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Citrus County Commission votes against digital New York Times version for libraries

Posted at 4:59 AM, Nov 19, 2019

CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. -- Dozens lined up to speak Tuesday afternoon.

Many backed the Citrus County commissioner who spoke out against funding a digital subscription for the New York Times at the county library.

“We think you’ve done the right thing. You stand up for your rights. You stand up to preserve our taxes in Citrus County,” said George Gasparini representing the Citrus County Republican Party.

Many criticized the New York Times for what they called its liberal leanings and bias against President Donald Trump.

RELATED: Officials deny Florida library's request for New York Times subscription, calling it 'fake news'

“Sixty-five percent of us voting public are conservative in this county. Our ethics, our morals certainly don’t go along with the guideline of what we are hearing. What we are reading,” said Chuck Tomberlin.

Then, there are those who think paying $2,700 for a digital subscription is too much.

“If you guys want to read the New York Times, pay for it. Don’t ask me to pay for it,” said Hernando resident Harry Cooper.

There were those critical of the commission for politicize what they say should not be a partisan issue.

“I thought surely this is not happening in the county where we have a home. Am I living in the 1950s? Where public leaders talk and act like this. I’m specifically addressing the one that said we do not want the New York Times in this county,” said Inverness resident Michelle Bearden.

RELATED: New York Times fallout affecting Citrus County tourism, officials say

Commissioners say deciding how the library spends its money is their responsibility.

The chairman of the board says he’s open to hearing what everyone thinks, as long as it is kept civil.

“I had emails, some of those people that don’t even know me calling me a Nazi. And the other commissioners had the same things. I had more emails with people calling me a 4-letter-word,” said Chairman Brian Coleman.

Commissioners ended up voting against the digital subscription 3-2, but the paper subscription which actually costs about $300 more a year will continue.

The library director says they are working on other ideas when it comes to digital platforms for news.