Petition for the Equitable Reallocation of Garden Grove’s Budget to Support Our Community
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It has come to our attention, as residents of Garden Grove, that Garden Grove’s budget for the fiscal year 2020-2021 allocates $67,738,400, which is roughly 51% of our General Fund, to the police department budget alone. Due to the economic downturn triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, many cities like ours are struggling to maintain strong city finances. It is imperative that we act now in the interest of ensuring a safer, brighter, equal, and more just community for our families and neighbors.
THE GARDEN GROVE COMMUNITY ASKS THAT THE CITY COUNCIL IMMEDIATELY REALLOCATE $30,000,000 OF OUR OVERWHELMING POLICE BUDGET TO SUPPORT OUR LOCAL BUSINESSES, OUR LOW- AND MIDDLE-INCOME FAMILIES, OUR HEALTH SERVICES, AND OUR EDUCATION SYSTEM BY JUNE 23, 2020.
On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, a 46-year-old unarmed black man, was unjustly killed, after Officer Derek Chauvin knelt nearly nine minutes on his neck, while three other officers of the Minneapolis Police Department stood by and refused to intervene. Countless victims of excessive police force, such as Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tony McDade, have not received their justice. Since Floyd’s wrongful death, tens of thousands of people across the country have protested for police reform and justice for all victims of brutality, prompting city governments in major cities like Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Portland, and Seattle to reassess the budget and size of their police force. As residents, we are calling on the Garden Grove City Council to follow their example.
Garden Grove High School’s very own Black Student Union stood at the forefront of our call for change. On Wednesday, June 3, 2020, more than 3,000 residents of all ages and backgrounds proudly took to the streets with their face masks and signs, marched for four miles under the glazing heat of the sun, and peacefully demonstrated their desire for social justice and change in local policies.
The Garden Grove community asks that our city no longer participates in systems that are designed to use force and perpetuate profiling against our neighbors based on perceived race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion.
Each year, the city of Garden Grove continues to increase its spending on the police budget by millions, while decreasing the money directly spent on community services. Over a two-year period of increased funding, the Garden Grove police’s use of force incidentally increased by an unacceptable 250%. The city has already projected a budget deficit of $5.2 million for FY 2020-21. During this period of financial uncertainty, we cannot provide more funds to the police department when small businesses and families are vulnerable.
WE CALL FOR THE CITY OF GARDEN GROVE TO RESPOND WITH THE FOLLOWING ACTIONS:
1. To immediately revise the FY 2020-21 budget, which currently allocates $67 million to the police department, and amend any previously approved police raises for FY 2020-21 and FY 2021-22, which are estimated to cost $3.3 million.
2. To reallocate $30 million from the police budget and invest in community services to:
- Support the long-term sustainability of local businesses by revising the Garden Grove Enterprise Fund and Investment Policy and divesting from hotel industries.
- Provide affordable housing by increasing the Garden Grove Housing Authority Budget.
- Advocate for equal opportunities across all schools in Garden Grove while keeping our low-income families in mind, especially through our relationship with GGUSD, so that every student, in every part of the city, has access to high quality learning opportunities.
- Increase funding to the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rental Transition Program.
3. To protect and expand our current investment in community-led health and safety strategies.
- Create a team of trained social workers to respond to emergency mental health calls.
- Recognize all Black Student Unions as official school clubs and organizations on all school and district websites.
- Remove those who have made inappropriate and disparaging remarks against the cause of Black Lives Matter, from Garden Grove city positions.
- Seek out and partner with community-based nonprofit organizations such as Resilience OC, CarePossible, Casa de la Familia, HeretoLead CA, Cal Wellness, and Young Women’s Freedom Center.
4. To prioritize structural police reform by:
- Never again voting to increase police funding or the department's budget.
- Upholding transparency by making records of misconduct by GGPD public and qualifying all complaints.
- Not rehiring cops who have previously been fired for incidents of excessive force.
- Withdrawing participation in police militarization programs.
- Capping overtime pay for military exercises.
- Banning the use of chokeholds and strangleholds by officers.
Your community understands the difficulties you face in raising money for the city. We ask that you reconsider your methods on gaining revenue so that it may benefit all the lower- and middle-income residents that call Garden Grove their home.
We ask that our Measure O city taxes serve everyone—not just Garden Grove’s police budget and the wealthier residents of our city.
Please work with us. We will work with you. We are all interested in a safer, brighter, equal, and just community for ourselves, our families, and our neighbors. This is the first step.
Your city needs you.
The Garden Grove Community
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