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Writers support library-funding Measure L as police union opposes

Science fiction writer Ray Bradbury, the Writers Guild of America and an array of well-known authors and others publicly announced their support for Measure L on Thursday. Measure L, which will be on the March 8 municipal ballot in Los Angeles, is designed to carve out a greater share of city funds to support public libraries.

The announcement comes the same day that the L.A. Police Department's union, the Los Angeles Police Protective League, has said it will oppose the measure.

Authors who publicly endorsed the measure include bestselling crime writers Michael Connelly and Joseph Wambaugh, Middle East specialist Reza Aslan, Janet Fitch ("White Oleander"), Maxine Hong Kingston, Pico Iyer, Mona Simpson, "A Prairie Home Companion"'s Garrison Keillor, literary icon Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Poet Laureates Kay Ryan and Robert Hass.

Writers and libraries have seen strong support for the measure from the city government. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosia, L.A. City Controller Wendy Gruel, and all 15 members of the City Council have endorsed Measure L.

Our sibling blog L.A. Now explains the police union's opposition, writing, "League President Paul M. Weber said in a statement that the measure was 'ballot-box budgeting' that would 'create more problems than it solves' by diverting a greater share of the city’s property tax revenue to libraries without creating a stream of money to replace it."  

Rather than increasing taxes, Measure L would adjust how tax dollars are allocated. If passed, it would increase the Library’s Charter‐required funding within four years from the current .0175% up to a maximum of .0300% of each $100 of assessed tax value on property within the city. This would enable libraries, which are now open just five days a week, to return to a six- or seven-day schedule.

Other supporters of Measure L include the Los Angeles Business Council, the AFL-CIO, PEN Center USA, radio and television host Tavis Smiley, legal scholar Erwin Chemerinsky, filmmaker Gary Ross and former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan. If I'm reading the list correctly, also making a personal -- but not professional -- endorsement is current Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Ray Bradbury at the L.A. Times Festival of books in 2002. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (9)

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I guess the LAPD doesn't want people literate enough to read about their inflated salaries or their indiscriminate killings of unarmed people.....or the fact that crime is down but we continue to hire more and more morons to stand around after a crime happens and act important and then retire with a huge pension that we, the taxpayers have to support!!!

I think the fact that Police Chief Beck has made a personal endorsement is very important. He isn't afraid that the tiny added piece of the pie will harm his department, as are the nay-sayers and, obviously, the Police union.

If Measure L does not pass, we can all kiss good-bye any pretension in this city to the world of culture, education, literacy, civilization and the like. If it does not pass, it will show the world that indeed we are living in La-La Land, and we do not care about the future of our residents.

@glenn grab - "Morons"? You can't criticize the Police Union without calling police "morons"? Your post says a lot more about you than about the police. I'm voting yes on L and increased library funding, but it doesn't mean I'll endorse anti-police ranting like yours. Shame!

It just struck me as weird, cops opposing libraries...it's like apples commenting on oranges...why oppose something that will obvioiusly increase education, which hopefully leads to less crime; personally, I'd rather see kids in a library than on the street doing wrong. The death of libraries is a tragedy to begin with. As a lover of books (as in books, that have pages you turn with your fingers, not a page you flip on an e-reader, full on BOOKS) and having basically gotten a degree in reading, writing and teaching such, it is shameful to see a presence as large as a police force opposing something that is so obviously a benefit to society at large and large cities in particular.

If Measure L passes, young people will be able to spend more time in the libraries and less time getting into trouble in the streets. This is something any police officer should embrace.

all the cops care about is their huge retirement pensions + their overtime. they are so evil.

they don't even make an attempt not to be greedy / not caring about how they destroy lives. they couldn't care less about something so patently good as public libraries.

Unions of any kind are in the business of protecting the jobs of their members, so it is no surprise that the Police Officer's Union should be opposed to something that - even theoretically - could impact those jobs. What really needs to be evaluated is not whose jobs may be threatened, but what is of the best long-term benefit to the community. To me, that seems like a vote for "Yes" on Measure L.

I am a retired LAPL clerk typist, and am currently volunteering in the Sunland-Tujunga Library Friends' bookstore. In my 38 years with LAPL, I have never felt the library so threatened as in the past year. The city's attack on library services, with the 28% staff cuts, and the biggest cut in library hours in the 139-year LAPL history, have shaken me to the core.
I am in full support of Measure L, and am asking all my friends to support the measure, and to tell all their friends. I am not usually very political, but I feel very strongly that the library needs all our support.
I totally agree with Helene Mochedlover when she gave Police Chief Beck credit for endorsing Measure L. By the way, Police Union, could the extra library funds come from the inflated staffs of the Mayor and some Councilmembers and not affect the Police Department budget? (refer to the LA Weekly article, "City of Airheads")

Okay, let's put this into perspective...Last year's budget for the police department was 1.18 BILLION dollars, Fire was 495 Million dollars, and the library was 75 million dollars. Property taxes are only 20% of the total General Fund. The library whose Charter % has not been raised since the 1920's will be raised to .03 pennies per $100 dollars of property taxes and has to take care of all of its costs including paying for utilities which police and fire DO NOT have to pay. If you do all your math, LAPD gets $67 dollars out of every $100 dollars of property taxes plus more from the other 80% of the General Fund.

I don't buy the argument that Measure L is "ballot box" budgeting. That's the only way the people are going to be heard. It's called democracy. And it's not like the library is going to be rolling in money. We just won't be as bad off as we are now. So take a cue from the voters in the 1920's and the original writers of the Charter, and vote for Measure L!!!!


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