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PLEASE EMAIL COUNCIL MEMBERS TO URGE THEM TO OPPOSE THE MONEY GRAB FOR SANTA RITA JAIL.

Write to all Berkeley City Council members at:

city council email

OR Council Members individually at:

Mayor Jesse Arreguin - Mayor Jesse Arreguin email

D1 - Rashi Kesarwani - Rashi Kesarwani email

D2 - Cheryl Davila - Cheryl Davila email

D3 - Ben Bartlett - Ben Bartlett email

D4 - Kate Harrison - Kate Harrison email

D5 - Sophie Hahn - Sophie Hahn email

D6 - Susan Wengraf - Susan Wengraf email

D7 - Rigel Robinson - Rigel Robinson email

D8 - Lori Droste - Lori Droste email

Email Berkeley City Council Members before this Tuesday’s City Council Meeting to support a resolution to oppose $85 million a year of additional funding for the Alameda County Sheriff’s department to expand their staff. This is an unconscionable money grab in the midst of a pandemic. Tell our council to approve the resolution calling on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors to reject Sheriff Ahern’s funding request. Send the message that we need to support healthcare not additional detention that puts our community at risk!

In the thick of the pandemic, Alameda County Sheriff Ahern proposes to bypass other budget needs to vast expand staffing at Santa Rita Jail - already the “most dangerous place in Alameda County” - for $85 million a year for the next three years. County supervisors will consider the proposal on April 21, and the Berkeley City Council has a chance at its meeting on Tuesday evening to weigh in against this money grab for handcuffs over healthcare.

The sheriff’s budget has ballooned to $452 million, even as the jail population declined over the last decade. The county needs now and will badly need funding in the next year to address the pandemic and profound economic crisis our communities face, on top of existing needs. The sheriff’s department has abused and exploited prisoners at Santa Rita Jail for years, and COVID19 cases in the jail are now 16 times what they are (per thousand) in the County. The answer is not an unaccountable, massive expansion of jail staff. Instead, the County should invest in public health and programs for those with serious mental health challenges or who are at risk of losing housing.

Community members have come together to draft a City Council resolution (see attached and below) that, because of the rapidly changing circumstances, will need to be “walked in” to the Council meeting on Tuesday. We’re confident that some Council Members will do so - and the message to county supervisors from the Berkeley City Council should be unanimous.

See the Sheriff’s funding request here: Funding Request text