Many reasons to vote no on library Measures A and B

There are several reasons why even a supporter of the library
should vote no on Measures A and B. Measure A would extend the
present annual parcel tax of $33.66 for another decade.
There are several reasons why even a supporter of the library should vote no on Measures A and B. Measure A would extend the present annual parcel tax of $33.66 for another decade. Measure B would assess each parcel an additional $12 per year. Commercial property will pay even more. Businesses will necessarily pass the tax on to consumers; landlords will necessarily pass it on to renters.

Only a year ago, voters turned down a similar parcel tax. The people said no; the library did not like that answer, so it is asking again, this time with a mail-in ballot. They hope the mail-in election will play in their favor by increasing voter participation and allowing them to track the voting.

Ex-City Councilwoman Connie Rogers says that phone canvassers will spend the month of March calling registered voters. Anyone who promises to vote yes but has not mailed in his ballot will receive a follow-up call in April reminding him to vote.

That is one reason to vote no: the library apparently did not hear us the first time and is trying to manipulate the vote.

A second reason to vote no is to protest the library’s poor use of resources. Last year the library shut its doors on Mondays because of a $1.1 million shortfall. Now the governing board of the library, the Joint Power Authority, is paying $1.8 million to hold this special election.

They have already spent $65,000 on polling and consultants, and are shelling out an additional $250,000 for printing, postage, and supplies. The election will leave only about $2.4 million in the JPA coffers.

Tot up those numbers. The JPA had (past tense) $4,515,000. Instead of keeping the library open Mondays for four years, they decided to close Mondays and spend more than $2 million to attempt to reinstate the parcel tax.

I find it very offensive when a government agency uses my tax dollars to try to raise my taxes.

The argument is often made that we have to fund the library for the poor people, for those who otherwise could not afford to pay for books, internet, DVDs, CDs, and videos.

I would find that argument more compelling if it stopped at books, and if I lived in a rich neighborhood instead of a lower middle class neighborhood.

As matters stand, my immediate neighbors are braceros, field workers. They have Internet access. I know, because my husband helped them connect their service. My neighbors across the street in the Section 8 apartments have cute little satellite dishes attached to the front of each apartment. “Poor” in America is a relative term, to say the least.

Even if anyone truly exists who, as columnist Lisa Pampuch suggests, must choose between putting gas in the car or renting a DVD to watch as a family, well, that person is not poor. Not if they have a DVD player to play the DVD on.

The last reason to just say no to Measures A and B is because the library still adheres to the American Library Association’s absolutist policy of “all library resources to all patrons, regardless of age.” And they interpret library resources to include Internet pornography.

Consider: one of the library’s posted rules states “No cell phones.” Yet the library refuses to post a rule or to adopt a policy prohibiting porn surfing on library Internet terminals.

Why not? I hoped to find out at the forum Wednesday night. As a member of the audience, I wrote up a question to that effect and submitted it to be read to the two forum speakers. Unfortunately, the Chamber of Commerce members who were hosting the forum decided not to ask County Librarian Melinda Cervantes my question.

I thought my question pertinent. After all, there is a segment of the voting population who will continue to vote against any library measures until pornography is prohibited in the library. It may be a small segment … but the last parcel tax failed by a mere six percent.

What price ideological absolutism?

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