Tallahassee Community Action Committee demands a People’s Budget
Tallahassee, FL – On September 7 at 6 p.m., members of the Tallahassee Community Action Committee (TCAC) spoke against the current city budget and demanded the institution of a People’s Budget that better reflects the needs of the community. The city of Tallahassee was conducting the first of two public forums on the 2023 City Budget, which includes record pay increases for city executive staff and little to no funding for repaving or creating new sidewalks and infrastructure.
TCAC members agitated for changes on a variety of topics related to the budget, including housing, free and accessible public service, healthcare, and ending police brutality. TCAC’s president, Delilah Pierre, spoke on the need for community control of the police and for the city of Tallahassee to take police accountability seriously.
“If we want to transform policing in our city we need community control of the police, and the first step to that is a Civilian Police Accountability Council The city has done a subpar job at best at taking the demands of the Civilian Police Review Board seriously. Despite submitting their annual report in February, it still hasn’t even been reviewed by the city and it’s September. It’s a grave error and a testament to the city’s use of the CPRB as a buffer for police brutality and negligence.”
Jacob Muldoon, a member of Students for a Democratic Society, spoke on the need for affordable housing in Tallahassee. “Although the city of Tallahassee has made claims that they are not a housing authority, the simple truth is that the city of Tallahassee has the power to renovate units such as the unoccupied houses within the Southside and provide them to housing insecure people in our city, which has increased exponentially each year since the start of the pandemic.”
Other organizations also spoke about the city budget. Members of the Capital Area Justice Ministry, a local coalition of churches fighting for affordable housing and gun violence intervention in Tallahassee, came to advocate for gun violence intervention. James Houston, a pastor at Bethelonian AME church, which is a member of the Capital Area Justice Ministry stated “I am personally affected by gun violence. My cousin was killed through gun violence, and it always has been a part of me.”
Despite the requests made by TCAC, the city budget was nearly unaltered from its previous form. The city commission also voted 3-2 to create a Real Time Crime Center within Tallahassee, giving the Tallahassee Police Department more power to surveil the public. Despite questioning from the two opposing city commissioners, the vote in favor does nothing to limit TPD’s power of surveillance.