KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) – Leaders in southeastern Alaska plan to hear a proposal to cut library funding in connection with a drag queen library event.
The Ketchikan Gateway Assembly plans to consider on Monday the issue of placing in the autumn municipal vote a proposal proposed by former Assembly member John Harrington, according to the Ketchikan Daily News. Citizens may be asked to include issues on the agenda of the meeting for consideration.
Harrington said in a written statement from sponsors that the purpose of the proposal is to stop library programs aimed at preschool and primary school children (ages 3 to 9) who are related to sexuality, sexual orientation, gender identity, thus leaving this debate when one should also hope that it will allow children to be children for a few more years ”.
The statement added that “the best result will be if a reasonable settlement is reached with the library in time so that the initiative process can be avoided.”
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The Ketchikan City Council last week rejected, 5-2, a petition to cancel a time-drag event at the public library.
At the time, board member Janali Gage defended the library event, saying: “When children see different people who lead healthy lifestyles, whether they are LGBTQ + or even disabled, they see that anything is possible that you can be who you want to be ”.
She said the removal of the event “would be a direct violation of Ketchikan’s anti-discrimination decree and a violation of civil rights.”
The proposal, submitted to the district assembly, envisages the termination of the contract with the city of Ketchikan, which finances about 38% of the library’s operating budget through property tax.
Ketchikan Public Library Director Pat Tali said the loss of that amount of funding would be “devastating”.
“We really need to think very carefully about what could be done by cutting the budget by 38%,” Tuli said.
The district note notes that if voters supported the proposed funding cuts, the district could support library options using other powers or funding mechanisms.
The note said Harrington had also applied for an initiative petition, another process to try to raise the issue with voters. The request is being considered, the note said.
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