Councilmembers call for yes vote on Measure L
By Jay Schenirer and Rick Jennings
Measure L would help keep our kids healthy, housed and safe, and our city safer, without raising taxes.
Measure L would require the city to set aside a portion of cannabis tax proceeds from the general fund to support services for children and youth.
Also, it can include making an investment to expand existing career pathway programs for youth, such as the Criminal Justice Academy at five area high schools, Police Cadet Program, Firefighter Youth Academy and Sacramento Area Girls Fire Camp.
Your Measure L vote can help provide a sustainable source of funding for these local job training programs, ensuring that police and fire department leaderships don’t have to come to council every budget cycle to cover the operating and personnel costs for these youth training pathways and providing a future group of local candidates for our public-safety positions.
This forward-thinking strategy is exactly what the city needs, instead of waiting until our kids end up in the back of a police car.
The best part is that this critical investment won’t cost taxpayers one extra dime.
In addition to youth job training programs, Measure L can be invested in a variety of initiatives to keep our kids healthy, housed and safe, including programs that help foster youth transition to independence, mental health counseling for kids, job training, and early substance-abuse prevention and intervention.
These fiscally prudent early investments work. Decades of research have shown that when young people have stable adult mentors, truancy rates go down and after-school programs keep kids off the streets and out of trouble.
These programs can be funded by Measure L, which we have calculated will be approximately $10 million annually—just 1.5 percent of the total general fund budget. We’d be willing to say that’s a drop in the bucket. Current spending on youth is less than 5 percent of our general fund when young people make up more than 35 percent of our population.
While cities are not solely responsible for the provision of children and youth services, they can play a significant and critical role in the positive development of their youth. Furthermore, investing in children and youth programs can result in long-term savings for a city, the potential of local workers for local jobs and an expanded future tax base.
To ensure funds are spent effectively, efficiently and as promised, an independent oversight commission will review regular evaluations of the program, as well as performance and fiscal audits.
Youth programs need a dedicated funding source that is protected from politicians. But don’t just take our word for it.
Organizations committed to protecting our community, including local Sacramento area firefighters, who hire young people just starting out in their careers, support Measure L. So do business leaders from Region Business and pediatricians with the local chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
We ask that you join us in supporting our city’s kids and our public safety by voting yes on Measure L.