Compassionate conservative

Greg Webb

Greg Webb

Photo By Tom Angel

He’s a wealthy conservative who builds huge housing tracts and contributes thousands of dollars to the campaigns of local pro-development candidates. And he’s a hero in the pages of the News & Review? What gives?

Well, if there is a living, breathing example of a compassionate conservative out there, Greg Webb is it. Over the years he’d given thousands to local charities, including the Jesus Center meals program. He sits on the board of the Esplanade House transitional housing program that helps families faced with homelessness. And, using his expertise and experience as a contractor, he’s played the key role in securing the property, helping to finance and in the end swaying the Chico City Council to approve the project to move and expand the Esplanade House program.

Perhaps most important, he is a genuine hero in the fact that he stays out of the limelight and gives his time and money not as a reflection on himself, but simply because he knows it’s the right thing to do.

“I’ve always been taught to look to see what’s the right thing to do in the long run,” he explains. “If you can say 20 years down the line that what I’m doing is right, then it’s OK.”

In that instance, he’s talking about his business of building. To get him to talk about his charitable work takes a bit more cajoling.

“You have to understand,” he finally says, “I come from a background in which I was raised Catholic with the belief that we should help others out. I like to help people. I’m in the housing business, so the natural trend for me is to provide housing, to try to help those who don’t have housing.”

He looks for the good in people, he says, particularly those down on their luck.

“Part of the reason they don’t have housing is because their lives have gotten screwed up. Maybe it was some of their own doing; maybe they were raised in a dysfunctional family. But what’s important is to be able to recognize shortcomings people have.”

Webb also helps those whose most pressing concern is a meal—forget about owning a house. Webb has contributed mightily to the ongoing operations of the Jesus Center.

“The Jesus Center support comes from my Christian upbringing,” he says. “It’s just that there is something people should give back if they can. If you see a need out there, you have no right to complain if you don’t get involved.”

He says he learned his sense of compassion for others from his father, Merle Webb, who was also in the building trade. Merle, he said, taught him if you see a need going unmet in the world and you fail to get involved, then you have no right to complain.

“I’m just a regular shmoe like everybody else," he offers. "I just got a few more breaks, that’s all. And I get along with most people."