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Yes on Measure L - prioritize Sacramento's youth!

Thank you to the community contributor who made this piece possible!


What is Measure L?

Why do we need Measure L?

Who supports youth funding in our city and why?

Will taxpayers be on the line to ensure a consistent infrastructure for the Measure L youth fund, and how much money will be in the fund year to year?

Who will be overseeing the Measure L youth fund and tracking spending/progress?

How do community members/community-based organizations access this fund?

What youth priorities/needs does the fund seek to address?


These are questions that Measure L is up against, but also seeks to answer.


At its heart, Measure L is simple re-prioritization of city spending to reflect the importance of youth and youth livelihood in our city. I say a simple re-prioritization because the argument for Measure L should not be difficult to understand, and additionally, numbers don’t lie.

In Sacramento, 60-70% of all city funding goes to law enforcement, while a measly 1.5% represents the amount of money we spend on youth each year

I know this to be true, not just because I happen to have read through 80 page long city PDFs as a part of my job, but because I lived this reality as a child in this city. During my childhood I witnessed the removal of my art, music, and sports programs from my communities and schools.

I NEVER had access to a counselor or therapist on any school campus, much less one that looked like me. While I was privileged enough to be able to attend swim lessons during the summer with my little sister, my mother would herald to both of us that “the summer months would be thin” every year around June. I share my story not to draw sympathy, but to highlight that I was extremely fortunate and lucky. I was able to avoid the trauma and pain that many youth in this city experience, because I had enough people in my life that were dedicated to and the capacity for supporting the creation of a healthy, intelligent, passionate, and motivated child.


I was also privileged to be in a two parent home and living above the poverty line. Not every youth gets that support or has that privilege/access. In the absence of that support, our youth rely on their schools, local sports programs/youth centers, teachers/coaches, public parks/pools, jobs, and community based organizations as safe spaces to learn, grow, and change.


A yes vote for Measure L ensures the following:


● Help for youth in the foster care system in the transition to independence

● Support for vulnerable students and kids, such as those experiencing homelessness, foster children, and low-income students

● Provision of mental health counseling for children and youth

● Provision of job training and continuing education programs for 18–24 year-olds

● Improvement of programs that lower rates of youth crime, drug use and gang violence

● Expansion of early substance abuse prevention and intervention programs to keep children safe


Without these resources, our youth are more likely to experience the damaging effects of violence, mental illness, substance use, and homelessness.


How do we offset childhood trauma with only 1.5% of our city budget every year?


Measure L seeks to fix this budgeting issue by utilizing cannabis tax revenue. The legal industry of marijuana has grown exponentially over the past few years, and so far, has only brought positive impacts to the affluent, primarily white, business community members and of course, members of law enforcement.


By allocating 40% of all Sacramento cannabis tax revenue directly to the Measure L youth fund, we will designate around $10 million new taxpayer-free dollars each year for our youth. We can also begin to address the racial disparities in harm caused by the War on Drugs that Prop 64 and our local government conveniently choose to ignore.


Measure L differs from 2020’s Measure G on the use of cannabis tax revenue in a few key ways:

*Measure G was a ballot measure for a city charter amendment to divert tax revenue to a children's fund - it was not approved

These key differences, in addition to the aforementioned cannabis tax revenue connection, are what makes me confident that the Measure L youth fund will be more amenable to those who voted against Measure G in 2020.


They are also the same reasons why I believe we have been able to acquire sponsorship and commitment from 8 city councilmembers, Mayor Darrell Steinberg, the Fire Union, and a whole host of community based organizations including EBAYC (East Bay Asian Youth Center), Sacramento Waking the Village, Roberts Family Development Center, Self-Awareness and Recovery, Hmong Innovating Politics, etc.


The opposition contingent for Measure L looks much the same as the opposition contingent for Measure G. Beyond the criticism we have already received for this Measure from Councilmember Jeff Harris, we also expect critique from local law enforcement and potentially larger business contractors in our city. We also expect to have “no” voters; this population of voters are primarily affluent, white, middle aged homeowners in East Sacramento.


Let's push back against these misguided and harmful voices and opinions!


Spread the word, vote yes on Measure L, and stay tuned for updates!


IMPORTANT NOTE:

On 8/30/22 the Sac City Council discussed an item (16) revising the Sac City Code. What this revision boils down to is that the City Council has officially removed the ability of City boards/committees/commissions to form ad hoc committees.


This is important because if Measure L passes it will result in the establishment of an oversight board.


Going forward, all subcommittees will have to be approved by the City Council & the City will have to allocate staff for them (despite the inadequate amount of available staff). If these subcommittees are unable to be formed, all of the board/committee/commission work will have to take place in a one long public meeting. This will serve to slow progress and disenfranchise boards/committees/commissions ability to make change.


Keep this in mind, and be on the lookout for any advocacy opportunities that might arise because of it.

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