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Urge NO Vote on $85 Million for Expansion of Santa Rita Jail Staff

Dear Friends,

In the midst of the COVID 19 pandemic and a crisis of homelessness, unemployment, school closures, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors will hold a vote on a combined Sheriff’s – Health Services Agency budget request for funds totaling $255 million on Tuesday, 4/21. The vast majority of these new funds will be dedicated to hiring additional sheriff’s deputies at a time when the jail populations is shrinking. The vote has been postponed several times but is now scheduled to take place on Tuesday, 4/21.

Please join the Kehilla Economic Justice Committee in contacting your Supervisor to urge them to Vote No on spending an additional $85 million for each of 3 years to fund the jail. Below is a call script and sample email.

Many thanks,

Merle & Richard

CALL SCRIPT 

My name is _____.  As an Alameda County property owner/resident/taxpayer, I’m calling to urge Supervisor _____ to VOTE NO on the sheriff’s request for an  additional $85 million per year over 3 years. It is unacceptable to spend these additional funds on jail personnel in the midst of COVID 19 pandemic and a crisis in homelessness in Alameda County.

SAMPLE EMAIL

Dear Supervisor (your supervisor),

As a (choose most appropriate description) property owner, tax payer, resident of and voter in Alameda County, I urge you to VOTE AGAINST the request for an additional $85 million for each of 3 years by the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department and the Alameda County Health Services Agency for the following reasons.

1.    The proposed staffing is arbitrary and is not based on a staff analysis as mandated by a lawsuit currently being litigated against the County. There will be ample time for consideration by the BOS in discussion with the community for this to be decided upon at a later date. I support improvements at the jail, but only after thorough consideration of the necessary steps to improve conditions.

2.    Over the last month, the Sheriff has demonstrated that he can reduce the jail population (over 725 people have been released since March 1) as jail bookings have decline, bail for non-violent misdemeanor and low level offenses has been reduced to $0, and early releases take place. Rather than invest in additional Sheriff’s deputies, we need to put extra available funds into community-based assets like community behavioral health services, safe and secure housing, case management, job training, and other supportive services that will strengthen our communities and keep the jail population as low as possible.

A policy decision of this magnitude (263 new sheriff’s deputies and 107 new jail-based behavioral health staff) at a time when the numbers of people incarcerated in Santa Rita has been declining should not be sprung on Alameda County taxpayers, voters, and residents without transparent and substantive public conversation, especially given the current pandemic and housing crisis. It is unconscionable to spend these funds without ample time for a thorough discussion. After the last 5 years of dozens of egregious medical incidents and 45 deaths in the jail that have led to our county having the highest cost legal settlements in northern California, this is not the time to reward the sheriff with millions more for additional deputies.

Thank you for your leadership in this time of crisis.

Your Name & Address

District 1: Scott Haggerty

Email: scott.haggerty@acgov.org Phone:510-272-6691

District 2: Richard Valle

Email: richard.valle@acgov.org Phone:510-272-6692

District 3: Wilma Cahn 

Email: wilma.chan@acgov.org Phone: 510-272-6693

District 4: Nate Miley

Email: nate.miley@acgov.org Phone:510-272-6694

District 5: Keith Carson 

Email: kcarson@acgov.org  Phone 510-272-6695

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