Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Friends of Miami Dade Public Library Group: A No Show and other Library News. By Geniusofdespair

Here is a library survey you can take....
 I read the minutes of the last Library Blue Ribbon Task Force -- put together by the Mayor. Boring to me.  Here is a link to meeting and agendas.

Since Miami Dade Public Library Systems  was evicted from the basement and third floor of its own bond paid for 30 year old building downtown, these are the new tenants on the third floor, or at least they were offered the third floor of the library.

Ethics commission
Inspector General   (Just what we need, Ethics housed with the IGO.
Elevator GSA

During the campaign to "save" libraries I was told that not one "Friend" showed up at the September 10th budget hearing.

Their Board List:

John J. Quick, President (Weiss Serota Helfman Pastoriza Cole & Boniske)
Kimberly Gowen, Vice-President (Department of Children & Families)
Cris Nieto, Treasurer (Levenson, Katzin & Ballotta, PA)
Dr. Tara Stewart, Secretary (Miami Children’s Hospital)
Melissa J. Davis, Immediate Past President (Chase Bank)
Vincent F. Alexander (Kozyak Tropin Throckmorton)
Carolyn Brownstein
Sergio Fernandez (Tyco Integrated Security)
Peter L. Forrest
Rachel Goldberg (Goldbetter Business Offices)
Murray A. Greenberg (Gelber Schachter & Greenberg)
Jonathan M. Hoffenberg (YellowTelescope Medical)
Victoria Heuer (PetMD / Pet360)
Sendy Joseph (United States Probation Office)
Terry Murphy (Public Affairs Concepts, Inc.)
Meredith Singer (Greenberg Traurig)
Claudia Succar Ferré (Marjory Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Nature Center)
Santiago Villegas (Fortune International Realty)

No wonder why they didn't show up, why not have regular library users on the board?  They always put the kind of people that have no time and are just padding their resumes on these groups. I bet no one on this board goes to the library on a regular basis especially John Quick.


Anonymous said...

Most of the people on that Board want or need something from Carlos Gimenez. No way they will speak against him. What a shame no one is loudly speaking up to save the libraries.

hạt điều rang muối said...

Agree with Anonymous

Anonymous said...

Lynda Bell loves books. They're perfect for shorin' up Jenna's double wide.

Anonymous said...

It is horrible that Aventura's County library got damaged by hurricane WILMA and is still not rebuilt. With no bookstore in the area nor any library, the kids are going to forget what books are!

Anonymous said...

You hate to believe they don't care. Perhaps they have just given up. Still at least one person should have been there to speak in support. We have too many non-functioning boards. If they can't even attend and speak at a public hearing, you know no one is working behind the scenes to help.

Anonymous said...

Third floor of what building? Ethics and OIG are at 19 W Flagler

Anonymous said...

Supposedly Friends worked "behind the scenes" talking to commissioners, etc.. But we needed each and everyone of them to also speak publicly. We also needed university presidents, business and civic leaders, bookstore owners, school board members and all elected officials to speak up publicly. But it's not too late to do just that. A new budget, a new opportunity to step up.

Rhonda Victor Sibilia said...

Neither the Ethics Commission nor the Inspector General have left their offices at 19 W. Flagler St. Both agencies were asked to inspect the Library 3rd floor for possible relocation, but no action has been taken.

Geniusofdespair said...

Thank you Rhonda.

Anonymous said...

We need to take a closer look at education in this community. In terms of leadership, we basically have administrators who lead their institutions. They work and get paid for their individual pieces. No one looks at education as a whole for the entire community, and the individual pieces seem uncoordinated. The larger community seems to be no one's problem. So the library goes down and everyone watches it burn.

Timmy said...

Not sure what the fuss is about. I would rather have the ethics commission and OIG in a county owned building than to keep paying high rents to a private landlord like they were doing.

They moved out some library functions that didn't need to be there to another location and they saved the taxpayers a bunch of money. What's not to like?

Anonymous said...

Each library branch NEEDS it's own Friends group. It's the most effective way to provide grassroots support. A political umbrella group is a poor substitute.

Anonymous said...

"They moved out some library functions that didn't need to be there to another location and they saved the taxpayers a bunch of money. What's not to like?"

Eviction isn't pretty. And what library functions do you deem didn't need to be there?

The mainframe computer? - oops, can't move that so it was allowed to stay, so the library is paying for that in rent measured out by the yard.

Like the repository of 100 years of documents in the basement? All the 16mm films now disposed of? The print shop? The delivery areas?

Eviction was retaliation for shaming the county mayor. Private landlords seems to me to be cheaper than paying GSA/ISD's inflated prices. There's always a consultant's fee now tacked onto every maintenance project. The neighboring buildings to the Main Library are not charging $25 a sq. ft. The neighboring buildings did not have tenants that would suffer years with a roof that was leaking like a sieve - Main Library just got a NEW roof paid for by MDPLS.

The two neighboring COUNTY OWNED museums paid NO rent most years and the pittance that was charged was offset by the Dept of Cultural Affairs in a grant.

How do you siphon money from a special taxing district into the general fund? Through a line item on a budget which is then called a "lease" or "rent." Did the library receive $5.1 million a year in maintenance on that building? That was the "rent."

And, why does Linda Bell, and any commissioner rent from private landlords when the county has so many empty buildings? Katy Sorenson's district office had been in the S Dade Government Center.

How sad that allowing the Main Library to remain an intact library collection honoring a century of our local history isn't as important as a passing through politician who no one will remember in ten years-that's you Mayor Gimenez.

Jorge said...

You can't tell me there is no place to store films except for the main library. Who disposed of the 16mm films and why? Was it that POS Library Director who is paid over $200k annually? If so, he should be arrested and placed in jail. If push came to shove, he could rent a storage unit for $100 a month. This is why I hate county employees.

John Quick said...

I understand that as President of the Friends’ organization I may be subject to criticism from time to time, but this broadside against our board members is truly unwarranted. We are all card-carrying members of the library, and every one of the board members has selflessly donated their time and treasury to support the public libraries of Miami-Dade County. Without alarming my partners at the firm, suffice it to say I dedicate a significant amount of time carrying out my duties as the President of Friends. I have over a dozen meetings set up for next week solely about the library. I spent well over an hour on the phone last night discussing library issues with other interested parties from around the country. And, I do use the libraries - 3 times in the last 2 weeks, at 2 different branches.

To those who are frustrated with the dangerous financial situation at the libraries, let me assure you we are working on righting the ship. Perhaps our members have not identified themselves as “Friends of the Library” when they spoke out, but we had members speaking at each of the Town Hall Meetings during last year’s budget fiasco. Our members attended street rallies, posters in hand. Members of the Friends’ Board initiated and have continued to meet with the Mayor and his staff to examine the fiscal and operating issues affecting the Library. The Friends’ Board was instrumental in the formation of the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force. I am on the Blue Ribbon Panel and others have served on the four Working Groups. Bottom line, we are friends of the library in word and deed; it is not about having titles.

The Friends are committed to preserving and protecting the Miami-Dade Public Library System. We are acutely aware that the crisis is far from over and have been meeting regularly to adapt our strategy to ensure that we achieve positive results this year. We have agreed to work on elevating our profile and being out front on this issue. The community needs to know we are working alongside them.

I invite anyone who wants to help in this effort to contact us and join in our efforts. To support Friends, we encourage you to purchase a ticket to the "Miami Moments" event on February 8th at the Main Library. Miami Moments is our annual fundraiser to support our advocacy efforts and program initiatives. We are pleased so many in the community have stepped forward to defend the libraries from the unwarranted budget cuts. Stay involved and help us restore the funding to the libraries so the talent and capabilities of our librarians can be fully employed to serve our award-winning system.

John Quick

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to the Duval County supporters of their library system. It's been an uphill battle for the residents of Jacksonville to have a special taxing district to protect their library's funding source. Now it will be an issue in which voters get the final word!

Here's their victory email:

We've reached our petition goal! Our library issue will be placed on the August 26th ballot. At that point we'll have the opportunity to vote for a choice to establish a dedicated funding source for Jacksonville's libraries.

Today marks the beginning of a new phase for the petition initiative.

Library supporters will request that the Duval Delegation place the issue on the November 4th ballot, conditioned upon its approval as a straw ballot on August 26th and a resolution of support from the Jacksonville City Council.
The meeting begins today at 1:00 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall. All are welcome to come out and show support with your presence.

Helene Kamps-Stewart

From the Times-Union

Petitions delivered for library tax straw vote

By Steve Patterson Tue, Jan 21, 2014 @ 5:10 pm | updated Wed, Jan 22, 2014 @ 7:48 am
Backers of a plan for a new library taxing district said Tuesday they had delivered enough petitions to Duval County elections officials to get a straw vote on the ballot in August.
Members of Save Our Public Libraries Inc. had worked since August 2012 to collect 25,931 signatures of registered voters.
The group wants to establish an independent tax district that could levy as much as 1 mill of property tax – $1 for every $1,000 of a property’s assessed value – to finance the city’s library system.
Jacksonville allotted $33.6 million to its library system for this year, representing about three-quarters of a mill. The actual millage rate would be decided by a board set up to oversee the taxing district — the mayor, a School Board member and three City Council members.
A similar system is already used in Alachua and Orange counties. Although the straw ballot would have no legal impact, backers plan to ask the Duval County Legislative Delegation to approve a second, binding vote in November if a majority of voters in the Aug. 26 primary support the taxing district.
“All we’re asking for is the same option as voters in Alachua and Orange counties,” said Bill Brinton, a lawyer who is a Save Our Public Libraries board member.
Although it’s still theoretical, discussion of the tax district has already helped encourage public spending on the library system, said Harry Reagan, a former council member who is president of Friends of the Jacksonville Public Library.
He noted that Mayor Alvin Brown’s original budget plan for this year would have closed six libraries citywide, and said that ginned up interest in the tax district plan.
The proposal dropped to two closures, then zero.

Anonymous said...

FFrom News 4 Jax (WJXT)

Library supporters to get straw ballot for independent district

Author: Tiffany Anthony, Producer, tanthony@wjxt.com

Published On: Jan 21 2014 04:56:26 PM EST Updated On: Jan 21 2014 09:24:34 PM EST


It's the first of its kind in Jacksonville. The group Save Our Public Libraries has collected enough signatures for a straw ballot to establish an independent library district.

Library supporters and petition circulators on Tuesday turned in the more than 25,000 signatures needed for the straw ballot to the Supervisor of Elections.

Since August the group has been collecting signatures and met its goal.

The group is trying to protect Jacksonville's libraries from the annual threat of budget cuts.

"One important thing about this petition drive, some libraries might have been closed last year if this petition drive wasn't going on," said Harry Reagan, president of Friends of the Jacksonville Public Library. "What we are doing isn't going to take effect for a year, but it had an impact last year on budget decisions in City Hall, I believe. They were about to close six libraries, then two and then none. A lot of that is due to the common support for libraries."

The group says the move would not raise taxes but would guarantee that a portion of the tax dollars already collected will go to libraries.

The question will be put on the Aug. 26 primary ballot.

Anonymous said...

Why NOT identify yourself as a "Friend of the Library"? , Mr. Quick? Seems like they can use all the friends they can get especially since our Mayor has a hard time justifying their existence.

Perhaps it's time for the Friends to quit working behind the scenes and make a lot more noise. September will be here before you know it and the money is running out!

Elyse Kennedy said...

Thank you, John Quick, for the time, effort and good will you have dedicated to this library issue. There is no doubt of its positive impact. I have noted the presence of Terry Murphy, also on the Friends Board, at many gatherings and read several of his recent articles shedding light on the current library fiasco.

As a library user and supporter I am extremely grateful for these "friends" and many others.

Elyse Kennedy