History, politics, people of Oly WA

Libraries and Jim Lazar

A lot of blow back on libraries lately (vote yes, btw), but Jim Lazar takes the cake.

Jim used to be cool too:

I support libraries, and would gladly vote for a levy lid lift to support local libraries, but I oppose this measure.

The reason is very simple: Thurston County pays over half of the tax revenue into Timberland Regional Library, but our libraries receive only about one-third of the financial support from Timberland that goes to the total library system. While TRL pays for both the library BUILDINGS and the books and staff in the rural areas, it does NOT pay for new library buildings in the urban areas.

Basically, it’s (another) subsidy of rural communities and irresponsible land use policies, with urban area residents subsidizing rural areas.

So, basically we cut off poor kids and families from rural areas because we can’t get behind the land use decisions of their county commissions?

I don’t know what palatial rural libraries Jim is talking about, but the Salkum library (for example) isn’t great shakes. Calling it a mini-library would be giving it too much credit.

This is the kind of rural library that Jim is railing against.

Governance is one thing, but hurting people that need library services isn’t going to move us down the road of improving the library district. Let’s be honest about this and talk about changing the governance of the system once we win on February 3.


  1. Chris

    I actually have some sympathy for Jim’s position, if only because I have heard from rural folks over and over again how they’re sick of their tax dollars going toward urban problems. I’d love to see figures on this, but I strongly suspect that rural folks soak up more tax dollars per capita than urban folks.

  2. Emmett

    Rural areas do actually soak up more tax dollars than urban areas, and yes I’ve heard the same complaints from rural people.

    That, unfortunately, is just the way it is. I understand the economics that Jim is presenting, I reject the values he’s bringing to the game.

    He’s nickle and dimming kids in rural Washington, and that’s wrong.

  3. Chris

    But maybe by nickel and diming them, they’ll stop being rural kids?

  4. Emmett

    I’m not sure I’d like to see the kind of urban kids they’d end up being.

    On the other hand, if we give them what they need to succeed, they could be dynamo rural, urban, suburban, exurban citizens. Should be what we’re focusing on anyway.

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