San Antonio Justice Charter headed to likely vote after activists get more than 38,000 signatures

If passed by voters, cannabis possession and abortion would both be decriminalized in San Antonio.

click to enlarge A teary-eyed Ananda Tomas, executive director of Act 4 SA, thanks supporters before heading into City Hall to drop off 38,200 signed petitions. - Michael Karlis
Michael Karlis
A teary-eyed Ananda Tomas, executive director of Act 4 SA, thanks supporters before heading into City Hall to drop off 38,200 signed petitions.

Progressive groups celebrated on the steps of City Hall Tuesday afternoon before delivering the boxes of signed petitions needed to get a measure in front of voters that would decriminalize both cannabis possession and abortion.

Ananda Tomas, executive director of police reform group ACT 4 SA, told reporters that her group and its allies collected 38,200 signatures in favor of the San Antonio Justice Charter. That's well above the roughly 20,000 required to put it on the ballot for May's citywide election.

If passed, the charter also would codify the ban the San Antonio Police Department's current leadership has placed on police chokeholds and no-knock warrants.

click to enlarge Supporters carry boxes of signed petitions in favor of the Justice Initiative into San Antonio City Hall. - Michael Karlis
Michael Karlis
Supporters carry boxes of signed petitions in favor of the Justice Initiative into San Antonio City Hall.

"I've been frustrated working within the system and working in City Hall to try to get things like this done," District 2 City Councilman Jalen McKee-Rodriguez told charter supporters. "I think this is a demonstration that when the people will it, it will happen."

Although the petition garnered support from McKee-Rodriguez and an array of progressive groups from around the state, it's likely to face stiff resistance from others. Danny Diaz, head of San Antonio's powerful police union, said his organization will work to defeat the measure, which he said ties officers' hands.

click to enlarge Signed Justice Initiative petitions await to be x-rayed at the security check point at San Antonio City Hall on Monday afternoon. - Michael Karlis
Michael Karlis
Signed Justice Initiative petitions await to be x-rayed at the security check point at San Antonio City Hall on Monday afternoon.

Despite the work activists did to collect the signatures, a teary-eyed Tomas told supporters that there's more to be done.

"There's still thousands of doors to knock on, many loved ones to talk to and let them know that this is on the ballot and why they should vote for this," she said.

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Michael Karlis

Michael Karlis is a Staff Writer at the San Antonio Current. He is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., whose work has been featured in Salon, Alternet, Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, Orlando Weekly, NewsBreak, 420 Magazine and Mexico Travel Today. He reports primarily on breaking news, politics...

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