Within much of Los Angeles, “safe streets” has a very different meaning from the way this phrase is typically used within the context of transportation advocacy. For too many Angelenos, access to public spaces are limited by a lack of safe passage within historically disenfranchised communities, the impact of racial profiling, and the very real threat of police violence.
As advocates for mobility justice, we must recognize these truths and make the campaign for racial justice a central component of our advocacy and amplify calls for defunding the police. The police murders of Dijon Kizzee, Andres Guardado, Ricardo Diaz-Zeferino, and so many others — as well as law enforcement’s brutal response to subsequent protests — make clear that if Black and Brown residents are to be safe and free to go about their lives, our racist system of policing and incarceration must be dismantled and replaced with services and systems that provide safety to all.
It is in that context that Bike The Vote L.A. joins the coalition of advocates and community leaders supporting Los Angeles County Measure J: a modest but important step toward reimagined community safety. If passed, Measure J would amend the County charter to require at least 10 percent of the general fund to be spent on community programs and alternatives to incarceration. While it doesn’t specifically defund the corrupt, violent, and gang-ridden Sheriff’s Department currently led by Alex Villanueva, it is widely anticipated that a sizable portion of the money would and should come out of LASD’s budget.
Paired with the successful Reform L.A. Jails initiative from Spring 2020, Measure J is a serious commitment to addressing the root causes of crime via social programs and lessening the role of armed police and incarceration in public safety. We’re proud to follow the lead of organizations including Black Lives Matter L.A., Community Coalition, Alliance for Community Transit, and Investing in Place in supporting this much-needed initiative. Bike The Vote L.A. enthusiastically endorses Los Angeles County Measure J.