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Saturday, January 27, 2007

Don Samuels Responds on Libraries

After Don Samuels stated in the newspaper of record that "the only use for a book is to throw it at them, or block a bullet", I sent him the following email.

From: Eva Young []
Sent: Tuesday, December 12, 2006 11:56 AM
To: Samuels, Don H; Megan Goodmundson;; Benson, Scott A; Lilligren, Robert W; Hofstede, Diane T.; Johnson, Barbara A; Alan Hooker
Subject: Don Samuels: "the only use for a book is to throw it at them, or block a bullet"

Dear Don:

Samuels said he understands the growing concerns of the libraries, "but at the same time, when you are a person at the other end of gun, tip of a knife, and in the middle of a threatening crowd, the only use for a book is to throw it at them, or block a bullet with it. We have to remember that. We cannot compromise public safety."

EY: I voted for you, when you ran against Natalie Johnson-Lee.

Libraries are a core part of government services. Putting money into libraries does not prohibit having police. Having libraries open helps keep young kids from getting into crime.

I am embarrassed to be represented by someone who makes such an appalling statement.

Eva Young
Near North

"Samuels, Don H"
Jan 25
The Library board is an elected body, put into the office at the same time and process as the city council. That board has a budget and is to make decisions based on that budget. That budget was seriously affected, as was the city's, by deep LGA cuts. The city's portion caused deep public safety compromise because public safety is completely dependent, as is the library system, on LGA dollars.

The city made serious compromises, cutting the police force, ultimately, by 130 officers. The city council meetings were swamped with protesters. Our emails were flooded with protest. We got calls from every sector of the community. Murder rates and violent crimes spiked. We cut the juvenile unit, had early retirements, froze wages at 2%.

Community members were running to their homes from their garages to avoid being mugged. West Broadway became a nightmare. I HEARD ABOUT IT believe me.

So when the library board, equally affected by cuts, came to us to be baled out, having not done its dirty work the way we did, having spared the public lashings and union discord we endured for our deep cuts to the public's safety. When they came to us for help and managed to make it seem that we were responsible, that it was the city vs. the libraries and public safety vs. books, it is time to set the record straight.

Don Samuels
Minneapolis City Council
Fifth Ward
(612) 673-2205

On further correspondance, I understand that Don had his response in his drafts folder, and that's why he'd taken so long to send it. I've done that myself.

I suggested the removal of the City Council $400.00 per month car allowance. Here was Don's answer to that one:

I wont introduce removal of the car allowance. I use my car endlessly on
city business and I also get nickeled and dimed for parking which I negligently never submit, even when there was no allowance. In addition, the trips are frequent and short and would require the kind of fastidious attention I am incapable of.

Join the real world, Don. Most other employees - including those at the city, have to justify the expenses they charge to the taxpayers. Why should you be exempt?