Vote Damn It

As a citizen of this democracy it is your obligation to vote in every election. Ballots have been sent out to registered voters and can be mailed in several days before the election or dropped off before 8 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17th. If you are an adult resident  of Oregon and are reading this you have either: a) already voted in the May 17th Primary Election, b) have received your ballot but have not cast it yet, or c) never registered to vote.

If you are in the third category, we’re sorry, but you’ve lost your opportunity to participate this time around. Unlike many states, Oregon has a registration deadline for upcoming elections. That deadline has come and gone. But that should not stop you from registering for our next election. And thankfully, due to the recently passed “Motor Voter” law people registering or renewing their driver’s license will automatically become registered voters.

If, on the other hand, you are registered and have already voted, then thank you. Oregon makes it so ridiculously easy to vote. All you need is a pen and a stamp. We hope you completed your entire ballot and did not “undervote.” That’s when people fail to vote for a candidate because they can’t decide or are unfamiliar with the candidates. If the names were unfamiliar, we hope you pulled out and read the Voter’s Pamphlet you received in the mail, or picked up at the library or post office and made a choice.

If you voted already we especially hope you voted the bottom of your ballot. It is here that you are faced with your most important decisions as a voter, for it is here that the candidates for local office appear. It is likely that your quality of life will be affected as much or more by a Salem City Councilor than by the President of the United States. Only half of registered voters in Salem will vote for City Councilor this year. Salem has eight wards and Councilors serve four-year terms so only four Councilors are elected every two years in the Primary. The Mayor, however, must stand for election every two years. Even though our Mayor only has one vote like the other eight Councilors, he or she wields a lot of influence and in many way sets the direction of our city.

Turnout in the last Primary Election in 2014 in Salem was a disgrace. Only 27% of registered voters bothered to cast a ballot. But even worse, there was a 29% undervote in the Salem City Council elections. About one in three of the voters who bothered to vote did not vote in the races that meant the most to them and to this community. That’s just dumb.

If you haven’t voted already, vote damn it! Just do it. Get out that ballot from the pile of old mail, retrieve that Voter’s Pamphlet from the recycling bin and fill the ballot out, top to bottom. By the time you are reading this you may have to drop your ballot off to make sure it makes it to the county elections office by 8 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17th. No problem. There are six convenient drop off sites in Salem listed in your Voters Pamphlet.

Do it. Now!

 

Salem Weekly editorial board members:  Russ Beaton, Jim Scheppke, William Smaldone, Naseem Rakha, A.P. Walther.

 

Primary Election Countdown

Last day to register to vote was April 26

Last day to mail ballots 

was May 10

Election Day 

is May 17

Non-Believers Come Out of the Closet

by Laurel Hines

If you are one of the ever-growing numbers of people who don’t believe in a religion, you are “a-theist” (not part of a religion). If you don’t like the religious dogma that Ted Cruz and others hope to inflict on the nation, you must come out of the closet and declare your “a-theism”. If it worries you when legislators make policies based on religion instead of modern science, you must come out of the closet and declare yourself as “a-theist”!

A Pew Research survey recently found that 23 percent of the U. S. population is nonaffiliated, and a third of Millennials identify now as non-religious. Yet few are willing to declare themselves as atheist or even agnostic (uncertain about God’s existence). Yet politicians will continue to ignore secular Americans until they are convinced that there is a price to be paid for doing so.

The Catholic, Evangelical, and other religious lobbies, meanwhile, have significant influence in our government. The non-believers avoid the atheist label because of the tendency of people to assume only the religious are moral and good people. Yet those of us who are atheist/non-believers know that is hog-wash, and that actually the opposite is true ( atheists are under represented in prisons; some churches are awash in child molesters in the clergy).

Morals are inherent in social beings, and religion is not necessary for moral behavior.

Secular non-believers need to assert that our numbers are growing and significant, and that we vote. But it takes joiners to create a lobby!

Freedom of conscience for all – which exists only in secular democracies- should be a top concern for the non-religious.

Unless we non-believers accept a label and unite under a label, and join organizations that take action by fighting to keep our government secular (like Atheists of America or Freedom From Religion), we face legislation based on religious morals and beliefs,  and not science, reason, or facts.

On Thursday, May 26th, from 11 AM to 2 PM, the first ever Portland Atheist Festival will be held in Pioneer Courthouse Square (https://www.facebook.com/portlandatheistfestival/).  Come and meet an atheist, or come and declare your atheism! We need to come out of the closet and show the world who we really are. The success of LGBTs in the past couple years shows that coming out of the closet and demanding to be heard can create major change for oppressed groups. Atheists are oppressed because we don’t declare ourselves and we don’t unite.

So let’s do it! Come to the Atheist Festival May 26th.

Laurel Hines is a retired clinical social worker/psychotherapist. She now volunteers at Willamette Humane Society, is an active animal advocate, and champions reality that can be supported by science and reason.. She is part of a growing group of Salem Freethinking Atheists.

Looking for America

by Elijah Rakha-Sheketoff

As America by Simon and Garfunkel waves over the crowd, I wonder how on earth I got so lucky. Not only am I an upper middle class, cisgendered, white man, who grew up in a loving, supportive family, but I am listening to one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite artists, and I am about to see my candidate for president tell me, and the people of Salem, once again how we can change the world, making it a more compassionate, better place for all.

Politics has flowed through my veins since the moment blood started pumping. Some of my first memories are from Portland peace rallies when before I could even talk I would make my voice heard by pounding on a Wizard of OZ cookie tin. In preschool, I got my entire class to cast their symbolic ballot for Kerry—a unanimous liberal vote (albeit from four-year-olds) from a notoriously conservative town. My is life filled with these moments, flocking to events that both challenge me intellectually, and ones where I can feel a part of something bigger. So being at a Bernie rally, and having press access to take pictures from the podium, was, for me, shangri-la; as it was for many young voters at the rally.

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Brandon Roth, 18, instinctively blurted out “Compassion” as the word that best describes Bernie, while his classmate Colin Gesik replied “caring”. Mark Mulder’s, 18 reasoning resonated via nod’s from those around him—it also had the nice attribute of fitting on a bumper sticker—“he’s my candidate,” he said. I will always remember the first time I actually sat down and heard Senator Sanders speak; it was in August at his first Oregon rally held at the Moda Center (a corporate rename that stood as a powerful irony to the workers power that the senator is fighting for), and that day my eyes filled with tears; It wasn’t until I heard Bernie speak that day, that I felt hope for our future.

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People often ask me why I am supporting Bernie. The answer is simple. I believe that everybody, regardless of their sexual orientation, their race, their gender, their country of origin, their wealth, their geography, their sexuality, their past mistakes, their religion, their political beliefs, or any of the hundreds of other labels that people have been and still are discriminated against over the years deserves basic civil rights, and equal opportunity to not just survive, but to thrive, and move this country forward.

Looking around at the audience I saw all those different people. I saw diversity. Bernie said tonight that, “diversity is what makes this country great,” and while we all came from different backgrounds,  it was clear that we had all gone to look for America, and the found it in him.

Elijah Rakha-Sheketoff is a 16-year-old life long resident of Silverton where he is a sophomore in high school. He is heavily involved in Speech and Debate as well as his school theater program. His passion is for philosophy, particularly postmodernism, and hopes to study philosophy and journalism in college.

End the Oligarchy -Salem Weekly Endorsements

Last year former President Jimmy Carter made headlines when he said the U.S. had become an “oligarchy” — a government run by a small group of wealthy and influential people. We believe this is what Salem has become in the past 14 years.

Fourteen years ago, when progressive Mayor Mike Swaim decided not to run for reelection, the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce, along with allied business groups like the Salem Association of Realtors and the Homebuilders Association of Marion & Polk Counties, saw an opening to install a more conservative City Council that would be much more friendly to their interests. They recruited candidates and generously funded their campaigns. In some cases they even used a hand-picked campaign consultant to run the campaigns. The strategy worked, and for 14 years the Mayor and City Council majority have been beholden to the Chamber and its allies.

This is true today. You’ll seldom find any difference between what the Chamber and its allied special interests want to have happen at the Council and what the Mayor and the Council majority delivers with great consistency. There are occasions when the business interests do not get their way, but they are very rare.

That’s why in 2016 we need a new beginning. The ordinary citizens of Salem need to throw out the Salem oligarchs and start over with a Mayor and City Council who are beholden to no one except the people they represent.  We need a Council that will prioritize the provision of public services such as housing, parks, the library, and residential streets.

On this simple basis the Salem Weekly endorses the following candidates in the May 17th primary election …

For Mayor we endorse Carole Smith. She will not be beholden to the Chamber and its allied interest groups. She will be a champion for our downtown and central city and pursue smart growth strategies, not the suburban sprawl that the Chamber and its allies want to perpetuate. Her opponent Chuck Bennett, worked hard to get the Chamber endorsement. Although Chuck’s experience and knowledge of the system may allow him to work smoothly with diverse constituencies, we worry that he might be overly influenced by the Chamber. In our opinion, this could perpetuate our oligarchical past more than is healthy for the entire community

For City Council in Ward 1 we endorse Cara Kaser over the Chamber candidate Jan Kailuweit who has received a large share of his campaign funds directly from the Chamber PAC. Kaser holds a Master’s degree in public history and has worked as a preservation specialist for the State Historic Preservation Office, a background that makes her highly qualified to represent Salem’s historic downtown and historic central neighborhoods. She has also been very active in her Grant Neighborhood Association.

For City Council in Ward 5 we endorse Matt Ausec over Tiffany Partridge. Neither were endorsed by the Chamber, but Matt has a far superior record of professional accomplishment and has run an impressive grassroots campaign. He rightly thinks North Salem does not get its fair share of city services and investment and he wants to change that.

For City Council in Ward 7 we endorse Sally Cook over incumbent Warren Bednarz, the Chamber candidate. Bednarz has had a hard time separating his family’s extensive real estate interests from his City Council business on issues like the 3rd Bridge and where to site the new police facility. His accomplishments for his constituents in Ward 7 have been negligible. Sally Cook, on the other hand, is a dynamo. She founded the best community garden in the city in her Sunnyslope neighborhood and she has already served the city as Chair of the Citizens Police Review Board and as a member of the Library Advisory Board. Like Kaser, Sally has been a leader in her neighborhood association.

This year can be the year when we can take back our city from the business interests that have been running the show for their own benefit for 14 long years. All we have to do is elect Carole Smith, Cara Kaser, Matt Ausec and Sally Cook in the May 17th election.

Salem Weekly editorial board members:  Russ Beaton, Jim Scheppke, William Smaldone, Naseem Rakha, A.P. Walther.

Support the “Political Revolution” -Salem Weekly Endorsement

When primaries are contested, a newspaper often states a preference for a candidate from each party and then later endorses one or the other for the general election, and normally we would follow suit.  But this election cycle is different.

In our opinion, there is no candidate running in the Republican primary who is remotely acceptable.   The bizarre circus of the Republican presidential campaign is so deeply fractured, negative and discriminatory, and so out of touch with reality that we believe any of the Republican candidates, should they become president, would prove disastrous for the country.  Thus, we choose to focus on the May 17th Oregon Democratic primary between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

Bernie Sanders, in our opinion, is the only major candidate telling the people exactly what they need to hear.  Corporations do have far too much power and influence.  Wall Street possesses almost total control over our finances.  The middle class has definitely been hollowed out.  Financing of health care and education needs complete reform.  A consequence of all this is unchecked expansion of income and wealth inequality.  And so on…  We agree with his contention that a political revolution is necessary to create a sustainable economic model that benefits all of our citizens.

Bernie Sanders takes on the wealthiest established institutions in our nation, and calls foul on the hegemony they have had on the working class, the environment and our financial system.  He shines a bright light on the link between poverty and race, poverty and class, and poverty and education – or lack of it.  He embraces a politics of inclusion which shuns the demonizing rhetoric that characterizes so many other candidates.  Further, he has effectively made his case without corporate contributions.  This has taken a dedication to ideals that we believe is both an inspiration and a direction this country needs to take.

No other candidate has the courage to make this case.  Hillary has been too close to the ruling establishment for too long to attempt this, and the Republicans all invoke the conventional angry “run against Washington” mantra, but simply call for us to “tear it down” without offering any constructive replacement policies.

Three major points cement our support of Sanders.  First, a bullet-point listing of his main campaign planks almost exactly mirrors the historic Democratic Party platform. It is deeply ironic that a technical “outsider” like Bernie could actually serve to return the party to its roots.  If the party were to embrace him along with this concept, the refreshingly obvious repudiation of the much criticized Politics As Usual could re-energize the Democratic Party and give them a landslide victory.  To support this opinion, we note that he is the only major candidate in either party whose authenticity and integrity have never been questioned.  He says what he believes, and always has.

Second, public opinion polls show strong majority support for Bernie’s positions on all major issues, such as Social Security, Wall Street reform, campaign finance, and the like.  If a “slate” for each candidate were proposed with no names, but just a list of positions on issues, his slate would likely dominate, and in all regions of the country.  He is, in reality, a “majority” candidate – in the absence of any labeling.

And “labeling” brings us to our third and final point.  What about the “Socialism” thing?  Public schools are socialist.  Police and fire departments are Socialist.  Public parks, libraries, city streets, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, all of them, are socialist programs.  When AT&T recently leaked toxic chemicals into Salem’s watershed, it was a Socialist program that monitored your water to make sure you and your family were not being poisoned.  Each of these programs enjoys broad public support.  It’s time we get over the outdated Cold War scare tactic rhetoric and simply seek creative ways for government to improve people’s lives.  A vision of a positive role for government, along with a rebirth of a sense of the commons, is desperately needed.  Most of the world’s serious problems, such as climate change and rampant inequality, have been caused by excessive private sector influence, and they will not be solved without decisive government actions.

In conclusion, Bernie Sanders is the best choice by far to deal with the root causes of our problems and democratically reinvigorate a strong middle class society that works for everybody.

Salem Weekly editorial board members:  Russ Beaton, Jim Scheppke, William Smaldone, Naseem Rakha, A.P. Walther.

Defending the Republic -Salem Weekly Editorial

The chickens are coming home to roost in American politics.  Since the election of Ronald Reagan — who argued that government wasn’t a solution to our problems but, rather, was their cause — increasingly venomous attacks on government at all levels have dominated our political discourse.  The neo-liberal ideology that swept people like Reagan and Margaret Thatcher to power in the 1980s rested on the idea that government could do nothing right and individual solutions to people’s problems were preferable to collective ones.  The goals of the neo-liberals included reducing the government’s regulatory power, depriving it of resources needed to deliver quality services, and enriching capital by privatizing state operations.

Both parties shared many of these goals.  It was Bill Clinton who “ended welfare as we know it” in the mid-1990s and whose deregulation of Wall Street paved the way for the cataclysm of 2008 under Bush II.

It is not our purpose here to debate the pros and cons of particular policy decisions.   Our aim, rather, is to point out that making these policies popular required unceasing attacks on virtually all the republic’s core institutions with the exception of the military, which continues to be exalted rhetorically even as its functions, too, are gradually privatized (remember Blackwater).

It is certainly true that public institutions, like all institutions, should be subject to criticism and held accountable to the people they serve.   Institutions must function well to earn people’s trust.  During the Great Depression, for example, and in the decades following the Second World War, the expansion of government had wide popular support as it undertook projects ranging from the establishment of Social Security and Medicare to the provision of rural electricity, the construction of enormous water systems in the west, the interstate highway system, and, on the state level, the creation of high quality higher education.  Americans generally were proud of their public institutions and considered government service an honorable career choice.

Blaming the state for all our ills picked up steam in the 1970s when the post-war prosperity ran aground in the face of the Vietnam War, intensified economic competition from abroad, and the OPEC oil embargos.  Seeking to raise profits, corporations launched a massive offensive against labor that continues today and they began the large-scale outsourcing that has crushed wide swathes of the American middle and working classes.  Politicians then found it easy to blame “wasteful,” “bureaucratic,” state institutions, such as schools, the state regulatory agencies, and even the post office for people’s economic troubles and to tout lower taxes and smaller government as easy remedies.

The unrelenting assault on “government” has done little to reduce its size and, as the debacle of 2008 showed, its role remains crucial.  The attacks have succeeded however, in substantially eroding the legitimacy of the republic itself among small but growing parts of the population.  The recent seizure by armed militants of the federal facility in Harney County is a sign of this disaffection.  It should serve as a warning to those concerned about preservation of the democratic order and remind us of the value of our public institutions.

The democratic republic we inhabit is not perfect, but it represents the most favorable terrain for reform.  For that reason we should reject politicians whose rhetoric serves to undermine the very state they claim they wish to serve.

Salem Weekly editorial board members:

Russ Beaton, Jim Scheppke, William Smaldone, Naseem Rakha, A.P. Walther.

Council isn’t “us against them”

by Steve McCoid

The first fifteen months of my first term as a Salem City Council have flown by for me. Certainly, there is a very steep learning curve demanded of any volunteer serving on the City Council. Salem is a large city with a full menu of services for its citizens. Each councilor must learn how each department operates, what their challenges, goals and needs are, and how to effectively interact with them. Add bi-monthly council meetings, reading hundreds of page of staff reports, and you have a full work load for every council member. Include the budget process, service on four or more committees, neighborhood association meetings and attendance at a variety of community events, and you have a full schedule. Quite a load for a volunteer, unpaid positon, isn’t it?

The current city council operates as a team in a collegial, respectful manner. Nine very diverse    personalities work together to ensure that Salem’s professional city staff and city manager are providing services and programs that its citizens need, deserve and demand. The key to this collegial working relationship is that the positions are non-partisan. There are no party platforms in play at your city council. Instead, you have the council dealing with one another in an open, non-adversarial, respectful manner that produces frank, open dialog on issues with no rancor or repercussions. This attitude comes from a place of trust in one another based on each of our actions on past issues.

I mention all of this because we’re in campaign season once again and have races for four council positions and mayor. These position are non-partisan. The council isn’t an us against   them body and it shouldn’t be treated as such. I urge you to pay careful attention to the approach and messaging you receive. I can tell you there isn’t a current councilor with a hidden agenda. No one comes to an issue with a preconceived answer or vote. Issues are discussed and debated in council – not behind closed doors. If you see candidates that are more concerned about who is supporting who, telling you that this council isn’t working together for the good of the city, making this an us against them issue and telling you the council doesn’t listen to its citizens be aware. All of that isn’t accurate and isn’t occurring. It is most likely the person stating this isn’t a person you want to vote for to represent you on the council.

Steve McCoid serves a city councilor for Ward 4 is South Salem. Steve is a 41 year resident of Salem and was elected to the council in 2014. He is recently retired from a career in non–profit association management, has served on numerous non-profit boards of directors at the local, state and national level. He is married to Collier and has raised four daughters and enjoys his four grandchildren.

Let’s Talk About Healthy Relationships

Guest opinion by Angele Kirk

When you think back to your first love, your first date, your first relationship, the memories may make you smile. Not everyone is fortunate in that way; it’s the unhappy truth that many young people find themselves in abusive or sexually coercive situations. Teens experiencing dating violence – whether physical or emotional – are more likely to become pregnant and report an STD diagnosis. And while anyone can be the victim of violence, young women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of dating violence, almost triple the national average. Young people need to learn age-appropriate skills around healthy relationships, consent and communication – as well as how to recognize the signs of unhealthy relationships and how to leave an abusive relationship safely.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and a great opportunity for families to talk about sexuality and relationships, including the differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships and what constitutes consent. When teens and parents are comfortable talking with each other about relationships and sex, parents are better able to help their teens make healthy decisions.

Parents can help their children understand that a healthy relationship is one that makes you feel good about yourself and each other, and that makes you feel safe and respected. An unhealthy relationship is one in which one partner does hurtful things to get power or control over the other person, and may include physical violence, isolation from family and friends, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, stalking, threats or coercion. Parents can also help young people who may be navigating a relationship figure out if their partner is being abusive and, if so, help them end the relationship.

It’s also important that young people understand consent and have the skills to engage in healthy communication around sex and relationships. Good communication skills are an important part of healthy sexual intimacy. Silence is not consent. Saying “I don’t know” is not consent. Being pressured or manipulated into doing something is not consent. We need to teach young people how to say “no” or “I’m not sure” and how to listen to and respect others’ boundaries.

As the nation’s largest provider of sex education, Planned Parenthood is committed to helping parents talk about healthy relationships and consent with their children at different ages. We’re here to help, and we’re committed to making sure that parents can address decision making with their children, as well as their own beliefs and values about sexuality and relationships.

There’s no one best way to talk about sex and sexual health. The important thing is to start and continue having these conversations. We all want kids to stay healthy and safe and have the tools to do so. It’s crucial that teens understand that this includes identifying healthy vs. unhealthy relationships and what consent looks like.

Angele Kirk manages the Salem Health Center for Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette, the largest nonprofit provider of sexual and reproductive health care and youth education programs in Oregon and Southwest Washington. For more information visit PPCW.org.

How to Pass a Bond Measure -Salem Weekly Editorial

The Salem City Council will hold what may be their final work session to discuss a November bond measure for a new police facility on Monday, April 4th. Time is running out to decide the cost and the scope of the bond measure.

It has been eight long years since the last City bond measure passed in Salem, the $99.8 million “Streets and Bridges Bond” measure. In 2008 we were just heading into the depths of the Great Recession. The reality of that, and what it would do to home values and jobs and the Salem economy in general had not really become apparent.

Now we are on the far side of the Great Recession. We are still paying off the Streets and Bridges Bond, as well as large school bond measure that passed in the same year, and a Chemeketa Community College bond and Fire Department bond passed in 2006. Are voters ready to once again to raise their property taxes to invest in their community?

On April 4th the City Council will receive the results of the latest scientific poll conducted by the Portland firm of DHM Research that should give them a pretty good idea. DHM conducted an earlier poll for the city, in January, 2014, that showed that only 48% of Salem voters would vote for an $80 million bond measure to build a 75,000 square foot police facility and complete seismic upgrades for City Hall and the downtown library to prevent their collapse in a Cascadia megaquake (for which we may be overdue). Election professionals will tell you that if a bond measure is polling at less than 60% or so, it is likely to lose.

The most recent DHM poll asked if voters would favor an $81 million bond measure that would only pay for a new police facility. The change is due to the fact that since the last poll was done, the city hired a Chicago architect who has sold the Mayor and most of the Council on the idea of building a 148,000 square foot facility, twice the size that was being planned two years ago. Because this facility — three times the size that the SPD occupies now at City Hall and at a leased facility — would be so expensive to build, the need for seismic upgrades at City Hall and the library have been shelved.

Is it likely that 60% or more of respondents to the new poll will favor an $81 million bond measure that only builds a very large police facility? We are doubtful, but it remains to be seen.

If the new poll results are what we think they’ll be, a majority of the City Council will need to get real and come up with a new plan for November, or put the bond measure off. The worst thing that could happen would be for a bond measure to fail.

We still think a “Public Safety” bond measure can pass with widespread community support and little opposition. But it has to be smart. It has to be frugal and not extravagant. It should include a modest sized police facility with no expensive parking structures. It should include the seismic upgrades for City Hall and the library to prevent catastrophic loss of life when The Big One occurs. We think a variety of stakeholders would likely get behind such a measure and work to pass it in November.

Salem Weekly editorial board members:

Russ Beaton, Jim Scheppke, William Smaldone, Naseem Rakha, A.P. Walther.

Another Councilors Comments: ward: 6

Daniel Benjamin

Hello folks,

I’d like to thank Salem ​W​eekly for reaching out and extending an opportunity for me to talk to the great citizens of Salem.

I first like to thank all the folks in Ward 6 that voted in the city council election last year.

I feel in many cases local elections are more crucial for a community’s safety and prosperity than federal. Public involvement is also crucial in many ways. That’s why a neighborhood association is a perfect place to get plugged in. Another great avenue for information is the City of Salem website. By participating in your neighborhood association and keeping informed using the City of Salem website,​ ​(just like we do Facebook) folks can come together and have meaningful dialogue.

As a city councilor I am not privy to any more or less information than anyone else in the City of Salem. However it is a daunting task to read through past Council actions, local ordinances, state law, and federal law. All while trying to disseminate volumes of Staff reports and consultant reports, citizen  comment…. and yes, Salem Community Vision reports just to name a few. But if it isn’t done by the citizen as well….we end up with a vocal minority that hardly represents the vast majority.

When I sought a seat for a council position, my focus was to create an environment that promotes jobs. Using myself as an example I work to survive. I work to feed my family. I work to provide nice things for my family. If the only job available pays minimum wage, (been there) then I probably need to find two of them.(been there as well) Or get tooled up to get a higher-paying position (education or a better attitude). Or better yet find a way to employ myself!

It’s no secret that small business hires more people than big business. For folks like myself growing a business, I hear you. It’s my duty as a counselor, a major undertaking, to promote an environment  where businesses in the City of Salem can thrive.

I believe all of us on City Council want to see the same thing. Folks working to better themselves and their families through gainful employment or even starting a business. Some cases staying out of the way.​ ​Thus making the family stronger. So that someday the fruit of  all the labor and sacrifice lead to property ownership and financial Independence. After all isn’t that the American dream?

It’s not that the City of Salem has a lot of problems… on the contrary there are copious amounts of opportunity. It’s just getting all the parts in order and getting  them to work. That would be the responsibility of….. everyone….not just government.

It starts with the individual, to be determined enough claim victory. The family to support the determined individual. A neighborhood that wants to be the very best to and for their neighborhood of families. A city that cares for how it works toward common goals to support the neighborhood’s. A County to be excited about fostering industries that produce vital economic activity, and put the city on the map. And a state that is dedicated…. to the individual determined enough to claim victory.

At your service,

Daniel Benjamin

Salem City Counselor Ward 6