Chattanooga Coalition Proposes Youth Jobs Spending

A Chattanooga, Tenn., coalition asked the city council to reconsider spending on police cameras and ballistics and instead fund youth jobs.

CHATTANOOGA, TENN. -- Kevin Muhammad of the Nation of Islam recently went before the Chattanooga City Council to request that the council consider creating 500 summer youth jobs in impoverished areas of the city instead of funding additional police cameras and ballistics research.

He came before the council reportedly representing a coalition of community welfare groups, including Citizens Concerned for Justice, People United for Change and other partners. Councilmen Ken Smith and Yusuf Hakeem requested Muhammad be allowed to give the coalition presentation, which was delivered to a packed room.

The Summer Jobs Proposal would also educate the youth summer jobs participants in how to open up a bank account and pay for things like cars, homes and higher education. The plan seeks matching funds from the city's largest business partners, like BlueCross BlueShield, McKee Foods and others, and $1 million investments from both Volkswagen and Amazon.

In addition to the proposal, Muhammad reportedly criticized Chattanooga Police Department spending, and accused the city council of approving the mayor's budget without analyzing it appropriately. He said that Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke's recent proposal to spend $1 million on public safety cameras to combat gang violence would fail to "slow the destructive forces intensifying in our communities."

During the same meeting, the council approved a $228,000 ballistics research package through the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network/Integrated Ballistic Information System in an 8-0 to vote.

Read the original story on the Times Free Press website.

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