Dear Bellingham City Council,
My name is [YOUR NAME] and I am a resident of [YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD/DISTRICT]. I am writing to demand that the Bellingham City Council adopt a city budget that prioritizes community wellbeing, and redirects funding away from the police.
The Bellingham city budget for 2019-2020 allocates over $30 million to the police department, about a third of the total budget. I demand that the City Council begin meaningfully defunding the Bellingham Police Department and re-allocating those funds to programs proven to more effectively promote a safe and equitable community: community-based mental health services, substance abuse treatment services, affordable housing programs, and more. I demand a budget that reflects the actual needs of Bellingham residents.
History has shown that police "reform" is not enough. We must take a hard look at the ways that the current system in place fails to serve--and in fact actively harms--our community, and come together to reimagine the role of police in our city. Our town is small, close-knit, and empathetic, and defunding the police and reallocating that funding towards social services would make this an even more amazing place to live.
I understand that this is a massive change and we can't make it overnight, and that Bellingham also faces huge challenges dealing with coronavirus, but please do not spend too much time with forums and community tours. I demand an immediate commitment to action on defunding the police.
Thank you for your time,
[YOUR NAME][YOUR ADDRESS]
[YOUR EMAIL][YOUR PHONE NUMBER]