Back in July of 2019, Austin City Council passed a new ordinance basically allowed camping on public grounds including city streets.
At the time, far-left Mayor Steve Adler said “public streets are public streets. And the courts have said that if someone's not causing a public safety risk or a public health hazard, that they have as much right to be there as anyone else."
The city turned into the Seattle/San Francisco/Portland of Texas.
Over the weekend, voters in Austin approved Proposition B, which resinstates the public ban on camping. Under Prop B, penalties will also be assessed for sitting or lying down on a public sidewalk or sleeping outdoors in or near the downtown Austin area or the area around the UT campus. The ordinance will also prohibit solicitation of money or other things of value at specific hours and locations.
The results were 57% to 43%, with the majority voting to approve the proposition.
The camping ban makes it illegal to camp in any public area not designated by the Parks and Recreation Department; to sit or lie on a public sidewalk or sleep outdoors in and near the downtown area and the area around the University of Texas campus; and to panhandle at specific hours and locations.
Prop B was pushed by the Save Austin Now PAC that was founded by Travis County GOP Chari Matt Mackowiak.
"Without Mackowiak's involvement, the proposition probably wouldn't have made the ballot, let alone succeeded. A political underdog in Austin as the chair of the local Republican Party, Mackowiak — who worked alongside Save Austin Now co-founder Cleo Petricek, a Democrat — first attempted to put it in front of voters last November but fell less than 1,000 voter signatures shy of getting the petition certified. Trying again this year, he cleared that hurdle with ease, submitting more than 26,000 signatures the clerk deemed to be valid.
Mackowiak's PAC shifted to fundraising, collecting $1.25 million through April 21 and using some of it to lease 29 billboards. The final fundraising total, which will be released in the coming days, will be about $1.75 million, Mackowiak said.
“Tonight is a clear message the city of Austin sent to City Hall that we’re not going to put up with insane policies that make life worse. The mayor, Greg Casar and a number of other members of the City Council decided to double down on a policy that was clearly failing.”