city council

Protesters stand outside Bakersfield City Hall before a City Council meeting on Wednesday evening.

A large contingency of the community showed up to the Bakersfield City Council meeting Wednesday to demand the Bakersfield Police Department be defunded.

After discussing the issue at length, the City Council unanimously adopted the $630 million budget for fiscal year 2020-21.

The budget called for around a 10 percent increase for BPD, allocating $119.9 million in total to the department. The increase, largely funded through the Public Services and Vital Services Measure, allows the department to add 44 new positions. BPD has said additional resources will allow officers to respond to a wider number of calls in person, reduce response times, and resume community policing, which they say is a popular request from the public.

Not everyone, however, agrees.

A broad coalition of community members have thrown their support behind the People’s Budget Bako, an alternative city budget seeking to defund the police and reallocate the funds to resources meant to bring equity to all people in the city. The premise behind the alternative budget is that reforming the police is useless because organizers say the institution has no accountability.

Providing more money to the police only gives them more power to harass and murder Black people in the street, the coalition's website says.

“The biggest thing about this topic is that it’s so simple,” said Faheemah Saluhud Din Floyd, one of the organizers behind People’s Budget Bakersfield. “It’s almost offensive. The things that we are asking for are so simple and they are such a part about basic human rights that it is ridiculous that we have to ask for them.”

She added some communities in Bakersfield have had little to no say in the shaping of the city budget in the past, and the People’s Budget gave the city the opportunity for the City Council to give those communities a seat at the table.

“People are angry, they are hurt, they are outraged,” she said in response to a question about the large turnout at the meeting. “Our community is in pain and our community wants to heal. And in order for our community to heal, we have to address systemic racism and destroy anti-blackness.”

Public comments lasted more than an hour, with about 20 people speaking on the issue. While the overwhelming majority of the speakers demanded defunding the police, there were a few voices present at the meeting in support of BPD.

One of them was local radio host and former councilman Terry Maxwell.

“As far as people my age are concerned, we do want to live in safe neighborhoods. We do want to have a place that our family can play, can do things that are what everybody dreams of,” he said during public comments. “It’s no secret that there are some that are not agreeing with what I’m saying, but again I represent a certain group in this community and we do expect that we will have a police force.”

Although the budget does not defund the police, City Manager Christian Clegg nevertheless said it addressed some of the concerns brought up in the People's Budget, including by allowing non-sworn BPD employees to respond to lower priority calls. He noted that some of the funding requests made by local activists, like education and mental health services, are funded through other entities like state and county dollars.

"Our budget in many areas is actually very well aligned with the recommendations that are being made," he said during the meeting, noting that many differing opinions were taken into account when drafting the budget. "This budget balances many of these competing priorities and takes into account the modern practices that people are asking for us to move in that direction."

Councilman Chris Parlier said he hoped the city would move forward with addressing community concerns in the future.

"Every budget that I’ve been a part of has never been perfect. There’s always been competing interests," he said. "Going forward, I’m sure other future budgets won’t necessarily be perfect either, but if we continue our outreach, we outreach to the community, we outreach to our stakeholders, hopefully we get closer to that goal."

You can reach Sam Morgen at 661-395-7415. You may also follow him on Twitter @smorgenTBC.

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(13) comments

Masked 2020

"rotten food with mold”...oh my....... poor poor Terry...he wished they had defunded the Health Department…..... but I do like Greek yogurt…. the full fat plain stuff… that's different I think….…. yogurt cultures are bacteria...... Mold is more akin to Covid maybe .... looks like more folks are locked up again..... sitting on their patios and burning their Tiki Torches ...be careful or you end up cremating the stars and stripes …... Defund this nasty Rabbit-Hole.. I think there for I am... I better put that in quotes ... did they ever figure out if it was possible to have a "new" original thought or has A.I. taken care of that?

Zeppo

Great news! We need the police, and we need to add more of them. Glad the City Council are adding even more! Only anarchists want less police. Law-abiding people know that the police are the only people we can call when we are threatened.

Veritas

So they defund the PDs and eliminate them, to in turn either start whole new police agencies or have no law enforcement at all. Defund police may be the stupidest movement I have ever heard of, period. I get and agree that police need to change the way they do business on our behalf. Protect and Serve the people, all people. It is folly to want anarchy, but that is what people who support defunding police are asking for whether they know it or not. Look at the CHAZ/CHOP in Seattle. Not working so well there with murder, rape, mayhem and other crimes going on without consequences. Is this what you want to happen people?

Ledzepplin4800

What did you expect did you think the city councilman we’re going to consider the protesting or even one time think that they were going to defund the police department Bakersfield has no democracy it does what it wants to do when it wants to just like Sam runs this post he removes what he wants to

Vico17

"Bakersfield has no democracy..." ??!!

These are "elected" officials. You on the other hand want the city to do what the "mob" wants. These are a handful of anarchist, protestors, rioters (whatever you wish to call them) and the rest of the city is supposed to bend the knee because they are whining? They have no legitimacy. It's nothing more than a shakedown. If they want loot, they should've hit the books back when the state gave them free schooling and a free lunch.

JR

It sounds to me like you're the one whining, And what's this "free schooling" and "free lunch" BS? Everyone pays for it, by way of sales and income tax, including those who receive your "free lunches". The only people who receive free lunches in this system are billionaires, who do not pay taxes, but instead, hide it in offshore accounts. You're angry at the wrong people.

Vico17

Not everyone receives a free lunch genius. If you are middle class you get nothing. Those at the bottom pay nothing in personal tax, or property tax (if you live in apartments or subsidized housing). Go after Apple, Amazon, Nike (billionaires) if you want. They are your liberal elites manipulating the poor into "spending" $1,000 for a smartphone which makes you dumber and broke. Those phones are bricks btw when looted them. Go after Amazon who've destroyed the brick-and-mortar, mom-n-pop stores and use the USPS on our dime. Go after Nike who makes $300 shoes in Asia for pennies on the dollar and stick it to you at footlocker. You have no idea what you are talking about. Those "billionaires" are YOUR billionaires pulling the strings, manipulating these poor people who have no idea who they're working for. The billionaires pander to them with a Kap-t-shirt and rob them blind with the other hand. And you give them a free pass. YOU need to open your eyes and protest the right people, not the police.

Vico17

"Smartphones make you broke, not woke."

I just came up with that. All rights reserved.

Gene Pool Chlorinator

#PeriodsAreYourFriend

Veritas

The idiocy of people never ceases to amaze me.

Masked 2020

cut copy paste......by: Kennedy Thomas

Posted: May 11, 2018 / 01:23 PM PDT / Updated: May 11, 2018 / 01:44 PM PDT

A former employee of TL Maxwell’s in Downtown Bakersfield is suing the restaurant and its owner – a former Bakersfield city councilman – for allegedly illegal working conditions and firing her in retaliation for her complaints, according to court documents.

Cristal Del Toro alleges between early October 2017 and March, the restaurant, located near the intersection of 17th Street and Chester Avenue, and its owner, Terry Maxwell, routinely violated health and safety regulations, regularly employed people living in the country illegally, violated state meal and rest break laws, and did not properly compensate her for working overtime.

Some of the alleged health code violations include “vermin in the kitchen, vermin on the food shelves, and use of dirty and broken kitchen equipment,” and even serving “rotten food with mold” to patrons, according to the lawsuit.

Maxwell refused to comment on the allegations.

According to the Kern County Department of Public Health’s Safe Diner website, TL Maxwell’s has an A rating as of its most recent health inspection in April, but the March inspection found a dead rodent in the restaurant’s basement, along with rodent droppings.

Gene Pool Chlorinator

So what's your point Yorkies?

Oh, that's right- like usual, you have no point. I guess you enjoy wasting TBC bandwidth with your Google cut and paste that nobody cares about anyway...

RubySue

What was the point of that? That was over two years ago. Terry Maxwell was a "former Bakersfield City Councilman" then, he has closed his restaurant, which I'm willing to bet, you never stepped foot in. He now hosts a radio show. Nothing in your cut and paste has any bearing on the City's decision to continuing funding the Police Department. Go back to bed and try to wake up. I think you're dreaming.

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