Los Angeles.
A bipartisan group, Save Austin Now, formed to put the ordinance up to a citywide vote. After city machinations to keep it off the ballot, the group succeeded and got it into the May 1 ballot.
Mayor Adler and Councilman Greg Casar strongly and publicly opposed that measure, Proposition B. They also added additional propositions including one that would fundamentally change the city’s charter to a strong mayor model, handing Adler (and Casar, who many regard as leading Adler by the nose into radical, far-left policy) more power over the city’s functions. That proposition was Prop F.
Adler and Casar also introduced and campaigned in favor of what they called “democracy dollars,” which would take city government funds and hand them to Austin residents to donate to political campaigns. That was Prop H.
They also proposed adding another city council district, Prop G.
Voters turned out heavily in early voting, and Mayor Adler could not contain his panic and his disdain for some of Austin’s residents as the early votes were counted.
The vote count should be representative of the community. So far, those early voting are not. They’re much, much older and much, much more Republican. Vote tonight, tomorrow or Saturday. Vote No on Prop B! pic.twitter.com/UnxbWavdUt
— Mayor Adler | 😷wear a mask. (@MayorAdler) April 26, 2021
Even Ben & Jerry’s ice cream meddled in Austin’s election, predictably siding with Casar, Adler, and all of the left-wing advocacy groups that dominate policy discussions in the city.
We’ll never police our way out of the homelessness crisis, and Prop B would take Austin backwards. Vote NO! https://t.co/UcYZiuR8S7
— Ben & Jerry's (@benandjerrys) April 26, 2021
After the Election Day votes were counted, Adler and Casar took an old-fashioned shellacking.
Voters approved Prop B, ending homeless camping, 58% to 42%.
Voters rejected Prop F, the strong mayor proposal, 87% to 13%.
Prop G, which would have added another council district, fell 57% to 43%.
Voters also rejected Prop H, the “democracy dollars” proposal, 57% to 43%.
Texas political data expert Derek Ryan laid out the facts of the election on social media Saturday night: “Here’s what you need to know about the Austin camping ban proposition as it heads towards victory. Only 20% of early voters were Republican Primary voters. 55% were Democrat Primary voters. The remaining had no primary history but based on modeling data, 75% of that group skewed Democrat.
Assuming every Republican Primary voter and modeled Republican voter voted for the camping ban, they still only make up 40% of the ‘yes’ votes.”
Austin has roundly rejected radical Mayor Steve Adler, radical Councilman Greg Casar, and one of their signature changes to the city: allowing tent cities to spring up all over town, and lawlessness along with that. Austin’s Democratic voters led the way in rejecting Adler and Casar.
Over the past several years, Adler and Casar have led the council into the tent cities debacle and defunding the police, among other destructive far-left changes. Violent crime is sharply up and police officers are leaving APD at an unsustainable pace. May’s election suggests the city is waking up to the destruction their policies are having on the city and are looking for a different direction. District 6 elected Republican Mackenzie Kelly in a runoff in December 2020, rejecting one of the city council’s most vocal radicals. The question after that and Saturday’s election result is what effect it will have on the other members of the city council. How will they read the election and respond to it?
Austin’s voters are clearly moving decisively away from Adler and Casar.