|Mayor de Blasio becomes the Grinch arriving at Christmas to steal and shrink the public's libraries while disguised not so very credibly in a faux Santa Claus suit.|
In modern holiday tradition there is a fellow who arrives with stealth on Christmas Eve to surprise everyone as he makes the night the occasion for his mean-spirited takings. He is that anti-Santa Clause, the Grinch, conceived by Dr. Suess.
This year our Mayor de Blasio has squeezed himself into the Grinch's faux Santa Claus costume to play that role by launching a sell-off and shrinkage of New York City Libraries with the sale and shrinkage (down to just 42%) of the Brooklyn Heights central destination library. No doubt collapsing his 6'5" frame into such a tiny costume involved de Blasio shrinking his heart (to quote Dr. Susss) to to at least "three sizes too small," probably considerably less than 42% the size of a normal generous library-loving New Yorker's.
Mayor de Blasio's Christmas Eve launch of library sales is 180 degrees opposite to his campaign rhetoric about how we should halt the sale and shrinkage of libraries undertaken by the Bloomberg administration. See Citizens Defending Libraries*: Sunday, December 20, 2015, PRESS RELEASE: De Blasio, reversing campaign pledge, commences selling NYC libraries delivering, in Grinch mode, huge shrinkage.
(* Disclosure: I am a co-founder of Citizens Defending Libraries.)When de Blasio spoke as a candidate wanting our votes there was no mistake that he was specifically including the Brooklyn Heights Library when calling for a halt to these sales and shrinkage because he mentioned it by name in his list.
In the videos linked to below you can see candidate de Blasio truthfully saying at that time:
“It’s public land and public facilities and public value under threat. . . and once again we see, lurking right behind the curtain, real estate developers who are very anxious to get their hands on these valuable properties”Videos:
BPL trustee meeting the Tuesday before the City Council vote, the trustees applauding this sell-off and shrinkage were reminded how sale of this library was chosen as a “demonstration” for what was possible. They were told that this was a “huge turning point for the library system” and “across the city in general” with Johnson `pioneering’ the future of libraries.
Maybe even more frightening is that this isn't actually the first library sale and shrinkage. Though we certainly should have learned from it, this library essentially replicates, with the same people discernibly behind it, the Donnell sale debacle: Saturday, November 7, 2015, Priorities To Be Replicated?: Private Luxury Now Abounding Where Former Donnell Library Stood, A "Replacement" Library Is Nowhere In Sight.
It's ironic that this taking from the public comes right at Christmas, but not necessarily unintended. Those pushing for controversial over-development in this city have their own tradition of scheduling advancement of these public encroachments for holidays, for times when they think the public will be least able to respond and pay attention, August vacation time, Thanksgiving and yes. . . . Christmas and New Years.
Pushing this particular library sale through already involved some very slick and not really above-board maneuvers by Brooklyn Community Board 2 the Fourth of July weekend.
Mayor de Balsio's Grinching with his Deputy Mayor for development, Alicia Glen, adopting this Bloomberg library sale and shrinkage as "her own," and by implication all the envisioned future library sales, to "push it across the finish line" falls into our lap to bemoan in what has been a Noticing New York tradition.
|Alistair Sim, perhaps the very best ever to play Scrooge. On left, Scrooge the epitome of a miser at the outset of the film. On right, the reformed Scrooge, now a model of kindness and generosity.|
(* You can find out prior annual essays here: Thursday, December 24, 2009, A Christmas Eve Story of Alternative Realities: The Fight Not To Go To Pottersville (Or Ratnerville), Friday, December 24, 2010, Revisiting a Classic Seasonal Tale: Ratnerville, Saturday, December 24, 2011, Traditional Christmas Eve Revisit of a Classic Seasonal Tale: Ratnerville, the Real Life Incarnation of the Abhorred Pottersville, Monday, December 24, 2012, While I Tell of Yuletide Treasure, Tuesday, December 24, 2013, A Seasonal Reflection: Assessing Aspirations Toward Alternate Realities- 'Tis A Tale of Two Alternate Cities?.,Wednesday, December 24, 2014
Seasonal Reflections: No Matter How Fortunate or Not, We Are All Equal, Sharing a Common Journey
What is a library such as this worth? Last year we quoted from Charles Dickens' “A Christmas Carol.” I I think if fitting to return to a part of the exchange between Scrooge and his nephew again this year:
Nephew: Oh I think there are many things from which I've derived some good, by which I have not profited financially, I dare say. There is more in life than money, Uncle.So, until we teach him better, we'll have to let de Blasio drift, keeping the season in his "Humbug" developer-gifts-come-first fashion. For the rest of us, let's all be blessed, every one of us, in knowing that what we value is so much more important and meaningful and in our collective commitment and New Year's resolution to fight for a future where those values will once more be respected.
Scrooge: Humbug to that! More in life than money! Humbug!