Ten members of the Dallas City Council sent a letter to Dallas City Manager TC Broadnax on Tuesday with some big news for budget season: Dallas is going to take a serious look at how it budgets for public safety.
For the first time in a long time, the city's budget debate is going to be about whether Dallas should continue spending the lion's share of its budget on cops, not how to squeeze everything else.
"We hear many of our constituents’ calls to 'defund' the Dallas Police Department. We understand that this call is a demand to address the deep root of our nation’s unjust practices and institutions and the need for us, as a city, to repair the harm of structural oppression. It is time to reimagine public safety," the memo reads. "With this memo, we respectfully request you facilitate the alignment of our intentions with resources. We ask you to present options that reallocate public safety funding to equitable community funding for Council discussion during the already-scheduled June 17th Budget Workshop."
As North Texas residents have taken to Dallas' streets over the last two weeks following George Floyd's death at the hands of Minneapolis police, many activists have called for less cash to head toward police and more of the city's budget to be spent fixing the issues that create the need for cops in the first place.
Several members of the Dallas City Council — notably South Dallas representative Adam Bazaldua and North Dallas' Lee Kleinman — have expressed similar sentiments at protests at city meetings.
"We are committed to Reimagining Public Safety where we are able to address crime without being so dependent on policing as we know it and as it has existed for decades," Bazaldua wrote in a Facebook post announcing the memo Tuesday night.
Tuesday, Bazaldua and Kleinman signed on to the memo that was sent to Broadnax. So did council members Chad West, Adam Medrano, Casey Thomas, Carolyn King Arnold, Jaime Resendez, Omar Narvaez, Tennell Atkins and Paula Blackmon.
Adam McGough, Cara Mendelsohn, Jennifer Gates and David Blewett did not sign the memo.
“I do think that we should have a cautious approach and understand where we want to go before we make commitments, and I don’t think we’ve done that yet,” Blewett, who represents portions of downtown, Deep Ellum and Cedar Springs, told The Dallas Morning News .
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.