City Beat

News, insight and discussion on Sacramento and its neighborhoods

May 23, 2011
Protect Sacramento campaign opposes police, fire cuts

City cops and firefighters went door to door this weekend trying to gather opposition to City Hall's proposal to lay off 80 police officers, brown out fire rigs and cut dozens of other positions from the police and fire departments.

Campaign-style signs are now showing up on front lawns and hanging from doors in support of that effort. The group behind the campaign - Protect Sacramento - is a coalition of the fire and police unions, along with neighborhood groups.

The group assembled an overflow crowd at City Hall last week, when the police cuts were presented to the City Council during a tense budget hearing. A similar scene is on tap for Tuesday night, when the fire department's budget is laid out.

Under that plan, the number of fire department rigs on rotating shutdowns would increase from the current two to six. Dozens of positions would be slashed from the fire department and the rescue boat would be beached.

The cuts are part of the city manager's proposal to fill a $39 million deficit. The City Council will approve a budget next month.

Protect Sacramento organizers want city residents to get involved in the process.

"There has to be a more significant conversation among the community and the council about what are going to be life and death decisions," said political consultant Phil Giarrizzo, who is helping to organize the effort. "People are hearing so much bad news that they accept situations like this earlier than necessary."

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About City Beat

Ryan Lillis has covered the city of Sacramento, its 108 neighborhoods and its politicians since 2008. Prior to that, he covered crime at The Bee. A native of upstate New York, Lillis has a journalism degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Contact reporter Ryan Lillis at rlillis@sacbee.com

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