The Justice Department’s proposals to tackle youth gun violence and the affordable rent crisis have met with mixed reactions from local elected officials

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A community forum on youth gun violence and affordable housing attracted nearly a thousand in-person and online participants last (Tuesday) night. The host was the capital’s Ministry of Justice, which hoped its proposals for solving these problems would be accepted by local elected officials. The coalition of almost 20 municipalities was only partially successful.
All five Tallahassee city commissioners pledged $1 million a year for 5 years to end youth gun violence. Then Reverend AJ Mealor of Faith Presbyterian called on prosecutor Jack Campbell to reduce the number of arrests of juveniles.

“We have set a goal that at least 80% of children who qualify for civil subpoenas will receive them by this time next year.”

But Campbell declined to override arresting officers’ actions.

“We have never denied a civil subpoena and I cannot undo what has already been done. But I can redirect them as a distraction and I will agree to that.”

For more affordable rents, Sister Sentoria Houston of the Bethelonia AME Church asked the city commissioners for a pledge.

“Establish a trust dedicated to producing rental units for people on very low and extremely low incomes.”

This commitment, Temple Israel Rabbi Michael Shields regretted, came only from Commissioners Jeremy Matlowe and Jack Porter.

“Right now we have nos from Mayor John Dailey, Mayor Pro Tem Richardson and Commissioner Diane Williams Cox.”

Ministry members said they will continue to meet with elected officials in hopes that the coalition’s ideas will ultimately be adopted unanimously.

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