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


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.