Fargo, Johnson Upset About Police Cuts; Differ on Solutions
Sacramento Police Chief Rick Braziel will face some tough questions from the city council tonight. He’ll discuss the service cuts he’s making to deal with the city’s financial problems, including increased 911 ring times and sharp overtime limits.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Mayor Heather Fargo and challenger Kevin Johnson have both called them unacceptable. But they’re responding in different ways. Fargo wants to find other areas of the police department to cut instead.
Fargo: “It’s just not acceptable for the city of Sacramento or for the police chief to say that customer service is going to be cut. It’s an eight percent cut, and yes, there have to be cuts, but they need to go back and re-do the homework. We need a new memo; we need some new, creative thought in here.”
Johnson, meanwhile, favors not making any further police cuts at all, and reducing other city services instead.
Johnson: “This is a step today right now, which I think the community will be alarmed. When you talk to the citizens of Sacramento, they have told me that they can afford to have their leaves picked up one less day and are willing to make that sacrifice by keeping public safety a top priority.”
In the end, both candidates could find themselves boxed in by the harsh reality of the city’s finances. For Johnson, the money that goes into picking leaves up off the ground doesn’t even come from the city’s general fund – meaning police dollars wouldn’t be affected at all. As for the mayor, if you don’t cut customer service, you have to cut jobs – in other words, uniformed police officers.