Bill Hammack writes that "it is certain the leadership of the library wants Proposition 2 to pass.” I am curious as to the source of his "certainty."
At least one Library Board member, Andrea Neighbours, urged voters to "kill it." Even Executive Director Gabriel Morley, before falling in step with the mayor, referred to Proposition 2 as “unfortunate news about the future of the library.”
As for the loss of funding when the current 4.0 millage expires at the end of next year, he had been planning "to ask voters to renew the millage in the spring of 2021.” If Morley now wants Proposition 2 to pass, it’s only because the mayor and City Council have abandoned their promises to seek a renewal of the earlier millage.
Mayoral candidate LaToya Cantrell, when asked by the Friends of the New Orleans Public Library, "Would you be in favor of renewing the millage in 2021?" answered succinctly: "Absolutely" and added "I would make the millage renewal a priority for my administration." Council members Jay Banks, Joseph Giarusso and Jason Williams all took similar positions.
What a difference a few years make. But before blaming the economic effects of COVID-19, remember that Proposition 2 is written to stand for 20 years, not as a stop-gap measure to address any immediate emergency.
Cantrell needs to be straight with the public. She wants to redirect library funds back into the general budget, ignoring her own promises. She is also ignoring repeated approvals of citizens of past propositions which secured library funding.
New Orleans’ voters understand that the library budget needs to be adequate, stable and not subject to the whims of politicians. I believe that they will see through the misleading rhetoric behind Proposition 2 and vote no.