Writer takes offense to Allport’s comments about people on welfare

Posted 5 December 2013 at 12:00 am


In the article about the vote on the Orleans County budget I was drawn to this incredible quotation from County Legislator Don Allport:

“If people on welfare have to stand an extra hour or two in line that’s not my problem.”

There are so many things to say about this that I don’t know where to begin, but I will try.

We have a legislator who says that the problems faced by some citizens of our county are not his problem. I thought he was elected to represent all of his constituents. Little did I know that he actually represents some group of elitists who don’t have any problems.

We can extend Legislator Allport’s line of reasoning to other arenas of life. People who don’t have enough food – not his problem. People without adequate health care – not his problem. People on disability or with serious mental health issues – not his problem. Children failing in school – not his problem. Trash in the parks – not his problem. Corruption in Albany – not his problem. The impact of selling the Villages on employees, families and the elderly – not his problem. Wounded veterans – not his problem. Unemployed people unable to find jobs – not his problem. People displaced after a fire – not his problem. Victims of crime – not his problem. Makes me wonder if there is anything that actually is his problem?

I find the quotation deeply disturbing. I take seriously the things I learn in church, like “as you did it for the least of these you did it to me” and “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

I suppose in a perverse way it is refreshing to find a politician who actually admits to holding a position of utter disregard for others, though I find it hard to imagine an election campaign based on it. (“Vote for me, I don’t care about the problems people have.”) But who knows, in our current political environment there may be people who want candidates like this? Do you? I don’t.

By the way, the last time I was in the line at Orleans County Social Services there was hardly room in the small office for people to wait. People in wheel chairs, people with children, elderly people, people struggling to walk, and not enough chairs or even places to stand. But that is not Legislator Allport’s problem.

Maybe he hopes that by making the experience as miserable as possible people will move to Batavia or give up on getting assistance. I bet he wouldn’t even stoop so low as to suggest that some folding chairs be set up in the hallway for all the people he’s happy to have waiting even longer, because, after all, it’s not his problem.

Rev. James R. Renfrew