What the Library Means To Me; or Let the Heads Roll; or For Once, I Told Ya So

Yesterday, the voters of Louisville staged a tax revolt, and despite what all the opinion surveys were saying prior to the election, I went on record last week predicting the Library tax would go down to defeat. And it did. That’s because, unlike all the privileged and well-appointed elites in the Library Yes TV ads (Mayor Abramson, David Jones, Denny Crum and the like) who urged all of us paycheck-to-paycheck working schlubs to give up yet more of our shrinking salaries, the rest of us at ground level were listening to our neighbors. The neighors who, like me, are paying too much for health insurance, gasoline, milk, home heating and all the other things that somehow the inflation statistics never seem to realistically indicate. As I said before, I consider myself on the left of the political spectrum, but on this issue I bonded with my conservative friends. Based on the responses to the vote by the library PR folks, I’m still wondering if they really got the message of what happened yesterday. They had a freeze-dried ready response to make it sound like they won, even though the tax was shot down handily. “It’s a win, because at least we got people talking about the library.” Well, maybe so. But at the same time the library keepers were still fast to shoot down Rep. Hal Heiner’s bond plan. Like the opposers of the 86/64 plan, such people have their views set down in dogmatic stone. Heiner’s plan might be all you get, so don’t be so arrogantly rigid. It’s best to go for it while the interest in the libraries is high, or the momentum will be lost as people become preoccupied with the other ongoing realities of their lives. The message of the voters yesterday was clear, and it is this: “We want better libraries, but we don’t want a tax increase to do it.” That can be done. But to do it, some stubborn people will have to let go of their coveted plan A, and stop dismissing all other plans as unworkable. They are not unworkable. So grow up and get to work.


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