Save Austin Now's Prop A will include their own language, budget estimate after Supreme Court ruling
The Texas Supreme Court voted unanimously Wednesday for the city's Proposition A ballot language to be replaced with Save Austin Now's captioned ballot language, but the court held that a budget for the proposition must be included on the Nov. 2 ballot.
The proposition, which was placed on the ballot after receiving enough verified signatures on a petition, was rewritten by City Council on Aug. 11. Save Austin Now hopes to mandate minimum staffing levels at the Austin Police Department to two police officers for every 1,000 residents, increase cadet training and implement measures to improve police response times. City Council members added new language and a city-budget staff estimate that the requirements could cost between $54.3 million and $119.8 million each year for the next five years.
Former Travis County Judge Bill Aleshire filed a lawsuit on Aug. 20 against the city for Save Austin Now due to its language and inclusion of the budget in the proposition. According to the Texas Supreme Court ruling, certain language will be taken out and the petition language will be inserted before the city's cost estimate, which will remain at the end of the proposition.
BREAKING: City wins on most critical issue on disputed ballot language.
The Texas Supreme Court held today that the $271.5 million to $598.8 million cost of Prop A must be included in November ballot language.
— Mayor Adler | Get vaccinated! (@MayorAdler) September 1, 2021
Save Austin Now co-founders Matt Mackowiak and Cleo Petricek said that City Council's rewrite of the ballot was negatively biased against the cause. Supreme Court Justice Rebeca Huddle and the seven other justices unanimously voted against the city's rights to rewrite the ballot.
"The City did not have carte blanche to rewrite the petitioned caption wholesale, and abused its discretion by doing so," Huddle wrote.
Council Member Greg Casar and Mayor Steve Adler, who celebrated the inclusion of the budget, argue that the proposition will allocate too much city money to the police budget. Meanwhile, Mackowiak and Petricek called the vote a "big win for every Austin citizen."
Aleshire also celebrated the Supreme Court ruling.
"The Supreme Court's Opinion today will strengthen the rights of every Austin voter to be able to initiate ordinances without political interference by the City Council in manipulating the ballot language for the proposition," Aleshire said. "It is wonderful to see the Court enforce the Austin City Charter voter rights of the citizens of Austin."
Prop A will be included on the Nov. 2 ballot.
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After months of speculation, a new report says political personality Beto O'Rourke is mulling a run for Texas governor that he will announce later this year.
Sources tell Axios the former congressman is preparing his campaign for the 2022 election, where he will likely vie for the position against incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott. The only other candidate that has announced he will take on Abbott for governor is former Texas GOP Chairman Allen West—no Democrats have announced they are running as of yet.
"No decision has been made," Axios reports David Wysong, O'Rourke's former House chief of staff and a longtime adviser, said. "He has been making and receiving calls with people from all over the state."
A new poll from The Dallas Morning News and University of Texas at Tyler shows O'Rourke is narrowing the gap between himself and Abbott's prospects for governor. In the poll, 37% said they'd vote for O'Rourke over Abbott, while 42% said they'd vote for Abbott.
Abbott has been in the hot seat due to his handling of COVID-19 and the signing of landmark legislation into law, including new abortion and voting rights laws; 54% of poll respondents voted they think the state is headed in the "wrong direction." Still, Texas hasn't had a Democrat as governor since the 90s.
O'Rourke's people-focused approach to the 2018 Senator race, which he lost to Sen. Ted Cruz, gave him a widespread following and many hoped he'd throw his hat into the ring since he said he was considering it earlier this year.
"We hope that he's going to run," Gilberto Hinojosa, the state chair of the Democratic Party, told Axios. "We think he'll be our strongest candidate. We think he can beat Abbott because he's vulnerable."
Austin rapper Jordi Esparza may not have won the 2021 Red Bull Batalla, the world's largest Spanish freestyle rap competition, but for a spirited two rounds, the 22-year old Mexican native looked like he had every right to.
On Saturday evening in Los Angeles, the event itself looked like Cobra Kai meets Star Search with graphics adding a very Batman Beyond aesthetic. Over a dozen rappers hoping to represent the U.S. in the international round of the competition took to the stage with in-your-face jabs at accents, sexual orientation and odors, among other things.
This was Esparza's second rodeo; he had placed third at the 2020 National Finals, automatically securing him a spot this year.
However, things were different this year. He was not nervous about the contest. Unlike in 2020, when he made his Red Bull Batalla debut, the anxiety of the event led him to "feeling so bad."
Affecting a casual calm, the locally-based landscaper said he just felt "so relaxed, so happy" and primarily wanted to "enjoy everything."
Choosing his first-round opponent, Esparza, whose stage name is Jordi, elected to go against LA-based Boss.
Esparza freestyled an attack on his opponent's weight and cholo style of dress.
Boss—bracketing his Latin freestyle with English appeals to the crowd—mocked Jordi's lack of education, made fun of how clean Jordi's shoes looked and suggested that Jordi just came back from a Footlocker.
That first round went to Jordi.
But his next opponent Eckonn would prove to be his undoing.
Eckonn compared Jordi to Hannah Montana, while Jordi soulfully explained that he had learned from the best.
Esparza's verbal dexterity is matched by a rattling rhythm and a game face that is as mawkish as it is mockish. The overall effect is that of an underdog with bite.
Eckonn beat Esparza in that round with the overall championship going to Palm Beach-based rapper Reverse.
However, Esparza was just happy to be there. He recently told Austonia going to the finals again was a dream come true—a pinnacle that he said he won't know how to top.
With his nimble jabs and sneaky prowess, honed from pop culture and the swagger of a young working man hungry to be more, Jordi Esparza is just getting started.