To Mayor Roberson and Monterey City Council Members,
My name is [YOUR NAME], and I am a Monterey community member. Since the violent murder of George Floyd, our nation has been forced to take an honest look at how Black and Brown people are treated in America. As a result we have seen protests in all 50 states calling for rapid and meaningful change, especially regarding racist institutions like policing. Simultaneously, cities across the country are facing budget deficits due to COVID-19 and Monterey is no exception.
As protests continued, Monterey released a budget proposal asking its tax-payers to accept a 60% reduction in recreation, library and museum spending as well as over 40 layoffs, but proposed only an 8% reduction of the police department. In the name of real public safety, I cannot accept this! On June 7, 2020 the Minneapolis City Council voted to defund and dismantle their city's police and pledged to invest in new models of public safety and I ask that Monterey City Council adopt this agenda as well.
According to the 2019-2021 Biennium Adopted Budget, expenditures for MPD totaled over $18 million, more than the expenditures for community services such as museums, parks and libraries combined. Though our city continues to spend extraordinary amounts on policing, residents still struggle with issues of public safety, houselessness, accessibility to mental health services, food equity and accessibility as well as general affordability in Monterey. By defunding police and reallocating those dollars to community services, you can make incredible systemic change to enrich the lives of all your constituents and uplift our most vulnerable populations. Real public safety addresses root causes, not just the symptoms; eliminating the desperation that places individuals in a position to commit criminalized acts in the first place.
I call on you to defund the Monterey Police Department and use those extraordinary assets to offer more social services and boost the budgets for schools, recreation, libraries and the arts, which fundamentally enhance the health and wellness of all our community members. Defunding MPD will make space for new systems and more nuanced emergency-response approaches. Our citizens deserve this!
[YOUR NAME][YOUR ADDRESS]
[YOUR EMAIL][YOUR PHONE NUMBER]