Thursday, March 12, 2009

Flatlining the Library

Since we have no real mayor, the person who makes many of the important decision in Portland is the City Manager, an unelected, and essentially unaccountable, government official. Like he did last year, the Manager has proposed to freeze the library system's funding.

Since the budget will be tight this year, the funding priorities are crucial. So it does not makes sense that a person who has never gone before the public to explain what he thinks the City's priorities should be has the power to make such important decisions. Yes, the City Council can modify, and will ultimately approve the budget, but it should start with someone who has articulated an overall vision for the City, and can then stand up and defend the budget choices they have made.
"City Manager Joseph Gray plans to recommend that the city's libraries be flat-funded for the second year in a row, causing library officials to launch a public lobbying effort even before Gray presents his budget to the City Council. ...

City spokesperson Nicole Clegg said the library budget proposal should be viewed in the context of the entire city budget, which is still being put together and is not ready for public review."

On June 9, we get to elect the Commission to change this.

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