Austin, Texas Voters Pull the Lever for a Camping Ban

On May 1, voters in Austin, Texas came to their senses after they voted for Prop B, a ballot question that imposes a ban on homeless encampments. 

The ballot question was approved by a resounding 57-42 percent margin.

As Jacob Asmussen correctly observed,”The vote is a pivotal milestone in a contentious, nearly two-year saga” and it all started “in 2019 when the Democrat-run Austin City Council repealed the longstanding camping law, allowing vagrancy squatting in nearly all public spaces (except city hall, notably).”

Naturally, this move provoked a series of socially unsavory developments which Asmussen outlined:

The council’s action sparked a swarm of new tent cities along sidewalks and neighborhoods, a drastic increase in the city’s homeless population, a more dangerous public environment, and a wildfire of public backlash (including warnings from numerous law enforcement officials and a citizen-led petition with more than 126,000 signatures).

Violent crime subsequently rose by double digits, with homicides up 64 percent year over year in 2020 and continuing to rise to record numbers this year.

Many citizens were naturally outraged by the city council’s decision to tolerate the encampments, which are blamed for a surge of assaults, robbery incidents, and vandalism. Overall, the quality of life in Austin has seen a deterioration over the last year, with homicide on the rise as well. 

With this ballot initiative success in the books, Republicans would be wise to take on quality of life issues in cities across the nation. The fact is that the overwhelming majority of cities have been captured by wokism, and as a result, they are gradually becoming inhospitable due to the lax law enforcement policies, anti-small business regulations, and their restrictions on people’s right to defend themselves and their property. 

The journalist David Cole is correct in observing that quality of life political battles at the local level are easy wins for Republicans. As he posited in a piece following the installation of Joe Biden as president last year, “Noticing is what the right does best. And that goes beyond political correctness; it translates to the voting booth as well. The right wins when it notices.”

Hopefully, Republicans start “noticing” more and capitalizing on the backlash movements against the growing trend of social dysfunction taking place across America.

It may actually pick them up some votes. 

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