Friday, April 18, 2008

Merle Widmer's Hiatus

Sorry I've been gone from my site. Encountered a bad cold and bronchitis. Evidently I'm still fighting it as the doctor wants another X-ray Monday. Haven't had the energy to handle the stress of blogging but I'll be back soon.

In the meantime, I suggest four books to read: "A Bound Man" by black author Shelby Steele, who like Obama was born of a white mother, "Day of Reckoning" by Patrick Buchanan, "Comeback" by David Frum or "Piece like a River" by Leif Enger.

You may want to visit my older blogs on my opposition and my research on the Peoria Public Library request for $35 million that will be presented to the City Council soon. These bricks and mortar buildings will house unsupervised computers that some on our Peoria City Council can't wait to approve. Councilman Montelongo even had his campaign signs illegally on Peoria Park District and Lakeview Library grounds to show his support, in the last election.

The council might note an article this week in the JS that reads "A man who caught the eye of a suspicious librarian in Collinsville has pleaded guilty by posses ion of unauthorized devices, mail fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Federal officials in East St. Louis say 28 year old Jason David Lingo of Granite City admitted Friday he purchased 131 credit card numbers last year and used a Collinsville Public Libraries computer to purchase merchandise with 30 stolen cards.

After receiving the merchandise, Lingo would sell or pawn the items".

Happening here in our public libraries? You bet. No supervision, false identity to use the libraries to create Social Security cards, look at porn, order merchandise, play computer games. Visit any library and look at what you see displayed on the user's screen. On my last three visits to Lakeview, not a single computer user was using any reference material from the library.(Dozens of shelves of space is still taken for reference material at every branch library even though it is all on library computers and can be accessed at the library or from a patrons home.) Yet the library board wants to add 100's more of unsupervised computers and needs the space to place them.

I asked a friend if he didn't have a computer at home. He said, "sure but why use and when I can use the library's computers free"?

The automatic checkout machines at Lakeview haven't worked for 6 months. Why not? No one has an answer that makes sense. You don't need a new building to buy self-checkout machines that work.

And whats wrong with using the relatively new Peoria Heights and Dunlap's newly expanded libraries? Both are greatly underused. More meeting room? Look at all the empty space in our school systems, churches and social organizations to name a few.

I don't blame people for asking. That's why we are supposed to elect people with common sense to not overload the community they represent with more property taxes to "Keep up with the Joneses".

$100,000 was spent on a successful referendum to mislead a gullible public and their leaders. Now, one of the supporters, Sen.David Koehler is quoted in the Peoria Observor on 2/19/08, "Senator David Koehler said he did not care about poll results done by those pushing this legislation. They are obviously trying to promote their issue, Koehler said. I really don't care what the polls say." (It was a piece of legislation in Springfield he opposed) Polls don't count. How interesting?

Few politicans who supported this refernedum never visited a Peoria Public library unannounced in their adult life. (A study conducted by an Associated Press-Ipsos, found that "only one out four adults do read books" and that women and older people were more avid readers and religious works and popular fiction were the top choices.

On 3/21/08, Borders Booksellers said it might put put itself on the sales block because of dropping book sales. Both Borders and Barnes and Noble have seen drastic drops in their stock prices.

Just a reminder. It was only 7 years ago that you gave the library board approximately $500,000 to add a second floor at Southside Library with an elevator ($200,000), the second floor is basically empty, go see for yourselves, and now our new head librarian says the building does not have enough space and staff and will be closed. (This library never had a chance to succeed for adults that work. It opens at 10:00 Monday and closes at 5:00 Friday. Brilliant planning? I think not.

Council, remember when you gave the Library Board money to keep the downtown library open on Sunday. Never did open on Sundays. What happened to the money?

Soft easy chairs, coffee and snacks--competing with tax-paying Borders and Barnes and Noble? Shades of the still money losing RiverPlex.

Please refer to my "library" blogs dated 4/1/07, 4/23/07, 2/20/08 and 2/28/08 to name a few for more of my research on the libraries actions in the past and their current needs claims.

I also blogged "A Look back to 2001", I failed to date it. I would say it was in 2005-6 when the JS was complaining about lack of space (Lakeview still has a thousand or more lineal feet of empty shelves).

On 1/8/03, a library spokesperson stated that Lakeview Library is so crowded that librarians do not have time to help patrons because they are so busy checking out books. Sorry, as a two or three times a week visitor to Lakeview, I find that statement is a false statement, more so even 5 years later. If librarians don't have time to help patrons check out books, why don't they install self-check-out-machines that every library in the country the size of Peoria has been using for years? A new building is not needed for self-check-out machines.

Over the years, records will show the City Council has a difficult time saying "no". bowing to pressure groups. Many people are telling me they have moved across the river as they see a never ending demand for more property tax dollars in Peoria City and County. They can live close by and still use all Peoria taxpayer paid for amentities.

When my County Board term is up, I may be next to move especially since my fair value on my home was raised by over $40,000 despite the fact that I have made no improvements since the 1990's. I'm appealing to the State Board of Appeals where I understand the state is trying to handle over 3000 appeal complaints from Peoria County alone. I'm told by some that since i am on the board, I'm respnsible. Sorry it doesn't work that way. Come to a full board meeting and ask some questions. I for one, will tell you why I have no real influence on property taxes and the picking of who sits on the Board of Appeals.

I am told there were only 100 appeal complaints last year.


Anonymous said...

I can understand the library providing fiction for kids, but why provide fiction for adults? If the purpose is to use tax dollars to entertain adults, why don't they ask the taxpayers if they would rather spend that part of the $35,000,000 for free fiction or free cable TV? And if the library insists on fiction for adults, why not buy it for pennies on the dollar by waiting a year after publication to purchase it?

Merle Widmer said...

The whole $100,000 referendum campaign was to appeal to people who remembers libraries as they were formerly. Bastions of Education and Learning. Nostalgia carried the day as many people I talked to voted yes hadn't set foot in a library for years.

I was visiting Lakeview Tuesday. The self checkout machines were back in service; sort of, I only had to ask for assistance once. I looked over the shoulder of the nine computer users. None were referencing any library materials.