A glass half full for some, half empty for an increasing number, and a glass with no one to fill it for too many. This is the Rockland hidden from view except for the ever increasing numbers of collectors of returnable bottles and homeless in our community. How many are we leaving behind in the recovery after the last recession?
Tax cuts at the state level have hampered our ability to bring more people out of poverty. Job training funds go unused or are used poorly, our hospitals are starved for funds, our students run up debt trying to be productive citizens, voters turn out is dismal numbers because they see gridlock in government on all levels, while we say what can we do as a small city when we can barely keep our present budget down.
Good news!! people are already at work in a spider web of nonprofits, state and government agencies. We need to get them resources so they can intensify their efforts…It is our moral duty to help our needy to be able to gain ground in this fight for an equitable society.
We are one of the wealthiest nations on earth and all around us are large summer homes, mega yachts, expensive cars and beautiful art work. These are not problems in themselves, but instead are a constant reminder of the huge disparities in income in our country. We need to provide focused leadership to erase the divisions we have created, the class structures that separate our city. Every child in our community should feel he has a equal chance to share in what our wonderful state has to offer We can do better than 17 percent without heath insurance, wages that have not kept pace with cost living, and ever increasing cost to do business.
To close these gaps we must change our primary focus to the well being of our residents and of endless planning for projects many of which we can not afford, while we are not meeting basic needs!!.
Its true we need roads plowed, sidewalks repaired and buildings heated, but to leave the hidden children and adults depending on a safety net that has holes a whale can swim through is not OK. We can do better if we use our present resources better and QUIT ignoring the structural divides in our city. It starts with supporting programs we know are working. Early childhood education coupled with trained daycare providers, an educational system that supports social studies and participation in government as well as jobs training so our workforce has a future beyond entry level jobs.
I know Rockland residents want these services and people really do want to help, they do everyday. Some resources are already here and the will to tackle these problems is here in our community. To make inroads in these areas are admittedly not easy problems to solve. The rising tide does not lift all boats if some are all staved up, we need to improve the lifeline we are throwing to those of us that really could use a hand up.
To end on a positive note, I attended a benefit for someone in our community recently and I witnessed a tremendous outpouring of love and generosity, and I was encouraged that the spirit of giving is alive and well in Rockland and beyond. There is still hope! Local governance is the heart blood of our country and the City Council members should be the ones that make people’s quality of life the top priority in Rockland.
Greg Mason, candidate for Rockland City Council
Editors note: The candidates for the City Council have now each written an issue of The Buzz. Valli Geiger wrote first, then Lisa Westkaemper, now Gregory Mason. All three have joined the conversation on the Rockland Metro show. We’ll be talking about the election on the show this Wednesday, from 5 to 6 pm. Don’t forget to vote on Tuesday!