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Letters to the Editor

July 16, 2014 - Voters already spoke on library issue

Dear Editor,

Let's see if I understand. We had a good Independence Township library governed by an obsolete state law. The millage was low and the general fund was used to fill gaps. It was decided to re-establish as a district library in order to ask voters for more funding in 2012. The voters said "no" by a small margin.

We are now being asked to vote again on the same proposal. This time we are threatened with closing the library if we answer no. Would there have been a re-vote had the proposition passed by a small margin in 2012? Shouldn't the board have listened to the voters and proposed an alternate plan?

They could have proposed carrying over the existing rate and another proposition for a smaller increase in millage. This would allow voters to choose a status quo and consider whether the proposed improvements are worth the proposed tax increase. Another choice would be to define the minimum millage necessary to keep the library operating until the economy improves and vote on an increase at that time.

The Library Board has put forth an all or nothing proposition to Independence Township voters. As a result of not respecting the original vote, they have put the library operation at risk.

When I was a manager, I advised my engineers to consider all possible answers when looking for a decision. If you cannot tolerate all answers, you may not be asking the proper question.

Rick Gutowski


Support for library millage request

Dear Editor,

I am voting "yes" on Aug. 5 for the District Library Millage Proposal. If you ask me why, it's because I believe the value of a community is measured by many ways, one of which is the lengths to which a community will unite to ensure that their hometown remains strong.

I don't have to be the parent of a student to support the schools. I don't have to have a fire to support the fire department. I don't have to have my home burglarized to support the police department. I support them, and we as a community support them, because we know they provide for a stronger, safer and more vibrant community.

The value of the community is also measured by the strength of its library. Those who argue libraries are becoming obsolete don't understand what libraries have to offer. Before casting your vote, visit our library and you will be amazed to see our library is more relevant than ever. Similar to strong libraries nation-wide, our library is in a state of transformation and as valuable and significant as books still are, it is moving beyond being "only" a repository for printed materials.

Our library is now becoming a repository for an abundance of diverse information and the manner in which it is collected, presented and used has become as important as the information itself. Even while operating on a shrinking budget and a repealed law, our District Library Director Julie Meredith and library staff have reimagined its role in our community and are actively establishing a District Library that is much more than books and technology.

On a personal level, to me the library is a place that celebrates imagination, cultivates the pursuit of knowledge and encourages curiosity. The library is a place that provides not just entertainment but opportunity as well.

Most important, the library means community, bringing together those young and old to share with one another the things that inspire and matter most to them. A library means creating a place that is valuable, unique and undeniably necessary to everyone without regard to age or ability to pay.


Barbara Pallotta

Independence Township Clerk

First Amendment protects political signs

Dear Editor,

The News in Brief item "Political signs" sets out the limits on political signs. Clarkston's zoning ordinance limits political signs to 60 days before and 14 days after an election.

These regulations violate the First Amendment. Similar ordinances have been held invalid around the country, including in southeast Michigan. Government can't prohibit speech based on its content, especially when it comes to political speech. Sign ordinances applying equally to all signs are proper. But ordinances that pick out particular kinds of speech and prohibit them are invalid. Thus limits on the dates when one can display a political sign are not valid.

People shouldn't be deterred from displaying political signs on their property by these invalid ordinances.

And the Friends of the Library shouldn't be intimidated into telling me I can't have a lawn sign supporting the library millage until two weeks before the election.

Richard Bisio


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