The [Friday] Papers
"Chicago Public libraries will close all day Mondays - instead of Monday and Friday mornings as promised - stunning and infuriating aldermen who thought they had an agreement with Mayor Rahm Emanuel," the Sun-Times reports.
Maybe he just means during the NATO/G8 summits.
No, but really, they're quite mad.
"That's not what was proposed or voted on," Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) said. "It's completely contrary."
The funny thing is that the city keeps building new libraries even as it claims budget woes have forced it to cut hours at the existing ones.
If only our kids could read construction blueprints; at least they could get paid to build libraries we (supposedly) can't afford to keep open.
"Deputy mayoral press secretary Jennifer Hoyle explained the change in an e-mail to the Chicago Sun-Times.
"'Closing for two half-days, rather than one full day was contingent upon the union agreement to give us increased flexibility in scheduling,' Hoyle wrote.
"'We are talking to the unions, but haven't yet reached an agreement. For that reason, in the meantime, the branch libraries will be closed on Monday.'
"Anders Lindall, a spokesman for AFSCME Council 31 representing the 176 library employees, acknowledged that the union is negotiating with the city. But, he categorically denied that the union had forced the city's hand."
Oh, so that's what this is all about; Rahm finding yet another avenue to beat down unions and show he's the big dog in town. Even if kids get, you know, the shaft.
"'Whether a reduction in hours comes for four hours on two days a week or eight hours on one day is not acceptable to people of the city who want and deserve access to their libraries at all times. They shouldn't be forced to accept reduced access,' Lindall said.
"We haven't seen a proposal from the city that would prevent those reduced hours. We've had discussions. Those discussions continue. We hope to reach an agreement to prevent reduced hours and rescind the layoffs."
Hoyle's e-mail account couldn't be reached to respond.
"Waguespack doesn't care who is to blame. He's livid that the compromise aldermen thought they had reached with Emanuel has been reversed in a way that could devastate some of his constituents.
"'Monday is the day they want to get out of the house looking for work on the computer. It's the day they want to get the kids out of the house and into the reading room,' Waguespack said.
"'It would be detrimental to people who have relied on kicking off the week. Especially in the winter, you get out of the house and head straight for the library.'
"Even Ald. Pat O'Connor (40th), the mayor's City Council floor leader, was taken aback by the all-day Monday closing."
Apparently Rahm forgot to take time out from his awesome vacation and let him know.
"We budgeted for two half-days," O'Connor said. But, he added, "It would require the unions to agree to it."
"Rachel Javellana, 33, is a poet-instructor who runs a community writing group Mondays at Mabel Manning Branch library on the West Side. Javellana said she isn't sure the library will be able to accommodate her group on another evening.
"'The thing that bothers me is that Mondays are a really busy day at the library,' Javellana said. 'It's discouraging to see a roll-back of this invaluable resource that exists for the people.'
"Javellana said the Monday closure will have the greatest impact on the city's poor - many of whom depend on libraries for their only e-mail access."
Too bad; we spent the money on a website you won't be able to access on Mondays either.
(FYI: Detroit had it first.)
Hey, maybe Rahm is just re-branding Mondays.
Wouldn't Call It Working
And now they can't even go to the library on Mondays to look for work.
"Meanwhile, northwest side residents made up roughly 22 percent of the city workforce but only sustained 11 percent of the cuts. But that doesn't mean the news was cheery there either - northwest side neighborhoods still suffered a net loss of more than 600 city jobs.
"The eight zip codes that ranked highest in city job losses were all in predominately black and Hispanic neighborhoods on the south and southwest sides.
"Public sector jobs have helped many families make the middle class and pay mortgages. In fact, they're the anchors in neighborhoods like Auburn-Gresham, Avalon Park, and West Lawn. So it's probably not a coincidence that many of the zip codes with the biggest city job losses have also been hit hardest by the ongoing foreclosure crisis."
That's okay, they'll muddle through.
But look at what's happening: A transfer of taxpayer dollars from public sector workers struggling to hold down the middle class to, well, the 1%.
And that's just what came out of the mouths of politicians.
Ah ha ha ha ha!
Hey, they can't all be fresh.
And outside libraries every Monday. She's got plenty of time on her hands.
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The Beachwood Tip Line: Muddle through.
Posted on January 6, 2012
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