From Soros to unions, the left poured major money into effort to defeat Austin's police staffing prop
Fraternal Order of Police National VP: ‘Morale is in the tank’ after Austin rejected plan to hire more police officers
Joe Gamaldi explained hundreds of officers have resigned or stepped down as anti-police rhetoric and rampant crime cripples the Texas police department.
Liberal activists, super PACs, and unions mostly from outside Texas dumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into defeating an Austin, Texas ballot measure that would have increased the number of police on the streets as the city continues to be ravaged by the highest number of homicides in history.
The ballot measure, known as Prop A and which would have required Austin to hire at least two police officers per every 1,000 residents and increase officer training, failed on Tuesday night as boatloads of big left cash were given to the progressive Equity PAC.
AUSTIN, TX – JUNE 12: An ATF K9 unit surveys the area near the scene of a shooting on June 12, 2021 in Austin, Texas. At least 13 people were taken to hospitals after a shooting happened on Austin’s famous 6th Street. The shooter is still at large. (Photo by Sergio Flores/Getty Images)
(Sergio Flores/Getty Images)
That money included $500,000 out of a total $1.2 million in Equity PAC’s war chest from liberal mega donor George Soros, through the Open Society group, who has spent millions nationwide to promote district attorneys and ballot measures that are lenient on prosecuting crimes and sentencing minimums.
In addition, Equity PAC’s efforts to prevent the Austin police from hiring more police officers during a severe staffing shortage and crime surge were aided by several other prominent liberal groups.
The liberal advocacy group 1630 Fund, which Politico has described as a “massive dark money network”, poured $100,000 into the push to oppose more police hiring and funding.
Several unions also opposed Prop A including the City of Austin Employees Association who spent $25,000 to oppose Prop A. The Texas American Federation of Teachers contributed $10,000 to opposing Prop A. Education Austin PAC contributed $5,000. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union contributed $25,000.
Billionaire investor George Soros speaks to the audience at the Schumpeter Award in Vienna, Austria June 21, 2019. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner/File Photo
(REUTERS/Lisi Niesner/File Photo)
Additionally, the Austin EMS employees union and the Austin Firefighters Association PAC worked to defeat Prop A.
Prop A’s defeat was also aided by $5,000 from the American Civil Liberties Union and $10,000 from the liberal Movement Voter PAC.
The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies donated $100,000 to defeating Prop A and the Fairness Project, which also has ties to Soros, donated $200,000.
In the week leading up to Tuesday’s election, the Austin police department announced the city has experienced its 75th homicide of 2021, the highest number since at least 1960, the year police began tracking the statistic. Since then, that number has risen to 77 which shatters the previous record of 59. The weekend prior to the election saw an armed robbery at a pharmacy and a shooting at a grocery store, both in the same morning. Police reportedly took an hour to arrive at the pharmacy. They have arrested a suspect in the grocery store shooting.
Staffing shortages, exacerbated by the city’s decision to partially defund the department last year, have resulted in police not responding to certain calls deemed “non-emergencies” leaving many small business owners to fend for themselves.
This photo provided by Austin Police Department shows Chief Chacon providing an update on overnight shootings in Austin, Texas, early Saturday, June 12, 2021. Chacon says gunfire erupted in a busy entertainment district downtown early Saturday injuring several. (Austin Police Department via AP)
(Austin Police Department via AP)
Fraternal Order of Police National VP, Joe Gamaldi, sounded off Wednesday on “The Faulkner Focus” after Prop A was rejected and warned that police “morale is in the tank.” Gamaldi slammed the left’s “radical” push to defund the police, emphasizing the importance of investing in law enforcement as crime spikes in the city.
“When you do a postmortem on what happened in Austin, I think it’s important to recognize that the mayor and city council there have basically been giving the finger to the hardworking men and women of law enforcement in the Austin Police Department for quite some time,” Gamaldi said. “And what they did is they scared the public. They told them we’re going to cut services across the board to try to fund public safety, but what the public should really be scared of is the fact that the murder rate is up 88% in Austin. Austin was once a mecca for the arts and music, and now it’s a dangerous community and nobody even wants to walk through with their families.”
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