MEASURE L IS UNFUNDED
IT IS A HARRY TRUMAN
” if you can’t convince them, confuse them”
MEASURE L is a poor response to our pressure last fall where we found the money for the libraries.
If you’re one of the thousands who uses our public libraries on a regular basis, we don’t need to tell you what vibrant and exciting places they are.
The seven branches in Council District 4, North Hollywood’s Amelia Earhart, Los Feliz, Hollywood’s Will & Ariel Durant, John C. Freemont on Melrose, Wilshire, Fairfax and Memorial on West Olympic, are important centers of community, especially in harsh economic times.
In Los Angeles, fifteen thousand kids every day (except now Monday, of course) use their local library. In the less affluent areas where gangs can be a problem, libraries act as safe havens and provide a lifeline to knowledge and the world outside. They offer hope and the tools to better equip young minds for the formidable tasks ahead.
It’s not just about the books. Patrons can use computers and take advantage of free public wireless internet, explore databases, join literacy groups, view exhibitions and simply read the newspaper. Our branches in CD4 offer a wealth of experiences for their communities.
Tomas O’Grady believes libraries are more relevant now than they have ever been.
“A recent survey reveals more and more people are using libraries. This is why I’ve been pushing the City Council to re-open every branch in Los Angeles on Mondays. I have asked the City Council to cut their own salaries and their own personal staff in order to make this possible. I ask you this: if 15,000 kids a day use our libraries, where do they go on Mondays, especially in the areas where these places are safe havens? Are they learning? Are they safe?”
The Budget Cuts
As part of recent city budget cuts, a spineless City Council gutted the library system. Our libraries are now closed on Mondays, an embarrassing distinction we share only with Detroit.
Not a man to stand on the sidelines, Tomas worked with Librarians Guild president Roy Stone and Los Angeles City Librarian Martin Gomez to find the less than $10M needed to resume Monday services. “A week of number crunching and public information requests revealed that indeed there is plenty of money in the system,” explains Tomas.
Calling on City Council
“We’ve done the numbers and the research,” said Tomas at a recent Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council meeting.
“ The letter called on Council members to reduce their salaries ($178,000 , almost 3 times the median household income) by 25%, asked Council members to reduce their personal staffs (22 per council member), and to cut their own general city purposes fund allotment (GCP) . Tomas brought the neighborhood council together in a bipartisan manner and a near unanimous vote sent an amended letter off to City Hall.
Tomas believes waste and mismanagement and skewed priorities have led not only to our library closures but to all of our fiscal woes. He urges you to read the in-depth LA Weekly investigation by Patrick Range MacDonald called “City of Airheads: Villaraigosa Dismantles L.A.’s Vaunted Library System.”
Tomas also asks everyone to become involved with their local libraries, as parents have done with great success in our public school system, and volunteer for Friends of the Library.
“I agree with former First Lady Laura Bush, who said every child should have access to a well-stocked library,” says Tomas. “Libraries are our investments in our kids’ futures. We need our kids to be smart and knowledgeable and libraries are the engine rooms of wisdom.”