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Outgoing Austin City Manager Threatens to Preemptively Nullify Police Oversight

At 9am this Wednesday, February 15, the Austin City Council will hold a special session beginning with an agenda item to approve “a resolution concerning bargaining for a meet and confer labor contract with the Austin Police Association.”

This agenda item determines, among other things, whether the city’s next contract with the Austin Police Association will be in effect for one year (if it passes) or four years (if it fails). In isolation, the duration of a police union contract would be a mere detail in city administration, but in the context of potential changes to the oversight, the recently-negotiated four year contract could undermine meaningful change by deferring the effective dates of any new police oversight statutes until a subsequent election cycle.

The negotiations for the new police union contract concluded shortly before reports that city manager Spencer Cronk was to be forced out due to unrelated matters of job performance, but after details emerged pinpointing the Austin Police Association as the primary source of funding for the second “Austin Police Oversight Act.”

If you’re confused, you’re not alone.

Last summer, Equity Action successfully collected enough signatures for an “Austin Police Oversight Act,” which would, among other provisions, prevent contract negotiations between the City of Austin and the Austin Police Association from contravening any portion of the oversight act.

Shortly thereafter, a political action committee called “Voters for Oversight and Police Accountability” circulated a petition for a competing act with the same name and significantly different goals. Many Austin voters (myself included) signed the petition for the second ballot measure, thinking they were supporting the earlier ballot measure.

As news comes to light that the second act may be the police attempting to oversee themselves, a four-year contract would be a convenient fallback that gives ample time for an election after the May 6 special election (with both ballot measures) to repeal the “wrong” act.

Austin residents seeking to testify for or against the reversion to a one-year contract should register before noon Tuesday February 14, or in-person at the City Hall before 8:15am on Wednesday, February 15.

The text of the Equity Action “Austin Police Oversight Act,” is available from the Equity Action website.

The text of the Voters for Oversight and Police Accountability “Austin Police Oversight Act,” is available from the KXAN website.

2022 elections wrap up – Great job candidates!

Thanks to everyone who attended the monthly meeting (11/14) for our final campaign reports and congratulations. And thanks to our special guest speaker Jim Elwood for giving us a rundown of the goings on at Liberty International.

In case you missed it, here are the final tallies for our local candidates:

CandidateOffice SoughtVote TotalPercent
Mark TippettsGovernor81,6601
Mark AshAttorney General233,0642.9
Shanna SteeleLt. Governor221,5882.8
Jamie DiezRR Commissioner238,7963
V. Alonzo Echevarria-GarzaComptroller211,5422.7
Bill KelseyUS House Dist 106,0512.4
Clark PattersonUS House Dist 376,3292.2
Steven HaskettTx Senate Dist 1457,27017.8
Tom KostTx House Dist 461,7272.8
Daniel McCarthyTx House Dist 4816,42120.4
David RobersonTx House Dist 491,7672.1
Ted BrownTx House Dist 501,3922.9

Elsewhere in the state, in many cases the Libertarian candidates scored over 25%, and a fair few over 30%! Not only that but in at least one case we actually beat the major party candidate’s totals from the last election. Check out the 2022 totals for Tx House District 57 out around Lufkin:

RepRichard Hayes (R)6539,872
LibDarren Hamilton (L)34.721,188

Now have a look at 2020:

Trent Ashby (R)8053,930
Jason Rogers (D)20.513,946

We got 50% more votes for our Libertarian candidate than Democrat did for theirs two years prior!

In other races around the state we also showed improvement vs our own efforts 2 years ago:

  • Lee Sharp in Tx House Dist 137 in Houston, garnered 18.5% in his 2020 race with Gene Wu (D) but this time racked up 24%!
  • Matt Savino in Tx House Dist 4 SW of Dallas, 22.7% this time vs. the 20.9 we got with our 2020 candidate.
  • Rhett Smith picked up 28.6% of the vote for Board of Education Dist. 8, vs the 26.6% we got in 2020.

These totals may seem modest, but if you look at the average spend we’re absolutely killing the opponents on a vote/dollar cost basis. Daniel McCarthy’s opponent spent over $3 per vote, while he spent around 1.2 cents!

If you would like to make a big difference in the next election please have a look at the calendar of events and plan to meet up with us, The Travis County LP, or by making a donation that we will put to excellent use!

July 2022 ~ Institute for Justice

LPTravis is pleased to announce that Arif Panju, Managing Attorney for Institute for Justice’s Texas office, will speak at our July 11th meeting. 

Institute for Justice (IJ) is a nonprofit, public interest law firm, whose mission is to end widespread abuses of government power and secure the constitutional rights that allow all Americans to pursue their dreams. IJ represents everyday people – free of charge – when government violates their constitutional rights. They focus on areas of the law that provide the foundation for a free society, such as the right to earn a living, and they win 3 out of every 4 cases they file. 

Arif litigates cases involving free speech, property rights, economic liberty, and educational choice. He will tell us about some of IJ’s recent and current cases in Texas, such as the Lakeway day care center owner fighting for the right to keep her home business open that’s made it into recent news. 

Meanwhile, the IJ has launched a limited-time fundraising campaign in case anyone would care to donate and get some cool stickers.

Please join us on Monday, July 11, 2022 starting at 6:45 to 9:00 p.m. at Casa Chapala, 9041 Research Blvd., in Austin TX (near 183 and Burnet Road). And invite friends, too!

May 2022 ~ Jeramy Kitchen

This month we welcome guest speaker Jeramy Kitchen, Executive Director of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, an independent educational non-profit organization seeking to illuminate the actions of government, educate and equip citizens to effectively advocate for pro-taxpayer reforms, and hold lawmakers accountable for their actions.

Jeramy Kitchen has managed campaigns for conservative lawmakers across the state of Texas and has served as Chief of Staff for multiple state lawmakers, as well as the Director of Legislative Affairs for the largest public policy think tank in Texas. Most recently, he served as the Capitol Correspondent for Texas Scorecard to focus on bringing transparency to the Texas legislative process.

Come hear what Jeramy Kitchen has to say and ask him any questions on Monday evening, May 9th @ 6:45-9 p.m. at Casa Chapala Mexican Cuisine & Tequila Bar, 9041 Research Blvd. in Austin (near 183 and Burnet Road).

2022 County Convention Followup

Eric Guerra & Ted Brown

Travis County Libertarians held our County Convention on Saturday the 12th at Pioneer Farms in Austin.

Eric Guerra retired as Chair of the Libertarian Party of Travis County and was presented with a plaque to commemorate his service by new County Chair, Ted, who “was honored to be elected Chair of LPTravis for a two-year term.” About 30 Libertarians attended to conduct party business.

Nominated for Public Office to appear on this November’s ballot:

  • Justice of the Peace, Precinct 2 – Christopher David
  • State Representative, District 46 – Tom Kost
  • State Representative, District 48 – Dan McCarthy
  • State Representative, District 49 – David Roberson
  • State Representative, District 50 – Ted Brown
  • State Senator, District 14 – Pat Dixon

Delegates voted to amend the party bylaws to add two new officers to the Executive Committee: Vice-Chair and At-large Representative.

Elected County Party Officers for 2022-2024:

  • Chair – Ted Brown
  • Vice-Chair – Dan McCarthy
  • Secretary – Amy Gunkler
  • Treasurer – Diane Engel
  • At-large – Judith Ruder

Travis County was allotted 18 delegate positions at the upcoming state convention. Delegates elected are: Clark Patterson, Pat Dixon, Ted Brown, Mark Tippetts, Girish Altekar, Nancy Neale, Bill Kelsey, Steve Haskett, Art Dibianca, Mary Haskett, Geoffrey Neale, Tom Kost, Judith Ruder, Eric Guerra, Matthew Heflin, Sarah Heflin, John Ruder, and Diane Engel.

Alternates elected are: Peter Churchman, Chris Baker, David Roberson, Dan McCarthy, Daniel Hurley, Andrew Hohenstein, Jonathan Patschke, Brad Nielsen, Nathan Shepard, and Keith Bailey.

Thanks to new member Sarah Heflin for taking the photos. And thanks to those dedicated Libertarians who attended the convention to take care of important party business.