New York Times at Central Ridge library

The New York Times is delivered daily to Central Ridge Library in Beverly Hills.

Citrus County residents reacted strongly over the weekend with the news that county commissioners blocked the library system from signing up for a group subscription that would have provided free access to the New York Times for 70,000 library cardholders.

The Chronicle’s website and Facebook page were inundated with comments from readers, and the newsroom received calls and emails throughout the day Monday. Most, but not all, were critical of the county’s decision.

The Citrus County Special Library District Advisory Board, comprised of members appointed by the county commission, will schedule a special meeting in early November to discuss the issue.

Advisory board chairwoman Sandy Price, though, said she was disappointed in the board’s decision to not spend about $2,700 for the digital subscription to the New York Times.

Price particularly took issue with Commissioner Scott Carnahan’s view that he agreed with President Donald Trump that the Times is “fake news” and that he doesn’t want the newspaper in Citrus County.

“Someone’s personal political view does not have a place in deciding what library resources are available for the entire county,” Price said Monday. “Libraries have to ensure all points of view are represented.”

The New York Times is available in print at all four regional libraries — seven days a week at Central Ridge and Lakes Region, Sundays only at Coastal Region and Homosassa. The county pays about $3,000 a year for the print subscription, library director Eric Head said.

Head had recommended the county buy a digital group subscription on a three-year agreement with an annual cost of $2,657 each of the first two years and $2,714 the third year.

Scott Carnahan mug

County Commissioner Scott Carnahan.

The matter came up during Thursday’s county commission meeting. Commissioner Ron Kitchen Jr. immediately asked why the county was buying a subscription to the New York Times, and Carnahan quickly chimed in that he wouldn’t support the request.

“I don’t want the New York Times in this county. I don’t like them. It’s fake news,” he said.

On Monday, Carnahan stuck to his decision but said it wasn’t motivated by his opinions of the Times.

“I’m open to a free press,” he said. “Not at the taxpayers’ expense.”

Three of the four other commissioners also said they saw no reason to change their minds, citing what they said is an unnecessary taxpayer expense when the print editions are available at the library.

Commissioner Brian Coleman, however, said the matter should come back for more discussion.

Brian Coleman Citrus County Commission 2017

Citrus County Commissioner Brian Coleman.

“Do I think I made a mistake? Yes,” Coleman said. “Our decision should have been impartial, instead of having it become a personal thing.”

Commissioners said they each received six or seven emails, and the county commission’s office reported receiving 13 phone calls. Carnahan said he had six emails and they were split in their opinions.

Coleman said he received six emails and all were critical of the board’s view.

Price said commissioners should realize the value to taxpayers with the group subscription.

“If you go digital, it’s available to 70,000 card holders,” she said. “You reach more people.”

While the county has digital subscriptions to various media services, this would have been the first newspaper group subscription. Head said it would not replace the print edition, but that could happen if the digital proved popular.

Contact Chronicle reporter Mike Wright at 352-563-3228 or mwright@chronicleonline.com.

(51) comments

STEVESCHUEMANN

Now that Florida toll roads, has put a big X on top of Citrus County, with all the new toll roads converging here, the political picture will change. All those people from the coasts, Orlando and South Florida will be moving here, to escape the effects of global warming, and rising sea level! OOOOp's fake news, but not! It is why we are here, after flooding of our house made us move, and this was just during tides. We were not affected, during Andrew, nor any other hurricane, , but we watched, each year, as the sea level went higher and higher, until it flowed over our sea wall. Luckily, we moved a year, before it reached into our house, first time ever! A younger, more progressive group, will replace the aging population. Maybe Carnahan will move down there, but Noah, does not rescue nonbelievers!

Old Florida Cracker

I and all the people I associate with think the BOCC made the correct decision in this case. The New York Times, Washington Post and (It has long been apparent) the Citrus County Chronicle are liberal opinion papers and not news! They wonder why their subscriptions are in decline! Thank you very much to the County Commissioners that put a stop to this fiasco. There is a large group of intelligent people who agree with your decision and will support YOU come election time!

ellenmiller

If our commissioners truly wish to save our money, why not cancel the NYT paper copies and go solely on line. Those who go to the library on a daily basis can use the computers there to access the NYT. $3000 for paper versus $2700 on line.

Unfortunately the personal politics of the commissioners appear more important than providing 70,000 library patrons with a valuable resource.

rnwtsar

I just read on the CBS national website that Citrus County commissioners have publicly called the New York Times “fake news”. What an embarrassment to all the intelligent people who live here.

If Mr. Carnahan wants to spout his personal politics he can do it on his own time. Maybe he could just drive his truck around with a large Confederate flag in back and Trump stickers plastered all over.

sgeohegan

Carnahan and Kitchens botched the Mental Health Services in Citrus County due to the same prejudices. Can anyone say Gene Mcgee?

CRabe

This morally bankrupt clown should be the last person to decide the content of the library.

Crankyankee

Now the many, many (thanks to Mr. Bezos) readers of the Washington Post know now important ignorance is to the "leaders" of Citrus County.

WendellLunceford

Such a sad day for Citrus County. Freedom in this country is based on freedom of the press, not freedom for the press I like. Once you go down the latter, well we know what history has to say about that. And it's one of the reasons it's written into the Constitution. Can't wait until the next election cycle.

DandyCandy535

Perhaps, but I greatly doubt, that one day I will encounter a Frumpette who can provide specific examples of exactly what Frumpettes mean by the term "Fake News". I doubt that the NYT or Washington Post has ever knowingly printed anything that they have not very solidly verified.

LynnBechdolt

Thanks for this article and for bringing the whole thing to the public's attention. It's not surprising that there are a variety of opinions on the issue. But, the issue is not The NY Times; it's about whether politics is going to set the agenda, which it should not. I applaud Brian Coleman for his sensitivity to that issue. The NY Times is not "fake news." It is the most independent, most respected journalism in the country. This newspaper isn't "fake news" just because a person elected to represent his district disagrees with what it publishes. There are also many, MANY people in Citrus County from the NY metro area who are used to reading The NY Times. I would LOVE to have digital access to such a newspaper because I belong to the library.

ButterflyLady

I agree with the Commissioners. Why should my tax dollars pay for a subscription for any newspaper. They aren't paying for any paper, so why should they start now. If you want the digital edition so badly, pay for it yourself. I'd rather my tax dollars go somewhere else that would help rather than pamper.

KARENSLASKA

The idea behind public libraries is to use public funds to ensure all residents access to a wide variety of reading materials, now expanded to listening and viewing materials as well. A well informed citizenry will enhance the democratic process. This is the same reasoning behind taxes for public schools. A well educated population will improve everyone’s quality of life.

JudithParliman

The commissioners need to keep personal feelings out of their decisions.

RBrazeal

The New York Times is not “fake news”. It is our nation’s “Paper of Record.” It’s outrageous that what our Public Libraries offer our residents have to pass a political litmus test. There are many of us in Citrus County who do not get their news exclusively from Fox nighttime programming and Facebook. It’s too late to even pretend the decision had anything to do with cost. Commissioners, you should spend your time protecting our County from detrimental outside influence before we are paved over and our rivers are irrecoverably harmed.

SJOHNSON

new York times and Washington post are nothing but pure garbage.

Roky

My expectations for County Commissioners is for them to focus only on county needs and wants, not national politics. The question, in this case, should only be whether the county should pay for on-line library subscriptions. Saying that a specific publication shouldn't be allowed in our county is censorship, and that's a dangerous road to go down.

DandyCandy535

It will be a cold day in **** when I need any county commissioner to tell me what to read, and what to think.

DandyCandy535

LarryG sounds like just another Trump Sicko. Same comment would apply to Commissioner Carnahan. Kudos to Brian Coleman for realizing his mistake.

LARRYG

Who in there right mind would read the new york times anyway, FAKE NEWS

CitrusCo Citizen

People who know how to read proficiently, think critically, and write correctly read the New York Times, a winner of 27 Pulitzer Prizes.

Teddi Rusnak

Amen

LizBurda

Janet Cooke also won a Pulitzer, for a fabricated story, so wining Pulitzer prizes are no guarantee the story is legit! My concern is the firing of the public editor by NYT which was established to ensure "fake news" was impeded. The public editor was put in place after the Jayson Blair NYT "fake new scandal". The truly "well read" should be aware of this NYT fake news scandal. BTW, the pubic editor position was terminated in May 2017 (shortly into President trump first year), this was done with close to 2 years left on the contracted terms.....no public editor back to same "rules of engagement: that allowed the Jayson Blair scandal.

CitrusCo Citizen

Thanks, Liz, for that information, and I'll be sure to research that (I do research for a living!) I always want to both sides of the story so that I can be objective. I'd like to know what other cases there are, in addition to the Jason Blair scandal. I'm sure that every major newspaper has had to weather a scandal or two, including Fox! That's why I believe in a free press and full transparency in the media. I want to know everything that exists about ALL elected public servants before I make decisions at the voting booth because I take voting in America very seriously. The mainstream media can do that for me if they follow the rules of ethics and integrity in journalism. Thanks again, Liz and be sure to share more examples of "real fake news"!

DonCoppolo

Amen. i am a former resident of Citrus county ,missed living there and planned on returning someday---not anymore. I refuse to live anywhere where my First Amendment rights are in jeopardy----that is not what my America is all about.

CitrusCo Citizen

Correction: New York Times, winner of 127 Pulitzer Prizes for Excellence in Journalism in many categories. Look it up. But what really got my "ire" was when I heard Carnahan state on National Public Radio (over 27 million listeners from about 1000 station nationwide), "I don't want the New York Times in this county. It's Fake News!" How dare, Carnahan, a public, elected servant, make policies on what I can and cannot access and read on the internet from the library system that my hard-earned tax dollars support, because of his own religious or political beliefs! How dare he! This is AMERICA and he is unAmerican!

RosanneM

I'm sure you meant "their", not "there". Sparks volumes.......

FrankLecanto

You probably meant "speaks volumes"...

CitrusCo Citizen

You're completely wrong, Rosanne. "There" is an adverb telling "where" something is. Don lived "there" in Citrus County. "Their" and "theirs" are possessive pronouns, (as are are "his", "hers," and "its".) Don didn't say he possessed anything. Many high school graduates confuse "there", "their", and "they're"; "it's" and "its"; and "to", "two", and "too". You do, too. You get an F today in English grammar and composition. Learn from my feedback, please, before you try to correct anyone else with your incorrect advice. And what the h---- does "sparks volumes" mean, anyway? Seriously?

KerryM

Larry- aren’t you busy raping mullets? Incidentally, “there” should have been “their”.

Native Cracker

KerryM,,,,so funny...can't stop...love it!

DandyCandy535

"FAKE NEWS" means anything that does not flatter the ghastly awful Donald Frump. For real "FAKE NEWS" look no further than Hannity and the other boneheads on Pox tv.

billcate

Somebody who wants to get out of the dark.

CitrusCo Citizen

Anyone who knows the difference between the usage of "their", "there" and "they're"; knows that proper nouns, such as the New York Times, should be capitalized; and knows that there should be a comma before "anyway" and a question mark after it, would be in his or her right mind and would read the New York Times. In fact, anyone with even a basic education could read the New York Times. Don't bother reading the New York Times, Larry. It is too hard for you to read because it has big words and long sentences. Since it would require that you think deeply and critically about a topic as you read, you would not make it past the first paragraph.

LWillis

If you want to read the New York Times, or any other news publication, pay your money and subscribe to it. I don't think other taxpayers should pay for your desire to read news from New York. Just my humble, Citrus County, tax paying opinion.

CitrusCo Citizen

OK, so let's cancel ALL subscriptions to ALL newspapers and let the people pay for their own subscriptions. In fact, LWillis, let's get rid of all of those pesky, liberal, socialist libraries so that absolutely NO taxes will be wasted on any opportunities for Citrus County residents to read and think.

Teddi Rusnak

Well said. Thank you.

Sandy Cheeks

If they're going to do one newspaper digital than they should do all digital. Wouldn't it be better if everyone in Citrus County had digital access to our local newspaper?

Native Cracker

In long run would probably be cheaper also....gosh , what fiscal revelation!

CitrusCo Citizen

Yes, all newspapers should also be digital. Why? Because then people who are homebound--women who are pregnant or have young children at home and can't go to the library, the elderly who can't drive, the disabled, those who don't own cars, those who are physically and/or mentally ill, and even those who are caregivers for those who are homebound, could read those newspapers online--at home!! They pay taxes to support the library and its services; therefore, the library, in turn, should support them! By the way, when my elderly father who was an avid reader, but suffered from congestive heart failure and couldn't even walk more than a step or two, began to lose his eyesight, I was able to access any book that he desired to read, on my laptop, enlarged the text, and there he sat reading happily until about a week before he died. I was so glad to that he could do that--thank you Citrus County Library System for making reading material accessible to us--at home!

Native Cracker

Touche' What an intelligent person. Let's just dumb down another generation that just might wish to learn from another point of view. Just go digital and be done with it for goodness sake.

Sandy Cheeks

Exactly

Miuke Nelson

I am glad so many people took the time to comment on this ill advised action and at least one BOCC member sees the writing on the wall. Advice to Mr. Carnahan, like Mr. Trump, you should learn when to keep your mouth shut. At least we know where you stand and we will remember when we vote next time around.

Theamann

I agree. Taxpayer dollars benefit everyone, and not be used or withheld to benefit or to suppress one ideology over another. I think we should subscribe to MORE digital print media! Represent more voices!

CitrusCo Citizen

I agree! A little diversity of reading material for the people of Citrus County would be a good thing! Education is necessary for a working democracy.

Teddi Rusnak

And digital is an economical way to provide access to information... something true conservatives should appreciate.

Mary JoG

Same old B/S. Buy the newspaper if you want.

Sandy Cheeks

If they do all of the newspapers and not just one.

CitrusCo Citizen

Will I remember at the next election of BOCC members? You betcha!

Native Cracker

You betcha!!

billcate

I keep waiting for Jimmie T. Smith to put that G.E.D. to use. Waiting...waiting...waiting...

CitrusCo Citizen

Seriously? I guess that's why he doesn't know anything about libraries. Come to think of it, I wonder if any members of the BOCC even have a library card or have visited a library to check out a book or read something?

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