On January 10, the Merced County Board of Supervisors is planning to approve $10,000 of public funding to the Sheriff’s Posse so that they and their horses can parade in front of President-Elect Donald Trump at his presidential inauguration on January 20, 2017.
This money would be taken from the county’s annual advertising budget, which is intended to support efforts that put Merced County in a positive light. We believe that there are better ways for our County government to spend these funds that would bring actual benefit to our communities.
Here are statements from Merced community members in response to this planned move by the Merced County Board of Supervisors:
R Hunter, 2017 January 7
As a 27-year past resident of Merced County I feel that using tax money from our multicultural/multi-ethnic county tax base to perform at the 2017 inauguration is inappropriate. This has a threatening feel in light of how many people of many backgrounds make up and greatly contribute to the economy of Merced County and our state. Participation of local law enforcement implies special approval of a president with a well known and strong racist message and could lead to questions and unrest here as a result. Did the posse go to Obama’s inauguration? Are there people of color in this posse? If they’re all white then it awkwardly and incorrectly presents an image of racial exclusion in our county. If the posse includes people of color, then it compromises their dignity. Speaking for my family that continues to live in Merced and which now embraces the Hispanic culture through marriage and children, I object to this use of taxpayer money which is better spent for local county needs.
Tom Flamson, 2017 January 7
I found the fact that the last time the Sheriff’s Posse performed at a presidential inauguration was 2005 to be very telling. If they had a history of being genuinely non-partisan, it might have been worth debating. But given they are so clearly interested in only using County money to celebrate Republican victories, I see no reason the request should even be considered. It’s blatantly political, and that is not something to spend public funds on.
Sylvia Smith, 2017 January 7
It’s inappropriate to expend public funds to represent Merced County at such a bitterly controversial political event. We are Merced County, and we do not wish to have our name associated with President Elect Trump. Mr. Trump has stated that he intends to deport a community which has long been an anchor of our County’s culture and economy; that he intends to strip vital health services for women by defunding Planned Parenthood; that he intends to discontinue health insurance for millions of people with no plan to replace that insurance; that he will likely seize the retirement and health care funds which seniors have paid into all of their lives to help close the gap which will be left by cutting taxes for our wealthiest citizens. Further, Vice-President Pence has been open about supporting electric shock conversion therapy for LGBTQ young people, and open about favoring the rollback of marriage rights for LGBTQ citizens. We believe that these intentions are not worthy of celebration, and therefore NO public funds should be expended to lend our names to the Inauguration celebration.
Adam Martinez, 2017 January 7
I was driving around town today and noticed that we have very bad roads in Merced and they only get worse with the rain. Why not spend $10,000 on fixing areas of our roads where they need to be fixed? I know $10,000 might only put a dent on the amount of work that needs to be done, but why not make a start? In 5 years Merced could make great progress.
Nickola Boyd, 2017 January 9
Did the MERCED Sheriffs go to any of President Obama’s inauguration parades? Is this something they do for all presidents or just Republican presidents? If not, this sends a very clear message of division to the people of MERCED County.
I am a teacher in this county and have to spend out of pocket money weekly. Over my teaching career, I have spent thousands and thousands of dollars. In one year, I spent over $5,000. I am told over and over, “We can’t afford it.” Obviously teaching and law enforcement money is different, but it is still taxpayer’s money.
There are many ways the MERCED Sheriffs could spend $10,000; scholarships to graduating seniors, homeless shelter, women’s shelter, a drug treatment center, community out reach. Use the money to hold a community event to help improve relations with the local community. The list could go on and on….
Please vote for our county first! We do not have $10,000 to throw away….