What the June 9th council meeting means for defunding the police
Rebecca Beddingfield (she/her)
If you’ve ever watched the popular TV show Parks & Recreation, you might have an image of city council meetings that includes dramatic citizens and twisted motives of those in power. While this might not be accurate, the city council meeting Tuesday night was one for the books as council members voted on the 2020-21 proposed operating budget, which included an increase in funds for the police department. This would be the second public hearing after the first public hearing on June 2nd.
One of the central demands of the BLM movement is to defund police departments and invest that money into other community programs such as social services. The passing of a budget that increases the police budget seems to be a step in the opposite direction to several community members.
Countless community members called in to express their opinions, including Ryan Howard, current teacher at AHS, and several FUSD school attendees and alumni. Many came in support of delaying the vote on the budget in order to reevaluate the police budget. Still, there were also a number of community members that wanted to keep the current budget or even increase the police budget. After a long night of discussion of both the council and the community, there was a unanimous decision by the council to vote yes on the proposed operating budget as it is. They also voted to end the state of emergency concerning civil unrest, although the city manager had already lifted the curfew previous to the meeting.
Council members noted that this is one of the highest turnouts that they have had for voting on the budget specifically and expressed hope that community members would continue to join them in discussion on matters like policing that affect the residents of Fremont. While the budget without changes has been approved, council members have the right to change the budget at any time throughout the year. A number of students will be active participants in local government as well as those who will be active voters, so below are basic resources including how to find out who the representatives are for your location.
City District locating Tool:
Map with Representatives and their Election Years:
Breakdown of City Budget: