Dear Town Council Members,
My name is [YOUR NAME] and I am a resident of [TOWN/CITY]. I strongly reject the proposed ‘placeholder’ budget for 2020-2021 which calls for 38.6% of the town’s total budget to be allocated towards police. This is unacceptable. I call for a fundamental redirection of public resources away from policing via the Fairfax Police Department and toward a new, full-spectrum range of public safety practices, rooted in anti-racist community care. I write to you today to advocate for an end to business-as-usual budget-making and police-centered services.
As Black people across the United States are disproportionately mistreated by and dying at the hands of law enforcement, our nation has been gripped by protests in all 50 states calling for rapid and meaningful change with regard to police behavior, an end to systemic racism and anti-Blackness, and immediate reform in how Black people are treated in America. Marin County ranks as the most racially unequal county in California and ranks number two in crime and justice-related racial inequality. We, here in Fairfax and Marin County at large, must address our public safety practices and expenditures, and how they affect all of our community members. We must address the various reasons for our glaring lack of diversity, and determine the ways in which budget allocation and policing contribute to this ongoing problem in Marin County.
Our budget should align with our values. The current proposed budget does not reflect this town’s values with its 38.6% proposed allocation to police. Police logs clearly indicate that the vast majority of calls answered by Fairfax Police would be better suited to other kinds of community services—specifically those that do not arrive equipped for use of force, such as healthcare, housing support, education, social programs, and youth services. Armed policing should be the exception, not the rule.
Therefore, I call on the Town Council to begin a creative and visionary budget proposal process that allows members of the community to participate in meaningful discussion and decision-making about how our taxes are being spent. I propose the following: the creation of a Town Council commission on alternatives to policing, centered around anti-racism. This should include investments in existing community-based organizations as well as additional funding to support the creation of alternative responses to community needs and emergencies, including unarmed mediation and intervention teams, mental health experts, and restorative and transformational justice programs.
I strongly oppose the Town’s budget proposal. I call on the Town Council to recognize that it is time to shift funds from the Police Department into other areas of the town budget that truly promote public health and safety for all races, fostering community-building. I ask you to join in leading the development of a new vision for public safety in Fairfax.
[YOUR NAME][YOUR ADDRESS]
[YOUR EMAIL][YOUR PHONE NUMBER]