For those of you who live in omaha, you already know the crime being commited in my neighborhood, i.e. Florence. Florence was here before Omaha, and was annexed in 1917. When you hear about the problems in North Omaha, that's actually south of here. The Mormons over-wintered here in 1846. It's one of the most historic areas in the state.
And we're being robbed. The City of Omaha is short $12 million for 2009, and they've asked all departments to trim where they can. The Omaha Public Library Board, in their infinite (and, might I add, unregulated) wisdom, decided, rather than cutting hours and staff across all of Omaha (to include the new branch they JUST opened on Monday in west Omaha (where all the $$ is)), they're going to close our branch. In 3 weeks. They say it's temporary, and that they'll open back up in 2010, and that there's even $$ budgeted for renovations (it's bond $$, and can't be used for operations, by law) in 2010 (if it reopens).
Here's my major problems with this, in case you haven'tnoticed.
1) they opened a n ew branch in a higher priced neighborhood, with an annual budget of $730K while the Florence branch is only short $90K to finish out the year.
2) the library board is autonomous to the point that, once they're nominated by the mayor (they were actually nominated by the previous mayor, not the one who is in office now, although i have problems with him, as well), they can do anything they want with the funds allocated to the library system. they answer to no one.
3) they're nominated, not elected.
4)the library board says that absolutely, there will be renovation funds for the library. if it reopens. they won't guarantee that.
5) only one board member lives close enough to our branch to count (she lives about 1/2 mile away). the rest live in west omaha.
the closest branch from our branch is in "north omaha." it's only open 5 hours aday (and not after 5pm) because it's in a bad neighborhood. one of our local daycares decided to check it out, as an alternative to take her kids if our branch closes, and she wasn't even comfortable pulling into the lot, because of the "riffraff" in the lot.
there's been plans to "renovate" our area for years, and yet they never happen. everything that's happened here h as been because we, as Florence residents, have pushed for it, and made it happen. The big wigs downtown ignore us, and belittle us, and push us aside. Not this time, gang, not this time.
Oh, andby the way, the week after the U.S. Post Office announced that our Post Office was up for "consolidation," (which, btw, was revoked; we get to keep our post office) they announced the florence library closure. Yeah, right, we matter. uh huh. watch howmuch we matter.
Friday, August 28th, at 7 pm, is a rally at the Florence Library. Be there, and be square.