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After Mayor Nirenberg came out in opposition of Prop A, one of the SA activists behind it responded

The mayor said such a broad omnibus ballot measure disempowers voters. Local activists say they want residents to send a message.

SAN ANTONIO — With a month to go before San Antonians hit the polls for the May 6 municipal election, Mayor Ron Nirenberg says he plans to vote against the headlining ballot measure. 

Saying that it's not the right channel for tangible change to be enacted, Nirenberg said in a statement to KENS 5 that Proposition A – otherwise referred to by supporters as the San Antonio Justice Charter – "hits on all the hot buttons that are frustrating voters, myself included." 

But, Nirenberg says he wants to remind voters, "the city charter is not statutory law," and residents might think they're voting for something that won't come to fruition. 

Prop A, spearheaded by local activist group ACT 4 SA and approved for the May 6 ballot after the organization collected enough signatures earlier this year, seeks to do various things. Most notably, it looks to have law enforcement issue citations for low-level theft offenses; end criminal enforcement of abortion; codify the city's current cite-and-release policy; and establish a justice director position in San Antonio. 

The sheer breadth of the proposition, which voters can only approve or reject in its totality, is one reason Nirenberg says he's against it. He said it was "problematic" that Prop A collects "so many issues into one single proposition, forcing people to vote up or down one time."

"And if they are troubled with portions of it, they have to take the good with the bad," his statement continued. 

City Attorney Andy Segovia, meanwhile, has said that all but one of the proposed charter revisions – the new justice director position – likely aren't possible because of superceding state law.

While the mayor says he supports the measure's general aims of doing away with prosecuting women for abortion, Nirenberg pointed to City Council's largely symbolic resolution last summer as the city's official response to the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade. 

But the mayor's position is stronger on Prop A's aims regarding cite-and-release, saying it "mischaracterizes" the policy. According to him, it's already at the discretion of San Antonio police whether or not to issue a citation for thefts of less than $750. 

"Prop A effectively removes officer discretion," he said. "And theft and property damage are not victimless crimes."

But Ananda Tomas, ACT 4 SA's executive director, took issue with Nirenberg's reasoning for opposing Prop A. According to her, city leaders had their chances to take concrete action on the various issues raised by the measure. 

What Prop A would represent if it comes to pass, Tomas says, is "a clear message (on) where San Antonio stands on abortion access, on marijuana decriminalization, on policing and public safety that will guide city policy for years to come."

And when it comes to Nirenberg's assertion that the legislative session is where discussion on the issues outlined in Prop A can result in reform, Tomas offered a blunt assessment of Texas lawmakers' priorities as they pertain to reproductive rights. 

"He knows that abortion access and protection has no chance of moving successfully in this legislative session," she said. "And likely not the next."


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