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Voters May Choose to Expand L.A. Library Days on November Ballot

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At a library protest in May | Photo by Zach Behrens/LAist

When the year began, Los Angeles' stock of 83 libraries were open seven days a week. Then budget cuts forced shorter hours, leaving them open six days a week. This week -- once again, thanks to budget cuts -- hours will be shortened to five days a week.

Now, a proposed ballot measure could be placed on the November ballot. Approved by the Board of Library Commissioners earlier this month, the City Council yesterday approved drafting a measure. They have until July 14th to make a final decision, which will cost $4.2 million for its placement. Pushing the measure over to a 2011 election would not cost anything.

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"We have been cutting their budget year after year and they are asking us to put this before the voters," said Councilman Tom LaBonge, according to the Daily News. "I think it's the least we can do."

The only dissenting vote was Councilman Dennis Zine, who was concerned about spending millions on the measure. "We don't have the $4.1 [sic] million that is needed," he said. "We are talking about laying off workers and I don't see how we can justify spending this money."

Councilwoman Janice Hahn was also concerned about the money, but she voted to draft the measure anyway.

If approved by two-thirds of voters, parcels would be see a $39 per year parcel tax that would raise an estimated extra $30 million a year, expanding hours back to six days a week and fund other library programs.

Councilman Richard Alarcon didn't want the tax limited to libraries. "Why should we limit this to libraries?" he asked. "I think we should broaden this to include other issues the public might support."