THE cancellation by the board of directors of the Kanawha County Public Library of the West Virginia Book Festival does not have to end the festival.
Allow me to explain.
The library system faces a 40 percent budget loss following the end to a funding mechanism that violated the state constitution.
Even a tightwad like me knows that is a huge bite that will affect an organization's ability to deliver basic services.
Still, ending the festival is within the definition of the "Fireman First" approach to budget cutting by governmental bodies, first described by Charles Peters in 1976.
Firing the firemen first means that an agency will threaten the most popular or essential programs when faced with a budget cut.
Canceling the festival will produce only $100,000 of the $3 million in cuts that must be made.
Community leaders can rally to raise the $100,000 privately to save the book festival if they truly believe in it.
In 28 years in Charleston, I have seen money raised for all sorts of festivals over the years, including the old Sternwheel Regatta.
I grant you that with the loss of thousands of chemical industry jobs over the years, the community is not as wealthy as it once was, but surely a book festival can be continued for another season.
One source of funds may be the MultiFest that takes place in August.
For years it operated on a budget of $100,000, but it turned out treasurer Deborah Starks embezzled an average of $50,000 a year.
So the real cost was $50,000 a year?