The latte defense exposed

first_imgThe library levy just barely passed. But why did it struggle so much?The simple answer? The economy stinks.“It was not anti-library,” District Trustee Merle Koplan said. “It’s the taxes.”But behind the bookshelves, there were other reasons for this close call.Demons.And the finger was pointing at us.Should have been easyOn the surface, this levy thing should have been a piece of cake. After all:• Everybody loves libraries. Books and kids and reading. It’s all good. Like police and firefighters, we’ll reach into our pockets and pay whatever is asked.• Voters had already approved a $43 million bond to build — among other things — a fancy new building. It’s going up for all to see right now. Surely voters would also support a levy that would help staff the new joint seven days a week.• It will only cost you a few lattes a year. That’s it! $16 extra a year.But hold on a secThe Columbian knew all of this, of course, but after some vibrant discussion decided to editorialize against passage of the levy. In the end, it was just the wrong time to ask taxpayers for more money. Plus, this was a 15 percent increase for them. We thought, who the heck is getting increases today?We knew recommending “no” would make some community power players unhappy. But that can never be part of the decision. Then the e-mail came in. It was from a library supporter.“It wasn’t enough to editorialize against the library’s levy measure…” the e-mail began “…You have to run a poll designed to discredit the library district right before the election.”Demons.Our unscientific web poll the library supporter was talking about asked readers about both the new City Hall and the new library. Both are beautiful buildings.last_img read more