Friday, April 30, 2010

State Legislooters Save Boston Libraries

With a THREAT!!

I thought we were all in this together?

Related: A Slow Saturday Special: Statehouse Slush Fund

What, LEGISLATURE CAN'T FIND $3 million for the LIBRARIES of Boston?

"Closings may bar library’s state funds; Legislators’ strategy puts $2.4m at stake" by Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff | April 22, 2010

The debate over closing four Boston libraries will be reignited next week on Beacon Hill when lawmakers consider a proposal that makes an unmistakable threat to the city: Shutter a single branch and say goodbye to what is left of your state funding.

The threat, submitted as a cluster of budget amendments, would withhold the $2.4 million the Boston Public Library expects to receive from the state next year. If the amendments pass, the city, in order to receive the funding, would have to keep open all its 26 library branches in some capacity, regardless of staffing levels, layoffs, or hours of operation.

The idea, according to the 12 members of the Boston delegation spearheading the measures, is to keep each branch afloat until the economy rebounds and a proposed gambling bill perhaps refills state coffers with a gush of new tax revenue. Underscoring that point, the legislators are also seeking to block from Boston’s state aid what the city estimated as $500,000 in unrelated revenue from racetracks if any libraries close.


Seems like a winner to me (sigh)!

“The issue is the priorities of the city,’’ said Representative Martha M. Walz, a Democrat from the Back Bay, pointing to the city’s decision to give insurance company Liberty Mutual a $16 million tax break to expand its headquarters on Berkeley Street. “The mayor has chosen to prioritize other things over the libraries.’’

But the state has slashed its funding for the Boston Public Library by 73 percent over the last two years, from $8.9 million to a proposed $2.4 million next fiscal year. And the House budget proposal, unveiled last week, would not restore a cent.


What do you want, taxpayers?

See: A Hull of a Library

Oh, I didn't know they DOUBLED as a HOMELESS SHELTER, did you?

“We level-funded libraries,’’ said Dot Joyce, spokeswoman for Mayor Thomas M. Menino. “I think that proves what the mayor’s priorities are.’’

Boston Public Library president Amy E. Ryan pushed back in a letter she sent last week in a point-by-point response to the lawmakers, writing that the current system is not sustainable.

“Propping up the status quo in this changing world is not working for today’s services or into the future,’’ Ryan wrote....

The proposal to withhold state funding is included in three of the 869 amendments tacked onto the budget that House members will begin debating next week.

Other amendments would restore some state funding to the Boston Public Library. (The state covers only a fraction of the library’s budget.) It is difficult to gauge how many lawmakers would support any of the individual measures.

“This amendment, like all others, will be subject to the collective will of the membership,’’ said Wayne Weikel, a spokesman for the House Committee on Ways and Means....

And the Speaker will tell you what that is.

Related: The Perils of One-Party Politics: The Ruling Party

The Perils of One-Party Politics: Massachusetts' Democracy

Now how you gonna vote?


Also see: Last Stop at the Library

Maybe for me....

"More than 100 gather to fight possible library branch closings" by Sean Teehan, Globe Correspondent | April 4, 2010

With several branch libraries threatened by closure, more than 100 supporters of the Boston Public Library gathered on a balmy Holy Saturday to voice their concerns....

State Senator Jack Hart, who called libraries “centerpieces of the community,’’ proposed that some funds gained by increases in meal taxes be used for Boston libraries....

That is all they know, isn't it?

Related: Massachusetts Meals Tax

However, his suggestion of temporarily charging user fees was met with disapproval from Amy E. Ryan, Boston Public Library president....

Again with the INCREASED TAXES and FEES!

I'll bet he has a nice pension and health plan!!


Say goodbye to yours

"Close 4 branches, library chief says; In plan, 94 jobs also would be cut to end $3.3m gap" by Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff | April 8, 2010

Boston Public Library president Amy E. Ryan recommended yesterday that four neighborhood branches be closed as part of an effort to eliminate a $3.3 million budget shortfall, targeting small outposts in disparate corners of the city.

Yeah, no one can find three million dollars for libraries.

But you can find it for this:

"Massachusetts is giving $3 million in grants and loans to FloDesign Wind Turbine Corp. of Wilbraham to keep the company here"

Or this:

"The Massachusetts Economic Assistance Coordinating Council approved $5 million in state and local tax breaks for IBM Corp.... but the company would have gone forward with the expansion without them (Boston Globe October 30 2008)."

Also see: IBM Shines Sun Up Massachusetts' Ass

And why not complete the triple thought:

"no plans to reconsider a $5 million loan"

And the money-losers can't even pay it back.

See: State Keeps Watering Evergreen

But they can't find $3 million for the library.

I would rather the tax money go there.

The Faneuil branch in Brighton’s Oak Square would close, along with Lower Mills in Dorchester, Orient Heights in East Boston, and Washington Village in South Boston’s Old Colony Housing Development; the hours at the other 22 branch locations would remain the same.

Ryan’s proposal would also impose significant cuts at the main library in Copley Square and in administrative offices, slashing up to 94 jobs across a system that currently has 480 positions. The option — which still needs approvals by library trustees, the mayor, and the City Council — was one of three Ryan presented to the Board of Trustees yesterday, and it represented the middle ground. Another scenario would close seven branches and expand hours elsewhere, while the third would close no branches but severely reduce hours across the system....

Coming soon, Bostonians.

Trustees will choose an option tomorrow morning to be included in the mayor’s budget for the next fiscal year. Political resistance is already building, with some councilors gearing up for a fight....

Legislooters play peacemakers!

“It’s really sad,’’ said patron Rosemary O’Brien, 63, who was leaving story time with her two grandchildren yesterday when the news reached the branch....

I've been saying that about a lot of things on this blog recently.

After public outcry, petition drives, and a series of community meetings, city budget writers recently gave the library system a modest reprieve, restoring roughly $280,000....

Who cares what citizens want anymore. You see where the loot is going.

But (maybe I should ask for more than a nickel, clink) administrators say previous cuts and more proposed reductions from the state will leave the system without enough money to run as it does now. All three scenarios presented to the trustees would eliminate the same number of jobs....

So what is all the commotion in the libraries?


"Trustees vote yes on library closings; Mayor accepts plan to shut four branches" by Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff | April 10, 2010

The mood oscillated from anger to resignation yesterday as nearly two dozen speakers stood before the trustees of the Boston Public Library and implored them not to close a single branch in the face of budget cuts.

It is your city, not mine.

Trustees acknowledged the pleas but ultimately rejected them, voting to shutter four neighborhood branches to help eliminate a $3.3 million shortfall.

How do you like the AmeriKan system, world?

The alternative would have affected more people, trustees said, by slashing hours so severely that most neighborhoods would have a library open just two or three days a week. The plan, accepted hours later by Mayor Thomas M. Menino, would cut up to 25 positions by closing the Faneuil branch in Brighton’s Oak Square, Lower Mills in Dorchester, Orient Heights in East Boston, and Washington Village in South Boston’s Old Colony Housing Development. It would also slash 69 of the 305 jobs at the main library in Copley Square, leaving fewer support staff members and librarians to help the public....

Help the public?

That's not what government is for.