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(Emma Freer/Austonia)

Delaying a new police cadet class, creating a new city civil rights office, and eliminating some officer positions at the Austin Police Department are among City Manager Spencer Cronk's first proposals to end systemic racial disparity and police brutality, according to a memo from Cronk to the Austin City Council on Wednesday.


"The recent deaths of Mr. George Floyd in Minneapolis at the hands of a police officer and our own officer-involved shooting death of Mr. Michael Ramos have created a community outcry the likes we have not seen in recent memory," Cronk wrote in the memo. "I stand with the community, which is demanding that we implement the policy and cultural changes required to end the disproportionate impact of police violence on Black Americans, Latinx Americans, and other non-white ethnic communities."

Cronk three-page memo came in response to a package of resolutions unanimously approved last week by the council, aimed at overhauling the police department in the wake of violent clashes between police and anti-brutality demonstrators in recent weeks.

His memo did not mention the future of Austin Police Chief Brian Manley, whose job is on the line after the council called on him to resign or be removed. Only Cronk has the authority to remove him from his post.

What's in the proposal

The proposal includes:

  • A "core leadership team" headed by the deputy and assistant city managers to oversee a holistic overhaul of city departments to eliminate racial disparity in all areas, not just police. "The work will involve leaders across our enterprise, including those within the Office of Police Oversight, the Equity Office, Intergovernmental Relations, Labor Relations, the Police Department, Public Health, Law, and others," the memo reads. The team will create Advisory Work Groups to make recommendations.
  • Key changes in the 2021 budget, including earmarking several current functions of the APD that might be moved elsewhere, including forensics, 911, victim services, the training academy and others. They also include the elimination of 100 sworn positions currently open at the department and delaying the July 2020 cadet class.
  • Increasing transparency and accountability on both the police and on the progress of last week's council resolutions by: creating the city's first-ever Civil Rights Division, increasing the authority and resources of the civilian Office of Police Oversight, launching the Community Police Review Commission and creating a website to track both the new resolutions and the recommendations in the Tatum investigation report—released in April—into racist behavior at the police department.

In his memo, Cronk said these were just the initial steps in a "deliberate and intentional" process, which he promised would bring the change demanded by both the city and community.

"This is not just a law enforcement issue. This is a public health issue. This is a social services issue. This is an economic and housing issue. And this is very much an issue of trust and accountability. This proposal aims to tackle the root causes of these issues holistically, starting with reimagining what public safety means in Austin."

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Tito's releases (not so?) ugly sweater line for the holidays, profits to charity

Tito's Handmade Vodka

Show your love for Tito's and for the community this year with a wide selection of not that ugly, uglyish, ugly, uglier, and ugliest holiday sweaters.

There's lots choose from, and plenty of accessories like scarves and socks, plus gear for your dog, too.

All of the items can be purchased online or at the Love, Tito’s Retail Store in Austin, TX. 100% of all net proceeds from online or in-store purchases go to one of the nonprofits we’ve teamed up with.

Click here to see the entire collection in the Tito's store.

Mac and Cheese Fest and Free Art Exhibit
Waterloo Greenway, Good Vibrations Installation


🗓 All weekend

🎨 Creek Show Art Exhibit

Check out this highly anticipated art exhibition with illuminated art along Waller Creek. Tickets are free and the event includes food vendors, dazzling lights, live music, and hands-on activities

All weekend 6 p.m - 10 p.m | 📍Waterloo Park

✨ Mozart's Light Show

This iconic holiday tradition lights up for the first time this holiday season starting this weekend! Reserve your spot for an enchanting light and sound performance, delicious hot cocoa, sweet treats, and some overall fun with your friends or family. The show runs till January 6th.

6 p.m and 9 p.m | 📍Mozart's Coffee Roasters - 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

🗓 Saturday

🥊 Kickboxing in the Park

This fitness event is free and open to the public. Get your morning started right with a "Fitness in the park" class for kickboxing! The class will be led by certified instructors and is a great way to get a cardio workout in while also honing your self-defense skills.

10 a.m - 11 a.m | 📍 Metz Park

🛍 The Front Market

Support local LBGTQ+ and female artists at this outdoor market with over 150 vendors. Get your holiday shopping out of the way at this event, with vendors for food trucks, handmade goods, raffles, hands on workshops and activities, and more.

11 a.m - 5 p.m | 📍Ani's Day and Night - 7107 E Riverside Drive, Austin, TX 78741

🗓 Sunday

🧀 Mac and Cheese Fest

Did someone say cheese?! If you're like me and always willing to get your hands on a bowl of mac and cheese, then this event is for you. Check out the Mac and Cheese festival happening this weekend to decide which vendor has. the best mac and cheese for yourself, and enjoy the bar with creative cocktails while you're at it. Tickets start at $45.

11 a.m - 3 p.m | 📍Lantana Place - 7415 Southwest Parkway