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City Council approves new budget after heated discussion over police funding

Bakersfield City Council meeting
Bakersfield City Council meeting
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UPDATED: 6/17/21, 12:58AM

Members of the group, "People's Budget Bakersfield" called to defund the police at Wednesday night's Bakersfield City Council meeting. While speakers were speaking at the microphone during the public comment period, the crowd continued to talk. The group called to boycott all the city council members and repeatedly uttered profanities directed at Mayor Karen Goh and the city council.

Mayor Goh warned the crowd to stop talking while speakers at the microphone were speaking during the public commend period. After several warnings she called for an abrupt recess.

Wednesday night the Bakersfield City Council approved a $683.2 million budget for the 2021-2022 fiscal year. Part of that budget includes $186.5 million for public safety services including 28 new Bakersfield police officers and 17 new civilian positions in the department.

Temi Akanbi with the People's Budget Bakersfield group, says the city council needs to defund the police to stop violence from happening to people of color.

"We know that a lot of the violence, a lot of the crime, a lot of the drug use, comes from a lack of recourses, and by defunding the police to allow funds to provide those resources, crime will go down," Akanbi, said.

She says to lower crime the money should go to things like black equity, education and youth services, public health, affordable housing and violence prevention.

Pastor Angelo Frazier, Volunteer Chaplain for the Bakersfield Police Department says that's not the answer.

"I don't like to see anyone injured, hurt or killed, but I also know that is we don't have strong policing, we could have other issues going on," Pastor Frazier, said.

He says progress is not going to be made by the way speakers addressed the council Wednesday night.

"We need to show patience, we need to show kindness, but we also need to speak the truth in love," Pastor Frazier said.

Other parts of the budget include 755,000 going to facility enhancements and equipment for the Bakersfield Fire department, $6million for local affordable housing construction projects, $3.1 for the Brundage Lane Navigation Center and $450,000 for homeless related program enhancements and or pilot programs.


The Bakersfield City Council voted to approve their 2021-2022 budget on Wednesday.

The new $683 million budget includes 97 new positions for the city including 45 for the Bakersfield Police Department.

The council meeting was contentious as several members of the Defund the Police movement were in attendance.

During the public comment section, several members of the group were reprimanded for shouting and using coarse language. This included several members yelling at council members.

Mayor Karen Goh was forced to call a recess and asked the chambers to be cleared and public comment to be temporarily suspended.

The council came back to session but only one member of the public was allowed to be in the chamber during public comments.

After the budget was passed, several members of the Defund the Police movement could be heard chanting to boycott the city council.

The budget also includes almost $60 million in funding for local streets and right-of-way improvements.

And $6 million total funding for local affordable housing construction projects

The city council also voted to approve the renovation of Sumner Station by transferring $130,000 from the Urban Redevelopment Project to a group for property and improvements.

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The station was built in the 1800's and is a piece of history in Kern County, but Union Pacific had plans to demolish it.

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