Nobody on the dais mentioned anything about “fake news.”

But three commissioners stuck to their positions, voting down on Tuesday a proposal that would have provided digital New York Times access to 70,000 library cardholders while eliminating print editions that are now available.

Commissioners Scott Carnahan, Ron Kitchen Jr. and Jimmie T. Smith voted no. Commissioners Jeff Kinnard and Chairman Brian Coleman supported it.

Carnahan made no reference to comments he made at the Oct. 24 board meeting when he called the Times “fake news” and said, “I don’t want the New York Times in this county.”

Instead, he said the decision was purely financial.

“You have needs and you have wants. This is a want,” Carnahan said.

Kitchen also said his decision is a fiscal one — though the proposal would have actually saved about $300 annually by eliminating the more costly print subscription.

Smith suggested the county allow private donations to pay for the $2,700-a-year digital subscription. However, that recommendation did not lead to a vote, though commissioners left open the possibility of the matter coming back for a broader policy discussion and direction on the county providing digital media at the library.

While the issue drew immediate countywide attention following the board’s Oct. 24 meeting, it caught fire nationally two weeks ago when The Washington Post and other media picked up on the story. Commissioners received tens of thousands of emails, with many opposed to what they saw as censorship.

Smith said a New York Times digital is not necessary for the public because information on just about any topic can be found through an online search.

“It’s not an information dirt road, it’s an information highway,” Smith said.

Kitchen said he wanted to avoid “knee jerk reactions” by having more detailed discussion before approving any digital subscriptions.

Kinnard and Coleman, however, said providing digital access over the print edition is not only less expensive, but has the potential to reach far more people.

Kinnard noted that the libraries have been phasing out dated materials, such as VHS tapes, in favor of a more digital offerings. Library cardholders checked out 90,000 e-books in the last fiscal year that ended Oct. 30, he said.

The library advisory board voted last week to support library director Eric Head’s recommendation.

The meeting drew an overflow crowd and more than 40 people spoke with a variety of comments.

Some defended the commissioners and others criticized them. Some lauded The New York Times and others said it has no place in the libraries or should not be funded with tax dollars.

Here are some of those comments:

Richard Tomlinson, Crystal River opposed the taxpayer-funded subscription, but also said: “I do not feel Commissioner Carnahan should have made the remarks he did.”

Michael Fuller, Lecanto, referring to what he believes is the left-leaning Times: “You may as well send the check to the Democratic National Committee.”

Chuck Tomberton, Crystal River, of the Times: “They’re well known for who they are and what they are.”

Cheryl Melton, Citrus Springs: “This is the left going after the right, this is Democrats going after Republicans. This could be a book of nursery rhymes. This is a toe in the door. You let The New York Times in, what’s coming next? What radical publication is coming next?”

April McLaughlin, Pine Ridge, library advisory board member: “I do not support The New York Times. I support the First Amendment, the Constitution. I detest censorship. I support the library system and library management team. But I do not and never will support The New York Times.”

Marion Hansen, Inverness, was critical of past commissioner comments, saying: “You’re not supposed to not be that way. You're supposed to be the eye in our storm. You should be calm. While we’re all going crazy you’re supposed to be the sensible center of our souls. Look at the furor you've brought up. We’re all divided.”

Michelle Beardon, regarding the national attention: “It made us look like cracker county. The New York Times is not fake news. The press is not the enemy of the people.”

Beryl St. Jacques, Beverly Hills:  “You were not polite last month, Mr. Carnahan in particular. I feel the citizens of Citrus County were disrespected. you owe us all an apology. “

Bud Hurley, Beverly Hills: “A mistake was made here. It was unnecessary. You seem to have plenty to do without doing the library’s business.”

Dierder Sweeney, Inverness:  “You set the framework for this discussion. You made it a First Amendment issue. We are simply following your lead. We have seen the video. You're not fooling anyone.”

Walter Pike, Beverly Hills: “Don't let the bullying tactics being levied at you intimidate you.”

Jim Bowlin, Inverness: “I don't think we should limit any of that information. As for the cost, it’s peanuts.”

Ryan Gill, Pine Ridge: “This board made a political decision over something that needs to be apolitical.”

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

(39) comments

CRabe

The sooner we get rid of these guys, the better.

ENGELINAW

[thumbup]

CitrusCo Citizen

Yes! Vote 'em out!

sgeohegan

Especially Carnahan. He is a joke.

whoever

You people are the most arrogant group I have ever witnessed. You think because a small rural town in the south will not support a large liberal new york newspaper that our world is going to crumble, that because you read this paper, you are smarter and superior to those who do not. I hope all you folks raising a fuss about this pack up and move away, ASAP.

CitrusCo Citizen

I hear banjos.

SHC

My family has inhabited this county for about 175 years, and in my opinion, your comment is small-minded garbage.

SJOHNSON

New York times is garbage and does not fit in with our rural community. If you like reading that kind of garbage maybe you should move back to where you came from. I was born in New York , but moved here to get away from all the nonsense up there.

CitrusCo Citizen

Yup. Too many big words, long sentences, complex thoughts and worldly ideas. Wouldn't want to give you a headache, or worse, an edumaction, bless your heart.

booevegeo

Congrats to the three commissioners who voted against the electronic version of the NY Times. You may as well fire your Economic Development Director and save the taxpayers even more money since we can now forget ever getting any reputable companies, with good paying jobs, to relocate here.

Comment deleted.
AGardner

Do you realize how paranoid you sound?

We live in America. We are diversified. We are a country of Immigrants (except for Native Americans). And our ancestors are as much about the history of thus country.

Libraries are apolitical. They have information on everything. Both parties could go in and destroy what we are against, there probably wouldn't be much left.

There is no "fake news." It's only a catchy phrase that the president came up with as an explanation for the high amount of criticism.

There is no such thing is "fake news." There's factual news, good news bad news, dishonest news. And those like the Enquirer, which made for a good laugh.

In this country we don't stifle any media because it doesn't live up to one side We are guaranteed the right to read, listen, watch what we want. If a Library Advisory Board meets and thinks they should have a resource, then it should be.approved. This was the first of many digital subscriptions that probably you would enjoy.

This was a subscription to the New York Times. It's not liberal propaganda that you have to swallow. If you don't want to deal with materials available through the libraries, my advice would recommend that you don't open your mouth. That's the first step to swallowing liberal propaganda.

Old Florida Cracker

GOOD JOB to the commissioners that voted against this waste of tax payer money. I will be voting FOR You!

BarbaraDrummond

so ashamed... I recently returned for a cruise and many international people laughed when I replied i was from citrus county fl... they all knew about our disgrace board of commissioners and asked me if i was afraid living amongst closed minded It seems as though the whole world heard about this...AND carnahan is a LIAR.. the money was already in the budget...so whats next there is money for mein kampf

LoriMcSherry

I attended this meeting and was very disappointed in some of the misinformation out there. First off, several people who spoke and said they appreciated the commissioners’ efforts, also stated they “voted for them all.” I have to wonder if these people even voted, because on my last election ballot, I was only able to vote for the commissioner within my home district. How can anyone have voted for all five commissioners without committing election fraud?

Secondly, Commissioner Smith suggested that everyone can go online and access the NYT for free, stating he reads the news from various sources on his phone for an hour every morning. The truth is a large number of the articles in the New York Times are restricted. I believe each IP address is entitled to just five of these types of NYT articles for free every month. This practice of allowing only so many free articles is carried out with most newspapers including the Wall St Journal, Washington Post and even our own Citrus County Chronicle.

Lastly, to everyone who complained that the money the NYT will cost should go to help veterans or children or homeless, the library has been allocated funds with which they developed a budget and a spending plan. While veterans, children and homeless are all extremely worthy causes, it isn’t really applicable to suggest using the money allocated to the library to fund these types of expenditures that fall outside of the library purview.

I’m incredibly disappointed at the short-sighted decision today. While several Commissioners did state there is no set policy covering this type of library request, I would suggest that they work with the library management and advisory board to set about developing a fair and impartial way to ensure politics do not influence our library system requests going forward.

Native Cracker

Thank you Lori, Good response, INTELLIGENT RESPONSE. You indeed have the ability to listen and learn. A cherished quality many in this county do not possess. This decision by the Komish was indeed ignorant and short sighted. I imagine they would like to keep all the women barefoot and in the kitchen forever also! Once backwards, always backwards!

mikewright Staff
mikewright

Editor's note: Although they run in districts, county commissioners are elected by voters countywide. No matter what district you live in, you vote for all commission districts.

CitrusCo Citizen

Well said, Lori. Thank you.

Klindquist

Yea to the board.

If you want the Times you can goes to the library and read the hard copy or subscribe yourself.

The $2750 would be better used to feed our homeless this holiday season

WAYNEG

The money has already been allocated for the library. It will not be spent elsewhere.

Teddi Rusnak

And you have donated how much to that cause?

Native Cracker

Or volunteered to help the homeless??? Hum????/

Native Cracker

There ya go...one more that knows nothing of how the library funds works.

CitrusCo Citizen

I can goes subscribe myself? Oh, my!

Messier69

Great job of prolonging this NONSTORY Chronicle. Let's see if you can keep the momentum going for a few more weeks.

Miuke Nelson

I think the BOCC did a fine job of assuring that.

Native Cracker

This will be with us until we elect people locally that can read and chew gum! Vote people.....

CitrusCo Citizen

Yep, the BOCC keeps Citrus County hot and messy, Messier.

JANETC

Sad day for Citrus County...looking forward to the next County Commissioners election

SHC

Remember these three names, fellow citizens: Scott Carnahan, Ron Kitchen Jr. and Jimmie T. Smith. These are the board members who substitute their political opinions for the librarian's professional judgment. I look forward to voting against them in the next election.

WAYNEG

As do I. They represent nothing but their own prejudices.

alflorida

And you don't represent yours?

Native Cracker

Yes but we the People....pay their salaries....they do not pay ours....They are hired to represent all the people, not impose their personal opinions when applying rulings. That type of behavior occurs in Russia.... I bet we could get a 'go fund you' for a one way ticket to a communist country....bet we could.....one way....

Teddi Rusnak

Be aware that only Commissioners Kinnard and Smith will be facing the voters in 2020. Commissioner Carnahan represents District 4 and will be up for re-election in 2022 like Mr. Kitchen. Mr. Smith currently represents #3 but is now running for Mr. Coleman's District (#5), leaving his seat open for his protege Ruthie Schlabach. Don't ignore the "primary" in August. Three seats could all be settled then if no Democrats file for Districts 1, 3, 5, stretching the election into November.

RJSchlabach

Teddi, Protege? Wow, I have been in business for over 27 years and in CC for over 25. I filed to run in District 3, on March 1, 2019, before JTS moved to run in District 5. I was prepared to run against JTS. I just thought you should know the facts.

Native Cracker

But will ANY OF THEM, actually live in the district that they run to represent? Talk about 'fake news'

I think the FBI would call that fraud.....hum?????

RJSchlabach

I am running in District 3 and I have lived in District 3 for over 20 years. I understand the frustration!

alflorida

And I look forward to voting for them :)

Old Florida Cracker

👍I will be voting for them too.

CitrusCo Citizen

OK, Cracker.

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