I attended the Half Moon Bay City Council meeting and spoke during the comments section in favor of the proposed policing policies. I commended the council for being willing to discuss the issue but left feeling a lack of commitment from many of the council members and staff.
Vice Mayor Debbie Ruddock spoke against “adopting an ordinance that we can’t enforce. I’m not
going to do something symbolically,” she said. “Pursuing the ordinance would be unproductive.” She was referring to the fact that Half Moon Bay does not have jurisdiction over the Sheriff’s Office and that the contract doesn’t come up until July 2022.
Adopting an ordinance, as I see it, is a very important first step. It is a statement from the council that there is a problem. The Sheriff’s Office has not even been willing to acknowledge that there is a problem. Voting for this ordinance is taking a position. It is stating an intention.
Comments were also made that this has become a national issue — that legislation will come from the top — so it is likely these issues will be addressed with federal laws. I see that as an excuse for non-action. As Sen. Bernie Sanders says, “We must always remember that change almost never happens from the top down. It happens from the bottom up.”
Changes to policing policies need to happen on the local level. Every city, every county, every jurisdiction needs to look at their laws and make changes as needed. I call on the Half Moon Bay City Council to give our concerns a voice. To show leadership and to stand in support of this ordinance, which will ensure these changes will be included in the contract negotiations. We need the council to support legislation that will help provide a safe environment for all of their constituents.