AUSTIN (KXAN) — A newly-formed political action committee, Fight for Austin, will support local candidates who prioritize public safety and an effort to reinstate the city’s public camping ban while opposing those who do not.
Fight for Austin PAC was formed in response to the Austin City Council’s reimagining of public safety in the Fiscal Year 2020-21 budget, in which $20 million will be immediately cut from the Austin Police Dept. budget and an additional $130 million in services will be transitioned away from police control.
“Incumbent council members have made our city less safe,” Matt Mackowiak, the Travis County Republican Party chairman and a consultant for the PAC, said in a release. “Our Fight for Austin PAC will give Austinites an opportunity to support candidates who will make our city safer.”
Fight for Austin PAC has an initial fundraising goal of $300,000 for the November elections.
In August, a petition effort to place reinstating Austin’s public camping ban on the November ballot was “insufficient,” according to a letter from Austin City Clerk Jannette Goodall, which was obtained by KXAN. The city’s analysis indicates the petition effort did not gather the total, legally-required number of signatures to bring the measure to a vote.
Last summer, community advocates worked to help change the city’s homeless ordinance. They say the proposed camping ban criminalizes homelessness and harms a vulnerable population.
“By giving people tickets and warrants and cycling them through the criminal justice system when they can’t afford to pay for these tickets, only sets folks back further,” said Chris Harris of Homes Not Handcuffs.