FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – September 26, 2016
LA Community Members denounce a budget that is environmentally, economically and socially toxic for Black and Brown communities
Press Contact: Diana Zuñiga, Californians United for a Responsible Budget, Diana@curbprisonspending.org or 213-864-8931
Twitter: @CURBprisons #NoMoreJails
What: County Budget Teach-In and Letter Delivery
Where: Grand Park, adjacent to the Board of Supervisors Office at 500 W. Temple St, LA
When: September 27 at 12pm
LOS ANGELES – On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will hold their final public hearing on the 2016-17 county budget described by the Chief Executive Office as a budget that is “Investing in our Future”. During the supplemental budget hearing county community members will participate in a community teach-in that to discuss the negative economic, environmental, and human impacts this budget will have on Angelenos. The group will submit a letter with five alternative budget proposals demanding that the county invest in the health and well-being for all.
“This budget proposal prioritizes a strong economic future not for Angelenos but for law enforcement,” said Diwaine Smith, Youth Organizer with the Youth Justice Coalition. “Grassroots organizations have been fighting for adequate and equitable resources for all our community members and have only received piece meal policies. We are still waiting for the board to divest from law enforcement by stopping the proposed women’s jail. We are here demanding a true investment in our young people and communities by creating a youth development department, re-directing 50% of realignment dollars towards holistic care, and generating universal representation for our undocumented community.”
The budget proposes to allocate nearly $120 million to construct the proposed women’s jail. “The Sheriff and county supervisors plan to build a women’s jail in one of the highest risk Valley Fever areas in California, with particular concerns around water in California’s ongoing drought,” says Dayvon Williams of Critical Resistance Los Angeles. “This is a clearly a destructive move, as these environmental impacts will affect low income communities of color who are already most disproportionately targeted by imprisonment.”
The budget does not distinguish a plan to support immigrant communities impacted by the criminal justice system, nor the needs of numerous community members that have experienced excessive use of force or death at the hands of law enforcement.
“There were approximately 3,700 detained and unrepresented immigrants who had their cases heard in Los Angeles area immigration courts in 2015. Just $18. 5 million would provide representation for each of these community members for a year. How are we not prioritizing this solution?,” says Felicia Gomez of the California Immigrant Policy Center. “Meanwhile, Los Angeles has paid out $35 million in settlements for excessive use of force every year. LA County needs to prioritize black and brown lives in this budget not protecting the Sheriff’s Department or building more jails.”
Tuesday’s Teach-In will feature information on five alternative budget campaigns (Stop the toxic women’s jail, LA4Youth Campaign, Universal representation for immigrant communities, Civilian Oversight and Settlement Cases, and Reimagine109: LA’s 50% Campaign) and will be followed by the delivering of a letter to the LA Board of Supervisors.