Keep investment private

Dear Editor:The following may be a little hard to accept or even understand by those that have been conditioned in a philosophy of government known as collectivism but Lawrence Christon's question in his Letter to the Editor (6/19/09) does need to be answered properly rather than in a rhetorical "yes of course" fashion which he clearly intended to project. This was his question in the context of the Avenue Theatre controversy: "After all, isn't the purpose of government, including city government, to serve the needs of the people?" The americanist answer to this question is a resounding "No." It is true that local police departments have as their motto: "To protect and to serve." This is not only an appropriate motto but it is also a good lead-in into what government is all about, namely, to protect the rights of individuals against those that would trample them and bring them harm. It is in this manner that government serves our needs. Among these rights are "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness," to quote a famous document. "To secure these rights, Governments are instituted," the document continues. The purpose of government in general is to be a negative force by protecting our God-given rights, as I have just alluded to. It is not to be a positive force as in doing things for people, like providing food, housing and health care for them. This is especially relevant at the federal and state level but it also applies at the municipal level to a great extent. Just look at the Downey city budget and this will be evident. There are some small areas where we decide to deviate a little, such as paying for a library or the grand opening of a new city park, complete with wonderful firework show. But such activities are usually sponsored in part by the generous donations of us, the individuals and the business community rather than via taxation entirely. The problem with the recent Avenue Theatre brouhaha is that both the people that are lobbying for arts and entertainment as well as the city who apparently purchased the property with "housing agency money" fail to understand the role of government as a negative force rather than as a positive one. When people start to perceive that they can vote for people who will give them what they want, whether it be housing or arts and entertainment, then the ones who can shout the loudest will get their way. Or they might not even shout at all but work quietly behind the scenes. The problem is that if we go that way as a nation and state we will lose the freedoms we just celebrated a few days ago. Let's hope that we in Downey will not follow the example of our federal or state governments but rather help the "Avenue organizers" channel their artistic resources and talents in the private sector. And let our city officials learn a lesson namely to never again spend taxpayers money for real estate redevelopment regardless of what agency those tax dollars came from. Investment in our great republic always came from the private sector. Put it in the public hands and expect to reap what any communist country reaps: shortages, bribery, corruption and moral failure. With Independence Day just days behind us, let's honor those that worked and fought to give us this greatest nation in history, by keeping what they have given us: a free republic. - Dan Cristea, Downey

********** Published: July 10, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 12