[Homestead] Pervwered values---billions for Star Wars boondoggle let libraries die

tvoivozhd tvoivozd at infionline.net
Wed Feb 9 19:14:20 EST 2005

    Affiliates <http://www.jimhightower.com/air/affiliates.asp>  	 	



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 
and hope.

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?


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