Monday, June 21, 2021
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Masks on, or hands off the library

| May 8, 2021 1:00 AM

The late John Prine, a tragic early victim of COVID-19, sang “… make me a poster from an old rodeo … just give me something that I can hold onto … . " Who doesn't hope, especially these days, for something dear to hold onto?

The California mountain summer camp I attended as a lad during World War II, and then helped lead a decade later, shut down after more than 50 golden years when grasping new-age parents began filing lawsuits if their kid got a bloody nose playing capture the flag.

Southern California, where I grew up, was a utopia before developers began destroying it after World War II when the world moved there. Today ,Californians are fleeing yesteryear's sweet-smelling Shangri-la because of high costs, cars, crowds and general contentiousness.

The reliable Bell Telephone System was the world's biggest business and among its most honorable when I worked for its parent, the original AT & T, in New York City. Communications wannabes who scoffed at the company's genuine "spirit of service" hired political lobbyists to divvy up the system's customer-focused national organization and, in 1983, it was annihilated.

That beloved summer camp, yesteryear's glorious Southern California, and the Bell System, all pillars of my own life experience, are no more. Many consider that progress. Others tilt toward John Prine's lyrical lament: "Just give me something I can hold onto." In the battle to keep the Bell System intact during the early 1980s we warned, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Same idea. Keep the good things going.

Every bit as cherished as our lake, our mountains, our schools and galleries, our hospital, our celebrated cafes, family businesses and City Beach, the library defines our collective soul. To tamper with an institution so well led just to accomodate hostile, misanthropic, science-doubting malcontents who refuse to mask up to protect others would be foolish and pure folly. Let's hold onto our library — as it is. If it ain't broke, which it ain't, don't fix it.

On May 18 responsible voters must ensure that incumbents Amy Flint and Jeanine Asche remain on our library's accomplished board of trustees. Many thanks.

TIM H. HENNEY

Sandpoint