To whom it may concern,
My name is [INSERT NAME] and I am a resident of Concord. Our nation is in the midst of widespread upheaval over the systemic violence of policing, and the Bay Area has been at the forefront of much of this action. I’m writing to you today to demand that Concord adopts a budget for the people that redirects funding away from the police and towards prioritizing other programs—affordable housing for our homeless and low-income neighbors, mental health programs, rent suspension and cancellation during this pandemic, and finally, more rehabilitative approaches to public health issues. By taking a preventative approach to stop violence in the community, Concord would reduce the need for a police force. Concord’s needs must be addressed by the provision of care, and not by conflict or by the threat of violence.
The Mayor and City Council showed up at Todos Santos to listen to the voice of our community in early June. I would encourage you to take what you heard and apply it to your budget. the Concord Police Department is the single largest expenditure in the City’s General Fund and sees the smallest percentage reduction in your budget proposal. The city currently spends 57% of its general fund on police—a staggering $64.4 million in the last fiscal year.
I am asking for human-centered services. Research shows that a living wage, access to health services and treatment, educational opportunities, and stable housing are far more successful at promoting safe communities compared to police or prisons. Support for communities in need—especially our communities of color and low-income communities—is necessary now, more than ever. As such, we need more aggressive financial support to be directed to those areas. Where should that money come from? The projected $50+ million to be allocated towards CPD this fiscal year.
I am demanding that this money be reallocated from the police department because it is an inherently harmful organization that has not responded to "reform". Now more than ever is the time to demilitarize and divest from police resources. The budget should be used to fund alternative emergency response programs: trained first responders to help in mental health crises, city employees to check in on homeless citizens in our parks, and trauma-informed crisis intervention teams to disarm and de-escalate gun-related conflicts. Now is the time to drop the dated ideal that police force is the only way to keep us safe.
I join the calls of those across the country to defund the police and invest in the health and safety of our community. I demand a budget that adequately and effectively meets the needs of at-risk Concord residents during this trying and uncertain time, when livelihoods are on the line. I call on you to reduce the CPD budget and instead, meaningfully reallocate funds towards social programs and resources that support housing, jobs, education, health care, child care, and other critical community needs. I demand a budget that supports community wellbeing, rather than empowers the police forces that tear them apart. I will oppose any additional sales tax ballot initiatives without significant reductions to the policing budget.
It is your duty to represent your constituents. I am urging you to completely revise the Concord city budget for 2020-2021 fiscal year. Public opinion is with me.
Thank you for your time,
[YOUR PHONE NUMBER]