SAN JOSE, Calif. - San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo outlined this year's budget proposal on Thursday. It addresses calls for police reform as well as new economic challenges presented by the pandemic.
His budget message made it clear: the mayor rejects the idea of defunding police, something protestors have been demanding in recent days.
"I believe the right response is reform and investment," says Liccardo.
San Jose will start by allocating $300,000 to create an office of Racial Equity.
They'll also take $150,000 from the police overtime budget and use it to review their officer's use of force policy.
And they'll expand the authority and scope of the Independent Police Auditor.
"It seems to me that if you simply slash police budgets, we know what's gonna happen in white, wealthy, suburban parts of town, they can just hire private patrols, the reality is the rest of the community is gonna be left without basic police response and will be much worse off," says Liccardo.
Ladoris Cordell, a former Independent Police Auditor, thinks giving more teeth to that position is a good start.
"Even when we find the investigations problematic, we really don't have any authority to make the police department change their investigtion. We can recommend it, we can push. So I'm hoping that at a minimum there might be a change in that," says Cordell.
And she'd like to see changes extend even further.
"I don't mean Band-Aid fixes. Reforms, redirecting money, and then reimagining. we have to be doing all three," Cordell says.
Notably, this budget does not include hefty cuts though the mayor expects that might change next year.
Also included in the proposal, $7 million of CARES Act funds for struggling families, $1.5 million in CARES Act funds for childcare providers, and $3.5 million in CARES Act funds to get hotspots to students for distance learning.
Activists wish it went further.
"Black and brown communities, we're not eager to have more policing in our community so yeah, it would affect us, in the way that we want it to affect us. And we would want those funds for resources that we actually need," says Grey Ponciano, a teacher and activist.
The public will have a chance to weigh in on the budget this Monday, before the city council votes on it on Tuesday.