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3 former Austin mayors, 1 council member endorse Prop A

From top right clockwise, former Austin mayors Lee Leffingwell (2009-2015), Lee Cooke (1988-1991) and Ron Mullen (1983-1985) and Austin City Council Member Mackenzie Kelly, endorse Prop A.

As No Way on Prop A gets backed by local political names like Mayor Steve Adler and most council members, Save Austin Now has added its own political power to its campaign.

Save Austin Now, the PAC that gained enough petition signatures to get the initiative on the ballot, announced endorsements from Austin City Council Member Mackenzie Kelly and former Austin mayors Lee Leffingwell (2009-2015), Lee Cooke (1988-1991) and Ron Mullen (1983-1985).

On Nov. 2, Austin voters will decide the fate of Prop A, which would require minimum staffing of two officers per 1,000 residents among other changes in the department. SAN says the ordinance will "enact sensible police reforms" that will make the city safer as total murders are on the rise and police attrition rates are also high.

"We know that the police staffing crisis is dire and urgent. Our council will not be forced to cut public safety funding if Prop A passes. We will not cut Fire and EMS. We must pass Prop A to bring our staffing level up, reduce 911 response times and reduce violent crime across our city," District 6 Council Member Kelly said.

The opposition, consisting of a coalition of 80 local organizations, argues the ordinance would cost too much money—between $54.3 million and $119.8 million each year for the next five years, according to an estimate from city staff. The Texas Supreme Court ruled the budget estimate had to be placed on the ballot along with SAN's ballot language.

In a joint statement, the three former mayors backing Prop A spoke about their tenure as mayors: making the city the Live Music Capital of the World and focusing on the environment. They said they do not take police for granted for keeping the city safe and implored Austinites to vote for Prop A.

Part of the joint statement reads: "Prior councils have commissioned numerous police staffing studies and each concluded that the Austin Police Department needs additional personnel in order to meet the growing demands of our city. This is something for which we both steadfastly fought, yet the actions and pronouncements of today's council make clear that those on the dais are taking law enforcement for granted and our city is suffering with more crime and fewer police. Austin will continue to further degrade if citizens do not take action by voting in favor of a minimum police staffing level. It is for this reason that we enthusiastically endorse Prop A."

Early voting runs Oct. 18-29 and Election Day is on Nov. 2.


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