Encinitas mayor, leaders statewide: Increase funds to stop gun violence

Blakespear, colleagues say CalVIP program needs $39M


Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear. (NCC file photo by Scott Allison)

North Coast Current

Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear is among several California mayors calling on Gov. Gavin Newsom to increase funding in support of communities that disproportionately face the threat of gun violence in the state.

The eight mayors, signing under Mayors Against Illegal Guns, collectively asked for a sizable increase in funds for the California Violence Intervention and Prevention program, known as CalVIP, from $9 million to $39 million.

“We know the tragic effects of gun violence firsthand,” the mayors stated in the letter circulated Monday, April 29, a copy of which was provided to the North Coast Current by Everytown for Gun Safety, an organization seeking an end to gun violence. “We know that gun violence carries high health care, law enforcement and criminal justice costs to California taxpayers. This does not even begin to capture the toll of the lives lost, the trauma young people carry with them after witnessing a shooting, the fear of becoming a victim of violence, or the long-term impacts on communities grappling with gun violence.”

In addition to Blakespear, the letter was signed by the mayors of Hayword, Oakland, Pomona, Richmond, Sacramento, Salinas and San Jose.

The letter follows the deadly shooting at Chabad of Poway synagogue on Saturday, April 27, in which longtime member Lori Gilbert Kaye was killed and Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein was injured along with an 8-year-old girl and 34-year-old man. The assailant is facing hate-crime charges in the attack.

Following the shooting, Newsom announced on April 29 that he would seek $15 million for the State Nonprofit Security Grant Program in the state budget’s May Revise, according to a statement from the governor’s office. The grant program, part of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, helps nonprofit organizations improve security at their facilities, specifically groups that are threatened by hate-motivated violence.

“We all must call out hate — against any and all communities — and act to defend those targeted for their religious beliefs, who they love or how they identify,” Newsom said in the statement. “An attack against any community is an attack against our entire state — who we are and what we stand for.”

Newsom’s announcement and the mayors’ letter were separate actions and not related.

In their letter, the mayors noted that $9 million is not enough for the services that the CalVIP grant program is designed to support.

“While California is a national leader in gun violence prevention, CalVIP remains severely underfunded,” they stated. “Last year, over 120 cities and community-based organizations submitted grant applications to CalVIP, but with only $9 million available, a mere 16 applicants were funded (in addition to Los Angeles).”

Everytown and California Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America issued a statement Tuesday, April 30, applauding the mayors’ call for increased CalVIP funding.

“California’s mayors are speaking out in support of this vital program because they know additional resources for local violence reduction programs work to keep our communities safer,” Clare Senchyna, a volunteer with the California chapter of Moms Demand Action and a member of the Everytown Survivor Network, said in the groups’ statement.

Senchyna’s son, 26-year-old Camilo Senchyna-Beltran, was shot and killed in San Francisco in 2014.

On April 12, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and 11 California mayors, including Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, sent a letter to state Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins (D-39th District) and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-63rd District) calling on CalVIP to receive $39 million.

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