San Antonio voters overwhelmingly reject Proposition A

If passed, Prop A would have decriminalized cannabis and abortion in addition to codifying a local cite-and-release policy.

click to enlarge Act4SA Executive Director Ananda Tomas embraces Prop. A supporters at an election watch party in San Antonio's Southtown neighborhood on Saturday. - Michael Karlis
Michael Karlis
Act4SA Executive Director Ananda Tomas embraces Prop. A supporters at an election watch party in San Antonio's Southtown neighborhood on Saturday.
Cannabis and abortion will remain criminal offenses in San Antonio — at least for now — as advocates of the sweeping criminal justice reform referendum Proposition A conceded the race around 7:40 p.m. Saturday.

As of press time, 74% of voters had cast ballots against Prop A, also known as the San Antonio Justice Charter.

In addition to decriminalizing abortion and low-level pot possession, Prop A would have codified cite-and-release for Class C misdemeanors such as petty shoplifting and vandalism. Additionally, it would have codified SAPD’s current ban on police choke holds and no-knock warrants.

Prop A's backers were outspent 10-to-one by opponents including the powerful San Antonio Police Officers Association and deep-pocketed business interests.

Indeed, Prop A’s fatal flaw may have come down to the difficulty explaining exactly what it would do amid a barrage of ads depicting it as a step toward rampant crime and violence in the streets.


“We still have to do a lot of public education. We’ve been doing it for several years and we’re going to continue,” Ananda Tomas, executive director of police reform group Act 4 SA, told reporters at the Prop A watch party. “We know when we’re at the doors and we break all of these things down, that folks are with us.”

High-profile leaders including San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and most of city council also declined to back Prop A. Proponents accused the mayor of backpeddling on his prior support of cite-and-release.

"The challenge with Proposition A is that I think it mischaracterizes what cite-and-release was about," Nirenberg previously told the Current. "Cite and release has always had officer discretion. Prop A effectively removes officer discretion, and again, theft and property damage are not victimless crimes."

Tomas said she was disappointed with the the mayor's decision to campaign against Prop A. However, she said that she and fellow progressives aren't giving up in their fight for criminal justice reform.

Even so, she said that she's unsure whether voters can expect to see a similar ballot proposal during the next election.

"I think right now we're still processing, trying to rest, and we'll see," Tomas 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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