We fought for Community Service Officers (CSO‚Äôs) in Tillicum. We handed out flyers door-to-door to 1,000 homes, emailed several hundred, and rallied at city hall for the largest gathering ever in the city‚Äôs history of people attending a 2nd floor budget workshop in support of our community service officers, in November, 2007.
And, together with other neighborhood associations, we won. For the first time in the city‚Äôs twelve year history, a full complement of CSO‚Äôs was awarded to every district in Lakewood. We argued this very point at a recent Public Safety Advisory Committee meeting, urging them to reject the Plan B budget.
CSO‚Äôs are being called ‚Äòad-ons‚Äô, unnecessary, superfluous and essentially are being thrown under the bus because, we are told, if Prop.1 passes the Plan B budget calls for their elimination.
It doesn‚Äôt have to be.
Public Safety, citizen‚Äôs security, is the city‚Äôs number one priority. In tight financial times I cannot, will not, tell one of my four children that they are not eating tonight. Rather we all eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and share the burden together. Because our family is our priority. Lakewood is our home. By extension, it is our family.
The SaveLakewood Prop.1 Campaign supports police. Always has. There is absolutely no reason the police department should have been pitted against the people. None. The main thing for the City Council is to keep the main the main thing. And that is not economic development. It is not infrastructure. It is not larger government or better paid staff. As a matter of fact the main thing has little to do with government at all.
It‚Äôs people, first, their public safety and security, and instilling within them the capacity to improve their own lot in life by themselves taking the initiative, rolling up their sleeves, and giving ‚Äì not getting, working, not winning ‚Äì what they can, sharing in the burden and the benefits of a better community.
Case in point.
Which neighborhood has had the lowest crime rate overall in nearly every month over the last year in all of Lakewood? Tillicum and Woodbrook, District One. Which is the poorest neighborhood in all of Lakewood? Tillicum and Woodbrook of District One. So to what do you attribute the lowest crime rate and yet highest poverty rate? Economic Development? Infrastructure? Big government? No, none of these. Tillicum is what it is because the police-people-partnership is priority, consequently we are first in two categories ‚Äì poverty and pride.
And it is that partnership that is being strained by the Plan B Budget that persists in kicking CSO‚Äôs to the curb.
When Proposition One passes Nov.4, all of Lakewood will be asked to implement the model Tillicum has adopted and which Claudia Thomas, when Mayor, championed, and that is Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) where it is our purpose to engage every resident in roll-up-their-sleeves initiatives by which together we grow a community where we are proud to live, work and raise a family. It is the philosophy of Wilberforce (1759-1833), as stated in the book Hero for Humanity by Kevin Belmonte, p.175: “True lasting reform took place in the hearts and minds of individuals, one person at a time. Each of these persons then became an agent of change and renewal in his or her own right. Wherever they found themselves within society ‚Äì rich, poor, or middle class ‚Äì and with whatever gifts or talents they had been given, they could and should unite their energies with those of their fellow citizens and follow through on their duty to work toward making the good society.‚Äù
Vote Yes Prop. 1 is not an issue. It is a movement.
Chairman of the Save Lakewood Campaign
President, Tillicum/Woodbrook Neighborhood Association
Letters to the Editor are submitted by readers and do not reflect the opinions of The Suburban Times. Submit your letter to email@example.com. Letters may be edited for length, content or formatting.