Anti-manga official seeks to deny libraries funding

An article in today’s Del Marva Now describes Wicomico, Maryland County Councilman Joe Holloway as disturbed by the humorous sexual content in Dragonball Z books available at local school libraries.

“The drawings and story lines are disgusting,” Holloway said of the book.

Official image courtesy of Wicomico County Council.

While on the surface this would appear to be a classic tale – a public official finds something against public morality, and squelches it – looking a little deeper raises questions about the purity of Mr. Holloway’s outrage.

As reported by Right Coast Conservative and confirmed by Salisbury News, on September 1,

Joe [Holloway] spoke out about frivolous spending projects for a new Civic Center and a new Library when the county is in a cash-poor situation.

What kind of picture does this paint of Mr. Holloway? Is he merely a concerned official, or is this a pretext for him to continue to cut funding for libraries? Plainly, Mr. Holloway was looking to keep very tight purse strings on library spending prior to any such event, but was the manga complaint from an unnamed parent a happy coincidence for him, or did it occur by design?

The timing of events is telling. If Mr. Holloway were outraged, would he not contact the officials immediately to have it removed? And yet he did not; he waited for the best moment to reveal the offending manga for maximum effect. Note the following wording:

Wicomico schools Superintendent John Fredericksen, present at Tuesday’s meeting for an unrelated topic, said his knee-jerk response is to yank the book from schools.

“I’d say it’s coming off the shelves as soon as I can get a phone call back to the office,” Fredericksen said.

The school superintendant was never contacted beforehand.  He was never even told to be present at the meeting by Mr. Holloway or related staff.  If Mr. Holloway’s primary concern was the exposure of children to these books, surely he could have immediately placed a few phone calls to share his concerns once he had reviewed the material and been offended by it. Instead he not only waited, but avoided contacting Mr. Fredericksen altogether, preferring to schedule his outrage to occur in public.

This isn’t the whole story, either: as detailed in “Joe Holloway Advocates Tax Cut” by the Del Marva Dealings, in January 2008, Holloway urged the government to cut taxes.  If he was successful, this would make him partly responsible for the very same budget shortfall which is now his excuse for cutting library funding.  Mr. Holloway was aware of the upcoming shortfall: the January 2, 2008 Wicomico County Council minutes included considerable discussion of how education funding was about to be cut and why Wicomico Conty would be hit hard. Mr. Holloway was among the members present.

“The citizens of Wicomico County are the best judges of how their money should be spent,” Mr. Holloway asserted in 2008. Certainly it seems Mr. Holloway is all too willing to listen when he anticipates that judgment will be based entirely on moral panic.

15 thoughts on “Anti-manga official seeks to deny libraries funding”

  1. Agreement. I don’t think we even have manga in our libraries here, though. XD RE exposure to children..just put it in a different section, or pick titles properly, zzz. Excuses, excuses.

  2. This guy has the look that he is smelling a dog turd all of the time.
    And that red nose indicates that he likes to have a drink frequently.

    Not to mention he is Republican, and the majority of the population doesn’t agree with the opinions of Republicans hence the presidency, house and senate makeup.

  3. As a resident of Wicomico County and the author of two of the posts you site I can assure you that Joe Holloway never attempted to de-fund either the public library or school libraries.  Holloway brought this subject to light because a constituent (whose child brought the Dragon Ball volume home from his school library) complained.
    No one has advocated burning books or cutting funds to libraries.  The library episode you mention is an ongoing local debate as to whether to build a NEW library.  Holloway does not support funding a NEW BUILDING.
    There’s a big difference.

    1. @ G. A. Harrison – the only thing I can say is that read this article thoroughly and check out the links and think about it before giving a knee jerk reaction. NOBODY has said anything remotely close about “burning books” or “cutting funds to libraries” all together here. Also, “de-fund” or “defund” is not the same thing as “looking to keep very tight purse strings”.
      But thank you for the correct information.

  4. Mr. Harrison:

    Thank you for taking the time to respond to this article.  As your columns were written in praise of local Republicans, I understand your desire to be supportive of Joe Holloway.  However, your statements above do not match with his public record on fiscal policy.

    In my research I did not encounter any indications that Mr. Holloway ever made efforts to increase funds for libraries or their staff.  I only found his attempts to reduce them, under the rationale of saving money.  As I showed in this article by cross-referencing local articles and the Wicomico County Council minutes, Holloway has even gone on record in favor of tax cuts despite anticipating an imminent loss of education funds.  This directly contradicts your assertion that he “never attempted to de-fund either the public library or school libraries.”

    The context of events is important.  The complaint about the manga (made by a concerned parent Mr. Holloway has refused to identify) could have been swiftly, honestly, and directly handled.  Instead, all available evidence seems to indicate that his highest priority was using this incident for political gain, and nothing you have presented above has challenged or even addressed this.

  5. I’m coming to this a bit late, but I did want to  point out that Mr. Harrison has a point—opposing building a new library  is not the same as opposing library funding. We’re talking about different budgets: Buildings are one-time money and are usually funded by bonds. Other expenses (salaries, books, electricity, etc.) come from the general operating budget, which is funded by taxes, fees, and other ongoing revenues. Ultimately the bonds are paid off from the operating budget, but over a long term, and generally the financial folks make a sharp distinction between capital spending and operating budgets.

    This is not to say I’m defending Holloway. First of all, if Maryland is anything like Massachusetts, a tax cut is a terrible idea right now. Revenues are down because of the recession, and so are salaries and everything else. Consequently, more people are using public schools, the library, and other public facilities. Because of economies of scale, a small amount in taxes can translate into a big benefit for the individual, libraries being the number one example—the slice of my paycheck that goes to my public library is much less than the amount I would pay for books if I had to buy my own. And the property taxes I pay to support the local schools (the biggest item in any municipal budget) are less than the cost of educating my children.

    Finally, the way Mr. Holloway went about his challenge was just wrong. Ambushing an official in a public meeting is not how you get things done in government. It’s just grandstanding, and if he had any respect from his peers at all, he probably lost it that day. Those of us who are just trying to do a good job really resent people like him.

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