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— Shapiro mentions that Councilwoman Donna Frye voiced related sentiments when she cast the lone vote against spending the $6.5 million for the library. In an April 20 Union-Tribune article, Martin Stolz quoted Frye: " 'I think it is disingenuous to tell people, once again, that it will have no impact on the general fund,' she said. 'This isn't a free library.' " The article continued, "Several council members joined Frye in expressing concern at the prospect of using general fund money to finance the library project, especially in light of the city's tight budget and a $1.4 billion deficit in the pension system."

Councilman Madaffer has a different point of view. "The current fiscal problems we are having are shorter-term issues," he tells me, "and a main library is a 100-year project, an icon for the ages, if you will. You need a cultural icon designed for San Diego to last over the next 100 years."

But Shapiro notes that early in the spring the city council voted to cut back branch library hours to save money. "I think these downtown library people just have an edifice complex," he says.

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