I remember seeing news last month about how when City Council president Miguel Arias contacted the police to help when a group that has been KNOWN to be hostile & racist came to his home and started harassing him. Instead of helping him, they joined this white supremacist hate group! Who are the police really "protecting and serving" when our police departments are comprised of neo-nazis and white supremacists?
The police have demonstrated on a nation-wide scale that it's not just "a few bad apples" but the entire orchard is corrupt and poisoned.
Reformation will not work, and police departments around the country have demonstrated that it absolutely does NOT work. I support not only defunding but abolishing the police. I support the following motions:
Allocate $300 thousand dollars towards the Advance Peace Program with the PD revolving salary savings.
Remove police officers from mental health calls and instead make Fresno County Behavioural Health the primary first responder in those situations.
Evaluate the effectiveness and return of investment of all special units.
The money the PD gets would be far better towards things that actually benefit Fresno such as: education, affordable housing, job training, mental-health counseling, substance abuse treatment and so much more.
At the June 15 city council meeting, many citizens requested that the council fund the Advance Peace program. A suggestion was made to consider a program ‘modeled’ on Advance Peace, but that would be more ‘tailored to Fresno.’ How are the multiple citizens who spoke specifically for Advance Peace ‘not’ Fresno? The advantage of using a program that has already been vetted and shown results seems obvious. This country needs to find ways to settle the long-standing debt incurred from 400 years of enslavement, lynching, burning, segregation, discrimination, blame, implicit bias - what Bryan Stevenson calls genocide. It will take many actions, large and small, to work our way toward justice, love, and humanity. The Advance Peace program is one small measure toward that end. If anyone thinks this seems overwrought, educate yourself on the history of this country. You might watch the documentaries '13' & 'True Justice' or read the writing of Ibram Kendi, Bryan Stevenson, and Ta-Nehisi Coates.
There was no option to comment on the procedural ceremony proclamation in support of the Fresno Police Department, so I am addressing it here. Between the three of them, councilmembers Bredefeld, Chavez, and Karbassi have raked in more than 50 grand in campaign contributions from police and law enforcement PACs. Bredefeld has received $30,000+, Chavez has received $24,000+, Karbassi has received $10,000+. If you guys are gonna let Fresno PD pimp you out like this, you should really start wearing cuter outfits. Whotakescopmoney.com. God Bless.
Defund Fresno PD and fund Advance Peace; rather than spending 53% of the city budget to fund the violence Fresno PD commits against citizens of Fresno, allocate funds to providing resources to Southwest Fresno and solving the social issues that police supposedly mitigate. Fresno City Council, you have a responsibility to the people you represent to create real, structural change that will protect the lives of Black Fresnans. Invest in solving social issues through housing initiatives, mental health and drug counseling, and providing Fresnans with basic needs such as food and clean water; this is what will reduce crime in Fresno, not exorbitant amounts of money going toward a reactive band-aid that only funnels people into jails. Make the choice to view all Fresnans as humans worthy of having their needs met rather than criminals who must be disappeared by the justice system.
Will you appropriate funds from the Covid 19 funding to ensure compliance, jobs and bid opportunities for affordable housing residents? As an advocate for the working poor my hope is to ensure funding can trickle down to not only agencies but individual residents. I want to ensure their will be program oversight and opportunities for residents to access the jobs that will be created from this funding. Can you include a bid opportunity?
When the Advance Peace Fresno initiative comes up for funding discussion, please fund it to the full measure. The City Council wisely endorsed this initiative previously and the Mayor made a mistake with his line-item veto. Now, we have another chance to do the right thing for the city. In my professional capacity as an associate professor at Fresno Pacific University in the Peacemaking and Conflict Studies program, I am convinced that programs like Advance Peace are crucial for durable ways of addressing gun violence. A fully-funded Advance Peace program, coupled with other Council initiatives to increase living-wage employment opportunities, will almost certainly produce less shootings and more stable neighborhoods. These would be favorable outcomes for the whole city. I implore you to fully fund Advance Peace immediately. Thank you.