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L.A. Weekly Readers Sound Off on Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's Dismantling of Public Libraries

L.A. Weekly readers certainly aren't happy with Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's decision to dismantle the city's public library system, which is examined in our in-depth feature story titled, "City of Airheads."

While L.A. City Hall may have its fair share of airheads, our readers, who are sounding off in a major way, certainly don't fit that bill.

A reader named "S" writes: "After seeing the mayor on 'America's Next Top Model' mugging for the camera, it wasn't hard to know where his priorities lay. I'm still in shock that the staff for the city government is larger than the staff for the White House."

Kenneth Simon also writes in our comments section: "I tried to articulate just this view in a letter to several city council members, before they were faced with this recent budget decision. Most did not even respond to my message. One wrote and challenged me to come up with an alternative to cutting library budgets. I couldn't decide if the message was smirky or desperate."

Of course, some readers are still not impressed with our story, which found that Los Angeles is the only major American city other than Detroit to cut public library service to five days a week during a time when library attendance is at an all-time high.

Pantera writes: "This is a great example of people who support spending cuts in general, but oppose spending cuts on anything they personally enjoy. Here's the dirty little secret about spending cuts, THEY'RE PAINFUL. They're not called 'decreases' they're called 'cuts.' They're (not) going to be something you enjoy."

But a reader named "Observer" shoots back: "Pantera: you miss the point made by the article...The question is not do cuts need to be made, the question is where to make the cuts. The Mayor and Garcetti chose to protect their piece of the pie while saying to the rest of us who actually use the libraries: go 'eat cake.' We in Los Angeles pay for these services that, over time, have had a proven impact on young people and the quality of life in Los Angeles."

Michael Higby at Mayor Sam's Sister City also notes on his blog that "L.A.'s City Council rolled over and allowed the Mayor to strike a blow against literacy."

And former Los Angeles Daily News editor Ron Kaye, who was quoted in the article, writes on his blog with a strong touch of sarcasm: "Let's just empty all those beautiful new libraries we will be paying so dearly for over the next 20 years and convert them into more retraining centers for violent gang members -- something we are spending tens of millions of dollars on without any proof that they actually achieve anything positive."

Villaraigosa's raid on the Los Angeles Public Library system's budget has clearly touched a nerve. What do you think?

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.

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