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Letter to the Editor: 'Low Income' Gets a Bad Rap

A Cinnaminson Harbour resident responds to some comments made about the housing complex after a drug deal stabbing occurred there recently.

To the editor: 

I wanted to write this to address the perceived stereotypes surrounding “low and moderate income” people in light of the recent comments made on Patch relating to the .    

There seems to be a perceived idea in our society that if you are “low to moderate income” that you are automatically up to no good and therefore do not belong in our town. You see this all over, not just in Cinnaminson.      

In 1970, a woman by the name of Ethel Lawrence had the courage to fight Mt. Laurel. The lawsuit Ethel Lawrence brought against Mt. Laurel has had a profound impact on the obligations towns have in providing for housing for those that are considered “low to moderate income.”    

Some have argued that the Mt. Laurel decision has been an unfunded mandate by the courts and have cost towns untold amounts of money. I am not here to argue that point. What I am here to say is that everybody has the right to live and grow up in an environment free of intimidation—in an environment where their kids are free to play without being threatened—in an environment where they have a real opportunity to grow and learn. This is the same opportunity that many kids have had here in Cinnaminson over the years. 

What has disturbed me in recent days with the comments posted is somehow those people living in the apartments that are “low to moderate income” must be responsible for the stabbing. This stereotype is exactly why we have the Mt. Laurel decision. I am standing up to those of you in our community who have this perceived notion that these people, in particular these kids, don’t deserve to be raised in the same fashion in the same town that you were raised in. The issues we are facing in our community transcend any socio-economic boundaries. The problems we are facing comes down to parents! It doesn’t matter where you live how much money you make.   

It truly takes a village these days. I encourage you all to take an interest in your neighbors. If you know a single mother who is struggling to raise her children, I encourage you to stand next to her and offer your assistance. If you have children, take an interest in what they do. As a community, we need to come together and unite as one. Together we can make a difference!

Roger Hare
Cinnaminson

Do you have an opinion to share? Send a letter to the editor. Make sure to include your full name. Email christina.paciolla@patch.com. 

Liz Matt July 14, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Thank you for your sane comment, Mr. Hare.
Christine T July 14, 2012 at 01:52 PM
Thank you Roger for pointing this out. Fortunately we are all equal. No one person is better than the other. Children and Adults alike.
Ric July 14, 2012 at 02:42 PM
I appreciate your thoughts and I agree with you to a point. Yes some of the comments were very offensive. Yes, there are good people that are living on a low income. I know because both of my parents came from poverty and despite this, they worked hard to achieve success. What helped my parents succeed is their families stressed both education and a strong work ethic. Yes, neighbors, community leaders and schools can help to make a difference but it also takes a family to want to improve their lot. Unfortunately not all people with a low income are good. Of all the economic classes there are a higher percentage of low income people who have no desire to improve their situation and behave poorly.
Dan Reynolds July 14, 2012 at 03:29 PM
^ Not all people of high income are good either. To quote a line from a movie.. "I've seen bad men do good things, and good men do bad things."
agent itchy July 14, 2012 at 03:30 PM
sadly, i've witnessed many in my age group (45-54) fail as parents. regardless of income, rude behavior and a blatant lack of consideration for others is common among today's youth. renewing an emphasis on the Golden Rule would be a good start and leading by example is essential.
Bruce July 14, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Chilly, you hit the nail on the head!....All religions have one common thread, and that IS the GOLDEN RULE!....unfortunately, there are many people out there that never heard of it of have any concept of what it means! sad but true...
Anna July 14, 2012 at 05:50 PM
Thank you for your commentary on this matter. As a resident of Camelot I know personally that being low income does not mean that I live my life differently than anyone else in Cinnaminson. I personally live my life better than a lot of people who live in the big houses in town. I had the privilege, as a single parent, to raise my son in the house I grew up in. He also attended school in the district and graduated over 10 years ago. I chose to have a job that afforded me the time to be home and present while he was growing up. He grew into a productive part of society. I would say he is doing better than me for which I am proud. My neighbors here are also decent and hard working people. I love it here. I am also privileged to drive the middle school students who live here to school. I love them. They are good kids. I hope that people will judge us not by the money we make but our character.
Ric July 14, 2012 at 06:14 PM
I certainly agree with you but there is a higher percentage of crime in areas of low income. That is a fact no one can deny.
amd July 14, 2012 at 06:16 PM
How you raise your children is what determines how they will turn out not how much money you have. As a Cinnaminson resident I have seen many very privileged children doing many bad things especially since they and their parents have the money to either fund whatever they are doing or pay to get them out of trouble. Your income does not determine what type of person you are. Your upbringing, faith and family determine that. Most people with money just assume that if they give their children everything, they will turn out good. It's the children who have to work and earn things in life, that will make the best decisions.
Laurie July 14, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Well said, amd...I wholeheartedly agree with you!
Ric July 14, 2012 at 07:03 PM
I agree “Your upbringing, faith and family determine” the kind of person you will be." But could you cite your source for "Most people with money just assume that if they give their children everything, they will turn out good." I do not believe that statement. Next, compare the crime statistics of Moorestown and Camden.
Bull Pitt July 14, 2012 at 10:26 PM
I am a middle class resident of Cinnaminson. I paid a decent amount of money for my home. I am not rich and cannot afford to send my children to college without mortgaging mine and their future. Yet we get by and live within our means. Why is it fair that the Government can order townships to sell the house next to me for half of what I paid. That's teaching our children a lot too, don't ya think? Don't work hard and you will receive freebies. The American way.
Anna July 15, 2012 at 12:39 PM
The low income housing in Cinnaminson,to the best of my knowledge, are apartments not houses.
CinnaminsonHarbourResident July 16, 2012 at 12:47 PM
Bull Pitt, that is not the way affordable housing works. I think Camelot did a disservice by placing all low and moderate income families into one building. I am pretty sure they rectified this situation by spreading out the families. I live in the Harbour (I own my home) and I do not see a problem with having low and moderating income apartments in the development. Kaplan (the builder) has disappointed many Harbour residents by not building a pool for us yet (but did build one for the apartments and told us we could pay a pretty hefty fee to join, and to join we needed to give them a copy of our INCOME TAX PAPERS!). My guess is that a lot of the frustration with the builder has led to negative feelings towards the apartment residents. Arguing crime rates in poverty ridden cities compared to blue ribbon school district areas like Moorestown is simplistic and silly. I enjoyed reading this article, and I appreciate the patch including it.
Cinnaminson Resident July 16, 2012 at 01:54 PM
Dear CinnaminsonHarbourResident, It is NOT true that all the low/moderate income families are in one building!!! (Definitly a misconception around the complex) Instead, they are spread throughout the entire complex. Each building is required to have "X" amount of apartments designated for the low/moderate families.
JustALocalGuy July 16, 2012 at 02:13 PM
Hear, Hear! I'm happy to hear someone take a stand against the rampant bigotry we've seen from some of our neighbors here in Cinnaminson lately.
colleen July 16, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Some of these comments are truly disturbing. Moorestown's crime rate may be better then camden but two factors are missing population size and address of those individuals charged. I'm sure if moorestown doubled in size several times and then had the same size and population it could then be considered. Please answer this, so you all are saying that those who break the law/crime soley reside in the town that it happenes? Well then I'm sure the teens that try pot/ smoke pot got it from somewhere so it came from moorestown? Or Riverton? Or Cinnaminson? If people from over towns go in and do/aid in bad behavior woohoo your town looks good still but the other looks bad. Ok well low income or rich we all have our issues, struggles, fights. The next time you go to the store and spend 300 dollars to feed your family think about the person that just had to figure out how to do that with 30 dollars and then sigh and say yes, yes, I would feed my children no matter what I had to do. Thank god I am blessed, not boy I must work harder then those who are poor. Then get off your soap box and donate. Time, food, clothes, whatever it is because before you leave this earth someone you know, yourself or a family member will have struggled and if it is not you it is time to pay it forward.
judie July 19, 2012 at 02:55 PM
I agree with Ric. When I lost my full time income and had to go part time I couldn't survive. Instead of looking to the state for a handout (which I probably wouldn't get because according to them I make too much money) I got another part time job and made ends meet. We need to stop giving such "easy" handouts to the lazy people and reserve that for the people who really need it.
Jesus girl August 08, 2012 at 09:18 PM
Wow, I didn't know they had all this racism in this complex. I'm not moving here!! No surprise in these small towns where the majority is white. Unfornately all are not like that buth the majority are. They go church and claim to have a relationship with the Lord. but what they don't understand is no Racist is pleasing to the Lord nor are they getting into the kingdom heaven. Pastor's in predominately white churches need to preach this from there pulpits. Because if you think that you can hate a group of people because of the color of there skin your deceived.
SJDiva August 21, 2012 at 07:42 PM
This all has me so nervous. I recently visited Cinnaminson Harbour and I'm considering purchasing one of the townhomes. I'm so conflicted with this decision having read many of the comments about the community online. The stabbing by itself does not deter me. Those were two individuals who agreed to meet for a drug deal, which sadly did not go well. Hearing that kids roam the woods to smoke pot also does not deter me. I of course don't agree with it, but many teenagers do it. Not to mention those woods will not be around much longer since Ryan Homes is tearing them down to build 3 more phases to the complex. What does deter me is the attitudes of residents in the community. I am not low-income, but I am a minority. Do I now have to worry that my neighbors are going to think I'm low-income and therefore "bad?" I have lived in south Jersey all my life and have never come across comments like what I am reading on this site. This makes me very sad... sad for the fact I have to reconsider a place of residence I would love and sad for all of mankind in general.
Liz Matt August 22, 2012 at 12:29 AM
Dear SJDiva, I believe you will find a welcoming community in Cinnaminson. If people went by news reaction posts in the Philadelphia Inquirer, nobody would want to live in or move to Philadelphia's up and coming neighborhoods, but there's little resemblance between the online ranting and day to day life. Welcome home, if you choose Cinnaminson. Remember, this string started with a very sane posting.
Sneezewort September 20, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Slow down, Jesus! Have you actually visited Cinnaminson Harbour? If this town is racist, that's quite ironic since we're a diverse group of Indians, Blacks, Latinos, and White. Making broad assumptions about things we don't know anything about does quite a lot of damage.
Sneezewort September 20, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Dear SJDiva, No! You have NOTHING to worry about!! :-) I assure you that we're a bunch of hard-working regular folks who are not racist. It actually makes me laugh to read all these posts. My wife and I were one of the first families to move into the Cinnaminson Harbour community 7 years ago. Who are you going to trust? A bunch of whiny people who are speaking in ignorance, or someone who actually lives there? Please trust me! :-) It's a happy place and I hope you do move here. It's really cool to be so close to the Delaware River (literally a 5 minute walk from anywhere in the complex) and Philly. Oh, and not all the woods will be chopped down.
Sneezewort September 20, 2012 at 07:37 PM
Fact: Cinnaminson Township sued Kaplan (the original builders who still own the property and manage the apartments) to force them to place all low-income housing in one or two buildings and not spread it out. The township lost the suit. Source: Police Department

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