(DISCUSSION/ACTION) Discuss action to approve submitting a Dept budget that ensures full staffing of all the Department facilities, divisions, programs, and support of effective community-based detention alternatives.
President Queen reviewed that at the last meeting there was a discussion of the crises in overcrowding and the apparent inadequacy of the Dept’s budget, which leads to outcroppings of problems. As a result, he and the commission asked the Chief to come up with a modification to the budget that better reflected what was needed to effectively address those problems.
The Chief presented the proposed modifications and went through each item briefly. (document attached). supplemental request (Word doc) Some highlights were increased support for community based services and transitional/shelter housing that would reduce the use of juvenile hall, more resources to prepare youth vocationally. The total amount came to just over $10 million.
Comm Fetico asked about the shelter/transitional housing item. The Chief said that the dept does not “own” any shelter beds, it contracts for them, and needs more to take up the loss of Walden House. Use of such beds could release 30-40 youth who otherwise sit in juvenile hall waiting placement.
Comm Ricci asked how many Tagalog speaking staff were in JH and LCRS. Ans. Only 1 in JH and none in LCRS.
Dr. Abner Boles, Westwide Community Services, commended the proposed budget, and said he felt it was a move toward implementing the community peace plan, given the emphasis on involving comprehensive community planning. He suggested the possibility of assuming the operation of Walden House, jointly with the community, for a much greater benefit.
He encouraged the Dept to continue calling the community to the table when planning future work. This involvement is critical.
Larry (YCD) commented on the decrepit shape of LCRS and the lack of supplies (personal toiletries, etc) that bring down the morale of those there. He also asked that ERCs be kept open til 9pm. He said transitional housing was necessary for those coming out of the system back to the community.
Mitchell Salazar, Mission Neighborhood Centers, supported the community programming aspect of the budget. He said that support for institutional activities and community activities should be equal.
Denise Coleman commented that there needs to be aftercare services for those leaving the Centers, with case management when they return to the communities.
As to the bridging the dept and communities, she didn’t know if this could be done structurally or “internally”.
Comm Woodson asked about the recommendation for moving CARC to the old intake building on YGC site. Coleman said their relationship with the youth was based greatly on their distance from YGC.
The Chief commented that one vision he had for youth coming out of the ERCs is to have them come back as ‘mentors’ to other youth.
Comm Lingad Ricci spoke of her support and commitment to LCR. She also offered to make a motion for the approval of the budget.
Comm Fetico asked about training of staff. The Chief said there is already a line item for training in the main body of the budget that includes some funds from the Zellerbach Foundation grant.
The President accepted Comm. Lingad Ricci’s motion, 2nd by Comm Rojas.
Upon roll call vote, the motion carried 5-0.
The President commented that he felt positive the Commission asked the Chief to put this budget together, and now hopes the Mayor and city will step forward with the will to help the Dept deal with the problems. He said he would draft a letter to send along with the budget to the Mayor and Bd of Supervisors to support the budget.
Finally he said he hoped there could be more dialog on how to utilize that space referred to for CARC, so that community could provide services from it.
Comm Lingad Ricci said she appreciated the Chief’s efforts to work through all the things that are going on in and outside of the Dept, and acknowledged that there have been many gains in the past 5 yrs, before he arrived, as well as many negative developments.