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Former Citrus Heights mayor says Stephon Clark might be alive today if —

James Shelby, Citrus Heights
James Shelby, former mayor of Citrus Heights. // Image courtesy, City of Citrus Heights.

Sentinel staff report–
James Shelby, who served on the very first city council in Citrus Heights and subsequently served several terms as the city’s mayor, ventured into the controversy surrounding the March 18 shooting of Stephon Clark in a guest opinion piece featured in The Sacramento Bee last week.

While much of the debate and protests stemming from Clark’s death have focused on use-of-force policies and allegations of police racial bias, Shelby focused his comments on what he called a “lack of economic investment in under-served communities” which he said has left “too many young African-American men in peril.”

The former Citrus Heights mayor, who also served as president of the Greater Sacramento Urban League until stepping down in 2015, said too little grant money is reaching community-based organizations like the League, which provides job development and management skills for minorities and under-served communities.

Citing one example, Shelby said the Sacramento Employment and Training Agency (SETA) received around $26 million in federal grants for workforce training in the past fiscal year, but the local Urban League only received about $350,000 of that money. He urged Sacramento County Supervisors and other business and civic leaders to commit to raising $25 million each year over the next five years to invest in under-served communities, and said “change will only come when the resources are shared with the communities in peril.”

Shelby concluded his opinion column by stating that “Stephon Clark would probably be alive today if some of the aforementioned services could have been used for him to provide stable life for him and his children.”

James Shelby’s full column can be read by clicking here.