Why Is New York City Planning to Sell and Shrink Its Libraries?

Defend our libraries, don't defund them. . . . . fund 'em, don't plunder 'em

Mayor Bloomberg defunded New York libraries at a time of increasing public use, population growth and increased city wealth, shrinking our library system to create real estate deals for wealthy real estate developers at a time of cutbacks in education and escalating disparities in opportunity. It’s an unjust and shortsighted plan that will ultimately hurt New York City’s economy and competitiveness.

It should NOT be adopted by those we have now elected to pursue better policies.

Monday, November 6, 2017

November 7, 2017 (Tuesday) NYC Elections- Voting Options & What Library Defenders Should About Candidates Running For Office

Candidates Steve Levin Victoria Crambranes, both running to be council member representing the 33rd district
Please remember to vote on Tuesday and remind all the library defenders you know to vote too. . .

No matter what, your votes sends a message to our elected officials that you vote and it can send a message* about what you care about, including libraries.
(* NOTE: If you are unhappy with the choices you can send a message by NOT voting particular lines or by writing in alternatives.  And, on things like judges, if you know and like some, but don't know about the others, only vote for the judges you like so you don't dilute your vote.  Voting Green Party can send a message and help that party get their message out better and better over time.)
Here is a roundup of some important voting options this Tuesday when it comes to defending libraries and information about the candidates’ positions and their records on selling libraries.

The second biggest library in Brooklyn was just sold, the central destination Business, Career, and Education Library Brooklyn Heights Library in Downtown Brooklyn.  It was sold for a minuscule fraction of its value in a shrink-and-sink-deal mirroring the Donnell Library shrink-and-sink-deal debacle (a central destination library likewise replaced with a luxury tower).

That makes several races on Tuesday all the more important.

Race for 33rd City Council District

One of those important races is the City Council race for the 33rd district where incumbent City Councilman Steve Levin who pushed through that Brooklyn library sale (and let the top floor of the Williamsburg Library be given away) is running against challenger Victoria Cambranes.  The debate between the candidates was very telling.  More information here:
Debate Between Candidates For 33rd NYC Council District, Incumbent Councilman Steve Levin And Challenger Victoria Cabranes

On Eve of 10/29/'17 Debate With Victoria Cambranes, Challenger For His Office, Councilman Steve Levin Sends Transparency Request Letter to Brooklyn Public Library Promised in Spring 2015 (But it's deficient!)
The Race For New York City Mayor

City Councilman Steve Levin could not have pushed through the sale of the second biggest library in Brooklyn had it not been the plan of library-selling Mayor de Blasio who is now also pushing forward other ill-advised library sales like the Inwood Library.

Running against him is a candidate who opposes these sales and has signed out Citizens Defending Libraries Letter of Support.  More information here.
Democratic Primary (September 12, 2017)- Candidates For Mayor: Sal Albanese vs. Bill de Blasio
Race for Public Advocate

For years ago Tish James as Candidate for Public Advocate ran with full-throated statements about how if she was elected she would oppose and stop the sale of city libraries.  But what has she really done when had the chance.  David Eisenbach was running against her and supposedly remains on the Liberal line for the general election (but is apparently not actually on the ballot).  He has spoken out against the library sales and signed our Citizens Defending Libraries Letter of Support.  More information (important about Tish James) here.
Democratic Primary (September 12, 2017)- Candidates For Public Advocate: David Eisenbach vs. incumbent Tish James
Since it looks like you won't find Mr. Eisenbach on the ballot it is all the more important to direct your attention to another candidate running for Public Advocate (who you will not have any problem finding on the ballot), James Lane, whose strong position about not selling libraries was made very clear by him at our Public Advocates Forum.

Race for 35rd City Council DistrictAnother city council race to care about is the City Council race for the 35th district (Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, Bed Stuy, and Crown Heights) where incumbent City Council Member Laurie Cumbo is running against challenger Jabari BrisportLaurie Cumbo wholeheartedly backed Councilman Levin’s sale of the second biggest library in Brooklyn and is enthusiastic about library sales generally.  (That’s notwithstanding that when she was running to first obtain office she signed our petition opposing the library sales.)  She is funded by a ton of real estate money and generally characterized as being blindly in that industry’s pocket.

In contrast, challenger Brisport has vigorously opposed the selling of the Bedford Union Armory in Crown Heights, currently one of the biggest issues in the district with respect to which Cumbo (whom we find untrustworthy when it comes to the sale of public assets) is no better than “ambiguous.” 

An Extra Thought About Why You Should Vote

And just in case you needed an extra push to think about why it is important to vote and why it is important to think about libraries when you vote, you may want to consider this:
How Did Trump Get Elected?: Michael Moore In "Terms of My Surrender" Envisions That It Was A Dumbing Down of the Country That Involved Closing Libraries
The United States is at the bottom of the list of countries in the world in terms of voter turn-out.  And of the fifty states New York is at the bottom of the list in terms of voter turn-out.  That unfortunate fact actually means that your vote counts all the more.  It's an unfortunate fact that can be explained by the way that our elected officials disappoint and fail to represent us when in office.  Still when the choices are wrong we can still send a message that the choices are wrong if we vote and, if necessary, don't vote certain lines or write in candidates.