We need to treat racism like we should be treating COVID-19: understand that it exists and be willing to change our minds and behavior in order to end it. Racism is not acceptable in a healthy, resilient, and inclusive Petaluma.
The first step in addressing racism in Petaluma is listening to the experiences of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) with the police, city government, local businesses, and the residents of Petaluma. They are the only ones who are in a position to tell us the nature and depth of the problem we face. In regard to the police, our current police chief, Ken Savano, is widely considered to be better than most and perhaps the best police chief in Sonoma County. With that said, without hearing directly from BIPOC individuals, we are in no position to understand to what degree there is a problem with policing here.
As a council member I will insist on the following: 1) BIPOC community members be placed at the center of any fact finding related to understanding racial injustice, and 2) we must institute strong civilian oversight of the police. The public trust demands it and the health of our community requires it.