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Group says petition to put Austin homeless camping on ballot drew 24k names
(Charlie L. Harper III/Austonia)

Leaders of the local nonprofit group "Save Austin Now" said Monday their effort to roll back a year-old city ordinance allowing camping in public spaces has drawn 24,000 petition signatures, well over the amount needed to put their initiative on the ballot in November.


City officials confirmed that the group submitted the petition, which needs 20,000 validated signatures to get ballot consideration, but said it could take weeks for all the signatures to be certified.

"We are ecstatic to have turned in so many signed petitions from every neighborhood, every zip code, and every demographic across our city from residents who just want to live in a safe city," said Save Austin Now co-founder Matt Mackowiak, who is also chairman of the Travis County Republican Party. "The homeless camping ordinance has been a disaster for our city."

Last summer, the Austin City Council abolished the city's ban on public sitting, panhandling, lying and camping after homeless advocates said such bans criminalize people who live on the street, and trap them there by making them targets for police action and creating criminal records.

In October, the council revisited the issue and limited where camping was allowed, banning it from sidewalks, near houses, near the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless and other shelters, and outside businesses during operating hours, among other limits.

In a texting campaign, Travis County Democrats have accused the group of misleading the public in order to get more signatures and as late as Monday urged recipients to call the Travis County Clerk's office to have their signatures removed. But a city spokesman said that once the petition is submitted, signatures cannot be removed.

Local Democratic party officials could not be reached to comment on Monday.

Mackowiak said the effort is bipartisan and has no agenda beyond prohibiting tents on city streets and sidewalks, under highway overpasses and along medians.

If the petition is certified, voters will get to decide on whether to roll back ordinances to where they were before the ban was lifted in June 2019—no panhandling at night, no public camping, no sitting or lying in public places.

"This is a standard of living issue for every neighborhood in Austin," said Save Austin Now co-founder Cleo Petricek, who describes herself as a lifelong Democrat. "There is no partisan angle to wanting a safe neighborhood."

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Food festival and backyard pool party: Things to do in Austin this weekend


🗓 Thursday

🎻 ACL Radio & Long Center Present: The Drop-In

Relax on the lawn at the Long Center while you listen to some tunes from The Octopus Project. This is the last free concert on the lawn for the rest of summer!

8 p.m. Thursday | 📍The Long Center for the Performing Arts, 701 W Riverside Dr.

🗓 Friday

🏡 Austin Fall Home & Garden Show

This “dynamic” showcase of the newest trends in home and garden decoration, renovation and services is returning to Austin with special appearances from HGTV Unsellable Houses stars Leslie Davis and Lyndsay Lamb. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the door.

Various times Friday-Sunday | 📍Austin Convention Center, 500 E Cesar Chavez St.

🎸 Father John Misty

Don’t miss this highly-articulate indie-folk artist on his “Chloë and the Next Twentieth Century” tour while he plays for the audience under the stars. Suki Waterhouse opens the stage at 7 p.m. and tickets are still available starting at $28.50.

Doors open at 6 p.m. Friday | 📍Moody Amphitheater at Waterloo Park, 1401 Trinity St.

🗓 Saturday

🧚 Take The Magic Home With You: Faerie Garden Workshop

Get up bright and early to learn how to make your own faerie garden in your backyard, with supplies provided by the Conservancy. Tickets are $6 and you can choose to add your home to the Woodland Faerie Trail.

8-11 a.m. Saturday | 📍Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Rd.

🍷 Fareground Food and Wine Festival

Collect your passport upon arrival and collect up to 10 specialty “stamps” as you explore bites from each of the restaurants, plus wine from DRINK and Ellis. Tickets are $45.

4-8 p.m. Saturday | 📍Fareground Austin, 111 Congress Ave.

🎹 Us & Them Presents: The Beatles Tribute Night

Calling all Beatles fans—Hotel Vegas is bringing local musicians, like Como Las Movies and P.T. Banks, together to play covers of the famous band’s songs. Cover is $10 and this event is 21 and up.

8:30 p.m. Saturday | 📍Hotel Vegas, 1502 E 6th St.

🗓 Sunday

🍖 BBQ Pool Party at the Carpenter Hotel

There’s still time to soak up some summer at this classic backyard barbecue, complete with cocktails, pool food, ice cream, live music from El Combo Oscura and good vibes. Tickets are $55 each.

1-6 p.m. Sunday | 📍Carpenter Hotel, 400 Josephine St.

Shopping for an EV? Tax credits for your dream car might slip away soon

Volkswagen ID.5 (Volkswagen)

Whether you’re making the switch out of a gas-powered car or thinking of adding another EV into the mix, tax credits could go away for your desired car.

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