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Jail Protestors Vow to Bring Fight to Supes

A coalition of groups protesting construction of a Redwood City jail that will cost at least $145 million promise to speak their minds at today's San Mateo County Board of Supervisors meeting.

A coalition of groups opposing the construction of a new county jail in Redwood City have banded together vowing to take their fight to the Board of Supervisors.

The protesters have scheduled what they say will be a "lively press conference" Tuesday morning in front of the the San Mateo County Government Center. They promise to speak their minds during the public comments portion of today's board meeting immediately afterwards.

The protesters are demanding the county halt funding for a jail construction project that will cost San Mateo County taxpayers an estimated $145 million to $160 million. They're demanding the board immediately strike $44.2 million slated for the project.

Following the recommendation of Sheriff Greg Munks, the board in May $17 million in design an engineering contracts to convert a 5-acre plot on Chemical Way into an expansive 576-bed facility.

Munks said the county needs to replace its existing Maguire facility to relieve overcrowding expected with the influx of prison inmates transferred to the county under realignment plans.

He said the project will create about 400 construction and engineering jobs.

An American Civil Liberties Union's Northern California Chapter attorney was among those at the May 9 meeting in which the contracts were approved who denounced the project as a "costly (avoidable) mistake."

Manuel LaFontaine, a spokesperson for one of the organizations opposing the jail, attacked the proposal in a prepared statement.

The protesters have scheduled the400 County Center, Redwood City

“Right now the Board is following the Sheriff’s lead in allocating more and more money on cages and less and less on the health and wellbeing of our residents,” LaFontaine said in the statement.

 “We are demanding that the Board make another plan: to reduce our jail population by investing in alternatives to imprisonment as well as strong re-entry programs and services that will keep people in their communities where they belong.”

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