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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Vote NO on Proposition 2

By Janalee Gage


September 13, 2022

The city operates Ketchikan's public library, but since half of the population and all the school districts fall under the borough instead of the city, the borough covers about 40% of the public library's budget via a small non-areawide tax that is .7 mil from our property tax.

The proponents are pushing this as "cutting taxes" and "defending Conservative values," but voters must understand that if they do approve the initiative, it will not reduce our taxes. Instead, it would be undesignated, and still come out of your property tax.

What would be impacted if Prop 2 passes:

  1. the reduction of library operating hours.
  2. Half the community will be ineligible to get a library card
  3. eliminating all library programs for adults, children, elders, and teens
  4. Discontinuing library staff support for the activities of the Teen Advisory Group (T.A.G.)
  5. The loss of six jobs at the library held by residents who work for the Ketchikan Library both Full time and part-time.
  6. cutting staff means cutting the number of hours from 52 hours per week to 35 hours per week
  7. The ripple effect of 5 and 7 would mean the loss of the State Public Library assistance grant of $7,000, which requires the library to be open a minimum of 40 hours a week to obtain.
  8. the loss of the grant would mean the loss of half the number of new books, DVDs, and other materials added to the library collection each year.
  9. It would cancel Scholastic Teachable and other local library database subscriptions.
  10. Community members who live outside The City of Ketchikan and The City of Saxman would no longer be able to check out public library materials.
  11. this means the end of the agreement to share online library systems with the school district, which is borough run.
  12. putting the burden and increased system cost for school district libraries squarely on the borough and school district.

The Ketchikan library serves 8,558 residents of the City of Saxman and the City of Ketchikan, and 302 individuals want to decide for you what you can and cannot read or participate in at your public library.

Why? - Because a tiny minority wanted the City Council to violate the Alaska Constitution, The City of Ketchikan Anti-Discrimination act, and federal laws protecting minority groups.

In June, the public library hosted a Drag Queen Storytime. When a tiny but vocal minority was unable to force the city to cancel Drag Queen Storytime, they retaliated by getting an initiative added to our October ballot to end that non-areawide tax and thus "defund the library."

They explicitly cited the Drag Queen Storytime in their official filing.

Still, it is essential to note that some of these sponsors have tried to defund the library in years past. Others argue that libraries are wasteful because "everyone can just use the Internet."

I am a true believer in the process of the vote. However, I do not believe it is democratic if the community voting on the prop does not receive information regarding both sides of the issue so they may make an informed decision.

So those voting will have a clear understanding of the impact and how their yes vote will decimate the library. A library that has worked extremely hard to be inclusive of our community for over 120 years.

There are 4,000 voters in the Borough outside of the city limits who can vote on Prop 2 in October. I implore you all to get out and vote.

 Thank you for your time and understanding.

These are my thoughts and concerns; I do not speak for The Ketchikan City Council or the Ketchikan Pride Alliance.

Respectfully and sincerely,

Janalee Frost, Hunt, Talbot, Church, Wick, Snartamo, Minnich, Gage
 Ketchikan, Alaska



Proposition 2 - October 04, 2022


Editor's Note:

The text of this letter was NOT edited by the SitNews Editor.

Opinions expressed are solely those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Sitnews.

Received September 07, 2022 - Published JSeptember 13, 022

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