Les Ludwig,a candidate for mayor from Squirrel Hill, has an ingenious plan for supporting libraries.
A perennial candidate who speaks regularly before City Council, he has been advocating a system in which consumers agree to add three cents to their grocery bill for libraries "but nobody listens to me." Walkabout listened and thought i was worth presenting here. His idea is that consumers could add three cents to any bill, depending on what businesses would want to participate. He uses Giant Eagle as an example. Say you spend $65.77 on groceries and the cashier asks if you want to round up to $65.80 to help libraries.
"It's in the pain-free zone," Les says about three cents. If Giant Eagle wanted to figure out how to configure its cashier system to do that, an incentive could be that the company reap the interest from the collection over, say, a year.
"This is a system for solving problems in society that's relatively painless," Les says. "There could even be three things the money could go to, and the electorate would finally have a chance to say, 'I want my three cents to go to _______," whether it be toward free college educations, public safety, libraries or the city's debt.
Walkabout does not endorse mayoral candidates, but this is an idea, and ideas are what society needs more of.