Reading Rainbow

Just when things seem to be going better for Mayor Chuck Reed, with a solid council vote on his pension reform ballot measure and his first-ever projected budget surplus, his predecessors have to go and steal his thunder. Instead of waiting for Reed to follow through on his plan to open four new libraries that closed the day construction stopped, former mayor Susan Hammer and councilmembers Frank Fiscalini and Trixie Johnson trotted out their own plans to save libraries—show-offs. Well, maybe they won’t do it on their own but they’ll attempt to give power to the people with their very own ballot measure, which isn’t exactly a novel concept considering California’s initiative process is more inclusive than good ideas on an acid trip. But the “Save San Jose Libraries Campaign” says it would boost the city’s per capita spending on libraries—currently at $49, or about half of what San Francisco spends—as well as offset any losses from the 2004 parcel tax’s expiration. With the ballot measure’s passage, libraries opening in the Bascom, Calabazas, Seven Trees and Educational Park areas suddenly flourish instead of being empty spaces to hide Dan Brown novels. But this late in the season, the petition push will be full bore as organizers estimate they’ll need to gather almost 20,000 signatures.

The Fly is a weekly column written by San Jose Inside staff that provides a behind-the-scenes look at local politics.

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