Education Activist Tomas O'Grady Fighting For Our Libraries
LA library operating budgets were some of the first hit by budget cuts, and so far, education activist and CD 4 candidate Tomas O’Grady is the only one looking to do anything about it.
Libraries are safe, quiet spaces for kids studying after school, senior citizens during the day, and adults looking to escape: Library use increases during tough economic times. Multi-purpose rooms regularly host community meetings and events, but all that has changed thanks to the City Council.
Since defunding the libraries, the City Council has been silent on the issue while O’Grady has been waging a quiet and credible war with his grassroots coalition that includes families, Neighborhood Councils, and leaders in education and library administration.
In a letter addressed to the Mayor and City Council members, O’Grady laid out a number of specific cuts that he says will close the funding gap and allow libraries to return to normal operation. O’Grady targeted the General City Purposes Fund, discretionary accounts, perks for Council members and their staff, and outstanding fines and fees the City has failed to collect.
Many of those on the front lines agree with O’Grady: Last week LA City Chief Librarian Martin Gomez and the Librarian’s Guild President Roy Stone stood with O’Grady and called for the Mayor and City Council members to reopen and refund the libraries. Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council passed a similar motion.
“It’s the kids I worry about the most. Where do these kids go now?” O’Grady said. “It’s all about prioritizing and reallocating existing funds away from pet projects, bloated salaries and staffing levels and back into our communities where they belong.”
O’Grady seems to be doing his best to ensure our libraries reopen and that the Council has nowhere to hide.
Mayor Sam has obtained a copy of O'Grady's letter. Take a look at the proposal yourself and see what you think …