At its August meeting the library board voted almost unanimously to oppose the city's plan to cut its utility funding. The vote was 6 to 1 -the only supporting vote was Mary Koep (who sits on both the library board and city council).
This issue came up at Monday's council meeting when Councilperson Nelson Fisher moved to restore the funding cut by the city council at a prior meeting. During the heated discussion, Koep seemed to imply that the library board was in favor of cutting their own budget.
Thank you to Councilpersons Nelson Fischer, Olson, Nesheim, and Cumberland for keeping support of the library despite the misleading information presented.
As a library supporter I am relieved at the funding restoration. However, as a professional energy auditor, one aspect of the proposal Mrs. Koep promoted is appealing.
There is wisdom in having entities take responsibility for their own energy bills. When usage habits directly affect the pocketbook, usage goes down. This saves both money and energy resources. While cutting the utility payment would have placed a disproportionally large burden on the library, it may well have had the secondary effect of lowering their utility bills.
Why not take the positive aspect of this idea, and apply it fairly? Instead of choosing one building to cut all utility subsidies, cap the 2010 utility budget of every city-owned or supported building at 85-90 percent of the 2009 usage. The savings surely would be greater than cutting the entire library utility budget, and no services or staff would be lost.
I am certain creative and disciplined usage habits alone could account for this savings. Furthermore, it would put responsibility for using energy wisely into the hands of the users themselves - where it belongs.
Killings at Fort Hood
In the aftermath of the murders at Fort Hood I would like to see someone who is considered a leader in the Muslim community, make a statement condemning these senseless killings. I would also like them to tell the members of their religious community that contrary to some of their member's extremist beliefs, God doesn't condone, or in anyway look favorably on these actions. That the people who kill innocent people to draw attention to their cause, are not going to heaven, and they are not martyrs, but sick and twisted people with no conscience or moral code.
The actions of these people draw the anger of people everywhere towards good Muslim people and that is just human nature. Guilty by association they call it. Not right, but not unusual. As I said it's part of human nature, and the way to counteract it is by not being silent on the issue.
This nation is a homogenous nation made up of people of all creeds and nationalities. It was started that way and will always be that way. We have learned to get along, despite our differences and traditions. But we do not, and will not, allow extremism such as what as we saw in Texas. For the good of the Muslim people they need to condemn these actions publicly, or they will be condemned in the court of public opinion and that will lead nowhere but to more trouble.
Library services are important
In these tough economic times, it appears from my own observations that library usage has increased and these services are even more vital to our community. So, it was to my astonishment that the Brainerd City Council would consider cutting our local library budget. As I witnessed the discussion of the vote play out at the city council meeting, it appeared to me that council member Mary Koep, took on some rather deceptive strategies in order to get what she wanted, which was a reduction in the library budget. Based on some of the discussion by Ms. Koep, it also appeared to me that she does not actually support all of the services that the library offers, and they do offer many services in our community from reading time for children, wireless and computer access, meeting space for community groups, music/DVD selection, and an impressive selection of books.
I for one will stand up for these services, because I believe they are important to our community. It appeared that city council members, Cumberland, Nesheim, Nelson-Fisher and Olson agreed with my viewpoint. It was a proud moment to see these council members not back down on their support for the library, despite the tactics of one council member, Ms. Koep. I appreciate their stand on behalf of this vital community service.
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