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Fireworks, Library Hours Cut — Again

Residents speak against budget cuts.

Milpitas leaders "reaffirmed" their decision on Tuesday to cancel the July 4 fireworks show and cut library hours, but not without hearing from the public first.

The City Council once again considered the cuts after a controversy two weeks ago over whether the public was properly notified and given time to comment on the looming decisions. City officials said they did let residents know about the issues, but decided to vote on them again to make sure anyone who wanted to speak could be heard.

A handfull of residents spoke out specifically against the city's decision to cut library hours from 66 to 54 hours each week.

Milpitas resident Charles Schletzbaum, debate team coach at Milpitas High School, and his wife Jammie questioned the library's decision to close on Thursday nights under the new schedule. 

"Thursday night is a time when most of his students would be using the library. That is a very bad time," Jammie said.

Schletzbaum said cutting back on library hours poses a unique problem in Milpitas, where students grow up in cultures where parents frown on different sexes meeting at each others' houses.

The library, Schletzbaum said, is a neutral and parent-approved spot where debate team members can get together and practice. 

Lalitha Padubidri, a volunteer yoga instructor, was concerned that her Tuesday night yoga class was cut to allow for other events in the auditorium under the reduced hours.

"I teach 50-plus people and they are very unpleased," Padubidri said.

City Council members pointed out that Milpitas' library remains open seven days a week, unlike many in the county. They said the cuts are necessary as the city grapples with a $9.2 million deficit.

The fireworks and library cuts will save the city about $428,000 annually.

"We have to balance a budget and there are no easy choices," said councilman Armando Gomez.

Norm March 09, 2012 at 02:55 AM
It's probably better to cut on the morning end, rather than the evening end, as students need to study and after-work people come in. Hopefully the hours can be adjusted.
Robert March 09, 2012 at 05:14 AM
Tonight Allied Waste stepped up and donated $15,000 to the fireworks show at Pete McHugh and Debbie Giordano request. Good for them. Armando Gomez tried to claim credit when he stated that he and Althea Polanski were going raise the $75,000 needed thru private donations. Gomez was seen talking to the lady from Allied waste just prior to the start of the meeting. Looked a little sleezy trying to claim credit. A member of Parks and Recreation crew also stated that he had pledges from the membership of his organization to volunteer to clean up the show. True patriots!
Harriett McGuire March 09, 2012 at 05:27 AM
I would like to suggest the library open later in the day and keep the night hours. Ours is probably the most used library in the county with many evening programs and places for the young people to study. Don't cut out these programs or eliminate this study place, we need both, just rearrange the hours. H. McGuire
Jammie Watts Schletzbaum March 09, 2012 at 08:01 PM
There are also reading programs in the morning that would be cut for preschool children if all the morning hours were cut so that we kept the night hours. I do agree, though, that keeping the night hours is important, especially for the high school students to use the library.
sharon Viken March 09, 2012 at 08:18 PM
This wrong on so many fronts,
Robert March 09, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Here's an update about library services, sent by the county: Milpitas library to maintain seven-day service despite reductions in funding. SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF.- Funding cuts are forcing Milpitas Public Library to reduce its operation hours by 18 percent, beginning April 1. However, Santa Clara County Library District officials assure Milpitas library patrons that they can continue to expect quality services at their library, which they have managed to keep open seven days a week. “ The Library will open at 1:00 p.m., instead of 10 a.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, and will close at 6 p.m. on Thursdays, instead of the current 9 p.m. closing time. The new schedule will be: New Milpitas Library Hours, effective April 1, 2012 (54 hours) is: Monday - Wednesday 1:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Thursday - Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Sunday 12 - 6:00 p.m.

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