The start of the New Year in California may not be something to celebrate if $1 billion dollars in budget cuts go into effect on January 1st as planned. Governor Jerry Brown announced yesterday the cuts will come from state college budgets, services for the disabled and elderly, free school bus programs and public libraries. When library budgets are slashed some facilities close their doors, and communities not only lose a vital resource, they gain an abandoned building and all the attendant problems.
A shuttered library in South LA became the target yesterday of the local grassroots group, the Youth Justice Coalition, which organized a clean-up of the former Hyde Park library in the hopes they could use the space in the future for youth and community activities. Unaware of their purpose, the Los Angeles Police Department came out in force around mid-day, reportedly assuming the action was led by Occupy LA protestors. The LAPD eventually retreated and the city has reportedly offered to meet with the YJC to discuss possible future uses for unused public buildings.
The YJC has launched a 1% campaign, which includes a demand for funds that equal 1 percent of the law enforcement budget of LA County to fund youth centers that keep impoverished kids in school and ensure a better future for them. During the stand-off with the police yesterday over the library clean-up, I spoke with 17 year old Brenda Martinez about what was happening.
GUEST: Brenda Martinez, a 17 year old high school student and member of Youth Justice Coalition
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