Opinions / Op-eds

Petition Initiative to Re-Establish Meridian Library District

Dear Ada County Commissioners:

Again, we want to thank you for taking the time to accommodate the meeting to discuss the Concerned Citizens of Meridian petition initiative as part of the process to Re-Establish the Meridian Library District through a Democratic process. We ask that you put our petition initiative on the ballot at the next general election.

We firmly believe that having the petition on the ballot will compel the Meridian Library District trustees to work with our group to come up with a simple solution to resolve the direct access, by minors, to sexually explicit material. After reviewing the hours of testimony, we have the following observations:

  1. The MLD Trustee Chairman clearly stated she took an oath to uphold the constitution; we take that to mean the US and Idaho Constitutions. Article III Section 24 of the Idaho Constitution is titled “PROMOTION OF TEMPERANCE AND MORALITY” and states, “The first concern of all good government is the virtue and sobriety of the people, and the purity of the home.” We see no virtue, sobriety, or purity, much less morality, in any of the small samples of the material we have provided the Commissioners. Yet the Trustee Chairman adamantly defends the dissemination of this material to Idaho’s minors.
  2. At the Nov. 2022, trustee meeting, the library director and board of library trustees, took it upon themselves to ELIMINATE what minimal public comment existed because their FEELINGS were hurt by comments from the public. Referring to Commissioner Davidson’s comments at the end regarding, “debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust and wide open and may well include vehement, caustic and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government officials. A representative government ceases to exist the moment the public functionaries are by any means absolved from their responsibilities to their constituents.” By eliminating public comment, they have eliminated their accountability to city, county, state AND We the People. This action and Commissioner Davidson’s reasoning should be enough to put this petition initiative on the ballot.
  3. In the volume of all the presentations and testimonials, there was no mention of any solution to this issue by the Mayor, MLD board trustees, Meridian Council members, until you, the commissioners, brought up the subject. This indicates the disingenuous nature of their testimonials, they never intended to bring a solution to the table during the meetings.
  4. After 18 months of attempts to have the board even acknowledge the existence of an issue with sexually explicit material at the library, it is quite incredulous that the Board Chairman would come this meeting, unprepared, WITHOUT having reviewed any of the material that we submitted. Her lack of knowledge of the material is shocking. It is an indication that they are not motivated to fix this problem but are willing to continue the unfettered dissemination of this material to minors.
  5. The lack of shock by the board chairman at this material is incredibly worrisome and problematic as she is “leader” of the trustee board. I would guarantee that if this material was shown to every parent in Meridian, that there would be a fair amount of moral outrage that this is being delivered to minors. This material is not a reflection of community standards. Please keep in mind this is but a SMALL sample in a snapshot in time.
  6. Throughout the board chairman’s presentation, there was no indication that there is any public taxpayer participation in the collection development policy or the reconsideration policy, nor was there any vehicle for public input to modify this policy. This is really the root cause of the issue. It is the library director’s ideological proclivities that determine the types of books brought into the library.
  7. During the group and individual meetings in early 2022, we were simply given copies of the policies mentioned in the testimonials with no avenue for input or changes. Please keep in mind that public comments are still not allowed to this day. How can any changes be made with no public comment?
  8. When the commissioners asked if there was a way to segregate the books like the Kuna and Nampa school districts, they gave either no answers or very reluctant half answers.

Our observations bring us to the only conclusion; unless the petition initiative is on the ballot, there will be no real policy change based on public taxpayer input. Therefore, we ask that you place this petition initiative on the ballot for the Nov. 2023 general election.

Christ Troupis Book


Michael Hon
Concerned Citizens of Meridian

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