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EDITORIAL: Thumbs up for making changes and a difference

The Dispatch Editorial Board

Thumbs up: To the Northeastern Regional Police Board for taking first steps this week toward resolving a nasty budget stalemate that's pitted neighbor against neighbor.

For months, East Manchester Township has been locked in a spat with Manchester and Mount Wolf boroughs over how to fund the department.

East Manchester officials, representing by far the residents in the region, has refused to provide more than 70% of the department's funding. Borough officials point to their relative size and say East Manchester is trying to foist its costs onto their taxpayers.

As a result, Northeastern Regional has operated without a 2020 budget, while the two camps trade jabs.

But on Monday, there was a welcome whiff of consensus.

Police board members from all three municipalities agreed to begin discussions that could lead to a wholesale merger with York Area Regional Police, which has been locked in a competition for primacy with Northern York County Regional for more than a year.

But a substantial number of questions must first be answered. York Area's proposal would be a true merger and, according to officials, see all of Northeastern's officers keep their jobs.

York Area would even re-brand itself to more accurately reflect its new coverage area.

Northern's pitch, however, would be a more traditional takeover, where costs could be saved through reducing the number of officers and other employees.

The entire spat in Northeastern comes down to the price tag. And yet, it's still unclear whether York Area's pitch is what's best for the taxpayer.

Angela Gonzalez has launched a photography campaign, "I Am Not A Threat," featuring portraits of Black community members, Wednesday, September 23, 2020.
John A. Pavoncello photo

Thumbs up: To Angela Gonzalez and her resolve to make a difference with her new photography campaign, "I Am Not a Threat."

Gonzalez, a recent graduate of the York County School of Technology, is combining her photography skills with a passion for social justice through the campaign.

After watching the Black Lives Matter protests this summer, Gonzalez said she wanted to get involved in her own way.  

"I noticed that cities across the country were performing their own protests and rallies, but I didn't feel comfortable organizing my own," she said. "I can find my own ways to advocate."

Her photo campaign invites Black members of the York County community to take a photo with a do-it-yourself sign that reads "I am." Photographed individuals can fill in the blank with whatever phrase or words they would like to say.

For example, some held signs with phrases like "I am a future firefighter" and "I am my ancestor's testimony."

"It's presenting people in a new light," Gonzalez said. "People really took the prompt and ran with it."

Gonzalez has also launched an "I Am Not a Threat" clothing line that raised $520 for Color of Change, a nonprofit civil rights advocacy organization, and is now raising money for the NAACP. For more information about the clothing line, go to www.angelaofyork.com.

Gonzalez will be taking free photos of community members at 5 p.m. on Sunday at The Parliament Arts Organization, located at 116 E. King St.