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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Don Samuels and His Throw the Book at Em Attitude Towards Public Libraries

I understand that Don Samuels made the statement reported in the Strib when interviewed by reporter Terry Collins, and not at the council meeting as I wrote earlier.

I posted about Don Samuels statement about the public libraries on the Minneapolis Issues list here.

Don Samuels campaign manager, Megan Goodmundson writes:

I can't help but to notice that those list members that are expressing such disappointment in the budget approval meeting seem to be list members that are from more affluent parts of town, or at least parts of the city that don't see the same amounts of street level crime that has a death grip hold on the neighborhood (of course there is crime everywhere).

Eva Young is from the Near North side, but not exactly from an area that has gang bangers and drug dealers standing on the corners. Eva lives in a small development that is isolated from other residential areas, and Eva probably does not know the Northside that I know - in fact I was on the wrong end of a gun about 9 months ago, and I didn't have a library book to block a bullet or throw at the gang-bangers. I am curious as to how these same people would react if they lived where I live.

So rather than addressing my points, Megan mentions I am isolated from the real issues in the ward - and talks about where I live. For some reason, I have never thought of using library books to throw at people. I do know the importance of libraries to people who are trying to raise kids in the city. When I was distributing literature about the stadium boondoggle, I ran into a person who told me they had left Minneapolis after their local library had closed.

Is the idea for crime fighting just trying to fight the gang bangers, or is it trying to prevent kids from getting into gangs? If prevention is part of things, libraries are a good investment - because libraries help create a literate population.

It's especially important in poorer neighborhoods to have good libraries - because this helps brings more people who are willing to buy homes in the area.

I think we have too much money that goes into police brutality settlements - and often those settlements for the same people, over and over again. Where is the accountability there? What is the plan to try to make measurable progress towards reducing those liabilities. Continuing to have the same problems over and over, indicates bad management - at high levels. We also have the on-going soap opera in the Fire Department - and yet more lawsuit settlements.

Megan continues and appears to be happy to have someone who says the only use for a book is to throw it at a criminal.

I am glad I have a council member that isn't afraid to say it like it is, books are great - vital to healthy intellectual growth - I happen to know that Don Samuels has cases and cases and cases upon more cases of books in his own house. Does his quote mean that he isn't an advocate of reading - No. Does his quote mean that he doesn't support libraries - No.

Then Don Samuels needs to correct the record by writing a letter to the editor to the Star Tribune.

Here's my thing with the budget and this whole library issue.

1) It's not like public safety is way over spent. The 43 cops that are proposed in the new budget are not "extra" - the force is severely severely understaffed. And the other money gear toward techincal [sic] upgrades, improvements, crime fighting tools - that is severely needed to save people's lives.

I don't think anyone was proposing taking the money out of the public safety budget.

1/5 of the money (around $50,000 per year) could come out of that ridiculous "car allowance" for City Council members.

Others were proposing taking the money out of the additional liquor license inspectors proposed by the Mayor.

Megan continues:
2) It's not like the Mayor and City Council voted to give the libraries zero dollars. To read posts on this list, it seems as if every single library is being boarded up tomorrow.

The Mayor and City Council made it quite likely that the library board will close the three libraries.

3) Are there other things in the budget that could probablly be trimmed, frozen, knixxed or whatever - I am sure there probably are those savings oppurtunities - so why didn't ANY council members vote NO against the budget?

At my property management job, if I want to spend more money in one category I have 2 options - cut expenses some where else - OR raise more revenue - so what can the libraries do to raise more revenue?

-Megan G.

The City Council and Mayor made this decision. The Mayor is running away from it, and trying to blame Patty Anderson (the former State Auditor), Tim Pawlenty - and everyone else besides who is really responsible - he and the Minneapolis City Council. The buck stops with the City Council on this one.