Public Watchdog.org

Library Officials’ Own Words…Almost…On Summer Sunday Closings

04.14.14

When I wrote the 04.04.14 post, I expected a hue and cry from the apologists for the Park Ridge Public Library’s business-as-usual deficit spending and its reluctance to generate revenue or ask the taxpayers directly for more money (through a referendum) when, instead, it can just blame the City Council for not giving it more tax dollars.   

And I wasn’t disappointed.

Ninety-five comments shattered the existing record for any one post.  And even if nineteen of those came from Library employee Laura L. Enright, both in her own name and by her initials (“LLE”), the remaining 76 comments alone show what a hot-button issue the Library can be – especially when its executive Staff and the Library Board’s majority (Margaret Harrison, John Benka, Audra Ebling, Dorothy Hynous, John Schmidt and Jerry White) wants to play politics rather than manage responsibly.

Not surprisingly, most critics of the post chose to ignore the economic issues raised in it.  Economics involves too many objective, measurable facts and basic mathematics.  Instead, the critics chose to advance subjective emotional appeals, while also rejecting any ulterior motives of the Library’s senior Staff and the Board majority.

The closing of the Library for 14 summer Sundays, recommended by the executive Staff and approved by the Board majority, stands as the single most egregious display of mismanagement and political gamesmanship perpetrated against anybody who uses the Library on summer Sundays, as well as against those Staff members who might end up losing more pay from closed Sundays than they will gain from the raises those closings arguably will be financing.  But the apologists for Library standard operating procedures and the political gamesmanship being used to preserve those SOPs can’t seem to fathom the facts about what’s going on.

So today’s post will recite actual statements about the summer Sunday closing as presented in their most tangible official form: the Library Board meeting minutes, which are intended to capture the substance of everything that is said during meetings, although not with verbatim accuracy. 

Minutes of December 17, 2013 Library Board Meeting

Board member Charlene Foss-Eggemann objected to summer Sunday closings, noting “that Sundays, even in the summer, are important to people, some of whom may work six days a week and Sundays may be the only day they can get to the Library.” (Minutes, Page 3)

Board member Joseph Egan “believes the Library should charge a nominal fee to come up with $20,000 to keep the Library open on Sundays in the summer.” (Minutes, Page 4)

Board member Robert Trizna “agrees with Mrs. Foss-Eggemann…[because] Sunday had the highest average visits per hour.” (Minutes, Page 3)

Board member John Schmidt “noted that his impression was that one of the reasons for closing on Sundays in the summer was to make a visible impact with the public; whereas the other cuts being made are not as visible to the public.” (Minutes, Page 3)

Director Janet Van De Carr “noted that to Mr. Schmidt’s point, if the Board feels it is important for the community to be aware that the Library is definitely being negatively impacted by the decisions made by the City Council then having a visible reduction is one way of proceeding.” (Minutes, Page 3)

Board member Dorothy Hynous “stated that the most significant impact is to close on Sundays…[because] it is the thing Library-goers will notice.” (Minutes, Page 6)

Board member John Benka (in response to Board president Margaret Harrison’s suggestion that summer Sunday closing be re-visited) stated “it’s already done – it was decided at the Committee meeting…[and he] is not in favor of opening it up to another vote.” (Minutes, Page 6)

Ms. Hynous “agrees with Mr. Benka; that it was  voted on in Committee. (Minutes, Page 6)

Board member Jerry White “stated that [summer Sunday closing] was already passed in Committee and [he] doesn’t understand why it is being discussed at length tonight.” (Minutes, Page 6)

Board member Audra Ebling “stated that the Committee already discussed all of these matters and did all the work at the Committee meetings.” (Minutes, Page 5)

Minutes of January 21, 2014 Library Board Meeting

Mr. Trizna stated “[h]e believes the revenue from charging for computers will pay the $20,000 to keep the Library open on Sundays in the summer.” (Minutes, Page 8)

Ms. Hynous “asked then why not just charge $1.00 per book [use]?” (Minutes, Page 8)

Minutes of February 18, 2014 Library Board Meeting

Mr. Trizna “brought up the matter of closing on Sundays during the summer…thus depriving the people of service on a Sunday while a third of those [summer closed Sundays] could be opened if the Library was not forfeiting money” through the Food For Fines program. (Minutes, Page 4)

Mr. Schmidt “stated that the Library is ‘depriving’ people of service on Sundays because the City Council, which is voted in by the public, has reduced the amount of money the Library has to work with….” (Minutes, Page 4)

Minutes of March 18, 2014 Library Board Meeting

Mr. Trizna stated that “he doesn’t see the logic in closing on [summer] Sundays, on what appears to be the busiest day of the week.” (Minutes, Page 2)

“Mr. Egan asked Mr. Trizna if his is suggesting the Board bring the matter [of summer Sunday closings] back to a vote, to which Mr. Trizna said, ‘no, I can count heads’.” (Minutes, Page 2)

*                                             *                                             *

If you read through those Minutes you will find the foregoing excerpts highlighted in yellow.  One thing you will not find, however, is any Library Staff member or any member of the Board majority expressing his/her interest in discussing how to keep the Library open any of those 14 summer Sundays.  You also won’t find any of them proposing ways to raise revenues – or further cutting expenses – sufficient to keep the Library open those summer Sundays.  In fact, you’ll find that none of them voiced any real concern about the effect of those closings on the Sunday users or Sunday Staff.

And don’t expect to find any encouraging words about a referendum from that crowd.  Mr. Schmidt comes closest, on Page 6 of the March meeting Minutes, with a non-committal “at least now the discussion of the matter is on the record in the minutes” – such as it was.  But Mr. Benka deserves special mention for his conclusion (at Page 5 of the December 2013 Minutes), drawn from the results of the recent Community Health Survey, that voters might not vote to give the Library extra money via a referendum because “they are used to quality service for nothing.”

Can you say “freeloaders,” John?

What these meeting minutes demonstrate, in these public officials’ “own” words, is what we wrote in our previous post: managing the Library effectively has taken a back seat to the executive Staff’s and Board majority’s attempt to wage political war on City Hall for more money.  To that Staff and Board majority, Sunday Library users are mere pawns and acceptable collateral damage in that war

And you can now add the Library’s Sunday staff members to the “pawn” column, too, even if they don’t realize it.

Robert J. Trizna

Editor and publisher

Member, Park Ridge Library Board

To read or post comments, click on title.

34 comments so far

Why is it once elected or appointed, one forgets what is it like to manage the budget as they do at home. That is, you only have the money to spent equal to the money you earn. At home is determine the differences between needs and wants. In stead you blame rather then manage

EDITOR’S NOTE: From what I’ve observed in and out of public office (both elected and appointed), too many officials become too easily intoxicated by the ability to spend Other People’s Money that the officials don’t earn themselves, while at home they are managing money they had to earn.

And those public officials are inundated by people who WANT stuff, while also being manipulated by the bureaucrats who want to give away OPM to justify ever larger organizations and budgets (and more pay for managing those larger organizations and budgets).

I find what you write interesting and wonder why the newspapers don’t provide some of the same information, since it’s actually in the meeting minutes. But I have to wonder what taking the positions you take and writing what your write does to your ability to work with the other board members and staff. They can’t be too happy with you calling them out like this.

EDITOR’S NOTE: As I’ve previously written, our local newspaper reporters seem to be overworked (and probably underpaid), so they don’t have the requisite time to dig into the subject matter like they should. So they take shortcuts, like asking the well-paid bureaucrats for information – which, SURPRISE!, always tends to portray the bureaucracy and its agenda in the best possible light.

The vast majority of the time I have voted WITH the majority. But if being called out for closing down the Library on 14 summer Sundays just so they can try to pressure the City Council to give the Library more money hurts their feelings, I can live with that.

If your so unhappy with how our crown jewel is operating why don’t you just quit? Your constant bitching about the library is undermining morale from the diredtor on down the line. You don’t represent all the people who use the library regularly and depend on it as their source of information, learning and entertainment.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Quit? Puh-leeze!

If Staff “morale” can be undermined by my calling out folks for stupidly shutting down the Library 14 Sundays this summer, then the Library’s “morale” had to be pretty darn fragile to start with.

I represent the entire community. But if given a choice between voting for the benefit of the Net Tax Users (the “NTUs”) or for the benefit of the Net Tax Payers (the “NTPs”), I will almost always side with the NTPs – unlike Staff and the Board majority who are entirely NTUs-oriented and pretty much dismissive of the NTPs.

Anon @ 6:25 – Wow, is that how you operate? You don’t like something so rather than try to make changes you quit? Making people aware of the warts is a bad thing? You must live in a very unreal world.

Let’s see if a single one of the board-majority-apologists or friend-of-the-library-at-all-costs from the last post’s comment thread come on here and actually address the thoughts contained in those minutes in a direct, honest way…

The most striking thing to me is that as members of the majority (Schmidt, Hynous, Benka) and Director Van De Carr scheme to find the best way to inflict maximum damage on the taxpayers of PR, they also reveal their hand by proving how little the rest of this “budget crisis” actually matters to the users of the library.

“…one of the reasons for closing on Sundays in the summer was to make a visible impact with the public; whereas the other cuts being made are not as visible to the public.”

“…the most significant impact is to close on Sundays…[because] it is the thing Library-goers will notice.”

So of the $450,000 of budget cuts the library has experienced since 2008, the only cut that anyone has actually noticed or cared about makes up a mere 4% ($20,000) of that total and yet we are all supposed to feel guilty and compelled to give them the other 96% of that amount for what, again?

EDITOR’S NOTE: No, Paine, the COUNCIL is “supposed to feel guilty and compelled to give them the other 96% of that amount.” That’s why the Library folks are trying to manipulate residents into getting ticked off at the Council and demanding that the COUNCIL dole out the cash.

If the Library folks wanted US to give the money to them, THEY could have suggested a referendum 1-2-3 years ago when the Council finally started getting serious about reducing/stopping the long-standing habit of deficit spending.

Why can’t they charge fees like the schools here do? Or do they?

EDITOR’S NOTE: They can, they just choose not to – except for recently instituting fee charges to a relatively small group of non-resident users to make it look like they’re trying to reaise revenue.

“Why is it once elected or appointed, one forgets what is it like to manage the budget as they do at home. That is, you only have the money to spent equal to the money you earn. At home is determine the differences between needs and wants”.

Now you talk about wants and needs??? Give me a break. Your fellow citizens, INCLUDING MAYOR DAVE, voted to raise our taxes by 70-80 bucks for park land that will only be used by a small percentage of PR residents. We go on about the poor Sunday library user. What about the thousands of people who will help pay for the new park and never set foot in it???

SO yes we all have to determine wants versus needs. To quote the Mayor,”What should our priorities be? In my mind, providing police and fire protection, fixing potholes and resurfacing streets, saving our urban forest and a multitude of other services do not rank below free movies, video games and computer services”. The problem is he came out and stated that he voted for the park expansion. So those needs (police, fire, streets, potholes etc) clearly come before some library services, but apparently not before the park land.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Can you say “referendum”? Good. Now can you say “majority rules”?

Of course the Majority rules. My comment was not focused on the majority. It was focused on the Mayor who stated….,”What should our priorities be? In my mind, providing police and fire protection, fixing potholes and resurfacing streets, saving our urban forest and a multitude of other services do not rank below free movies, video games and computer services”…..and yet also stated……”As it turns out, I voted in favor of the Youth Campus referendum”.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Seriously? By “our priorities” you didn’t understand that he, as a CITY official, meant the priorities of CITY covernment? Wow.

“Ninety-five comments shattered the existing record for any one post. And even if nineteen of those came from Library employee Laura L. Enright, both in her own name and by her initials (“LLE”),”

Well, Mr. Trizna, it did take a lot of posts to correct the misinformation you were putting out there. Like blaming staff for decisions they have no choice in.

Oh and if you’d like to identify me as a library employee I’m very proud. Would you in the future identify me as “library employee and Park Ridge resident”? I know it’s easier to demonize me if I’m just an employee concerned about her job, but as I explained in one of the posts, even if I wasn’t an employee, as a resident I’d still hate to see the library turned into a vending machine.

Thanks.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Exactly what “misinformation” are you referring to, Ms. Enright?

If it’s the use of the term “Staff” that offends you, I’ve now qualified that as “executive staff (“Staff”).” But that raises another interesting point: The Library’s director talks about how collaborative Library decisionmaking is, so I have to assume the decision to close the Library 14 Sundays this summer was not made against the wishes of non-executive staff. Are you saying that’s not true? Are you saying that you and/or your fellow non-executive staffers care so much about the Library’s Sunday users that you’d be willing to forego your raises in order to keep the Library open this summer?

No, I didn’t think so.

And since you’ve already made it perfectly clear that you don’t care enough about keeping the Library open summer Sundays that you’d support charging the Library’s computer users a measly $1 for each of their 58,000+ uses over the past 11 months, it seems like you are one of those stereotypical public employees who wants the taxpayers to foot the bill for both your pay increase AND free computer usage.

I can’t say I’m surprised by that, either.

anon 4:15
The mayor and council are charged with setting the budget and the prioities for that. But when asked PERSONALLY by referendum what amenities they are willing to PERSONALLY pay for on their tax bills, they have the right to pick and choose as well as all of us. Just because the mayor and council cut the library budget along with all the other dept budgets, does not mean that they can’t or shouldn’t vote by referendum to increase things that they personally would like to

“Can you say “freeloaders,” John?”

Are you calling the citizens of this town who use the library “freeloaders”?

“managing the Library effectively has taken a back seat to the executive Staff’s and Board majority’s attempt to wage political war on City Hall for more money. To that Staff and Board majority, Sunday Library users are mere pawns and acceptable collateral damage in that war.”

Oh come on now, Mr. Trizna, that’s a war that the city has waged against the library for years. You yourself have been part of that. You defund a library in an attempt to impress the taxpayers (all the while taxes keep raising), what’s the library supposed to do?

Oh I forgot, per your plan, it’s supposed to charge for everything.

“And you can now add the Library’s Sunday staff members to the “pawn” column, too, even if they don’t realize it.”

This is actually a positive step from your last blog post in which you spent a good portion of it accusing the library staff of all sorts of nefarious actions and attitudes toward the patron. See…we are making progress.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Oh come on now, Ms. Enright, it should have been obvious even to you that the “freeloaders” question was in response to Mr. Benka’s description of certain of his fellow citizens as “used to quality service for nothing.” Wanting something for nothing, with the taxpayers picking up the bill, is the main criterion for “freeloader” status – although Mr. Benka’s comment applied to only 63% of the 1,400 Community Health Survey respondents, or 882 citizens out of over 37,000.

And as I pointed out in questions to Mr. Benka (at Page 7 of the Dec. 17 meeting Minutes), the Council is treating the Library no worse than it is treating the rest of the City in trying to eliminate deficits. Unfortunately, the Library continues to deficit spend while the City no longer does.

But if you’ve got a beef with the Mayor and the Council about that, show up at City Hall any Monday night at 7:00 p.m. and tell them about it. You’re a “resident” as well as a Library employee, right?

I am completely serious. I think it is just plain stupid for someone to use fiscal conservatism and difficult choices as an excuse for one thing and yet behave in the complete opposite way on another. I think it is particularly bad when it is an elected official.

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you truly are “completely serious,” then you’re also completely stupid for not being able, or willing, to understand the difference between a person voting, as a private citizen, to be taxed for a particular necessity or amenity; and that same person, as a public official, being a frugal steward of his constituents’ money.

4:55:

So the mayor believes that it is wrong for us to prioritize wants over needs on, except when it is something he wants…..lovely! Seems like he and Mel have been having coffee.

EDITOR’S NOTE: And you haven’t become any less stupid since your 7:59 a.m. post.

How many people use the library in a given week?

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Library staff has no clue because its only measurement is in terms of “visits” – which consist of a person walking in and out through the front “turnstiles.” So when the Library reports 40,000 “visits” in any given month, that could mean 4,000 people each visiting the Library 10 times that month, or 10,000 people visiting 4 times that month. Or anything in between.

If you were to arrive at the Library at 9:00 a.m., go to Starbucks at 10:00 a.m., go outside for a smoke at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., go to Panera for lunch, and finally leave the Library for good at 3:00 p.m., you would be counted as five (5) “visits.” THAT’s how meaningless the Library’s attendance figures are.

I completely disagree that elected officials have a “personal vote” and a “public vote”. Is it having it both ways, being chicken or not understanding how to execute what one believes is good policy for Park Ridge? Either it’s good for the city, or it’s not good for the city. Talk about political cover. One major job of locally elected officials is to manage the assets of the taxpayers.

And to ANON ON 04.15.14 3:38 PM: The Youth Campus Park was a referendum with clear wording that was approved by 56% of voters last year in Park Ridge. Get over it. Thankfully there are people in this city care about the future. You can’t acquire parks easily, this is/was an amazing opportunity for the city.

ALSO, A BIG THANKS TO THE PARK BOARD AND GAYLE MOUNTCASTLE FOR GETTING THE $750,000 GRANT FROM THE STATE! See folks, that’s how you run a government body. Is anyone seeing a basic failure (city government) and success (park board) theme that’s going on?

Mr Editor- Maybe those “seminars” that you alluded to for Mountcastle really paying off?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Your disagreement further emphasizes your stupidity in not understanding that a City official’s “major job…is to manage the assets of the taxpayers” FOR WHICH THE CITY HAS CUSTODY, not the taxpayers’ assets under the control of the Park District, or the School Districts.

And I’m not surprised you think Mountcastle did a marvelous job of getting $750K from a clueless do-nothing governor desperately seeking re-election by trying to buy votes with OSLAD grants that further contribute to the state’s massive deficit and abysmal credit rating.

7:59 & 8:03: You are viewing the situation completely backwards, in fact you are essentially criticizing the mayor for NOT using his political clout (as an elected official) to get something he personally wanted (as a PR resident)! Maybe you’ve live in Illinois too long to be able to recognize a politician with integrity when you see one!

LLE, the fact that the library already charges fees for photo copies, printing and faxes is problematic because it sets a clear precedent for charging small fees for other premium services (like movies, events and internet), rather than making more drastic moves like cutting hours.

My suspicion is that Schmidt, Hynous, Benka and Van De Carr are opposed to it not because they think the town will be outraged and view it as “turning the library into a vending machine”, but actually because the town won’t mind at all and the library will have to continue on with its persecution complex in isolation while the rest of town makes the best of what we have (including all those free books!)

I am starting to get the feeling that some of you don’t like me. However,I can take a licking, and I’ll keep right on ticking. What I would really like to hear from the beraters is a response to the subject matter of this column. Ms. Enright and some others are incensed that Sunday hours have been eliminated. But why are they firing all their ammo at me and the Council, when it was the Library Board that DELIBERATELY chose Sunday closings as a way to whip up public fervor. So Ms. Enright, that means the Board DID use you as a pawn. So why aren’t you the least bit upset with them?

I was for it:

Here is the problem with you argument (and the Mayors dual position). IT IS ALL OUR MONEY!!!!! The money the Mayor doles out with a thimble for services in the city…..OURS!!! The money he voted to spend (and raise our taxes) for buying more park land……OURS!!!!

And here is the kicker!!!!!! The 750K you are sooooo glad about……OURS!!!!!! Those 750K are state funds and of course we all know what great shape the state is in financially.

Here we have Mel with his photo op. He preaches about how bad off the state is and about the poor taxpayers yet he did everything he could to raise our taxes and spend $750K of money the state does not have on a WANT…..not a need!! Now someone tell me how those positions are fiscally conservative.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Of course it’s all OUR MONEY, but it’s in different pockets serving different purposes and controlled by different people whose sole legal obligation is to look out only for the money entrusted TO THEM.

Why do you think Mountcastle and the Park Board came up with their $13 million Youth Campus Park extravaganza? So they had at least 1 key feature to sell to as many special interests as they could. Open space instead of 40 mega-mansions? Check. New athletic field? Check. Platform tennis? Check. New home for the Historical Society? Check. Water splash pad? Check. Etc.

Many people voted for the YCP solely because they didn’t want mega-mansions. That’s a legitimate reason, but the way Mountcastle and the Board designed the project and the referendum question forced those voters to buy the whole enchillada or nothing at all. Typical sharpster Illinois politics, typical bad Illinois government.

BUT at the end of the day, the voters got to vote for it – unlike the $8 million 3-month-a-year water park. And that’s the way it should be, win, lose or draw.

The shots back is exactly as expected.
This is the problem when ideology stomps over pragmatism. Is it not “fiscal conservative” to seek available grants to lessen our tax burden? It’s called smart representation. Not going for the grant would be INSANE.

Clearly, I understand “pockets” and it’s still “OUR” money, but that money is spent and controlled by a different legislature, obviously, so what is the confusion going on here??

If you want to ask state officials to ban the 49 or whatever available grants, I’d be right behind you. However, to not take advantage of MY OWN SPENT tax dollars is foolish and bad government. At what point is ideology more important than being successful at what our elected officials accomplish?

Editor, – Your whole retort at 3:15 should actually used by proponents of the Youth Campus…in fact, maybe that should be the name “A Place For Everyone”

Paine- It’s not “political clout” it’s the position that he campaigned for! If he is for UNstripping the library of certain dollars, then he should use his instinct and beliefs to make it happen. Leaders lead. It’s not that we don’t “like” anyone, it’s just that some don’t like certain things that are happening in our “upper-middle class” city full of ‘pride’ and ‘character’.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Having watched Illinois spiral downward over the last 30+ years, the problem is that “pragmatism” – as practiced by The Combine and its local permutations, whether nominally “partisan” or “non-partisan” – has stomped all over “ideology” to craft corrupt deal after corrupt deal, robbing Peter to pay Paul, then robbing Paul to pay Judas.

The only “smart” thing about that is how the perpetrators can get away with aggrandizing personal power and benefits without getting caught for so long. And that’s only because the taxpayers and voters have become so dumb over the years, making the perps “smart” only by comparison.

How about “Pandering Park”?

As for your “Leaders lead” observation, that’s exactly what the current mayor has done for the past 5 years – leading the City back from the brink of financial disaster of annual million dollar-plus deficits, neglected infrastructure, a General Fund so depleted it had to borrow money from the Water Fund to make payroll, and now continuing through the financial minefield presented by the disastrous Uptown TIF.

But you must have preferred the old tax, borrow and spend ways.

How interesting that Ms. Enright has not addressed your quotes from Library Board meeting minutes which show how the majority of that Board does not care about the effects of the Sunday closings on eitehr the customers or the staff, including her. That must not fit into her good Library, bad Council narrative. Board members Schmidt and Hynous, and director Van De Carr, sound like the instigators and Directors Benka, Ebling and White going along to get along.

Maybe Ms Enright does not care about her lost income because it will be less than her raise and she likes the Library trying to show up the Council.

EDITOR’S NOTE: That executive Staff could actually recommend closing the Library on summer Sundays and the Board majority endorse it, especially when it is such a brazen political tactic, is nothing short of outrageous.

And Ms. Enright’s comments demonstrate the same brazen poltical tactics, but with the additional self-interest of knowing that at least she’ll be getting a raise in return for the Sunday closings.

I was for it:

Not once did I ever say to not take the grant.

Having said that, I will not celebrate an elected official who, on the one hand uses the poor taxpayer and the cities financial condition as a tool to cut everything and yet, as a citizen, thinks it is a good idea to raise all our taxes for a luxury item. I am sorry but I see that as completely inconsistent.

Related to the other politician in town running for state office, simply look at his statements during his campaign thus far and see how that jibes with spending 20+ mil tax dollars, sneaking one project under the referendum threshold and spearheading the referendum on the other. Are you suggesting I celebrate that??

EDITOR’S NOTE: Your comments demonstrate that you can’t or won’t distinguish between a person’s conduct of his/her private affairs and the discharge of his/her public responsibilities. That’s either stupid or stubborn, or stupidly stubborn. C’est la vie.

Interestingly enough, however, that’s something you have in common with those politicians who belong to the Illinois “Combine” and who plunder and pillage the County and State treasury in the belief that the public duties they owe the taxpayers are no higher than, or different from, the private duties they owe themseleves, their families and their friends. That’s not surprising to me, either.

Lost in all this hubbub is the fact that I have never voted to cut the Library’s budget. I don’t have that authority. And I have never vetoed any capital spending by the Library, although I do technically have that authority. That being said, I wholly support the City Council’s efforts to do what it can to minimize the City’s portion of the property tax levy. Luckily for the supporters of the Library, they will have the opportunity to go directly to their neighbors and ask them to support a property tax increase for the Library.

Over the last five years, the City Council, not the mayor, has progressively lowered the library’s portion of the tax levy (among other revenues) by over $500,000. The library has taken its lumps and dealt with these reductions every single year.

I read those library minutes – in full, not just the snippets highlighted here, and I never read that the Board was closing on summer Sundays to stick it to the City Council. The purpose of the closings is to show the COMMUNITY the library’s dire situation. The fact is, although the library has dealt with many reductions in the last five years, reductions in materials, repairs, not to mention staff layoffs, for the most part, the public was unaware of them. What I read in those minutes is that it IS necessary for the TAXPAYERS to know what is going on, instead of being unaware. The taxes keep going up, but the library is essentially losing money. EVERY SINGLE YEAR. NO ONE wants the library to be closed on Sundays this summer. NO ONE. Yes, the library Board voted to close. But to point the finger SOLELY at the Board is ridiculous. The City Council may not control HOW the money is spent at the Library, but it does control how much the Library gets.

Could the library start charging “nominal” fees? Sure. But to charge the TAXPAYERS again when they have already funded the library through their taxes? No. The American Library Association (ALA), addresses the role of libraries as part of “access to information” and “equity of access”; part of the profession’s ETHICAL commitment that “NO ONE should be denied information because he or she cannot afford the cost of a book or periodical, have access to the internet or information in ANY of its various formats.” So, charging for materials and information in a library violates the very definition of a public library, but charging for photocopies, printing and faxes is NOT part of that ETHICAL commitment. What about people who can’t afford those “nominal fees”, and truly are in need of a computer? Someone is trying to find a job and is charged EVERY time they come in to use a computer? How does that work?
Parents come in and expose their children to reading and story time programs. But let’s charge them for this? Are you nuts? These are the basic and essential services provided by libraries through PROPERTY TAXES!

Charging the taxpayers again is bull, but opting to charge non-residents seems absolutely fair. And just to clarify a point, aren’t the same people that PAY the taxes in this community the very same ones that USE the services here?

As for the subject of the referendum, it has already been stated that the Board has NOT rejected the idea, but is discussing the best course of action, wording, procedures, and any statues and limitations involved. This does not count as a rejection of a referendum.

But THIS statement, “Can you say “freeloaders,” John? In reply to this statement, “…voters might not vote to give the Library extra money via a referendum because “they are used to quality service for nothing.”
FREELOADERS??? Really?!? You would define a TAXPAYER/VOTER as a freeloader? And those “quality services” they receive? They do not cost nothing. (Again, property taxes.)

And THIS statement, “EDITOR’S NOTE: No, Paine, the COUNCIL is “supposed to feel guilty and compelled to give them the other 96% of that amount.” That’s why the Library folks are trying to manipulate residents into getting ticked off at the Council and demanding that the COUNCIL dole out the cash.
If the Library folks wanted US to give the money to them, THEY could have suggested a referendum 1-2-3 years ago when the Council finally started getting serious about reducing/stopping the long-standing habit of deficit spending.”

First, I saw NO mention anywhere that the library expects 96% of the $450,000.00 that has been cut over the last 5 years. Who came up with THAT idea? I think its fair to say that the Library is looking for an increase in their levy from where it stands NOW, not five years ago. And second, maybe the reason the Library didn’t seek a referendum 1-2-3 years ago, is because MAYBE they didn’t expect to have a consistent cut in their levy EVERY SINGLE YEAR!

Finally third, MANIPULATE? Try EDUCATE!

EDITOR’S NOTE: The way the Library has “taken its lumps and dealt with these reductions every single year” is to continue DEFICIT SPENDING and depleting its reserves! THAT’S “nuts.”

If “NO ONE wants the library to be closed on Sundays this summer,” then the Library executive Staff and the Board majority could have begun charging user fees or eliminated the staff raises. Those were two of several other options available to the Library Board majority, BUT IT PREFERRED CLOSING ON SUMMER SUNDAYS. Yes, it PREFERRED closing to all those other options.

Your “charge the TAXPAYERS again when they have already funded the library through their taxes” argument is just another red herring. The City charges user fees for a variety of things the taxpayers already have paid for – including parking fees (metered, daily rate and monthly rate), sewer fees, vehicle tags, etc. The Library already charges user fees – for photocopying – even though the taxpayers already have paid for the copy machines, paper and other copying supplies.

I have no problem with the ALA’s “NO ONE should be denied information because he or she cannot afford…access to the internet….” (assuming, for the sake of this discussion, that your quote is accurate). But the Library doesn’t even ATTEMPT to ascertain what users of its computers can or cannot “afford.” And the same goes for all the Library’s free programs.

I’ll say it again: The Library makes NO EFFORT WHATSOEVER to distinguish the needy from the purely greedy. So your invocation of the ALA ethics statement is another red herring.

As for your question – “[A]ren’t the same people that PAY the taxes in this community the very same ones that USE the services here?” – the answer is NO! Even Library staff concedes that it has NO IDEA WHATSOEVER how many of our 37,000 residents actually set foot in the Library in any given year. The Library’s “visits” statistic doesn’t distinguish between 10 people visiting 1 time and 1 person visiting 10 times. Similarly, while Staff proudly reports each month that approx. 25,000 Park Ridge residents hold Library cards, it NEVER reports how many of those cards were actually USED that month.

Finally, the ONLY reason the Library Board “is discussing the best course of action, wording” etc. of a referendum is because the City Council has made it pretty clear that IT will put Library funding to referendum. This director and this Board majority want a referendum about as much as they want cancer, but they know they don’t have a choice in the matter. My suggestions that we go to referendum were met with ZERO support from the director and the Board majority…until the Council started talking about it as a likelihood.

No, its most definitely MANIPULATE.

Anon 04.17.14 11:39 pm sounds like another library board member making a defense of his/her and the library adminstration’s decision to close the library. The arguments raised are phony, as the Editor has pointed out. I have been following this discussion and the previous one, and there is no doubt that summer Sundays closings could be reversed with $20,000 that the library adminstration and board majority would not raise through user fees and would not cut from other uses (including cutting raises). So yes, it is their fault because they had the power to do something about it and refused. End of story.

It seems to me that the best analogy to the library is the Park District. We pay property taxes for the Park District and anyone can take advantage of the open spaces for free. But no one expects free admission to the pool even though the taxpayers have already paid for the construction of the pool. No one expects to take classes at the Community Center for free. User fees are expected even though we have paid taxes for the facilities. In the same way, those people who attend library programs and use library services (above and beyond basic services like checking out books and using the library for research) should expect to pay a small fee. I don’t understand why this model is so objectionable to some.

EDITOR’S NOTE: One of the reasons it’s “so objectionable to some” is simply because of what has come to be known as “optics”: those folks wish to maintain the appearance that the Library is this indispensable resource regularly used by most of the 37,000 people of this community.

That appearance may actually be a “fiction,” as suggested by how the Library administration, supported and defended by the Board majority, has consistently attempted to manipulate (if not actually INFLATE) attendance and circulation figures by, for example, reporting 40,000 monthly “visits” that don’t distinguish between 1 person “visiting” 10 times and 10 people “visiting” 1 time (until I got on the Board and objected, these “visits” were actually called “visitors,” presumably to subliminally enhance the “fiction” that it was 40,000 DIFFERENT people); and by reporting 25,000 Library card holders without also reporting how many of those cards were actually used in any given month or year.

Free computer use and free programs arguably bring additional bodies into the Library that can be counted at least 1 time, and maybe multiple times, each “visit” – thereby maintaining those roughly 40,000 monthly “visits” – by people who might not come in if the Library charged for computer use and programs.

11:39, The 96% figure is based on the fact that $430,000 of the $450,000 of estimated yearly cuts (compared to 2008 levels) seem to have gone unnoticed by everyone but the library itself. Only the last $20,000 in cuts (that would cover the cost of keeping the library open on summer Sundays) seem to have actually bothered residents in town, proving, in effect, that those are the only cuts that have mattered.

The fact that you claim the library made those Sunday cuts to make the citizens of PR aware of the other cuts is illogical and almost seems like a form of ex post facto, trying to make the previous cuts seem worse than they really were. But if the other cuts in previous years (making up the rest of that $450K presumably) drastically lowered the quality of the library, shouldn’t they have been self-evident years ago and had the town in uproar back then?

Another problem with using this sort of political blackmail is that it destroys any trust a citizen like me might have in thinking the senior staff or board majority are actually looking out for MY best interest and not simply indulging some idealized version of what a library should be at all costs. Even if they do win some unreasonably large sum of funding at referendum later this year, what is stopping them from arbitrarily deciding it’s not enough (after all Glenview and Harwood Heights have brand new libraries so shouldn’t all libraries be brand new!?) and trying to punish the residents of PR next year with some other extreme measure to make point?

Finally, if I sound a bit extreme, it’s only because the library’s majority powers have shown no good faith at all. Even simply instituting an “optional donation” to use the various services mentioned, without actually requiring a fee might have gone a long way to raising $20,000. So why didn’t they? Is it because Bob is right that they have no trust that their patrons would be selfless enough to donate $1 every now and then to support the organization they supposedly can’t function without? I’m not so sure. Are they too proud to accept charity? That would be laughable, considering a tax levy increase is the ultimate form of “forced charity” that exists! My personal opinion is that it might simply be that they’ve realized playing the victim is simply easier than doing anything else, and I for one won’t support that backwards attitude! I’m voting “NO!” on the referendum to prove a point of my own…

Ok, first you’re purporting to be outraged on behalf of all the beleaguered Sunday users. Now you’re saying attendance figures are inflated, indicating that much of the community doesn’t use the library. Get your arguments straight, at least, before you sanctimonuously take our library and run it right into the ground.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Would it help if I told you they are two different arguments relating to two different issues.

ISSUE No. 1: ALL of the Library’s attendance figures are LIKELY to be inflated because of the flawed way those figures are created (multiple “visits” by non-unique “visitors”) and the lack of any meaningful attempts to measure them more accurately. That’s were the most-residents-don’t-use-the-Library argument comes in.

ISSUE No. 2: Since the ONLY figures we have to work with are these flawed figures, the flawed-and-likely-inflated average of 166 “beleaguered Sunday users” per hour is still a valid number when comparing Sunday per-hour use to the equally-flawed-and-likely-inflated average per-hour use for the other six days of the week.

Do all the people who move out of town pull their library cards?
If not, they shouldn’t be counted in the number of card holders.
Which leads to me believe that the library has no idea how many RESIDENT cardholders there really are.

EDITOR’S NOTE: No, but the Library does purge inactive cards after 3 years – although that would not prevent recent emigrants to Des Plaines from continuing to use their PR Library card.

“It seems to me that the best analogy to the library is the Park District. We pay property taxes for the Park District and anyone can take advantage of the open spaces for free. But no one expects free admission to the pool even though the taxpayers have already paid for the construction of the pool. No one expects to take classes at the Community Center for free. User fees are expected even though we have paid taxes for the facilities. In the same way, those people who attend library programs and use library services (above and beyond basic services like checking out books and using the library for research) should expect to pay a small fee. I don’t understand why this model is so objectionable to some.”

There are two issues here: First of all, don’t you think it’s a bit pathetic that your taxes pay to support the park district yet you’re still expected to pay for what might be considered basic services (for example, the pool…and I mean the basic pool, not some ridiculous waterpark as if we’re Key Lime Cove)? Funny too considering as how, when there’s a park district levy, there never seems to be a problem with that going through, no matter the cost to the taxpayers.

Now the editor of this blog wants to claim that certain things offered at the Park Ridge Library are above and beyond average service for a library but it really isn’t. I can understand…as someone who probably rarely, if ever, actually takes advantage of the library, he may not be aware of what is a basic service at a library. Paying for park district classes is brought up for example. You can’t equate a one-off program at the library with a class at the park district that might last a number of weeks. Plus, in years past, library programs such as that weren’t considered above and beyond. Most libraries offer these programs for free (unless of course you’re like the dear editor of this blog and you want to take a step backward). On the surface, perhaps it sounds logical, but when you dig, it becomes…well nickel and dime which can end up costing more in the long run. When does it end? We charge people to watch a movie (really a DVD) when the library shows a movie once a month. Okay fine. How about those who don’t have children? Why should we pay for children’s books to be stocked at that library? How about if we allow 10 checkouts to parents and every item after we charge .25? I mean, some parents will checkout 20, 30, 50 books (and some of those people are teachers). Imagine the dough we could make off that. Now one could argue 20 books, at approximately $10 a pop, during the course of the year: mom and dad get their tax money back and then some even if the tax levy had gone through (that’s what I mean when I often say that the library is one of the few institutions that the taxpayer can see value for their money). But who cares. Let’s charge mom and dad to start taking out those books. Someone checks out five novels every three weeks, they’ll have gotten some value for that tax money they pay into the library (more than). But why consider that? How about we charge .50 per Most Wanted book? How bad do you want to read the latest Patterson novel? Think that’s crazy? Glenview has “rental” books that they charge a $1 for to check out a week. We’d be rolling in dough. How about pay toilets. Put a pay-for lock on the toilets. 50 cents for a regular stall. 1.00 for the highline stall you find in the children’s department. We’d clean up during Taste of Park Ridge when everyone wnated to use the library facilities. Let’s not forget that beautiful parking lot out there. Let’s return to the days of meters, but this time, put them in every space. Imagine the money that could be made. Of course it would be a pain in the butt for the average person using the library (or any of the other establishments in the area) but hey, if we’re turning the library into a vending a machine, why not go all the way.

And for that matter, let’s start charging for extra for other city services. Admittance to City Hall. Surely that place must cost a bit to keep up. Do you want to pay your water bill in person, well it’ll cost you .50 to get in. But you say your taxes should already cover upkeep…too bad. Everything has a price.

I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have never needed to call the police to my home (though when my brother lived here, he often had his truck broken into). Do I get a rebate of any sort because I haven’t cost the city anything in police fees? How about anyone who hasn’t had to rely on the fire department (a city service)? Do they get a rebate?

Does that sound extreme? I don’t know, does it? The library has been functioning for the benefit of the residents of this city for decades and suddenly it’s expected to pony up for all the costs. Well, not suddenly, really. The library has been a favorite financial scapegoat of administrations for some time. The editor himself has shown his distaste of it for over a decade.

Whenever an administration or an alderman wants to look good for the “taxpayers” they start taking a carving knife to the library. To the point where the director finally said, “Look we’ve had our budget cut for years, but the cost of doing business has continued to rise, so now we really have to ask for more money.”

And the council voted it down. So they could look good to the taxpayers. Even though taxes are still rising.

The response by the people like the editor of this blog: Start charging for “premium” services (i.e. services that weren’t premium before but have been designated premium to make a buck). So we start charging $3 for nonresident computer time. Ooh, the library will clean up with that! How’s that working out? Yeah, we have less nonresidents using our valuable computer time, and Uptown has that many less customers coming to the library, using the computers, than going over to one of the many restaurants in the area for lunch. These are the externalities that need to be considered but aren’t because all people like Mr. Trizna can focus on is what maybe sort of could be made from nonresidents fees providing the nonresidents were willing

But that’s okay. When business revenue goes down, they can always take that carving knife to the library again in the hopes of trying to placate the taxpayers who taxes have risen to compensate.

EDITOR’S NOTE: What’s “pathetic,” Ms. Enright, is an entitlement mentality that expects ALL taxpayers to cover ALL costs of the usage of what (in both instances, pools and the Library) is clearly an AMENITY rather than a NECESSITY. Moreover, in addition to the Park District charging user fees, the City does too – in the form of parking fees (e.g., meters) and ambulance fees. And the Library itself charges for photocopying.

Charging non-residents for computer use wasn’t my idea: it was the idea of Library Staff, and such a boneheaded one that the director (per Page 7 of the Feb. 2014 Board meeting minutes) admitted she “honestly believes the cost in staff time in managing the computer use and fees [for non-resident users] will be greater than the revenue taken in.” So instead of generating more revenue, the Library will likely by generating more expense. Brilliant!

As for your comment that any individual alderman “wants to look good for the ‘taxpayers’…[by] taking a carving knife to the library,” that’s just a plainly dishonest accusation in view of all the cuts the Council has made in virtually every area of City operations. But if you think the Council is acting contrary to the taxpayers’ wishes, then let’s hear you endorse a binding referendum to let those taxpayers PROVE to the Council, with their own votes this November, that they want their taxes raised in order to restore (or even enhance) funding to the Library.

“Do all the people who move out of town pull their library cards? If not, they shouldn’t be counted in the number of card holders.
Which leads to me believe that the library has no idea how many RESIDENT cardholders there really are.

EDITOR’S NOTE: No, but the Library does purge inactive cards after 3 years – although that would not prevent recent emigrants to Des Plaines from continuing to use their PR Library card.”

For the sake of clarification: Most people when they move out of town, will get a card from the library in the town they move to. That’s the general rule the libraries follow. A person needs to obtain a card from the town in which they live. So while perfection can’t be achieved in anything, most libraries can be fairly certain how many resident cardholders there really are. When a person comes in to obtain a library card or when they are going to renew their card, identification with current Park Ridge address must be presented before they can get a card or renew their card.

That’s why, if an inactive card is purged, and the person has moved to Des Plaines, they would not be able to use their PR Library card because, since they’re no longer in the system, the library wouldn’t have a barcode number to check them out. The next step would then be to see if the person lives in Park Ridge. If they don’t present valid ID with a Park Ridge address, they would not be allowed to get a new card. If it is a Des Plaines resident (for example) who presents a Des Plaines address, they are told that they need to go to the Des Plaines library for card, which can, as part of the reciprocal borrowing agreement, then be used at Park Ridge, And we get quite a lot of Des Plaines and Niles, and even Skokie patrons utilizing Park Ridge (and then going to the restaurants in town) because they prefer the Park Ridge Library to their own. They actually go out of their way to go to the Park Ridge Library rather than their hometown library.

But the claim that an inactive card purged from the system would not prevent recent emigrants to Des Plaines from continuing to use their PR Library card is inaccurate. If the card is purged from the system, then there is no card number to check out on. When scanned, the card number comes up as “card not found.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: I am aware of nothing – I repeat, NOTHING – in the way of systems, procedures or controls in place at the Park Ridge Library that would prevent a current Park Ridge resident from renewing his/her Library card today, moving to Des Plaines or Niles tomorrow, and continuing to use that card for the next three years despite not living in, or paying taxes to, Park Ridge.

Lost in all this hubbub is the fact that I have never voted to cut the Library’s budget. I don’t have that authority. And I have never vetoed any capital spending by the Library, although I do technically have that authority. That being said, Per Mayor Dave: “I wholly support the City Council’s efforts to do what it can to minimize the City’s portion of the property tax levy. Luckily for the supporters of the Library, they will have the opportunity to go directly to their neighbors and ask them to support a property tax increase for the Library.”

To be fair, poor Mayor Dave hasn’t voted to cut the library budget. He’s been lucky in not having to make the decision.

Never the less, Mayor Dave, as the captain of this ship setting the course, you have set a standards and one of the standards you’ve set is to show a general disdain for the library and it’s worth to the community. (Remember when you asked why the taxpayer needed to pay for DVDs that the taxpayers check out in droves?).

And the council got you off the hook on that one when it vetoed the tax levy. So you could wash your hands of it then pat yourself on the back for not raising taxes. It’s a win/win for Mayor Dave. In the meantime, the library and it’s patrons lose. Good job.

EDITOR’S NOTE: One of the “standards” that Mayor Dave set is turning a decade of annual deficits – and depleted balances in the General (operating) Fund so severe that the General Fund sometimes had to borrow from the sewer and/or water funds in order to make the City payroll – into surpluses, while keeping annual tax increases at around 3.5%. So long as the Library was contributing to those deficits by getting the money that it wanted from City Hall, however, Library personnel (like yourself) had no complaints because they were taking more out of the Library, financially, than they were paying in through taxes.

Not surprisingly, when the freeloaders and the folks who are paid (by the taxpayers) to pander to them don’t get what they want from our elected officials, they portray themselves as victims of those elected officials. Unfortunately for the taxpayers of this community and of this entire state, that scam has worked all too well for the past 30-plus years, which is why Illinois is broke and broken.

Paine (?) in PR wrote:

“Another problem with using this sort of political blackmail is that it destroys any trust a citizen like me might have in thinking the senior staff or board majority are actually looking out for MY best interest and not simply indulging some idealized version of what a library should be at all costs. Even if they do win some unreasonably large sum of funding at referendum later this year, what is stopping them from arbitrarily deciding it’s not enough (after all Glenview and Harwood Heights have brand new libraries so shouldn’t all libraries be brand new!?)”

Well Mr. P (or is it Mr. T. I get you confused, your comments are so similar), if you remember we tried to get a new library for Park Ridge and the citizens voted against it (partly because of a referendum question that was worded so ridiculously that it left citizens thinking that there were plans that didn’t even exist).

Now your premise in this instance is ridiculous because you neglect to include how many years that the library budget has been slashed (even though the usage had increased thanks to the economy…so essentially, the library was expected to do more with less. Oh, the taxpayers got value for their taxes and then some then). And that even though the budget has been slashed, the cost of doing business in general for any organization has risen so the what the library was asking for with the levy wasn’t exactly mad money to be spent on crazy projects.

But I do need to clear up something regarding Eisenhower Library in Harwood Heights since you bring it up. That’s my old home town. I remember when that library was in the basement of Parkway Towers. My dad was actually on the board of that library (and boy he would have had a blast with you) for 20 years. Do you know how big that library was when it moved out of Parkway Towers? Probably not much bigger than the reference side of the Park Ridge Library. I mean, the whole building. One story. So to think that a library in the 20th and 21st century which services not only Harwood Heights, but Norridge, Norwood Park and parts of Chicago would not eventually need to have a larger space is really not dealing with the facts or common sense. Neither does using it as an example in this issue make sense.

As for Glenview, funnily enough, I worked at Pioneer Press in Glenview when the debate over a new library was going on and I remember a few letters to the editor of opposition to a new library. It was pretty heated. And even more conveniently, I now also work at Glenview Library in the new building and out of the people I help every day, I’ve heard very few complain about what their taxes are going to. In fact, I’ve heard a surprising amount admit that they were against the new library but once it was built they had changed their mind (something I found fascinating since, as I say, I did work at Pioneer Press when the negative letters were coming in).

Just thought that was important information since you brought it up. Again, in the case of Harwood Heights, it was at some point a necessity to get a new library. In the case of Glenview, they seem pretty happy with their new library.

Be that as it may, you mention idolized versions of what a library should be but what you’re neglecting to state is that the Park Ridge Library isn’t asking for money to build a new library (remember, you won that vote) or add a new wing or do some far out crazy thing with it. It’s asking for operating costs that have been denied it for years to continue providing the sort of service it’s provided for years. Now I can understand if, like Mr. Trizna, you might not get any use out of the library (that’s your choice) so you think, “Well why should I have to pay for it?” How many childless people paying property taxes have asked that about schools? That’s part of existing in a community. As in the example I’ve used before with the police. Do I get to question reasonable police expenditures because I’ve been fortunate enough not to use the police since I moved here in 1999?

Also from Mr. Paine: “Finally, if I sound a bit extreme, it’s only because the library’s majority powers have shown no good faith at all.”

Which, of course, is absolute nonsense. I’m guessing that Jan Van De Carr, the director (often termed by Mr. Trizna and apparently this Paine in PR as “Senior Staff”) wasn’t at all happy with having to off three of her staffmembers to help shore up a hole in the budget drilled there by years of budget slashing from the city. Yet three people will be out of the job come fiscal year 5/1/14. And remember, it wasn’t that long ago that three other heads at the library had to be chopped. I know for a fact that no one is happy that we have to close on Sundays during the summer and have to reduce hours on Fridays and Sundays because the council, with the mayor’s inspiration, want to look good to the taxpayers whose taxes they somehow manage to keep raising. But to continue giving the service that the library has, this sacrifice has to be made.

I mean, I know it supports your meme better to say that no good faith has been shown, but simply poo-pooing the ideas presented by Mr. Trizna (and curiously echoed by you in so similar a fashion) does not mean that the powers that be have shown no faith at all.

“Even simply instituting an “optional donation” to use the various services mentioned, without actually requiring a fee might have gone a long way to raising $20,000. So why didn’t they? Is it because Bob is right that they have no trust that their patrons would be selfless enough to donate $1 every now and then to support the organization they supposedly can’t function without?”

Or is it because the patrons shouldn’t have to pay for stuff their taxes already pay for? It’s fascinating, really. You decry a tax levy that would have defrayed reasonable operating costs (and made up for years of budget cutting), yet you’re willing to make people pay for stuff they already pay for.

Oh wait, that’s right, because you don’t use the library so forcing user fees on things would then help keep you from having to pay taxes into keeping an institution going that you don’t use, but your neighbors use (and very liberally).

A bit like demanding that anyone who calls the fire department pay $10 for a service call to help defray the high price of gas. Hey! Why should Mr. Smith’s taxes be raised cause Mr. Jones had to use the fire department and gas prices have risen?

And there’s the rub. What most would consider the price of living in a community, you call “forced charity.” I guess it’s all perspective.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Once again, Ms. Enright, your revisionist history about the November 2002 Library referendum must be Kool-Aid induced – starting with your ignorance/misrepresentation of the facts that the referendum question used the lowest figure ($20 million) the Library or the Council had proposed for the new library. That question was brought by a citizens’ petition after the Council refused to put it on the ballot, even though the Library board and Staff were preparing to spend up to $350,000 to develop plans, drawings and cost estimates for the new library (per an 08.04.02 article in the Chicago Tribune) that were intended to sell sizzle instead of steak.

But there’s some good news for folks like you: thanks to Mayor Dave, Ald. Knight and the rest of the City Council, you and all the other Park Ridge taxpayers are going to have a chance, via a referendum vote this November, to PROVE just how enthusiastic you all are to have your taxes raised specifically to FUND the Library at the level the Library Board and Staff want. And if it’s a BINDING referendum, there’s nothing the Council or Mayor Dave can do to circumvent it: if the question gets 50.000001% of the ballots cast, it wins! Such a deal!

Can you be counted on to support such a fine exercise in direct democracy, especially given how terribly dissatsified you seem to be with the way the republic form of government is dealing with Library funding?

We had an interesting conversation about this topic at my book club recently. One of our members reported being told by a library staff person to tell our book club about cuts to book club and other services, including Sunday closures, and get them to contact their aldermen to put pressure on City Council to give the library more money. All of our members were in agreement that we use more library services (as the staff locates and obtains from other libraries in the system numerous copies of our monthly book club selections) than patrons who simply check out books and we would be happy to pay a yearly user fee for this extra service. I understand there are 65 book clubs registered at the PR library. If all the members feel as my book club does, this appears to be another source of revenue.

EDITOR’S NOTE: You’re talking treason, jayne.



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