Saturday, February 24 , 2018, 5:54 am | Fair 32º

 
 
 

Letter to the Editor: Justin Tevis Sets Record Straight

The Santa Barbara City Council candidate corrects misinformation about his stance on police enforcement

There have been some misconceptions and misinformation being circulated about my stance on police enforcement.

I have the utmost respect for and am very supportive of the Santa Barbara Police Department. In fact, I am being interviewed on Friday for a potential endorsement, which is very humbling to even be considered for this great honor.

My goal is for Santa Barbara to be the safest, most citizen- and tourist-friendly city in the world. To achieve that, there needs to be a reprioritization of police resources. I honestly think there is poor leadership being dictated down from the top by our current mayor and City Council, and that instead of getting a handle on the gang problem, there is too much of a focus on generating revenue in the form of minor traffic citations.

Do I feel that traffic enforcement is important? Yes. Do I think that we should be running sting operations and delegating precious police time to bust someone on their way to work while somewhere in the city a gang member is roaming free? No. Instead, we need to be running sting operations to bust the gang member who is trying to graffiti up my beautiful city. We need to be running sting operations to go after methamphetamine dealers and gang leaders who violently attack people in our city and defame private and public property.

There are certain areas of the city where we know the taggers are likely to strike. We need to focus our attention and resources on stomping these hoodlums out of the city, and punish them with harsh sentences. How do we achieve that? We need more anti-gang task force units that have good intelligence on the gang problem here in the city. We need an anti-gang task force unit that knows who the gang members are, where they hang out and who the ring leaders are, and has a clear plan on how we are going to take them out.

It means a City Council that understands the severity of this problem and is not dedicating resources into generating an extra $300,000 to cover for the budget. That means gang members being shipped out of the city via relocation programs, and serving time in faraway jail cells so they no longer enjoy a brief stint in county jail and then come back with tattoos taking pride that they have earned their stripes.

No, these vagrants have no place in our city. We need better leadership that understands what the people want. We want a focus and dedication to be placed on gangs and the aggressive homeless problem that is devouring our downtown district.

I do believe that there is still hope for the youths who get swallowed up into this cycle of gang activity, and that we can snatch them out of it by making mandatory team sports participation a part of sentencing for the younger age group. However, I will have no tolerance for 18-or-older gang members causing trouble in our city, and I offer the strongest stance and leadership on this issue.

I am pro police, but very much anti-gang. I think that I am on the side of most Santa Barbara residents, but with all of the misinformation being circulated, I want to make my position clear.

Justin Tevis
Santa Barbara City Council candidate

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