The 4th District Councilmember, the Community and the Police

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By Dr. John E. Warren, Publisher

Last week San Diego Fourth District City Council member Monica Montgomery cast a vote that stands out as wrong to both her District and the moral attitude of this nation. She voted in support of the City Council, giving $27 million of CARES funds to the San Diego Police Department Budget. At first blush, this looks like the right move for the city to many.

Why?

Because the Police Department has been bleeding officers to retirement, and movement to other municipalities offering better pay. Some have gone to the Sheriff’s Department, or National City or Chula Vista. Over a year ago the city made a pledge to offer increases to the Police Officers Association (POA). But much has changed since that discussion, as evidenced by protests against police actions both nationally and locally. There is a community outcry over funding the police. The real question now concerning San Diego Police is how are they spending what they have?

Do we need the number of Assistant Chiefs that now occupy the 7th Floor of the San Diego Police Department? In the midst of a budget crisis, did the City look at a zero-based budget approach to reviewing the police department as opposed to being concerned about meeting the demands of the Police Union? These are the questions that Council Member Montgomery should have been asking, if she didn’t do so during the budget discussions. Her “No” vote might not have been popular with her fellow council members, but then, they did not elect her.

Instead of proposing a Department of Race and Equity and accepting a $3 million dollar token from the Mayor, the council member should have pushed for some of that $27 or $20 million dollars going to the police to be redirected to some of the summer jobs for our unemployed youth within existing departments and agencies of the city government; more dollars to Parks and Recreation for the difficult summer ahead and real dollars for small minority businesses (Black businesses in particular) to reopen. The Mayor was wrong to give those dollars to the police and even if 6 votes are required to override a veto by him, better to start with one then to get on board the wrong train.

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