Big city mayors are calling on the governor to address funding issues related to realignment. The nine mayors are concerned about the costs realignment has foisted upon cities when it comes to additional police services and the local government leaders contend that without secure funding, public safety is at risk. Much of the focus in recent weeks has concerned funding for counties to handle the new responsibilities, so the mayors are drawing attention to the impacts on cities as well. While the governor has promised county officials that he will pursue a ballot measure that will provide constitutionally protected funding, the mayors want their piece of the pie and are asking to be a part of such a funding stream to cover city costs. The mayors also point out that by taking VLF revenues from cities, there has been a loss of funds dedicated to frontline law enforcement by cities across the state. You can read an excerpt of the letter from the nine big-city mayors here:
“On behalf of millions of Californians who reside in our cities, we respectfully request your immediate attention to a brewing public safety crisis that could threaten the success of the recently-launched realignment program. As a result, we believe the safety of our cities could be at risk.
While our county partners are appropriately taking the lead in planning and implementing the sea change in how offenders affected by realignment will be incarcerated and supervised at the community level across the state, it appears that little, if any, thought has been given to how to finance the higher policing costs cities will inevitably incur as a result of realignment. Moving thousands of offenders to community-based supervision, treatment and incarceration will require whole new service delivery approaches across our state. The fact remains that the offenders will live primarily in cities where 83% of our state’s population resides.”
Read the full letter here. It is authored by Villaraigosa (LA), Swearengin (Fresno), Sanders (San Diego), Reed (San Jose), Quan (Oakland), Tait (Anaheim), Foster (Long Beach), Johnson (Sac), and Lee (SF).
The administration called into question the timing of the mayors’ objections with a spokeswoman stating “Realignment was debated by law enforcement and public safety experts for months in Sacramento. You would think that any legitimate concerns about the policy would have been raised before it was implemented.”
County officials clearly have reservations of their own when it comes to funding because they are basically following through on a backup plan to ensure funding is guaranteed. Even though county officials will continue to work with the governor, it appears they feel a backup plan is a practical approach in light of the opposition the governor has faced in the past. Brown has already stated that he likely wants a package that involves tax increases, which is sure to provoke fierce Republican resistance. Consequently, the proposal from county leaders does not involve tax hikes. Yolo County Supervisor Mike McGowan ( and the first vice president of the California State Association of Counties) commented that “We'd rather have this worked out where we don't have to go through the arduous process of having to qualify for the ballot, but that requires us to put stock in the Legislature coming up with something.”