Equality Elk Grove

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EQUALITY REQUIRES MORE THAN JUST DIALOGUE

Over the past few months, the City of Elk Grove has been the site of a number of racist incidents:  Sacramento Bee  Elk Grove Citizen  CBS  ElkGroveNews.net

The Elk Grove City Council is encouraging dialogue to build an atmosphere of tolerance and cooperation but we must also pursue specific achievable civic goals that will give voice to equity-seeking communities and build an infrastructure that protects the rights of all citizens.

Please sign this petition as a request for the City Council to enact the following:

  1. HATE INCIDENT TRACKING
  2. ONE DISTRICT, ONE VOTE  (BY-DISTRICT ELECTIONS)
  3. COMMUNITY POLICING COMMISSION 
  4. SCHOOL BOARD CURRICULUM ON RACISM AND HATE CRIMES 
  5. AN EXTENDED CONVERSATION

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HATE INCIDENT TRACKING

Federal and state laws require law enforcement to track specific hate crimes, however, many incidents are not recorded.  For example, the Elk Grove Police Department, as of August 2017, was aware of only one hate incident in recent years.  To truly understand the problem at hand and allocate appropriate resources, our leadership needs better information.  We must direct City staff to create and publicize a hate incident tracking system with the cooperation of the Elk Grove Unified School District and the Elk Grove Police Department.  Then we will know where and what type incidents our citizens are facing so that we can tackle the problem effectively.

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ONE DISTRICT, ONE VOTE (‘BY-DISTRICT’ ELECTIONS)

The antiquated electoral system in Elk Grove penalizes minorities, women and underfunded groups.  Democracy works well when elected officials are directly connected to the citizens they represent.  However, the current electoral system in Elk Grove is fundamentally flawed because voters outside of each district have more collective power than those within it.

Current System
• Voters outside the district have more power than voters inside the district

• Voters cast ballots for councilmembers outside their district

• Candidate can lose the district but still represent it

• Minorities, women and underfunded groups have difficulty raising $100,000 needed to compete in the whole city


One District, One Vote

• Only voters inside the district are counted

• Voters cast a ballot for only their own councilmember

• Candidate must win the majority of votes in their own district

• Any candidate can be competitive in a small district just by organizing neighborhood groups

The ‘One District, One Vote’ solution is called ‘By-District’ voting.  The legislature enacted a bill that Assemblymember Jim Cooper wrote specifically to allow cities like Elk Grove to easily switch to the By-District system.  We must ask our City Council to enact By-District voting so that we have representatives that are connected to us and will listen to us.

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COMMUNITY POLICING COMMISSION

 Across the country, we have seen communities torn apart by law enforcement use of force.  In Sacramento, elected officials struggled to manage multiple crises as they were torn between their duties to constituents and law enforcement.  Elk Grove should not wait for a crisis.  We have an opportunity to assist our City Council and be pro-active by providing civilian oversight for the Elk Grove Police Department as is done in many other jurisdictions.  The purpose of this oversight is to evaluate law enforcement procedures and investigations so that residents have greater confidence in their police officers.  The status quo is a gamble with community harmony that, sooner or later, we will lose.  We must pursue a more reasonable and purposeful path.

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SCHOOL BOARD CURRICULUM ON RACISM AND HATE CRIMES

It is evident that hate speech across the country has emboldened bigoted adults while children have also been negatively influenced. Taunts of ‘terrorist’ and ‘build the wall’ are accompanied in the school yards by confederate flags, nooses and swastikas.  It is clear that some of our children are lost and need to know that our community standards are unambiguously against hate and intolerance.  We need to build a limited school curriculum regarding racism and hate crimes, accompanied by a review of school board policies on hate speech.  Establishing this curriculum will require extensive community consultation along with input from educational experts, however, we are blessed with a strong school district leadership group that is up to the task.

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AN EXTENDED CONVERSATION

Although today’s conversation is necessary and will lead to greater understanding, we must also admit that we need the help of those community members that have not attended today.  Our elected leaders have the credibility and relationships to extend this conversation.  We must work with them to engage community organizations like the Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club, the American Legion and others in discussions about race and hate crimes.

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Thank you for signing this petition!  Now email the councilmembers and let them know you care about these goals:

Steve Ly - stevely@elkgrovecity.org
Stephanie Nguyen - snguyen@elkgrovecity.org
Steve Detrick - sdetrick@elkgrovecity.org
Pat Hume - phume@elkgrovecity.org
Darren Suen - dsuen@elkgrovecity.org



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