City's priorities and values at stake
The New London Green Party has long believed that city budgets provide the means to move beyond lip service and put our community values into action. We support the creation of a New London “People’s Budget” that would truly address the quality of life of all New Londoners, and applaud the current demand by Hearing Youth Voices and other Black-led community groups and their allies to divert funding from policing to invest in the needs of our residents who are Black, brown, immigrant, and poor.
Compared to other similarly-sized Connecticut towns, New London employs the highest number of police officers by far. In 2016, New London had 70 officers, Cheshire had 47, Windsor had 53, Newtown had 45, and Wethersfield had 51. The recently approved city budget allocates over $12 million — nearly one quarter of cityside spending — to policing, while fundamental services are being stretched thin.
Jon Stewart recently described the police as “… in some respects, a border patrol, and they patrol the border between the two Americas.” Our diverse city houses people on both sides of the divide, but as one community. It is imperative that we address the current crisis by reducing and redefining the role of policing as well as by allocating funds where our people urgently need them.
Although the FY21 budget has been adopted, we call upon our city officials — mayor and city councilors — to make changes now, so that our spending decisions truly reflect and address our residents’ needs. As our legislative body, City Council can pass line-item transfers, issue resolutions, instruct the mayor, and hire legal counsel to support their decisions.
Now is not the time for indecision or delay. Our city’s values and priorities are at stake, and the Green Party joins Hearing Youth Voices, as well as other Black-led community groups and their allies, in calling for immediate action.
Ronna Stuller is a member of the New London Green party town committee, which adopted this statement July 3, 2020.