Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thanks, mayor, for leadership on libraries

Posted By on Thu, May 27, 2010 at 1:15 PM

Finally – finally – someone in local government is showing some actual leadership on an issue that has much of the community up in arms. So here’s a big Thank You to Mayor Foxx for his staunch support of the library system in the face of dull, uninspired councilmembers’ opposition. Foxx told the Observer that he would veto a city budget if it doesn’t include money to help the county keep libraries open. Foxx, a Democrat, is supported on Council by Republican councilman Ed Peacock and four other members who want to set $2 million  aside for the libraries, which, technically, are a county responsibility.

Foxx and Peacock at least realize that their jobs include having an overall vision of what’s good for the community, rather than getting bogged down in political turf wars and covering one’s own butt. I’m talking specifically about two council veterans: Democratic Mayor Pro Tem Susan Burgess, who is firm in her opposition to the city helping out the libraries, and Democratic Councilwoman Patsy Kinsey, who says she can’t “in good conscience” give to the libraries and not Parks & Rec (who aren’t asking for help, but that’s apparently neither here nor there for Kinsey).

Leadership on the library situation has been particularly lacking from the county commission itself. Dearest Commissioners, please realize that schools and libraries – which, not to be overly dramatic, but this is true – are foundations of a civilized society; that may be just a wee bit more important than worrying about city/county territorial issues. Of course, thinking about civilization and egghead stuff like that isn’t popular in today’s Tea Party-inspired atmosphere, so if the “foundations of civilized society” aren’t important to you, consider how hard it’s going to be – here come Charlotte’s magic words – to attract new businesses to the area after you’ve shredded public schools and have allowed one of the best library systems in the U.S. to go to hell.

Chair Jennifer Roberts has worked behind the scenes to urge more money from Charlotte and surrounding communities, which is something, at least. Other than that, however, I’m trying to think of anything else resembling leadership on this critical issue from the commission, but I can’t. Commissioners, here's one thing to think about: If you go ahead and make the kinds of cuts suggested by County Manager Harry “Why do I still have a job?” Jones, expect to run into a buzzsaw. If you think the anti-taxers are in your face, just wait till schools and library supporters get moving.

Tonight’s county commission meeting, during which public comment on budget cuts will be presented, will probably produce the one government meeting of the year that could actually be fun to watch. It starts at 6, and could very well go past midnight. See you there.

Mayor Foxx: I'll veto a budget that doesn't help the libraries
  • Mayor Foxx: I'll veto a budget that doesn't help the libraries

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