SAN ANTONIO – The most contentious item in this year’s city election came down to the wire on Saturday night as the controversial Proposition B was defeated by a little more than two percentage points.
With all 243 voting centers reporting, the final tally was 51% against Prop B compared to 49% that voted for the measure, according to final results from the Bexar County Elections Department.
Prop B was arguably the most high profile item on the ballot. More than 104,000 votes were cast during the early voting period. A total of 150,087 were cast for the measure, which was more total votes than the mayoral race.
Voters who opposed the measure held a 51 to 49 percent edge when early voting results were released after 7 p.m. Saturday.
At one point during the evening, the margin tightened to 50.7 percent against and 49.3 percent for the proposition, but it ultimately did not pass.
The proposition was put on this year’s ballot after an activist group called Fix SAPD gathered more than 20,000 signatures during an aggressive campaign.
The group wanted more accountability and police reform within San Antonio police.
Fix SAPD targeted repealing Chapter 174 of the Texas Government Code that gives the San Antonio Police Officer’s Association (SAPOA) the right to collectively bargain with the City of San Antonio.
Union leaders argued that if it passed, droves of officers would leave the force through retirement or go work for another agency. SAPOA president Danny Diaz also claimed it would greatly affect wages and benefits in future labor contracts.
“They are afraid of losing their ability to take care of their families and in essence that is what this is all about,” said Diaz. “It’s not only defunding, it’s abolishment.”
Fix SAPD founder Oji Martin said the closeness of the vote was a sign that San Antonio residents want police reform.
“San Antonio came out to vote, to be heard,” said Martin. “We are breaking early voting records and it’s because San Antonio is hungry for change.”
With the union’s victory, it appears they and the city will resume talks on a new contract. Diaz said the two sides are currently far apart.
“There’s no trust and here’s a reason, we came to the table to bargain in good faith. I told the chief that, I told the city manager that,” said Diaz. “It’s disheartening to hear they sent an assistant chief up to Austin to lobby against bills that we’re trying to deal with at the table.”
(243 / 243)