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Nelson Withdraws Motion to Discuss Free Summer Lunch Program

City Council member Judy Nelson says her comments may have been “insulting.”

The anticipated discussion over a free summer lunch program at the city’s was pulled from the agenda when Glendora City Council member Judy Nelson withdrew her motion for the discussion during Tuesday’s city council meeting.

Nelson said the city council meeting was not the appropriate forum to discuss the school district-sponsored free summer meal program, open to all children under the age of 18.

“I realize that the city is simply responding to a request by Glendora Unified to provide a location to operate a free summer lunch program,” Nelson said during Tuesday’s meeting.

“It is primarily a Glendora Unified School District matter and any further discussion from this point forward would be more appropriately held at the school district level,” Nelson said, citing her reasons to withdraw her motion.

During the June 26 City Council meeting, Nelson took aim at the free summer meal program, requesting that the city stop providing a location for the program.

Nelson said the program, sponsored by the Glendora Unified School District, was an example of government assuming the responsibilities of parents who Nelson said should ensure the healthy eating habits of their children.

Nelson said she did not believe it was the government’s role to provide food for its citizens.

"It's the role of parents to provide food for their children," said Nelson.

Nelson’s comments drew the opposition of Mayor Pro Tem Joe Santoro who said the federally-funded program provided children a positive place to go during the summer.

“I think for us to throw away this opportunity for us to feed our children who come to this community, who play in this community, is not a job that is at this level of government,” Santoro said at the June 26 meeting. “By doing this, I think we’re making a statement that I don’t think needs to made at our level of government.”

During the meeting, Nelson compared free government handouts to feeding wild animals at parks.

“The National Parks Service cautions us that when visit the parks, we should not feed the animals because they will grow dependent on the handouts and not know how to take care of themselves,” Nelson said, reading from a comment she said was sent to her by a concerned citizen.

Nelson later said at Tuesday’s meeting that her comments may have been unintentionally offensive.

“I realize that the analogy I read as part of comments in the last meeting was insulting to some,” said Nelson.

However, Nelson said her original request for the discussion was not to debate the issue of whether government should provide assistance for individuals who qualify as low-income, but to discuss big government spending and the loss of personal responsibility of citizens.

“The purpose of the motion was to raise some awareness of what is going on throughout the state, and throughout the nation, that during the summer children are receiving free lunches without qualifying for need, creating an expectation of our government to provide free meals regardless of need,” Nelson told Patch.

“I thought the council meeting was a good place to have an open discussion,” she said. “Yes, there are children who are in need of a place to. Yes, there are parents who need assistance in feeding their families. I’m not taking issue with that. But when government says, ‘We’ll take responsibilities for parents to feed their children even if they don’t qualify for the need,’ it concerns me. I think [the summer lunch program] is establishing a precedent that is sending out the wrong message.”

Stacy Johnson, director of food services for Glendora Unified, said under federal guidelines, the program can’t screen individual children they provide free meals to, although locations for the program were determined through the number of reduced price lunch applications the district receives.

Johnson said Glendora was chosen as a location because over 50 percent of the children in the area qualified for reduced price meals.

“We can’t screen each child that comes in for a meal to make sure they qualify because the way the government sees it, that’s discriminatory,” said Johnson. “But based on the number of applications we receive for reduced price lunches, there is definitely a need to provide this service.”

Since the free summer meal program began running in Glendora last year, Johnson has said she has seen more families needing financial assistance due to economic hardship.

“There are more families struggling in Glendora than people realize,” said Johnson.

Bruce Knoles July 11, 2012 at 10:18 PM
If your kids came to my house, I would feed them. If you came to my house, I would feed you. What's wrong with you people? Are you really that selfish and stingy?
jr July 11, 2012 at 10:41 PM
What Judy Nelson said about wild animals and our children says a lot to me about the character of a person who built a business off of selling books to children. Do we really care if one or two kids who don't "qualify" for a free lunch get one as long as those who need a free lunch get one? It takes a village sometimes.
Lou Irigoyen July 11, 2012 at 11:44 PM
In regard to Bob K.'s comment above, I agree that too many people in this country, take full advantage of programs that are not administered properly and allow too many ineligible people to get a freebie. How can you justify taking advantage of government sponsored programs and still buy your kids all of the latest gadgets and electronics so they can keep up with their friends and still have the gall to say you need subsidies. Wrong. I dont mind kicking in my tax dollars to help a friend in need, but to use my money to give to those that simply dont need it is a slap in the face. Ladies and gentlemen. Lets wise up and admit that we have been bleeding hearts too long and have allowed the cheaters to take what is not needed, but is there for the taking so.......why not huh? I grew up with meager means, but I never died from having a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch or just some cereal when that was all there was. Parents just figure it is there, go for it !!! Nothing is free. I hear this all the time. "oh, go and get some, its free" Sorry. someone is always footing the bill and that someone is always the same suckers who dont speak up and say enough. If there is hunger, feed them. If there is mis-management, fix it first. then try again. We might even save some tax dollars in the process.
B.C. July 11, 2012 at 11:52 PM
@ jr...she was only "quoting something a concerned citizen wrote to her" hahaha. At least she's learning how to cover up like a sleezy politician.
Sparks July 12, 2012 at 12:29 AM
This is an interesting issue that is going on here. On one hand we have the issue of feeding really needy citizens, which I would bet we would all support...yet on the other side are those of us that are tired of unmonitored programs that are not justified financially AND before you become upset, think of all the individuals that are on our assistance programs that don't qualify, don't need the money and just take up the funds from those that really do. I for one am glad Nelson stepped up to the question and hope she sustains her continued moxy. The entire issue is to inspect what you expect (gosh I hate that phrase.) Whenever a program is established you better have hard and fast and inspectable monitoring otherwise we wind up with abusers throughout the program. Hold fast Judy, maybe the programs can be fixed so that they can continue, but maybe on another platform. What has been missed all along the way for government management is the financial statement: you can't take out more than you take in or you won't stay in business very long. Now if we could just get this idea on to Washington!!
Bill C. July 12, 2012 at 03:27 AM
Typical greedy Christian Republican? You planning on calling your fellow leftist out for that Yolanda? I'm a Christian Republican and nothing typical about us. I in fact called out Nelson as soon as she said it, on this site. She should have been smarter than to read the idiotic e-mail without disclaiming it's tone. Do people take advantage of free programs, of course they do. Are Christian Republicans more generous and giving than any other group, of course they are, it's their nature Freddie, maybe you should look things up before posting such nonsense. The left plays fast and loose with money, they always have and always will. It's how they remain in office and a classic example of how good that does us is just look at what their 40 years in power has done to this state. Nelson's remarks were stupid and unthoughtful period, some of her reasoning reagrding the money we give away though has merit. Didn't we just learn of 18 billion in unemployment payments?
Bill C. July 12, 2012 at 03:28 AM
Unemployment payments that were fradulent is what i meant.
AB July 12, 2012 at 06:02 AM
This comment is mostly addressed to Bob K, since he seems the most ignorant on the topic: Perhaps it would behoove you to receive some information from the perspective of a Glendora Citizen who actually has a child in the Glendora School System who qualifies for free lunch, is aware of the application process and what the above percentages actually mean. First, the 50% refers to the fact that half of the children in the Glendora area qualify for free or reduced price lunches during the regular school year, which means the economic status of their family currently would be low-income. This does not mean that there is an additional 50% of students in the summer school lunch program receiving lunches for free, as you suggested was "bogus". You need to read the original article a little more closely to correctly discern the facts. Secondly, you are pointing to students carrying around cell-phones as evidence that the families are not truly as bad off as they claim to be. Hate to burst that bubble, but if you are aware of the government affiliated program called "Lifeline" (http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/PUC/Telco/Public+Programs/ults.htm) then you are aware that cell phones and cell phone plans are available to low income families for as low as $2.50 per month and the phone itself is free. Lastly, while I agree parents absolutely have a responsibility to their children, Coucil woman Nelson's comments were grossly out of line and showed extreme ignorance and prejudice.
C Maxon July 12, 2012 at 07:25 AM
Wow!!! Such contempt over the possibility of people like me (single mom of two, homeless because I did right by protecting my kids from violence, unemployed, not eligible for transitional housing because of being exempt from Welfare to Work to voluntarily get help for a disorder) misusing your tax dollars! The lunches given out don't even have anything to do with tax money anyway. I do NOT want handouts, I want opportunities. I do NOT want contention or comparisons. I want my family to have housing options available just as someone who IS in transitional housing would have (section 8 app expedited). Sure, there are many out there who scam or misuse the money and things given to them. I have had to deal with such people myself recently, so I understand the disgust that goes along with that. However, I am asking that, even if just for my sake, you consider those that will be eternally grateful for people who care enough to reach out to me and my kids in these trying times, whether it be a sandwich for my kids or just a shoulder to cry on. Whoever mentioned the small amount offered to people on food stamps is low; you're right. Just over two hundred, for 3 people, doesn't go far, unless you wanna stuff your kids with macaroni and cheese and Ramen Noodles for a month.
Jen Marie July 12, 2012 at 10:00 AM
@ Christine - who would leave the comfort of their own home to sit in a crowded 'Cooling Center' with a bunch of strangers? Not I, so I am pretty certain, those who sit in a local cooling center 'really' are trying to stay cool and do not have A/C.
Albert G July 12, 2012 at 03:30 PM
If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 1 John 3:17 For those who profess to be a Christian, feeding or cooling others is not a political issue. For Christians, we should not judge, make conditions or withhold help. We should just be there when there is a need..
Christine July 12, 2012 at 03:31 PM
Jen....it's called sarcasm... sorry it didn't play that way..
B.C. July 12, 2012 at 03:53 PM
If you're a single mom of two that is currently homeless and unemployed, I'd love to know how you found a wi-fi connection at 12:30 am this morning to type your comments. Did you lock the kids up in the car and run into Starbuck's real quick to use your laptop and respond to this thread in the middle of the night? I care about people's situations when they are honest about them, which is the problem with the majority of the complaining on this thread.
Bob K. July 12, 2012 at 04:40 PM
My comments are meant for a broad based discussion and not individual cases. We are debating the merits of providing a summer lunch program at the Teen Center regardless of need. I have said before that I am in favor of providing a "leg up" and this appears to be the case in your situation. I would advise you that you work towards attaining self sufficiency at some point or you will always be at the mercy of others and that is a dispiriting place to be for a lifetime. For the record though, the lunches do have to do with our tax money. Mos of us pay Federal taxes too. Just because it is a program provided by the Feds does not mean it is free. Maybe everyone thinks that because the Feds can print money that all their programs are without charge. I am a bit dismayed that you are unsatisfied with your food stamp allocation. How much do you think is appropriate in your situation? I personally ate tons of macaroni and cheese growing up and lived on Ramen Noodles while in college. Times have changed I guess.
Charles Stauffer July 12, 2012 at 04:58 PM
I was born at the end of the Big Depression. I started 1st grade in 1943. I had four brothers, myself and both parents. Dad was a non-union carpenter who worked most of the years with major slow downs or "Laid-off" in January and February due to cold weather. Mom worked in an electronics manufacturing plant and her wages were not the same as a male's. From 1st grade all the way through high school and then some, we took a brown bag lunches to school consisting of a lunch meat/cheese combination, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a cup cake and either an orange or apple. For a dime we had a very small bottle of milk each day for a week. We all survived, had great educations and lifestyles....not one bit of subsistence from anybody. Todays situation is much differant, as so many parents know of the "Free Breaskfast/Lunch" deals, that they blow their family budget on other things. Look at all the toys and amenities a family has today. I could go on and on but there isn't enough room here. Parents need to buckle up and be responsible for all their children's needs including ALL meals.. As a tax payer, I think these programs need to cease PERIOD!
Bob K. July 12, 2012 at 05:29 PM
I suspect that you are employed to administer these type of programs and have a vested interest that they continue, which is why you are versed in the details and links to the details. For the record, I have a masters in global economics of which it appears you are ignorant or you would understand that the type of programs you are promoting are going to be greatly diminished in the future. Like it or not, right or wrong, the United States is a capitalistic society. It would make more sense to implement programs that teach the kids to be self sufficient than to create the expectation they will be given something. How about community gardens where the kids learn to grow food? I worked in the strawberry fields growing up in Glendora (where all the retail stores are now like Home Depot) and it was a great learning experience. To this day I have a sustainable garden that feeds my own family and many of our neighbors. We must stop creating a culture that everyone is entitled to be provided for from cradle to grave. I was unaware of the "Lifeline" program, but suspect the IPhone 4 with data plans are not part of that program. Visit the Teen Center and you will not see one teen with the inexpensive phone model that goes for $2.50 per month. Needless to say, I am thrilled to learn of yet another government affiliated program. If we are going to feed any and all kids in Glendora, I think they are entitled to one of these phones too.
Bob K. July 12, 2012 at 05:35 PM
God helps those that helps themselves is the line my father ensured I understood. Probably why I was willing to work three jobs to get through college. To buy my own car. Why my kids work in the summer months when they are home from college. No one is denying anyone a "leg up" or help along the way, but this is becoming a way of life for many people.
James July 12, 2012 at 06:22 PM
I truly respect the work that your parents put into raising you Mr. Stauffer. However, not every family is like yours. What about single parents? Families that have major medical expenses? Parents that are unemployed and actively looking for work months on end? No one chooses the situations they are given in life. We do our best with what we have. In my opinion, it is the purpose of good government to assist its citizens in need. But when our elected officials descripe those in need as animals and choose to take away a program that benefits so many CHILDREN, I feel compelled to call her in the wrong. Nelson is elected to help the citizens in this community, not belittle them or try to slap her self-righteous 'if I can take care of my family, everyone else should too' (my words not hers). If the major problem people have with this program is that residents are taking advantage: ALTER THE PROGRAM, do some meaningful work Nelson while in office, screen residents who collect these meals so that those who need it will still be provided.
Daisy Chain July 12, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Getting back to the main point, GUSD was only asking for a place to give out the lunches, not a commentary on whether or not they should be given out or to whom. The residents of this city are very giving. They hold a winter homeless shelter every year, there is Shepards pantry who has branched out from giving food away to giving clothing, counseling and tutoring to those in need, they have seen a steady increase in clients each year as has the Glendora Welfare association. I know many people personally who have lost their jobs and are having to rely on umemployment until they find work. I know of two couples who have lost or are losing their homes. This could truly happen to you or someone close to you, maybe not because of a lost job, but a health issue. No one should ever call children wild animals unless they are speaking about their own.
Albert G July 12, 2012 at 06:41 PM
For those of us who worked several jobs, struggled to make it at times and eventually got life to work for us, we've been lucky and blessed. Not everyone has the opportunities and breaks we've had. I don't judge whether people are trying hard enough to succeed or whether they embrace charity as a way of life. I just do what I can to help where and when I can. That's all any individual, family or community can do.
Bob K. July 12, 2012 at 07:09 PM
It was my understanding that she read from a letter she received from a citizen that made an analogy between the feeding of wild animals and how quickly they adapt to the handouts and come to expect them. No one outright called children "wild animals". It is being spun that way politically to create drama. The bottom line is, like it or not, Nelson smoked everyone else in the contest for the most votes for city council. It is highly probable that the majority of Glendorans agree with her. This has always been a very conservative fiscal town and always will be. If you are big on government social programs this is probably not the town for you.
Daisy Chain July 12, 2012 at 09:33 PM
The real movers and shakers in this town are in all of the service groups Bob K. which means they have a heart to serve others. They are also the ones helping out at the winter homeless shelter with pride. Attend any Glendora fundraiser and you can see what I am talking about. I think Judy Nelson is a nice lady. We are talking about providing a space for lunch Bob, not asking me to move out of the city because you think I am big on government social programs.
AB July 12, 2012 at 09:48 PM
Bob K, Congratulations on your Masters Degree. That is quite an achievement. I know first-hand the work required in order to earn one. (MA in Lit) I know this as a single parent of three with no support (financial or otherwise) from anyone. I know this as someone with a teaching degree, but no job. I know this as someone who also has taught all of her children to work (and the oldest two are employed), and also who has a garden which feeds my family and neighbors. Perhaps I can offer you a zuchinni? Bob, I think you are missing the point here, which is you are comparing things of which you do not claim to have personal experience. You are merely commenting on what you are seeing, not living. Have you ever been out of work for long periods of time, with no financial reserves, and solely responsible the raising of three children? I'm not complaining about a capitalist America or even a corporate one. I'm suggesting that Council woman Nelson was extremely offensive with her comments and that you needed to read the article a little more closely in order to correctly interpret the statistics. If that offended you, I am certainly apologetic. If I were responsible for the promotion of the above listed programs as you suggest, then (ironically) I would have a well-paying job and my son would not be needing the reduced price lunch. On my own part in order to alleive the social burden on society, I had two children who graduated High School early (ages 15 and 17).
Bob K. July 12, 2012 at 10:12 PM
I belong as well and have worked at St. Dorothy's for the winter program. I also am a job creator with over 500 employees in various companies. You are assuming because I am have an economic degree that I am a Republican policy wonk. I assure you I am not. I am all for a "leg up", just don't want to inspire a culture that encourages dependency. The lady above was complaining that she only received $200 dollars worth of food stamps and obviously feels she deserves or is due more. How does it happen that when you are provided for that you complain it is not enough? My point is, the kids at the Teen Center are not "in need" children for the most part. We have had to reduce the hours at the Teen Center due to city budget cuts, but we justify handouts of free food because the Feds are paying for it. I disagree with you Miss Daisy that is all. It is a form of stealing to take what one is not qualified to receive. By the way, I never asked you to move out of town. It was a general statement that meant, "birds of a feather flock together". My daughter informs me that it is not everyone's cup of tea and prefers to live in an area with a more diverse culture. I am just saying that if people think they will change the town around to a more liberal way of thinking .... probably not going to happen. The majority of the town supports the conservative agenda.
Bill C. July 12, 2012 at 10:38 PM
Where you're right Bob regarding the letter, anyone stupid enough to read it without distancing themselves from the content is in fact seeming to be ok with it. This 2012 not 1972. The idiotic comparison I spoke about was made regardless of your attempt to spin it. Nelson won because it is a conservative town, not on some set of amazing qualifications she brought with her, but it my opinion she's shown herself to be lacking the tools to be anything but a one termer. As a conservative I'm baffled when people who I know are charitable act like she does at times.
Bob K. July 12, 2012 at 10:51 PM
AB- I apologize then. Unfortunately California is in a period of decline. Many of my economist friends feel we have reached the tipping point and are currently witnessing the demise of the entire American Empire. I hope that is not to be in my lifetime, but we only need to look towards Europe to see what will be heading our way. My degree is one of many years ago, but math is math. I wish I could offer you hope, but I see none on the horizon at this time. My main company saw some increased activity in the spring and we were encouraged that the turning point was on the horizon. Since then we have noticed a gradual slowing. This morning Warren Buffet warned on another economic slowdown. That concerns me a great deal since Warren has always been very bullish on America. We have managed to keep all of our employees the last 4 years through shared sacrifice. All employees work a maximum of 32 -36 hours. They all have company paid health care, but there have been no raises. We have not paid any corporate tax because we have not had any corporate profits. We are dead flat and just barely supporting our current workforce. It sounds as if you are trying to do all the right things. I have tons of zucchini as well of which even my neighbors don't appear to want to take off my hands, so I decline your offer of another one. Good Luck to you.
AB July 12, 2012 at 11:17 PM
Bob, Thank you. That was a very gracious, reply. I did have an interview this morning in Pasadena in the private school sector, and an additional one scheduled for Monday, so perhaps my reliance upon the reduced lunch program will be short-lived. I'm familiar with Mr. Buffet's previously accurate predictions and analysis and yes, this time it is bleak news. Let us hope on this occasion, he is wrong. I hope your business continues to improve as well. Reading from above posts, it sounds like you are very involved in Glendora community programs. I mention this because I'm thinking of taking my excess zuchinni over to the Shepherd's Pantry on Arrow. Maybe some tomatoes too. I have enough salsa and spaghetti sauce jarred up to last for 2 years. Well-wishes for your future.
Bob K. July 12, 2012 at 11:17 PM
Touche Bill C.! Nelson may have won because it is a conservative town and your opinion of her could be colored because she opposed a raise for your own pet project of GPD recently. The fact is she smoked everyone in the last election. I know because I supported someone else and she literally blindsided us by coming in first and well ahead of everyone else. Never saw it coming. She has always claimed to be a fiscal conservative and appears to stay true to what she believes in. I know for a fact that she declined all city benefits and I admire her for doing so. That can't be said for the majority of them. I agree it was a mistake to read the comments and yes she should have distanced herself from them. She has publically apologized for them and I give her credit for that. If nothing else it has generated lots of attention and discourse. You refer to me as spinning for her, but I am only commenting based on my reading of the issue in the SGV Tribune. I am neither friend nor foe. I don't know how being opposed to providing free government meals to children that are not in need makes one "uncharitable" though.
Bill C. July 13, 2012 at 12:56 AM
What pet project do i have at GPD? She opposed the raise which wasn't a raise considering what sworn gave up compared to non-sworn. That she even looked at it that way showed what little thinking she does. The city council isn't a dem/rep seat, you should know that from your history. That's what made Parisi getting the local Dem endorsement, last time she ran, so silly. Nelson seems no different to me and her stances at times seems out of place in a council setting.
Bill C. July 13, 2012 at 01:04 AM
I didn't mean she was "uncharitable" by my comment. Most charitable people I'm familiar with seem to know better than to put their foot in their mouth as she did. An apology is fine but in my experiences to get to the heart of how one really thinks is most easily observed when you see their first words or opinion on a matter.

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