The election is over but I'm going to keep the sign in my front yard for a few days anyway. I want people who voted ``no'' on literacy to think about it again when they drive by.
``P.G. Library . . . Vote Yes! Measure Q'' is how the sign reads. Q was a proposed parcel tax which would have supported the library in this Central California coastal town of Pacific Grove.
A town that Robert Louis Stevenson nearly burned down because he was curious if the moss hanging from old oak trees burned.
The town in which Steinbeck wrote Tortilla Flat and Of Mice and Men.
The town in which Joseph Campbell began to formulate his thoughts as a young man.
The town in which Ed Ricketts gave an early warning that Pacific Ocean waters were being fished out and polluted.
The town in which Gary Kildall created the computer language we all use.
The town in which E. Charlton Fortune created the Monterey Guild, which decorated Catholic churches across the coutnry.
``Q'' needed a super majority, a two-thirds vote, to pass. Last year it came up less than a percentage point short of passing.
But things are more bleak now and though 61 percent of the people said yes, that wasn't enough. The 39 percent who voted no won.
Of course most of them weren't necessarily anti-literature or anti-library. They just weren't very generous, a sign of the times and a frequently reflected feeling seen in this week's elections. And, to be fair, many in Pacific Grove were angry at the city administration and politicians for the budget incompetence that put the library in peril.
``We're disappointed that people's priorities are in a different place than we thought they were,'' Measure Q campaign co-chairwoman Greta Miller told the Monterey County Herald's Kevin Howe.
``It seems to be the mood across the country. It's discouraging that literacy is not at the top of the list.''
Fact is, considering the times it's probably at the bottom of the list. As writers, we may soon be addressing a barren landscape.
Meanwhile, the Pacific Grove Public Library will continue with its `` skeletal'' open hours of 24 hours a week budgeted through June, with librarians doing extra duty, such as Lisa Maddaelna, who is head librarian as well as children's librarian.
Oh, right, children, future readers, hard to vote against them but it is done. In June, when the funds dry up, the library's fate will be up for grabs again. Is this going on around the country? One hopes not.
Causes Steve Hauk Supports
City of Pacific Grove Public Library, Pacific Grove, California; Animal Friends Rescue Project, Pacific Grove; Animal Welfare Information and Assistance,...