To the editor of The Creswell Chronicle, in response to Richard Heyman’s June 20, 2019 installment of his column, “Through the Eyes of the Colonel”:
While honored to be a City of Creswell Councilor, I speak here as a private citizen. As soon as humans learned we are safer in numbers, we joined in community, sharing resources to make the individual and the group stronger, safer, healthier. We are stronger together than apart, and we designed our government with that in mind. On a selfish note: I am safer when my neighbor is warm and fed.
Of all the fiscal growth and changes we’ve gone through in the past decade, there is a lot to discuss. I am disappointed that Mr. Heyman’s contribution to the discussion is to go after a budget item that helps local organizations help our Creswellians, as if he knows somehow best – or would provide the money in lieu of the city doing so. We all contribute (even those on the receiving end) to our society, and helping our neighbors is a constant and necessary feature of community government, culture and life.
Some of our money will go to local groups that experience unplanned expenses. If you use the Food Pantry, the Relief Nursery or other beneficiary (and council gets an update of the dispersals), this one individual’s strong opinion could affect you.
Mr. Heyman is promoting the idea that the wellness of all is not a concern of government. I’m used to hearing that from a federal point of view. Being on council is my personal, non-partisan way of doing something good for my little world. The middle class is vanishing; technology is relieving us of careers (including the former stalwart fast food, minimum-wage jobs); education is for the rich, lucky, talented or indebted; and we’re living longer than ever. Great. It’s a heady mix. Why is it okay for a few to have many resources while many have little, and no access? And why is it okay to publicly state that it is wrong to be charitable at the community level? That is not my Creswell experience.
Regarding charitable funding by the City of Creswell, I stand behind every single budget line item approved. Funds available for charitable purposes represent smart, responsible fiscal planning and action by your city government. We are responsible to pay attention to the basic needs of those around us, both morally and governmentally. The people we are helping are friends, family, neighbors, and they contribute to the same general fund that Mr. Heyman wants to restrict from assisting them.
I’ll point out that Mr. Heyman recently served as a city councilor. The charitable funding he’s so resistant about now likely was in place when he served through a budgeting cycle, and I don’t recall these strong feelings when he was a voting member of the body. Whatever may have changed Mr. Heyman’s opinion over the years or gained him a late opinion on City-financed charitable funding, the only thing that changed on the People’s end is that the need grows as the economy shifts. Compassion is a responsibility.
And again, if there’s something you don’t like, or are wondering about, please come to council meetings and work sessions. I want a vigorous discussion of our budget planning, just not on Facebook or the grapevine. Volunteer, participate, donate funds (quietly, please).
Martha McReynolds Jr.