As I left school today, I drove down Bascom Avenue here in San Jose. I was enjoying the beautiful day and the wind blowing in through the open window, when I suddenly saw a huge eyesore that reminded me of just how myopic government planners can be.
There it sat. Large as day and beckoning all to admire just how much was spent on building this monstrosity of a public library—which has not been open a single minute of a a single day since it was completed over three years ago. It seems that the planning commission and the city budget planners took out loans to finance the building of this beaut, but never considered what it would cost to keep it going on a daily basis over how many years or decades they must have planned to keep it standing. As a matter of fact, the builders had barely broken ground and this construction project could have been stopped, but wasn’t, when they first began to realize they’d gone wrong.
The local newspaper, San Jose Mercury News, feels that even though the city is barely beginning to see some daylight from under the darkness of the fiscal burden they’ve been under, they should find a way to fund the operations of this huge albatross, because its “the right thing to do”.
Well, I’m definitely all for public libraries, and have had my library card for years, but I’m also for this and all cities to only pay for what they can afford to pay for with the amount of ACTUAL revenues they receive. No guesstimation and borrowing should be taking place based on some do-good sense of “what’s right”. If we can’t afford it, we can’t afford it.
As much as it is a huge pain in the eyes to see, it’s better than being a pain in our wallets to see open.