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Valley Industry and Commerce Association Endorses Measure L and More Funding for L.A.'s Public Libraries

Another major organization has jumped on the pro-Measure L bandwagon, which seeks to boost the budget of Los Angeles public libraries by giving them a larger percentage of existing monies in the city's general fund.

There's no proposed tax increase, in other words, which is why board members of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association (VICA), a San Fernando Valley pro-business outfit, overwhelmingly voted to back Measure L.

"The measure ensures that libraries will continue to provide important after-school and literacy programs, without raising taxes or fees," VICA President Stuart Waldman says in a prepared statement.

Measure L has also received endorsements from SEIU Local 721, AFSCME District Council 36, Empowerment Congress Southwest Area Neighborhood Council Chair Pat Jones and Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council President Patricia Berman, among other endorsements that include former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan.

A big coalition of business leaders, labor unions, and influential politicians have joined together to support Measure L, which is sponsored by L.A. City Councilman Bernard Parks, who chairs the city's Budget & Finance Committee.

The measure comes after Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the L.A. City Council severely cut the public library budget, resulting with L.A. libraries closing their doors five days a week -- the only major city to do such a thing.

Last year, L.A. Weekly published an expose titled "City of Airheads," which examined the controversial political decision to decrease funding for public libraries.

The feature story's findings outraged citizens and communities leaders, which helped spur the movement to find a way to re-open public libraries at least 6 days a week.

"Measure L guarantees that neighborhood public libraries in the city of Los Angeles will receive the funding they need to restore service hours and programs," VICA President Waldman says in a press release.

VICA also notes that L.A. public libraries operate the city's "largest network" of after-school programs, including homework tutoring, improving literacy skills for infants and toddlers, and helping students take SAT tests and apply for college.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.

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