City Council to discuss resolution
The Santa Barbara City Council on Tuesday will discuss adopting a resolution that would condemn national police brutality and declare racism a public health crisis.
In addition, the council will vote on establishing an independent review of police misconduct. The vote will come one week after many members of the public spoke out on the need for the council to ensure local residents feel “protected to, listened to, and served by their public servants,” read the staff report.
The resolution is viewed as the first step in a continued effort to address the comments and concerns of the public, according to officials.
“As public officials, this tragedy makes us reflect on our own policies, practices, behaviors, and attitudes. The questions of whether we are doing enough, are we vigilant enough, have we fostered a true culture of respect and honesty are questions that need to be asked and answered,” the staff report reads.
If the council votes to move forward, city staff will return following input from members of Black Lives Matter Santa Barbara with a resolution.
In addition, if the council approves the recommendation, the City Attorney’s Office will return to council July 14 with a presentation on options to establish an independent police oversight system.
The reviews would include an assessment of “the objectivity, thoroughness, and appropriateness of a police department responses to complaints against police misconduct,” according to the staff report.
The council will also discuss protecting black landmarks and will consider directing staff to work with the city’s Historic Landmark Commission to identify and preserve landmarks of historical importance to members of the African American Community.
Additionally, the city will discuss appropriating $35,000 to the library to support annual events that celebrate the city’s cultural and racial diversity, including the Juneteenth celebration, Black History Month and other events.
The staff report cites the death of George Floyd, who died while in police custody in Minneapolis.
“In the aftermath of this tragedy, the City reaffirms its commitment to the larger goals of social justice. We will work with community leaders to determine the best ways for us to engage on this important mission as we continue to move forward,” the staff report reads.
In other business Tuesday, the council will consider a resolution to join the Support Local Recovery Coalition to advocate for state and federal funding related to COVID-19 economic impacts.
Current estimates show the city will lose approximately $26.5 million in tax and other revenue for fiscal year 2020 and $24 million in fiscal year 2021.
“These sharp revenue declines will impact the City’s ability to deliver core city services, including public safety programs, parks and recreation programming, land use planning and development of critical housing stock, Library services, provision of services to vulnerable populations (e.g. elderly, unhoused populations) through meal distribution and other related services, just to name a few,” the staff report reads.
The League of California Cities, which the city of Santa Barbara is a member of, formed the coalition which is aimed at securing state funding to cover COVID-related expenses and direct federal funding for cities to support critical local services. The city has already received $9.6 million in COVID relief, though officials say additional funding will be critical to continue certain services.
Tuesday’s meeting will begin at 2:30 p.m. and will be streamed online at santabarbaraca.gov/cap.