Proper for San Luis to help school band
The Yuma Sun printed a First Take column Oct. 8 regarding a request from parents for help from the city of San Luis to pay for the Gadsden Elementary School District band's way to London to take part in that city's New Year's Day parade. Part of the debate appears to be what is the role of a city and use of city funds. Public funds should always be used for public benefit. Helping the youth of a community is always proper, both morally and legally.
For those who would criticize the expenditure, I would ask the following: What in the world is the difference between spending $30,000 on a parks and recreation event, such as Fourth of July fireworks, or taking soccer youth to away soccer matches, or children in baseball to out-of-town games, and spending about $30,000 to help 100 local elementary schoolchildren on an educational/recreational experience of a lifetime? What is the difference between taking a band to London and taking a high school football team or high school band to Tucson?
I believe in elected government and to me, who gets funded, and to what extent, is a discretionary decision of the elected representatives as long as public money is going to a public purpose. (And remember this is a spending question, not a who is educating the children question.)
To argue that public money cannot be spent to help children is a most mean-spirited viewpoint. What the city council will do is presently unknown. But the city has always supported the children here, and some of the gains made have had remarkable success.
For example when the Youth Center opened, the juvenile crime rate in San Luis dropped more than 25 percent. Programs such as the boxing program, PALS, Miss San Luis, funding of PPEP and others have really made a real, positive difference in a place with more than 40 percent unemployment.
The Arizona Supreme Court spoke wisely in 1926 when in Tombstone v. Macia it said:
“Municipal corporations are not limited to provide for the material necessities of their citizens. Under legislative authority they may minister to their comfort, health, pleasure or education … there can be no doubt that municipal corporations may be constitutionally authorized to expend money raised by taxation for such purpose.”
Pardon me if I respectfully support the children of our city and their families. I have witnessed the Herculean effort of these families to try and raise money. It is my fervent hope the children will get to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience.