EDITOR: The struggle to restore the level of library service that local government managed to provide for a century took an Orwellian turn as our supervisors rejected an effort to allow local cities to do what they have utterly failed to do during the past three years: take responsibility for adequately funding our libraries (“Varying library hours opposed,” Wednesday).
Library hours have been cut nearly 25 percent, with all branches closed Mondays. When our Campaign to Restore Library hours presented a petition from 1,800 citizens requesting that the supervisors provide $1 million in interim financing to restore hours until a longer-term financial solution could be implemented, they refused to even discuss the matter. Meanwhile, they unanimously approved $240,000 from reserves for the sheriff to fund a sixth marijuana-eradication officer. This came on top of a $12 million increase in funding for the sheriff and probation departments.
Libraries provide an essential and unique service to more than 100,000 of our neediest citizens, especially children and seniors. That we cannot keep them open is a monumental failure of our supervisors to practice responsive government.
Next month, we will ask the supervisors to support a ballot initiative for dedicated tax revenue to adequately fund our libraries, which receive a third per-capita of what San Francisco's libraries get. Let's hope they listen.
EDITOR: Is it not ironic that the same Press Democrat editorial board that in great part was responsible for Sonoma County voters approving the costly and now segmented SMART train system currently recommends “time to put the brakes on high-speed rail”?
Not that the editorial board is incorrect when it insists that the high-speed rail system move forward when it has adequate funding in place. However, can't it also be said that SMART has done the same by pushing ahead on a segment of the rail system because of lack of funding?