Archive for April 2009

Library patrons express support for keeping branches open

April 17, 2009

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A standing-room-only crowd packed the Thomas Crane Library’s Adams Shore branch last night to discuss possible budget cuts, and to ask library trustees to fight to keep the city’s three branch libraries open.

The hearing was one of three public meetings held this week at eachof the branch libraries (Wollaston, North Quincy and Adams Shore).  The response from attendees was unequivocal: The main library is great, residents said, but the branches fill a special  role in their respective neighborhoods — particularly for children and seniors who can’t easily reach or access the main library’s services.

For more than an hour, Quincy residents of all ages and from all walks of life described their personal connection to the Adams Shore branch. Mothers recounted the many hours they spent at the library as children, and how pleased they were to be able to share that tradition with their own children.  Seniors described relying on the branch’s large-print volumes and books on tape. A volunteer at the Germantown community center told how she regularly brings dozens of neighborhood children to the library on Tuesday afternoons, where the kids use the computers and reference materials to complete homework. Middle school children recalled how they loved attending story hour with “Miss Laurie” when they were younger, and how they now depend on her to help them with homework and school projects.

Many attendees expressed surprise to learn that the annual budget to operate the main library and all three branches amounts to just 1 percent of the entire city budget. Others questioned why the city would even contemplate closing library branches during an economic recession, when its free resources and computer access are needed more than ever.

“How come (the city) can spend $85 million to build the Concourse and millions more for 1,100 condos, but they can’t come up with a couple hundred thousand dollars to keep the libraries open?” one attendee asked.

Library trustees Harold Crowley, Alicia Coletti, Janet DiTullio and Sandra McCauley — accompanied by library director Anne McLaughlin — assured residents that they shared their support for keeping the branches open. “You’re preaching to the choir,” Crowley quipped.

Trustees also encouraged residents to share their concerns over possible branch closings with Mayor Koch and the City Council. 

Click here for a list of city officials and their e-mail addresses.

Boston’s Tax Day TEA Party: Up the revolution!

April 16, 2009
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sign-photoPhotos courtesy of Amy Kelly

Contrary to what the so-called “mainstream media” reported, there were more than a “couple hundred” people at yesterday’s Tax Day TEA Party on Boston Common. A lot more. Like, say, a couple thousand people. And that doesn’t count the thousands who turned out for Michael Graham’s waterfront TEA Party later that afternoon.

Now, I hate to disillusion you, but I can’t help but wonder whether the media intentionally underestimated the turnout at these TEA Party events, while at the same time blowing out of all proportion Homeland Security warnings about “right wing extremists.” (For the uninitiated, a “right wing extremist” is anyone who has yet to accept Barack Obama as his/her personal savior.)

Far from being a sea of crazies, yesterday’s TEA (as in Taxed Enough Already) Party was an upbeat and orderly civil demonstration. Both speakers and attendees expressed their frustration at the arrogance of our public officials, who seem to view hardworking taxpayers as an unlimited blank check with which to fund their perpetual gravy train. WRONG! If yesterday’s protest was any indication, that government gravy train is about to reach the end of the line!

In addition to the signs shown in the photos above (courtesy of photographer extraordinaire Amy Kelly!), here are some of my favorite signs from yesterday:

“Don’t spread my wealth, spread my work ethic”

“What’s in YOUR wallet? MY money!”

“A government big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take everything you have.”

That last quote comes, of course, from Thomas Jefferson — you know, our most hypocritical founding father who decried the evils of slavery while siring a bunch of his own with his wife’s half-sister/slave. “Do as I say, not as I do,” that was Tom’s motto. No wonder modern liberals are so crazy about him!