Thursday, October 2, 2008

Oakland Public Library Literacy / Follow-Up

Save Second Start !

What Measure Q ?
More broken promises from the City of Oakland.
from 10.02.08 by V. Smoothe

. . . At least, I could see myself supporting the elimination of the Library’s literacy programs in these tough times If the people of Oakland hadn’t voted specifically to tax themselves to pay for it only four years ago! I’m sorry, but this is just completely unacceptable.

Measure Q, which pays for the bulk of the library’s literacy programs, was passed in 2004 with an overwhelming 77.2% of the vote. Sixty-two thousand Oakland residents stepped into a voting booth and checked “I want to pay $75 dollars every year for the next thirty years to support library services.”

And what is written there, clear as day, under the “Use of Proceeds” section of the measure (PDF)? “To expand library-based programs in support of literacy, lifelong learning, and information technology.” See? It says expand, not eliminate!

Library Director Carmen Martinez and then-Mayor Jerry Brown signed a very straightforward ballot argument in favor the tax, promising that Measure Q will “Maintain literacy programs that teach Oakland residents to read.” And people said “Yes, I will pay for that. Send me the bill.”

End of story. Seriously, what else is there to discuss? As long as they keep collecting Measure Q dollars (that would be until 2024, FYI), any talk of eliminating the library’s literacy programs should be completely off the table. The City cannot keep breaking promises about how they’re going to spend the taxpayer’s money! Why, why, why should I, or anyone else, ever vote for another tax in this City again when we cannot trust them to spend the money as promised?

Second Start isn’t the only unconscionable cut in the Mayor’s proposed budget, and hey - it isn’t even the only one to library services. The Mayor also proposes to save us $120,000 by eliminating the Bookmobile. READ MORE

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