Some East Bay cities are starting to seriously consider how to move funding from police budgets into community services. Conversations continue this month at council meetings in Berkeley and Oakland, and task forces are being formed in Richmond and Alameda. Bike East Bay joins the far broader call to cut police budgets and reinvest in services such as mental health, violence prevention, education, and safe street systems. Do you live, work, or play in one of the East Bay cities listed below? Write to your elected officials today and make your voice heard.
Structural racism extends far beyond the bike lane. Meetings to review city budgets kicked off last month, but as of today, no city in the East Bay has made serious cuts to police budgets. Connect with groups leading the call for change, and make your voice heard by writing to your elected officials today.
Berkeley: July 14
July 14 starts the Berkeley City Council discussion on unbundling the police. Councilmember Rigel Robinson introduced a resolution to do just this–transfer traffic management responsibilities from Berkeley Police Department to a new Department of Transportation, which will focus on racial justice. View the agenda for Berkeley’s July 14 council meeting, with several council items to reimaging public safety in Berkeley.
Oakland: July 21
On July 21, Oakland City Council will start the process to establish a City Council/Community-led taskforce to plan and guide implementation of a transformational vision for public safety in Oakland.
The vision must be bold, and must include tangible outcomes (e.g., a 50% reduction in crime, and a 50% reduction in incarcerated Oaklanders). The taskforce should be kicked off by September, and with extensive community involvement have a draft plan by January and a final plan by the end of March to inform next year’s budget process.
On June 25, BART approved the 2020-2021 budget that includes a commitment to undertake a rigorous stakeholder process on new approaches that emphasize responding to homelessness, behavioral health and substance use without relying on armed police. Between now and October, BART staff will develop recommendations for staffing and funding services that do not require sworn personnel, and present these recommendations for public input at BART’s October budget adjustment discussions.
Connect with local organizations leading the call in the East Bay for safer, more accessible streets in the broadest sense.