Presence Matters: Local Support at the Budget Hearings

Last night I had the opportunity of attending my first city council budget hearing. The event is designed to give the community the chance to share their priorities with City Council, so that they may take public opinion into account when determining the budget.

To those (and I include myself in this camp) who think that government sometimes operates independent of the people, there is sincere interest on behalf of city council to include the community’s opinion – and presence matters. Seattle is really a great place to make a difference because of the access people have to their government.

A gentleman from the community spoke up on behalf of the library and I had the pleasure of speaking with him briefly; here is his story:

Keo Capestany  I was born in Cuba and have lived in Seattle since 1962. We used to live in the High Point Housing Project half a block from the library branch there. My daughter Victoria, who was a precocious speaker, was able to say the word “biblioteca” when she was two. My wife used to take her and the other kids to the biblioteca regularly since we could not afford our own books.Before I could read  English well enough to derive pleasure from reading I sustained my appetite with the Spanish collection at the Central Library.  It was there, comparing several translations of Don Quijote, that I was infected with the virus of the passion for the impossible job of interpreting and translating.Once I met somebody that knew my children at John Muir Elementary and she told me that “the Capestany children were famous there for not having a TV set at home and for always being seen carrying books.”  (Most, almost all, of those books were from the Columbia Branch.) Among them today they boast six bachelor degrees and three masters.  All of them have done well in life and continue to be voracious readers.

We have lived in Mt. Baker since 1966 and I was an Independent Claims Adjuster until I retired in 1998 after 25 years in that business. In preparation for retirement I passed the exams to become a court interpreter and I am one of less than 10 certified for the Federal  courts in the Seattle  area.

When I surrendered circa 1994 to the inevitability of progress and purchased a computer it was at the Central Branch that I was initiated into the rudiments  of mouse and web.

I have been a member of the Friends and for years I have volunteered to the preparation for the book sale where  I purchase way more books that I would be able to read in two lifetimes but I look forward to continue so doing for many years.

Sin lectura no hay cultura.


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3 thoughts on “Presence Matters: Local Support at the Budget Hearings

  1. Pingback: Don’t let libraries get cut this year. Vote now! « Friends of Seattle Public Library Blog

  2. Pingback: Impact Of Budget Cuts « Friends of Seattle Public Library Blog

  3. Pingback: Members Talk To City Council « Friends of Seattle Public Library Blog

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