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Activists upset that Miami-Dade mayor rescheduled budget town-hall style meetings

@PatriciaMazzei

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez rescheduled a pair of budget town-hall style meetings this week -- and the people who were planning to attend were not happy about it.

Residents campaigning against proposed budget cuts to the library system and fire-rescue department have harshly criticized the mayor in emails and letters and on social media for pushing back the meetings. Gimenez did so to attend the White House ceremony for the 1972 Miami Dolphins and a Walmart-backed manufacturing summit in Orlando.

To protest Gimenez's decision, some public-library advocates have called for supporters to meet anyway at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the West Dade Regional Library, the same where one of the mayor's rescheduled meetings was supposed to take place.

"He decided that these travels were a better use of his time than meeting with his constituents, many of whom are upset about his proposed budget which short-changes community services like our library and the fire-rescue department," retired teacher Ruth Trencher said in a news release announcing the protest.

Trencher has billed the event as a "people's town hall meeting." A rally has also been scheduled for 6 p.m. by the Save Our Libraries advocacy group

As part of the proposed cuts, which have been scaled back from their original size, three fire trucks face elimination and four libraries face closure, though the libraries remaining open would have fewer staff and shorter hours.

Gimenez is scheduled to meet with residents in West Dade next Wednesday and in Florida City on Sept. 3.

Comments

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PMA

Thank you for this coverage. Please emphasize the fact that "fewer staff and shorter hours" is actually less 193 library staff which means fewer services, programs, and operational hours.

lincoln

Coward!!

Ruth Trencher

Patricia, thank you for posting this article about our People's Town Hall meeting. We had a good turnout and folks had the opportunity to speak about the predicament our elected leaders have created with their short-sighted flat-lining of the library budget at 0.1725 mils. It is true that, at present, only 4 libraries are scheduled to be closed. What is not being made clear is the fact that the other 45 libraries are being crippled, both by lack of sufficient funds, but also by lack of support by our leaders. What will remain are buildings with grossly insufficient staff and no money to meet the needs of the community.
Our elected leadership, the mayor and our 13 commissioners, must reopen the matter of providing appropriate millage for our libraries at the September 10th budget hearing.
Please, contact your commissioner and urge him/her to reopen proposed millage rate for our library system!

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