To City Manager Greg Nyhoff, the Vallejo City Council, and Solano County Elected Officials,
My name is [YOUR NAME], and I am a resident of Vallejo. Thank you for listening to your constituents and postponing the approval of the 20-21 budget. Due to the increase in funds for the 20-21 VPD budget from last year’s 43% to 46%, I am urging you to REJECT the budget at the June 23 City Council Meeting.
These past few weeks, our nation has been gripped by protests calling for rapid and meaningful change with regard to police behavior, an end to racism and anti-Blackness, and immediate reform in how Black people are treated in America. Our city has a shameful history of police abuses and murders. We are third in the state per capita for police murders, and our city police have one of the highest salaries and benefits packages in the state.
VPD has been a massive waste of our resources. Vallejo has been in the news several times over the last two years alone for acts of excessive force and murder by the police. As of June 13th last year, the city had 35 pending claims and lawsuits in connection with the Vallejo Police Department, 16 of which allege excessive force. We have one of the highest amounts of lawsuit payouts in the Bay Area, having paid out more than $7 million in civil rights lawsuit settlements involving our police department since 2011. While we’ve been spending extraordinary amounts on policing, we have not seen improvements to safety, homelessness, mental health, or affordability in our city. Instead, we see the wasteful and harmful actions of our police.
I call on you to slash the VPD budget and instead use those resources specifically towards solving homelessness, which is felt most by our Black neighbors and veterans. We implore you to give every member of our community experiencing homelessness a place to call home and the treatment they need.
We can be a beacon for other cities to follow if only we have the courage to change.