Youth jobs take funds from police

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 17, 2006

To the Editor:

The response of Mayor Perkins and seven of my colleagues on the City Council to the crime epidemic in Selma is to take $50,000 from the Selma Police Department.

Under the current city leadership, the Selma Police Department is practically in shambles.

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If the Police Department had $50,000, why was it not used to hire more policemen, fix the contaminated building in which the department is housed or repair the communications tower which lightning struck.

Leadership would have used the $50,000 to at least make an effort to protect the citizens of Selma and our property or to improve the working conditions of police personnel who suffer in the dilapidated and neglected public safety building.

Instead of using the $50,000 for public safety for which it was appropriated, the Mayor and my colleagues are using it to employ 90 to 100 youths this summer.

If the Mayor needed $50,000, he could have found it among the $1.3 million city hall payroll.

There is a $42,000 grants coordinator position and other positions vacant.

Because Councilman Cain and I both financially supported the summer employment program last year and agree with it in principle this summer, we made a motion to take the $50,000 from the almost $250,000 unappropriated surplus in this year’s budget.

Our motion was voted down 7-2.

By taking the money from the Police Department, the mayor and my fellow council members have demonstrated what their priorities are and what they are not.

I was appalled, if I heard my colleagues Crenshaw and Venter correctly, when they said that if we did not employ the young people this summer, crime would be much worse in the city.

Do these ladies think so little of our young people that they believe that if government does not provide the youth a $500 summer job that the youth will be criminals?

Young people of Selma, if that is what your leaders think of you, I say to you: finish high school, earn a college degree, get a job and leave this poverty riddle, crime infested city.

I was not appalled that my colleague Leashore said that there is not a crime epidemic in city.

He may be right.

There is not a crime epidemic, there is a crime pandemic in this city.

It is pervasive throughout the city and our city leadership does not have a clue about how to protect the citizens of Selma and our property.

Unfortunately, I find myself more and more estranged from the Mayor and the majority of my fellow council members.

I have deep philosophical differences with them about the proper functions of government.

I believe the number one priority of any government is to ensure the safety of its citizens and their property.

I believe

their philosophy is seeing government as a womb to the tomb provider of all manner of social services, which in the end only keep people in poverty and more dependent on government.

I regret the widening differences between them and me because for the most part, they are at least civil, if not cordial, toward me.

Cecil Williamson

Councilman Ward 1