Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 28, No. 17, Ed. 1 Friday, September 9, 2011 Page: 19 of 48
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Valuing our human infrastructure
For years, politicians have talked about the
under-funded public infrastructure like high-
ways, water lines, sewer systems and basic trans-
There is another infrastructure that is being
under-funded in this city and state in particular:
our "human infrastructure."
In educational terms, we are regressing.
When I was growing up, my school district
supplied the basics for a well-rounded education.
I took what I learned and then expanded my
knowledge at my local county-funded library,
and went on to graduate with honors at Angelo
Today's children receive a poorer quality edu-
cation because Texas no longer properly funds
public schools K-12, and our public libraries are
being starved of resources. A university educa-
tion that cost me $4 a credit hour has now in-
creased 10 times or more since I went to school.
While libraries are being destroyed by budget
cuts, the need for a strong library is greater than
ever. The population that our schools serve face
greater challenges since sp many come from
homes where English is not the first language in
Despite this challenge for children and adults,
ESL class funding has been slashed. Dallas Inde-
pendent School District has a 50 percent dropout
rate, and GED class funding has been slashed.
The state of Texas has eliminated funding for
the online databases for K-12 and DISD has re-
duced the number of school librarians.
Each of these reductions by other government
agencies has increased the demand by citizens of
Dallas and other Texas cities to use public li-
braries; however, the city of Dallas has reduced
our library spending by approximately 40 per-
cent over the last three budget years.
We would be lucky were our library merely
"decimated," i.e. reduced by a tenth. We now
spend less money per capita on libraries than
Fort Worth, Austin, Houston or San Antonio. De-
spite this lack of funding, demand at Dallas Pub-
lic Libraries has increased.
In the 2006 bond program, the voters ap-
proved approximately $60 million in funding for
eight new or replacement libraries; unfortunately,
those buildings are now short staffed and short
Each branch except for Hampton Illinois has
only a branch manager for 2% days a week since
the branch managers cover two branches. The
branch manager for North Oak Cliff also is re-
sponsible for West Dallas. By dividing their time,
they barely have time to manage their branch, let
alone get to know their neighborhoods.
Many branches no longer have children's li-
brarians even though it is critical to encourage
children to love reading if they hope to succeed
in life. Texas prisons are filled with men who read
at a fourth grade level.
Our city is filled with unemployed men and
women who lack the necessary job skills to com-
pete in our global economy. If we do not invest
in our children, our future as a community is
doomed to failure.
It does not matter how much money we give
in tax breaks if our citizens cannot read the Eng-
lish language. Companies may locate here but
employ suburbanites who have better funded
schools and libraries.
The choice is clear: Either we as a city invest in
our library system, our cultural institutions
where children and adults learn, or we are
known as a city with beautiful monuments and
a high unemployment rate.
If you want to change this situation, 1 would
encourage you to contact your City Council
member and the mayor of Dallas. The proposed
•fry holding 'em MORE
to the RIGHT, f hat
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ST/LL looks like
budget can still be changed. If you would like to
help improve the Dallas Public Library System,
you can join the Friends of the Dallas Public Li-
brary or your local branch Friends Group. If your
branch does not have a Friends group, I can help
you start a group.
Stan Aten, president, Hampton Illinois/Oak
Lawn Library Friends
Republicans won't help economy
Why did the president of Dallas chapter of Log
Cabin Republicans give no evidence in his com-
mentary ("Why I will vote Republican in 2i!12,"
Dallas Voice, Sept. 2) as to why the GOP will help
He couldn't. They won't. They never have.
Take stocks, the way many generate retire-
ment, as well as current income:
DJIA up 223 percent during Clinton's eight
years, down 25 percent during the George W.
Bush eight-year reign of error, and up only 46
percent during his daddy's four-year term.
Jobs? More than 11 percent increase annual-
ized during the Clinton presidency, under ! per-
cent when George W. Bush was in the White
How do I know the above information? I
Don't be misled by Republicans who talk
about being better on pocketbook issues. You
only have to check with Google to know the De-
mocrats have consistently done better.
Dave Gershner, Dallas
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Nash, Tammye. Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 28, No. 17, Ed. 1 Friday, September 9, 2011, newspaper, September 9, 2011; Dallas, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth239184/m1/19/: accessed December 13, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.