UPDATE 4/30/2021 — The activist groups SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) and SCORE (South Coast Organizing for Radical Equity) are hosting two more information sessions about the audit of the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office. SCORE has put together a request to the Mendocino Board of Supervisors for an objective, independent third-party audit of the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) budget and public protection budget areas.
The audit seeks to examine how the sheriff’s department spends its money and the costs of legal settlements. The two sessions are as follows;
– Tuesday, May 4th at 7pm with SURJ: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89349994700?pwd=U0EwekVIb2VrVG9CazNrbU1Ob2h6UT09
(this is our regular Tuesday meeting link, no pre-registration required)
– Monday, May 10th at 7pm with SCORE: https://bit.ly/3nJg6Pf
Organizers ask that interested people contact the Board of Supervisors, especially the supervisor from one’s own district.
The board of supervisors moved this agenda item to May 25th so that it can be earlier in the day with more time devoted to it.From Andy Wellspring, SURJ
The activist group Showing Up for Racial Justice is holding an information session today, for details see the press release below.
FORT BRAGG, 4/27/21 — A total of 47 people showed up at a Black Lives Matter (BLM) rally in front of Town Hall in Fort Bragg last Wednesday, April 21, afternoon at 4 p.m. Horns honked as passerby rooted for the peaceful protest that lasted about an hour. Although the demonstrators were mostly white, there were several people of color on hand for this protest. All ages from youth to seniors were represented, while many such events in the past have been composed of mostly gray haired people, this was not the case this time. Although the rally was called in the name of BLM after former police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted for the murder of George Floyd and many were celebrating the rare conviction, most were talking about looking forward to community efforts to change local dynamics on racism. People used signs to express both continued outrage at police killings around the nation and elation at the verdict.
Activist Linda Jupiter, carrying a sign that read “black lives are precious” said the event brought together a variety of active community groups to celebrate racial justice. She is part of the Mendocino Coast Jewish Community, which has recently raised money to help 40 people become U.S Citizens. The MCJC paid a $725 fee that enabled many of the immigrants to complete their process of becoming citizens.
Activist Andy Wellspring represents the local chapter of the group SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice). Part of the group’s education efforts is regular reading and discussion of a book about social justice. SURJ is currently reading the book “My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies” by Resmaa Menakem.
“It’s’ great that we have a lot of different groups concentrating on different projects,” said Jupiter.
Wellspring and Jupiter were discussing an effort to audit the sheriff’s department budget by the organization South Coast Organizing for Radical Equity (SCORE).
“SCORE has put together a request to the Board of Supervisors to approve and fund an objective, independent third-party audit of the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office budget. Please support their important work. Now is a great time to reach out to the BOS as it is on their agenda for May 25.,” Wellspring said in an email to SURJ participants.
SURJ is hosting an information session about the audit on Tuesday, April 27th at 7 p.m. on zoom. Anyone is welcome to attend and learn about what is being proposed and how they can support the effort, Wellspring said. People can RSVP by emailing: [email protected]
Here is the press release from Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ):
SURJ (Showing Up For Racial Justice) is hosting an information session about the audit of the Mendocino County Sheriff’s office on Tuesday, April 27th at 7pm on zoom. Anyone is welcome to attend and learn about what is being proposed and how they can support the effort. Representatives from SCORE will also be present to help answer any questions people have about the scope and intent of the audit.
Please invite a friend, and register for the zoom session here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAudO6rpj4qHtek9t336t4UgpCTxMGPlj8v
Please continue to write letters to the BOS, especially the supervisor from your district.
The BOS has moved this agenda item to May 25th so that it can be earlier in the day with more time devoted to it. This is a good thing and it is due in large part to the fact that they have been receiving communication from the community so let’s keep up the pressure!
The following is a press release from SCORE
Sheriff’s Department audit request set for May 25 board of supervisors meeting
SCORE (South Coast Organizing for Radical Equity) has put together a request to the Mendocino Board of Supervisors (BoS) for an objective, independent third-party audit of the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) budget and Public Protection budget areas.
Independent audits are routinely used to assess an organization’s efficiency and prevent any conflicts of interest. Routine audits promote the confidence of taxpayers within the county. The proposed initial audit will investigate MCSO spending, policies and practices, as well as jail population and conditions. As residents of our County, taxpayers, and voters who elect the Sheriff, it is within our right to ensure that our money is being spent and managed wisely and appropriately, and that our fellow residents are safe, healthy and being treated with the care and respect we all deserve. This audit will allow for greater transparency, may allow for us to move into the future with more intentional policies and spending practices, and can hopefully ensure greater fiscal responsibility.
Note that the County budget category for MCSO and Corrections (Public Protection) has increased by $21 million in just five years, and our tax dollars have paid more than $5 million in MCSO misconduct settlements since 2007.
The proposed audit scope is driven by the following guiding questions:
- Are increases to the MCSO budget warranted given the current size of the jail population?
- What is the true cost of operating the Mendocino County jail system? Are jail-related budgets and staffing practices managed cost-effectively and efficiently?
- What alternatives to jail exist for housing of persons with mental health needs?
- What policy, programmatic, and operational changes can be recommended —based on the information generated by this audit—that can reduce costs while maintaining security and other legitimate MCSO objectives?
- What unmet critical needs exist for currently and formerly incarcerated people and are they being addressed by MCSO?
Discussion of the audit will be on the May 25 Board of Supervisors meeting agenda. (It had originally been on the agenda for May 4) While making public comment on the agenda item at the meeting is great, phone calls and emails from people directly to their supervisors may be even more meaningful in terms of influencing the BoS. We can do both—please call/email your supervisors prior to the May 25 meeting. Details for the May 25h meeting and making public comment can be found at https://mendocino.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx
For inquiries or more information, please email [email protected]