Monday, September 8, 2014

Reading in the Valley

Again in the hubbub of budgets for local municipalities is another example of how cuts seem like the easy thing to do but are in fact pretty painful to communities.

A while back the El Paso City Council, in an effort to make them look like they were actually being fiscally wise, decided to start charging people who live outside the city limits a fee to use the libraries.

I said it then and I'll say it again. That was a stupid and mean-spirited policy. It doesn't really save much money and cutting off access to libraries of poor families who can't pay the $50 a year fine just seems like the El Paso City Council's moral compass is off.

Commissioner Perez, who represents most of the areas in the County outside city limits wasn't given a heads up about it and diverted his commute to go speak against this policy at city hall. Despite the fact that he was doing what expect elected officials to do, actually stand up on behalf of the people they represent, the city council basically told him to go take a hike.

He even pleaded with them to phase-in the fee over a period of time. They still gave him the finger.

It was a terrible injustice that day. Poor people who live outside the City of El Paso got screwed. Giving credit where credit is do, then-City Rep who is normally pretty miserly about spending and City Rep Lily Limon both voted against the measure to impose the fine. They took a stand and voted on behalf of their constituents.

Its these types of votes that let you know what people who are in leadership positions are made of. Its not like the poor have a lobbying firm to whip votes on their behalf. They don't make big contributions to political campaigns. And not nearly enough of them vote. But true leaders that really are committed to representing the needs of their community step up and do the right thing when its time.

Mayor Jesus Ruiz of Socorro did exactly that last week at their city council meeting. Mayor Ruiz introduced a measure that would allocate funds to purchase books to be placed in recreational centers in Socorro.

Most people don't realize that outside of the city of El Paso there are no libraries except those housed in a school. The general public doesn't readily have access to books, computers, or the internet.

The measure was defeated in a 3-2 vote. For those of you keeping score down in the valley, here are the names that voted against making sure you kids and grandkids have access to books:

District 1 - Sergio Cox

District 2 - Gloria Rodriguez

District 3- Chito Bowling

In case you're wondering, Councilmen Rene Rodriguez and Victor Perez both voted in favor of the measure.

Whats particularly interesting is that Councilwoman Rodriguez and Councilman Cox rarely agree on anything and don't care for one another personally.

Again this is yet another example of misplaced priorities among our community's leaders in the name of "cost-savings".

Here's a crazy idea. Maybe if you invested more money in recreational activities we wouldn't have to keep giving so much of the money to law enforcement...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I haven't been as attentive as i should lately but a library in the area is what Gloria Rodriguez and Wille "I/Yo" Madrid were pushing for (I will explain the quotations to you later) & for her to vote against it I want to know her reasoning for doing so.

Alberto Flores