Monday, May 21, 2007 | As a thirty year resident of City Heights I want to support the concern of Anna Daniels regarding Mayor Jerry Sanders’ intent to close the Performance Annex and remove library staff from oversight.

First the swimming facility for youth, now this amazing space for culture, this gift from a private philanthropist no less. Why City Heights? Is it because we are excessively endowed with benefits from the city? Is City Heights where the fat is in the cities budget? We were fortunate, at one time, to have a police officer attend community meetings to work with residents to reduce crime and gangs. For a time there they even assisted us in forming neighborhood watch groups as a system of self-defense against out of control crime and violence. For a few years we even had a little storefront where people could line up and pay their taxes and fees to the city for services. Now, wouldn’t you know it, they found the Performance Annex was still functioning and serving people of multiple cultures, sort of keeping the lid on.

How did you know that people were enjoying this space and learning about the diverse cultures that flow through this community? You think that cultures get along naturally without information and exchange? The single most effective way to build the melting pot is with cultural exchange and dialogue. The Annex and its director, a woman personally versed in most of those cultures and multi lingual, is a crucial linchpin for building community. You cannot continue to extract assets from a community without consequences.

Mr. Mayor, members of the City Council, from my front porch perspective you are beginning to rub bone on bone to the social fabric of communities on the edge. I am not surprised that you have a youth gang emergency exploding around us. Time to put the bars back on the windows and hide behind shades. The city’s pension needs relief and we all must bear the weight including the kids. Your priorities are mixed up ladies and gentlemen.

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