[Homestead] Pervwered values---billions for Star Wars boondoggle let libraries die
tvoivozd at infionline.net
Wed Feb 9 19:14:20 EST 2005
In the depths of the Great Depression, not a single public library in
America closed its doors. Banks went under, farmers went bankrupt,
millions of people were out of work and out of luck––but the American
public clung to its libraries, not only because of their inherent value
to our society, but also because they are symbols of community strength
How lame, then, to see public officials today––from George W. Bush to
city council members––reaching for the budget axe to whack library
funding, forcing branches to close, valuable services to be eliminated,
and hours to be cut. In a time of unprecedented wealth in America, in a
time when governments dump billions of taxpayer dollars into corporate
subsidies and boondoggles, our so-called leaders are failing the people
by going after these true public treasures.
Check out Salinas, California––a hard hit working-class city which is
now the largest population in America without a public library.
Ironically, this is the hometown of John Steinbeck, the prize-winning
author of The Grapes of Wrath and other powerful works that chronicled
the human spirit during the depression years. Steinbeck knew that
literature has the power to elevate the spirit and help people rise
above difficult times, and it is said that he got some of his early
exposure to the power of literature at the Salinas library.
Since Steinbeck's day, Salinas expanded to three branch libraries, one
named after him. But now, all three have been closed by the city
council, which is facing large budget deficits. This move shuts out the
1,900 people a day who count on the library for books, literacy courses,
Internet access, after-school programs, and other services. Also, nearly
three dozen employees have been shown the door.
This is Jim Hightower saying...This is not a Salinas story, but a
failure of all public leadership. Why are they dumping billions into
Bush's Star Wars boondoggle, for example, while public libraries, which
provide essential services that keep America informed and enlightened
are forced to go begging?
aR wARS BOONDOBst
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