Four years ago when I was knocking on your doors, I talked about how we could jointly build a healthier community, together.
Among other things, we discussed the need for more open and green spaces, the need for increased public safety, further support for the arts, and also renewing the City’s commitment to addressing the needs of the homeless, in addition to the need for more supports and services for our young people.
Four years on, my work remains ongoing. However, I wanted to provide an update on a number of recent issues important to our community.
On the public safety front, the Deputy Chief of Police has informed me that the police department has added 87 officers to the force, thanks to the passage of Measure U. The department is still a long ways away from being fully-staffed, but these officers are long overdue and very much needed. Additionally, the Council recently voted to eliminate the final “browned out” fire station, which is a significant contrast to the four brownouts we had just a few years ago. The funding allocation to eliminate the final brownout was made during our mid-year budget review, which showed a small but promising surplus.
As an additional part of the mid-year budget review, the Council decided to allocate $1 million to address our homeless population. While I do not think the sum can comprehensively address our current challenge, my hope is that we can implement a pilot project using best practices from around the country, which could potentially then be taken to scale. The City is currently evaluating several programs to see which might be most appropriate for Sacramento.
Through my WayUp initiative, we have just committed to funding a piece of functional public art. The art fence will be utilized on the Broadway side of the Oak Park Sol garden, a community garden that my office has helped to develop. The garden wonderfully exemplifies the spirit of community partnership, and we believe that the fence will do the same. The owner of the land is Curtis Park’s own Earl Withycombe, and the garden was brought together with help from Earl, along with many other community members, to transform a vacant lot into a community space.
In addition to his council duties, Jay works as an independent consultant and policy advisor on education reform and youth policy and strategies.