Monday, January 29, 2007

London Public Library: out of control

The London Public Library created a stir at city hall on two fronts last week when it submitted its $15.25 million budget request to board of control during deliberations on the 2007 city budget. As with other boards and commissions, city administration had set a generous target increase for the Library of three per cent above its previous funding level of $14.58 million — above both the rate of inflation and growth in the city's assessment revenue — allowing the Library to propose an increase of $437,000 to its budget for a total of $15.02 million. The submitted budget represented instead a 4.6 per cent increase, or $230,000 over target, which the Library defended to support the hiring of literacy and youth co-ordinators and to expand collections.

Anne Becker, the Library's chief executive officer, warned board of control that it would have to look at closing library branches or reduce operating hours, or both, if it did not receive the additional $230,000 in funding, setting off a minor tempest on the board:

"This is an issue that concerns me," said Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco-Best … "I have difficulty hearing 'If we don't get $230,000 now we've to go back and look at (closing branches).'"

[Controller Gord] Hume and other board of control members said they were "caught off guard" in budget talks by what they interpreted as a threat to get more funding.
And in what can only be interpreted as a coercive budget coup by the Library to put pressure on council, Becker told the board that it had already hired the two co-ordinators. Nevertheless, board of control relented to some extent and agreed to recommend to council that it give the Library $128,000 from assessment growth revenue to hire the literacy co-ordinator and to expand collections — $53,000 and $75,000 respectively, the latter $25,000 less than the Library's demands — which would be an overall budget increase of 3.9 per cent. However, the Library's threats still hang over council as it reviews the tax-supported budget in February. But despite their reception by politicians and their portrayal in the media, it is not necessary to construe them as threats at all — in fact, they should be welcomed as opportunities.

The Library is a case study in out-of-control city departments, resulting from both unsound political direction and its own administration. The city's funding of the Library increased 14 per cent between 2003 and 2006, averaging an annual 4.8 per cent increase, and the Library is forecasting further increases above the city's three per cent target in the next two years (Boards & Commissions PDF). And according to the city's own Financial Report Card 2006, the city spent $52 per resident on libraries in 2005, well above the $44 median of other Ontario municipalities as compiled from the BMA Municipal Study 2006. At the same time, the Library's holdings of 3.08 per capita are significantly lower than the average of 3.30 according to OMBI data (Service Growth PDF). Although most Londoners would probably be satisfied with the Library system's service, much of their relatively substantial investment is hidden in taxes, for which they appear to be receiving a relatively poor return.

The implicitly expensive holding-to-cost ratio of London's Library and its apparent operating budget shortcomings in spite of abundant budget increases over the past four years owes in large part to the political opportunism of council and the mayor in directing the great capital expansions of the early part of the decade. Rapid expansion of branches and system space, including the Central Library relocation and expansion, as well as costly refurbishments of existing branches, served as aggrandizing and shiny electoral advertisements for politicians at the time, but were also responsible, along with other projects, for huge increases in property taxes to support capital budgets and for a massive escalation in the city's debt and debt servicing costs. From the Library's operating perspective, however, the capricious expansion necessarily left it with increased servicing and maintenance costs just to sustain previous levels of service. Arguably, the 14 per cent increase in the Library's operating budgets is not sufficient to keep pace with the increase in demand inherent to the expansions, and both the Library and city staff do in fact make this argument. In view of this, however, the city would appear to be continuing its reckless course without regard to the demands of operating budgets by approving land acquisition last year for a new Northwest Branch Library to open by 2012 — and during the last election, DeCicco-Best was making promises to build five new branches!

The carelessness and lack of planning by politicians should not serve as an excuse to the Library board either, however. As with many bureaucracies, the Library is top-heavy in administrators who are unaccountable to the public and whose principle objectives, in the absence of other incentives, inevitably become the satisfaction and expansion in the number of their administrative fellowship; i.e., literacy and youth co-ordinators, positions which the Library has managed to exist without during its history and the justifications for which (available here) are poorly communicated at best and contrived at worst. The limited onus on the Library to justify only its targeted increase — which it preempted by shuffling existing spending to obtain some of the objectives of its over-target budget — instead of its entire previous budget is an invitation for its administrators to set increases, and a lost opportunity to promote restraint and reduce their bureaucratic sense of entitlement to those amounts.

Much of the chaff of administrative overkill in the London Public Library could be eliminated by requiring it to justify its entire expenditure on at least a semi-annual basis and by the political will to thoroughly scrutinize the proffered rationales — an obligation that, by the way, should be extended to other city departments and boards as well. In the absence of such an exigency, however, there are already immediately obvious courses of action to reduce the Library's budget and, oddly enough, among them are the Library's own "threats:"
  • in fact, the Library should close some branches; the Glanworth branch, for example, is only open four hours a week, and the Northridge and Carson branches are both one-staff branches that are open limited hours and whose locales are serviced already by the Masonville and Crouch branches;
  • by the Library's own calculations, eliminating Sunday opening at the Central Library — a recent innovation anyway — would save $65,000, in part because regular staff are paid extra-time for Sundays; and
  • the Library should stop the acquisition of entertainment DVDs for circulation purposes as this service duplicates (and unfairly competes against) the services of existing private businesses.
The provision of "free" public services in itself, of course, distorts any gauge of actual demand, and the Library's claims for service demand for acquisitions and other services must be met with some corresponding skepticism. The solution to this and many of the Library's other problems is attack the operating budget from the revenue end — that is, to simply institute service fees relating to the costs of recovery for its services. For just one example, fees for use of computer time could not only help recover the growing costs of a rapidly expanding part of the Library's service but would also provide useful and meaningful indicators of present and future demand for the feature. Even more fundamentally, a basic user fee for library cards alone would close the gap between the library's own revenue and the demands it makes on the city taxpayers.

Unfortunately, both the Library and the city's politicians are engaging in political gamesmanship over their perquisites and public image, at great cost to the taxpayers of London. Until the political will exists to overcome populist pandering and implement reforms, the Library's budget will continue to make disproportionate demands at budget time.

See also We're only in it for the money.


Jake L said...

In the last ten years, the city has built or renovated SEVEN libraries: Central, Crouch, Masonville, Westmount, Sherwood, Jalna (White Oaks), and Argyle (Dundas East). Five of these branches were built from scratch, while the remaining ones were renovated. The Jalna branch, for example, was only built in the early 1990's, yet it was completely renovated within the past year. I have never heard of any other Canadian city putting that much capital into a library system in such a short amount of time.

Now we hear from DeCicco-Worst that she wants to build FIVE more new branches within four years. I'd say that's at least $50-100 million dollars (of mostly debt) being placed into just one municipal department in only 15 short years!

As a future accountant, spending that many dollars into almost all of the London Public Library's infrastructure in such a short period of time is a fiscal disaster--not just with the initial capital costs and debt, but with long-term maintenance and depreciation of the assets. The branches will all look shiny and modern for the time being, but not for long. Eventually, after the depreciable useful life of 30-40 years, the city will have to replace or rebuilt the ENTIRE capital infrastructure all over again! This is a ticking fiscal time bomb for future taxpayers.

The recent capital spending binge at the London Public Library can be attributed to Controller Gord Hume, since he sits on the library board. This man is literally the king of pork barreling projects in London. He is also the architect of the so-called "Creative Cities Task Force", another bureaucratic example of taxpayer's toil. Need I remind you of his orgasmic wet dreams about building a "Performing Arts Centre"?

Peter K. said...

although I agree with the Hume comments, libraries are an integral part of a healthy community. I really can not believe that either of you would think that educating the public or, moreover, increasing public access to knowledge is a bad thing. Let me guess you prefer tax cuts so that individuals can buy their own books. Better yet, lets create incentives for privatized knowledge companies where for only a few dollars a day you too can have access to information.

I would be happy to pay an additional $48 per year making Sir Robert Borden's image well known around the horseshoe.

Oh wait, you two don't need a Library card when you have Chapters... eh?


Anonymous said...

You missed the main point. Revenue streams could help defer the costs. Why are late fees so low? They could double and still be fair value. Double!
Mapmaster made a similar point about the computers. Even better was his point about "Entertainment" DVDs. Is the library providing an essential service by stocking bad Bruce Willis Films? If DVDs are essential maybe stick to Oscar winners.
Then there is Wolfe Performance Hall. It has been very poorly managed. It is a magnificent facility but when was the last time you attended anything there? Every hour it sits empty tax dollars are being burned.
The Library has great potential but going to city hall, cap-in-hand doesn't serve anyone's long term interests.
It''l be interesting to see how long A.B. lasts.

MapMaster said...

peter k. said:

I would be happy to pay an additional $48 per year…

User fees would allow you to do just that, or more, or as much as you deem the services to be valuable to you. To defend reliance on taxes for revenue suggests that instead you would be happier to compel everyone else to subsidize the Library's waste and inefficiencies.

The comment, and the political treatment of the subject, is indicative of the too-common mentality that the Library is some sort of sacred cow that is or ought to be above the sordid business of directly charging consumers. But it is nothing less than a service that must be paid for, like other services, and its patrons do actually consume them. Removing on-time pricing for its services makes it impossible to calculate actual demand and excuses the Library from having to make meaningful defences of its budgets.

To the inevitable argument that user fees inflict disproportionate harm on lower income people, one should be reminded that lower income people are just as vulnerable to property tax increases themselves, whether they are renters or homeowners. To encourage the over-dependence on property taxes does them as much disservice as it does anyone.

Jake L said...

Pete, I never said that we should get rid or eliminate all of London's libraries. I agree that libraries play an imperative role in learning.

With that said, I don't agree that present and future taxpayers in London should have to pay the price for camera-friendly politicians overspending in one area in a short amount of time.

Realistically, replacing one library every few years, in my opinion, is reasonable if it makes economic sense. However, you cannot possibly justify the city wanting to replace/remodel most of London's branches in barely ten years. I've already demonstrated the monetary consequences of this.

Carmi said...

It is difficult to have a discussion about libraries without at least trying to understand the difficult-to-quantify impact that they have on literacy - and, by extension, literacy's impact on society as a whole.

These are enabling institutions whose absence from the stage would hurt in ways we're barely capable of understanding.

Still, rampant budgetary consumption is something we can't afford - from libraries, arenas and run-down theme parks. So someone's gotta cut somewhere.

Or maybe not.

Successful private-public partnerships in other major cities have allowed corporate sponsorship to pick up the slack left where public funding leaves off. At some point, we need to move past our assumption that libraries are paid for by tax dollars and deep-pocketed corporate and private donors.

If we run it more like a business, who's to say that we'll even HAVE to make these Hobson's Choices in future?

Just thinkin'...

Peter K. said...

Well there are a series of interesting comments here.

First, Anony. said:

"Is the library providing an essential service by stocking bad Bruce Willis Films? If DVDs are essential maybe stick to Oscar winners.
Then there is Wolfe Performance Hall. It has been very poorly managed. It is a magnificent facility but when was the last time you attended anything there?"

In a way they are providing a valuable service by stocking bad Bruce willis films. Individuals who take out such films will be searching past many other underground noncommercial films/doc.s etc. that may peak some interest and would make their way into otherwise uncultured dvd players.
I have attended a number of events as of late in the Wolfe Performance hall. During the city elections, a number of 'town hall' type discussions with/between candidates took place.
As an organizer in the city I have tried to rent the hall yet found the cost far too high. Would adding a privatized element to the managment of the facilities decrease that cost? I doubt it. In addition, there is no way I want my audience starring at doritos ads while hearing a lecture on sustainable community structures.

Mapmaster said:

"To the inevitable argument that user fees inflict disproportionate harm on lower income people, one should be reminded that lower income people are just as vulnerable to property tax increases themselves, whether they are renters or homeowners."

Well this is why the wealthy in a city should pay much higher taxes then the poor. Lets be honest, the capital that filters into already inflated bank accounts is generated off the backs of the workers (the poor). When was the last time you witnessed a twenty dollar bill baking bread, pumping gas or flipping burgers?
Besides, the argument you put forth is way out of proportion. the increases you speak of would not amount to the type of user fees that have been suggested (for a general user of the service - In addition, you can call me, a library patron, a consumer all you want, it doesn't mean I fit into your neoliberal economic model).

Jake L. said:
"However, you cannot possibly justify the city wanting to replace/remodel most of London's branches in barely ten years. I've already demonstrated the monetary consequences of this."

Now I agree with you, in part, here. We tend to tear down old, perfectly functional, buildings too often in this city, in order to line the pockets of the horeshoe friendly developers by rebuilding through corporate contracts (friends council members but mainly controllers). This does not make monetary sense. Closing down libraries is rarely a good thing. renovating current infrastructure with creativity is where our bullshit "democratically" elected officials fall short.
So, in short, replacing=bad, remodeling=good (stimulates local economy - as long as the contracts are given to local companies... another issue that chaps my ass... toronto contractors soaking up an increasing portion of building contracts at an alarming rate - WTF?).

Carmi Said:
"If we run it more like a business, who's to say that we'll even HAVE to make these Hobson's Choices in future?"

I would suggest that if we ran it more democratically, with greater transparency and accountability, we would end up with a much more effecient and paricipatory result. Running it like a business only narrows the conceptualization and imaginative possibilities that a large number of inputs would offer. And no, comment cards don't cut it.


fenris badwulf said...

The life forms running this Library in London certainly are advanced life forms. I am moved to admiration. Imagine, using the Library system as a means of money laundering and providing slush funding. Impressive.

I want to know about these wonderful people. Surely they are models of efficiency. Global Warming never cooled down more, more faster.


Anonymous said...

Instituting fees for use of the library computers would just force a lot of people to go to the already strained CAP sites downtown, and who's to say it's easy for everyone to go downtown in such a sprawling city?

More to the point, the computer access has become somewhat of a joke. Privacy is non-existant as the corporate masters of the library have seen fit to firewall every other website on the "e-mail/job bank" computers as well as crop the screen so people can't even log out of their e-mail programs! Nobody would pay for such a pittance of service and it's fairly cheap at the internet cafes so the end result is likely that library computers would become obsolete.

As for the fees being "so low" - you think 50 cents a day is low?! Return something a week late and see how fast that adds up! I've paid more fees than the books are even worth with the amount the library charges now! You must not have been since they were 10-15 cents a day...

Lisa said...

Apparently the last anonymous commenter does not visit the library very often, or else they only borrow DVDs. The fines are indeed too low. Contrary to the "information" provided in the comment, the library does not charge .50 a day. With the exception of high demand items such as DVDs and bestsellers, patrons are charged .30 a day for regular adult material. Children's material is indeed .15 a day, and seniors also pay only .15 a day for late material. I will also note that the library sets a limit on fines per item, so even if you keep a book for a year, you won't be charged more than $9.00, so long as you return it. If you are borrowing a children's item, you won't pay more than $6.00. Considering that you cannot even purchase a new paperback for less than $9.00, I'd say the fines are quite reasonable, especially when you can borrow books that cost well over $100.00.

I would also like to remind anonymous that the reason there are late fees is to encourage patrons to return their items so that other taxpayers can have access to library material. The revenue generated from fines also goes back into the library system.

The library shouldn't stop at fines, but should introduce a small annual user fee, say $5.00 a year, for anyone wanting a library card. After all, now that library users are being referred to as customers, it only seems right that the people using the library pay something for the services they use. I hardly think $5.00 is too much to pay for access to computers and millions of dollars of material. I'd like to think this would also reduce the burden on London taxpayers, but considering how fiscally irresponsible the library administrators have proven themselves to be, I suspect it would merely cover the cost to build more reading gardens and to hire more administrators, resulting in the library asking for yet another increase next budget time.

As for your comments about the computers, if you want privacy, don't go to a public place. I will further note that the email job bank machines are precisely for checking your email or looking for work, not for surfing the web. The branches I visit have other computers for people looking to access other websites.

Lisa said...

Comrade Pete says;

"the wealthy in a city should pay much higher taxes then the poor. Lets be honest, the capital that filters into already inflated bank accounts is generated off the backs of the workers (the poor)."

So, the rich have less right to their money than the poor? Should burger flippers and surgeons be paid the same rate, or is it just that surgeons should pay a greater portion of their income via taxation to support the community though they spend their days saving people's lives. Or is it simply evil corporate bastards who should pay more, though they might provide the burger flipper with a job. Perhaps the state should simply shut down the dorito factories and liquidate the assets to feed the poor. Society would also see the additional benefit of reduced obesity rates and a reversal of the climate change trend. Clearly the community would be much more "sustainable" if we got rid of money all together and instead instituted a ration system modeled on the philosophy of Karl Marx:

"From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need."

For you see, those evil rich people who provide back breaking employment for the poor, will merely pass the cost of higher taxation onto their workers, via fewer hours, jobs and raises. Only the state planners, with the support of community groups working for the cause of the proletariat, can be trusted to administer the economy.

Peter K. said...

Lissalini said:

"So, the rich have less right to their money than the poor? Should burger flippers and surgeons be paid the same rate, or is it just that surgeons should pay a greater portion of their income via taxation to support the community though they spend their days saving people's lives."

Your shallow analysis of class politics reveals your socio-economic background like hypoxia after complete asphyxiation.
It is a shame to see such writing talent be lost to a %50 off sale at le chateau.

How do rich people absorb so many resources? what is wealth? Financial wealth (capital) can be considered stored labour units. As I said before, money doesn't "work". People work. Products are the result. Accumulation of such wealth is the accumulation of labour units. When someone is making a disproportionate amount of income (For example, the ceo of TD Canada Trust will make 104 million this year while the majority of TD canada trust employees can't afford to save the downpayment for a house) then government should redistribute it.

Your surgeon comments would take way more time then I have to explain. I will give you some hints: Who can afford University? Who can afford Med School? Who grew up in houses that finances were never an issue so those concerns were never a distraction. who grew up in neighborhoods where "organic vegetables" was a common term, and who grew up thinking rice/beans, pasta with shit ass tomato sauce was a luxury... etc. the list goes on.

Poor people rarely become surgeons.


Mike said...

Classes? Please stop. The dust is getting all over the inside of my monitor. What is this, 1923?

That school is ripping you off.

If you really do still want to believe in class war, then World of Warcraft is the proper venue in 2007. Down with the oppressor battlemages! Up with elves that shoot arrows at things!

Lisa said...

Comrade Pete;

Did you watch Barney as a youngster, for it seems you share his double padded vision of a socialist utopia.

You unjustly assume that I am a member of the oppressive "class", commonly referred to as the bourgeoisie. Actually, I get a "refund" at tax time, though I have no investments to serve as a tax shelter, so I must be on the side of the "labour units." In fact, I do think rice and beans are a luxury, and not only because they are damn tasty, but also because I am thankful I am not yet "compelled" to line up for government rations.

On the subject of disproportionate amounts of income, do you believe that Ivy business school graduate Anne Becker, the current CEO of the library and former CEO of CAA, should be paid nearly $100,000 a year while people are sleeping on the street? Is managing a library somehow more noble than working in an emergency ward? I wonder if you approve of the recent pay increase the Ontario government granted itself, meaning backbenchers will now receive $110,000 and the premier $198,620 per annum, not including expenses. How does this compare to the wages paid to the Walmart greeter, who can barely afford his rent, let alone a fancy SUV like Dalton McGuinty's. Worse still, the "labour units" are funding the racket through their tax "donations."

It takes capital to buy a house, which is obtained through labour. We're all "labour units", and people work for money that they can transfer to obtain products, like food and shelter. And even if you get rid of money, people will only survive through work, unless of course, they can get something for nothing by lining up with their hand out with visions of lynching oil tycoons dancing before their eyes as they ride to their local activist's office on that oil burning bus. But so long as that bus is publicly funded, NO PROBLEM. I guess you won't mind if I help myself to your fridge if it is fuller than mine.

Rich people may absorb more resources than the poor, but the rich also provide more opportunities to the poor by investing their capital (savings) into the market. This means jobs. The street sweeper is as necessary perhaps as the surgeon, but the surgeon gets paid more money because he has abilities, fostered through study and education investment, that not everyone is capable of or willing to undertake.

Your apparent utter confusion regarding basic economics and human rights would take up way more time that I care to devote to you and thus I refer you to "Economics in One Lesson" by Henry Hazlitt, available in PDF format here.

Peter K. said...

Mike, thanks for your response. It has articulated your background effectively.


Well I must of hit a nerve on that one. It seems you didn't like being catergorized as the bourgeoisie/fascist. Well, I can tell you I'm most definately not a communist, yet you made that assumption right off the bat (although there has never been an actual communist state in human history). Even though, Karl Marx was one of the most prolific political philosohers of the last century and a half, humans are not ready for utopian communities.
The soviets were great until they added the centralised union structure. Then we saw one of the greatest monsters ever created.
Even though the Soviet Union's brutality was vast, its torment and oppression pales in comparison to Neoliberal capitalist "democracies" and our impact on the rest of the world.

To clear a few things up; I believe that hierarchy in whatever form needs to be challenged. Whether you're an elite because you sit in public office or because you're a fascist capitalist exploiting the workers below you; the power pyramid must go. Before you get all uppity about utopian societies in connection to what I am saying; if you have studied anthropology at all you know such societies exist now and have existed for thousands of years.

I am in favour of elimiting the state but not if it will be replaced by capitalist parasites.

"Nationalism is a failure of our imagination."


P.S. - Telling me that challenging our current economic structure automatically makes me a communist reminds of our old 'friend' Mcarthy. What next, I'm a terrorist?

Lisa said...

Comrade Pete says:

"I am in favour of elimiting the state but not if it will be replaced by capitalist parasites."

And there shall be be no compromise, as necessarily there is no alternative to the state.

Honey Pot said...

There was talk at one time of using the school libraries as the branch libraries in each hood. Every school has a library, though most books are geared to the age of the children. That could be easily fixed. With the decline of the birth rate, and all these empty school rooms, the buildings should be utilized by the community. There was concern of just any member of the public walking into a school because of safety concerns for the children. I am quite sure that obstacle would be easily taken care of with a few security precautions. To me it made sense, in more ways than one. Schools used to be the center of a community, a place where people gathered for a number of reasons. We do pay for them with our taxes, why not utilize them to the fullest, instead of having them in lock-down mode after the 3:30 bell rings? I think it would save a whack of taxpayer money.

basil said...

Pete K.

I fail to see how you can view the intentions of those who seek the power of office, hence control over the actions of others, as some how more noble than those who seek to make money for themselves. At least one who profits from a free market may still value freedom. There is no parasite greater than the politian. The worst kinds of people gravitate to political power - Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini - none of whom were ever successful capitalsts that I know of - why the hell would you want to give political types absolute power to "redistribute" much of anything but the fodder they specialize in?

No, there has never been a true communist society that I know of, and that is because of that variable known as human nature - greed - which I am sure you intelligent enough to realize affects more than just the most successful capitalists.

I fully admit my absolute ignorance of anthropology: can you please name for me some of these utopian societies of which you speak?

Mike said...

Mike, thanks for your response. It has articulated your background effectively.

We are a diverse society that accepts all the colours of the multidimensional rainbow, no?

The background you should concern yourself with is the one called the 20th century, in which people possessed by envious, greedy, materialistic delusions of "class" murdered upwards of 100,000,000 and bankrupted whole continents. That's the background you should bone up on, not commie Monster Manuals from second year social sciences syllabi.

gm said...

Remember the guy with the funny hair on the lip? He also espoused the same rhetoric as the commies and yes he was a socialist of the nationalist variety instead of the international flavor.

Anonymous said...

hey, enough with the Spy v. Spy sideshow, when is everybody going to admit that the library's financial issues are directly related to the decision to partner with the YMCA, and that the library admins have just not had the balls to rip off the public to the same extent that the YMCA is willing to do??

Pete K. said...


"We are a diverse society that accepts all the colours of the multidimensional rainbow, no?"

Multidimensional means; more then one dimension.

Dimension means:

di·men·sion Pronunciation (d-mnshn, d-)
1. A measure of spatial extent, especially width, height, or length.
2. Extent or magnitude; scope. Often used in the plural: a problem of alarming dimensions.
3. Aspect; element: "He's a good newsman, and he has that extra dimension" William S. Paley.
4. Mathematics
a. The least number of independent coordinates required to specify uniquely the points in a space.
b. The range of such a coordinate.
5. Physics A physical property, such as mass, length, time, or a combination thereof, regarded as a fundamental measure or as one of a set of fundamental measures of a physical quantity: Velocity has the dimensions of length divided by time.
tr.v. di·men·sioned, di·men·sion·ing, di·men·sions
1. To cut or shape to specified dimensions.
2. To mark with specified dimensions.

Based on this definition which is accurate,
your smart ass comment was really quite sad, uncultured and without creativity (that is no surprise i quess). It didn't make sense... at all.

You have presented a good question and one that I should answer. Unfortunately by doing so I would be opening myself up to a world of dialogue that I'm pretty sure a bunch of accountants, economists and especially capitalists would not understand. Therefore it would just be a long string of conservative rhetoric.

Pete K.

Lisa said...

Oh come on Pete K - us "accountants, economists and especially capitalists" are eagerly awaiting your enlightened response to Basil.

Under a free market capitalist society, no one is forced to support businesses they don't like. So, if you don't like Walmart, you don't shop there. The surest check on corrupt capitalists are the wallets of the consumers. By contrast, in totalitarian regimes, the tyrants in power own your wallet, and if you try to resist, you'll lose what little liberty remains and possibly your life.

Mike said...

Apologies Pete, I'll try to use easier words. Everyone else who already knew the word "multidimensional", or at least its compound parts, knew that I meant sense 3.

The point is that in our multicultural society of tolerance and diversity you MUST listen to all the voices instead of dismissing some of them just because you don't like their "backgrounds".

Among those voices is the voice of my community, the community with my background, which just happens to resolve down to one person, who by coincidence happens to be me, who happens to be typing this.

If you want to speak out against diversity and listening to all the voices then I've got no problem with that, but you should beware that Human Rights laws were created to stomp on people like you, who dismiss others on the basis of their background.

Turn back now from the path of discrimination, before it's too late.

Anonymous said...

There is a lot of financial mismanagement in Public libraries. A look at any agendas and minutes of "self-proclaimed managers" meetings will reveal the trivial things some of these people are involved with, day in, day out at the public's expense. Where is their accountability to be found?

Anonymous said...

Why public libraries cannot charge...because it's the law, smarty-pants!
Library Fees
1. 36. What services are free under the Public Libraries Act?
Any of the following services provided by a library must be provided to residents free of charge (Public Libraries Act subsections 23(1) and (2)):
admission to a public library or use in the library of the library's materials,
reserving and borrowing circulating materials specified in section 2 of Public Libraries Act Regulation 976 *,
using reference and information services as the board considers practicable.
*The following materials are specified in Public Libraries Act Regulation 976 section (2):
books with hard, soft and paper covers,
audio materials designed for people with disabilities,
sound recordings,
audio and video cassettes,
tape recordings,
video discs,
motion pictures,
film strips,
film loops,
micro materials in all formats,
computer software, and
multi-media kits.