Saturday, July 11, 2020

Cowtown gets a 'defund police' vote

The folks at the Fort Worth Crime Control and Prevention District must be kicking themselves at the timing of the voters' re-up of their taxing authority, on the ballot this Tuesday. See quality coverage from The Appeal and Fort Worth Weekly.

Basically, the question becomes, do voters make this a Black Lives Matter referendum? Do they take out all the frustration expressed during the George Floyd protests when when presented in the ballot box with an explicit opportunity to "defund police"? Only time will tell.

Local defund advocates are taking the opportunity to pitch CCPD abolition with a libertarian spin. Given that supporting a sizable tax during a major recession is already a hard sell, anyway, Grits would give the opposition a puncher's chance at sneaking an upset. Between COVID and the delayed runoffs, it'll be an odd, unpredictable electorate to begin with. That's the kind of wild card that could easily result in election-night surprises.

Grits hasn't followed this local, Cowtown issue before and wishes I'd realized this opportunity earlier. It's too small a race for anyone to poll on, but if an upset occurs, the implications could be significant.

MORE (7/14): Since I'm learning about this as we go, the Texas Tribune reported on this race and informed us:
Fort Worth is the largest of more than 60 Texas cities that have what's called a crime control district. These districts — which must be periodically approved by voters — are funded by a portion of the sales tax that is different than the portion of a sales tax that often flows into a municipal general fund. Voter-approved crime control district sales taxes can only be used for crime control and crime prevention. Sales taxes flowing into a city's general fund can often be spent in any way that elected officials decide. 
Fort Worth's crime district was first approved in 1995, with the goal to tackle a crime wave that Fort Worth was experiencing at the time, as were many other cities in the country. It has funded a wide range of items for the past 25 years, from high-tech equipment to after-school programs.
As the national conversation has shifted to the social-service functions of law enforcement, it's worth mentioning that, originally, that's what this tax was supposed to fund. But lately, those sorts of programs have been de-prioritized, the Trib reported:
The tax currently funds after-school programs, domestic violence programs and anti-gang interventions. But advocates said that most of the money helps fund enforcement and infrastructure items, like the SWAT team or updating the fleet of patrol vehicles. 
“Over the years the budgeted percentage of the funds to the community groups has gone from 80% to 20%. In this proposal 80% of the funds will go to Police,” the [NAACP] said in a statement.
Also, the tax this time would be renewed for ten years, not six, as in the past.

Meanwhile, Bud Kennedy chided me for not reading this Star-Telegram editorial telling voters to shoot down this policing tax. In particular, they're concerned that "the crime district blocks the city from spending more robustly on transit." Fair enough. This wasn't a topic I'd researched, nor was even aware of before reading The Appeal's coverage. You learn something new every day.


Phelps said...

If the vote is its historical 75% or greater for, will you admit that the movement, rather than being a popular movement, is instead a vocal and violent minority backed by the massive media propaganda machine?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

No, because there hasn't been a campaign putting the choice before the voters.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Also, your notion that the movement lacks popular support ignores all the evidence to the contrary.

Steven Michael Seys said...

@Phelps may be correct, Scott. "All the evidence to the contrary" turns out to be MSM political hacks with an agenda to spin. These are the same ones who poll their own newsroom and can't understand why conservative and liberal, in the classic sense, values still have traction against the totalitarian concepts they push on the air.

Oil Lease said...

I've heard mention of forcing SCOTUS to open their IRS reports for public scrutiny. There are many reasons but one that stands out to me is "qualified immunity" for cops. How did they come up with that doozy? Police union donations perhaps?

I don't ever try to hurt anyone, I should have it too. It would be great as a trucker and operator to not be liable for anything.

Everyone should get qualified immunity. That would be great eh? Nobody is liable and everyone above the law. That oughta be a very interesting society. Those on the fence or opposing the 2A would be buying guns left and right. Nothing like a society with NO laws. Makes as much sense as qualified immunity, in other words, no sense at all.

Gunny Thompson said...

From Unfiltered Minds of Independent Thinkers of the Third Grade Drop Out Section:

"You Can't Kill A Dog By Killing only the Fleas On A Dog."

Your position is well said. A short time ago, a position letter has stated that "qualified immunity" provided to various officials is "cut from whole cloth.' a made up self protection scheme(my words. Taking into account of your position, it would be in compliance with the 14th Amendment.