Monday, February 22, 2010

Setting Municipal Budget Priorities in Phoenix

News report, not the PLEA television spot

Link to February 2 Arizona Republic article, "Cut all libraries before any cop?"

Excerpt: If these were better days and we were better people, the murder of a police officer in Gilbert wouldn't have anything to do with the job status of librarians in Phoenix.

But times are tough. And we are who we are.

To deal with a $242 million budget deficit, Phoenix is planning a series of cuts to all types of city services. Transportation. Senior centers. Libraries. As well as police and firefighters.

Already the police are fighting back. The Phoenix Law Enforcement Association has sponsored a television spot showing a frightened woman in a darkened house calling 911.

"We'll get out there eventually," the dispatcher tells her. Adding, "We're already down 450 officers, and the city wants to lay off more."

A narrator then urges viewers to call city officials and tell them not to reduce public-safety jobs.

"The bottom line is . . . I love the librarian, but I need the police officer," said PLEA President Mark Spencer. "That's why I'm dialing 911. That ad clearly communicates our issues, and that's why we put that on. That's what it is going to come down to."

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