Ex-Austin mayors, billionaire activist George Soros add political muscle to Prop A fight

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Three former Austin mayors and a Democratic billionaire activist have waded into the political battle over Proposition A.

At a news conference on Tuesday, Save Austin Now — the political action committee pushing the ballot measure — announced former mayors Lee Leffingwell, Lee Cooke and Ron Mullen have thrown their support behind the proposition, alongside current Austin City Council member Mackenzie Kelly.

If passed, Prop A would add hundreds of officers to Austin’s police department by requiring a ratio of two officers for every 1,000 residents. As KXAN has reported, the cost could land between $271.5 million and $598.9 million over five years, according to a memo from the city’s chief financial officer.

“There is nothing wrong with having too many police officers, but there is a lot wrong with having too few,” Leffingwell said.

Opponents believe the passage of Prop A could lead to funding cuts within the fire department, along with parks, pools, and libraries.

Last week, Democratic billionaire and activist George Soros donated $500,000 to anti-proposition Equity PAC, the group behind the ‘No Way on Prop A’ campaign. The contribution was made through Soros’ Open Society Policy Center, according to financial records.

His money, along with a $200,000 donation from the Fairness Project and $120,383 in other contributions reported in a recent campaign filing, means Equity PAC and ‘No Way on Prop A’ have $820,383 headed into the Nov. 2 election. Save Austin Now has raised $731,732, according to its most recent filing.

“The 115 organizations against Prop A comprise one of the largest and most diverse groups in the history of Austin politics, in addition to a growing list of 38 current and former elected officials,” said Laura Hernandez Holmes, campaign manager for ‘No Way on Prop A.’

Last week, the Austin Firefighters Association announced it would not support Prop A, saying the Austin Police Department is fully funded and already has the money to hire hundreds of more officers.

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