Ocean Beach Library Slated to Be Closed, Says Mayor Sanders

by on November 6, 2008 · 13 comments

in Economy, Ocean Beach, Organizing, San Diego


OCEAN BEACH, CA. On Wednesday, November 5, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders announced the closure of 7 libraries – including the Ocean Beach branch – and 9 rec centers and a gym, as part of his new budget cuts. These slashes, as well as cuts to the police department and fire and rescue departments, a supposed 10% across the board cut in all City departments, are all alleged to make up the city’s $43 Million deficit, and more.  All budget cuts have to be approved by the City Council.

The other libraries chosen to be shut down include:University Community, University Heights, Mountain View/Beckwourth, Carmel Mountain Ranch, Clairemont and Allied Gardens/Benjamin. In all, the libraries will have to eliminate 34 staff positions.
Sanders chose the following Recreation centers for closure: Penn, Adams, Azalia, Cabrillo, Cadman, Tecolote, Stockton, Presidio and Lopez Ridge, plus the Black Mountain gym.

Jay Goldstone, the city’s chief operating officer, stated that the libraries and recreation centers chosen to be closed were the ones “least used.”  The Mayor added that one library per each council district was chosen to be closed, except district 8, which only has three libraries. These public facilities – the libraries and recreation centers – are only technically, temporarily closed, and the city will review their status in 2010, but Sanders said he sees them as closed for the foreseeable future.

Waterfront fire rings will be reduced, and the assistant parks and recreation center position has been cut, along with 49 other positions.

For additional info, see the remainder of Elizabeth Malloy’s San Diego Daily Transcript article from Wednesday, November 5, 2008:

The city’s customer service department will be eliminated too. And despite Sanders’ promises throughout his term to not make cuts to public safety, police and fire will have to shoulder the burden as well.
The fire department will reduce the number of crews on duty on a revolving basis and cut one academy per year. The police department will cut its academy classes by half. Both departments will cut civilian personnel.
“We have no low hanging fruit, no slush funds that we’ve squirreled away,” Sanders told reporters, explaining that there were no easy cuts left for the city. “Instead we have something that will serve us better over the long haul: Our ability to identify reforms that value efficiencies, cost savings and transparency.”
City Hall has cut staff as well, including four of its seven deputy chief officers, which is a high-ranking position. The mayor’s office is reducing its budget by 15 percent, and Sanders is cutting three members of his staff. “I’ll be getting by without some valuable, hard working people,” Sanders said. “I’m calling attention to these executive layer cuts because it’s important for the mayor to lead by example.”
Sanders said he asked other city departments that don’t fall under the mayor to cut their budgets by 10 percent as well.
The mayor first announced the $43 million budget deficit about three weeks ago, and said he has been working with his staff ever since to find ways to close the gap. He said city workers offered about 200 suggestions, and some of those may yet be put into place with more time.
The city has considered making changes to the workweek as other municipalities have done, but Sanders said that would take time because it would involve a meet and confer process with the city unions.
Goldsmith said the suggested cuts would close the city’s $43 million gap, and go a long way toward filling projected gaps in the 2010 fiscal year budget as well.
In total, the San Diego Police Department will see $8.3 million in cuts, including cuts to the academy classes, 37 civilian positions, and a reduction in new equipment, permitted it doesn’t put officers in danger.
The fire department will see a $4 million reduction. This would largely be accomplished by cutting the number of engine and truck companies on duty by two. This would be on a rotating basis, essentially having the fire department always act as it does when one company is responding to a large emergency.
Both Police Chief William Lansdowne and Fire Chief Tracy Jarman were present at the mayor’s press conference and said they supported his cuts. Lansdowne said despite the decrease in training new recruits, he doesn’t expect the number of the city’s uniformed officers patrolling the streets to go down.
There was not yet a plan in place to sell the buildings.
Sanders said he still does not want to raise taxes, but if citizens decide they can no longer take the cuts and want to put a tax hike on the ballot, he would listen.
The deficit has largely been caused because costs are going up, while revenue from sales and property taxes are going down. Sanders pointed out that other cities are going through similar or worse situations. For example, Phoenix, which is comparable to San Diego in size, is facing a $200 million budget deficit.
“We’re in better shape than a lot of cities,” he said. “We’re in better shape than the state.”

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar OB Joe November 6, 2008 at 9:35 am

This is outrageous! About 5 years ago, OB was promised a brand new 2 story library. That was before the pension scandal. Then our branch got reduced hours. So, not only did we not get the new one, now we’re having one of the few public facilities in our community closed – and because it was one of the libraries supposedly ‘least used.’
This is unacceptable. I’ll lead a sit-in if nothing else inside the library to prevent its closure. Who will join me?
Is the City still building that $26 million pedestrian bridge downtown?
Come on, people! Don’t accept this.


avatar Mike November 6, 2008 at 2:10 pm

Is there anything we can do to stop or dispute this? Please advise. I know an army of OB lovers that would be willing to take to the streets over this.


avatar Frank Gormlie November 6, 2008 at 4:39 pm

Joe & Mike –
We need to put the pressure on Faulconer’s office – the council rep – get the OB Town Council and Planning Board opposed to the closing. The City Council still needs to okay this.


avatar DAVe November 6, 2008 at 9:14 pm

I’ve been fuming about this all day…as much about the rec center as the library, though I feel it’s also a valuable community resource. Child care at school is overflowing and on a six month waiting list, and the people at the Cabrillo rec center have stepped up, running a van to pick up kids from 4 schools in the same situation. My partner’s kindergarten-age daughter has been going there and made some great friends that have really helped her get over being out of East County for the first time…not only that, but we looked at private facilities all over town and even if they could provide transportation from school to the site (surprisingly most can’t), the $800+ a month most of them are charging would be a real stretch from the $300 and change we’re already scraping to pay the rec.

I’ve already sent e-mails to the whole council and tomorrow intend to follow up with the old-school paper kind to Sanders and Capt. D-bag (Faulconer), what else can/should I do?


avatar Erin W November 7, 2008 at 1:29 am

Hey guys,

There’s this website that might be of some help:

Email, call or write your councilmembers and anyone else who will listen.


The Ocean Beach library is near and dear to my heart since my grandma was the president of the Friends of the Library there many years ago.

Do what you can to keep libraries and parks open and find some other way to balance the budget.

Thanks :)


avatar Frank Gormlie November 7, 2008 at 10:06 am

Dave – you’re correct – the Cabrillo Rec Center in Point Loma is also being slated for closure – there was a typo in the original article that we reposted.

Erin – thanks for the links. See the new post on the library – it has all the City Council emails and map of the planned closures.

Everyone – see the new article. And please email your city councilperson today.
Public hearings on the issue are tentatively scheduled for Nov. 12 & 19 downtown of course.


avatar Genie November 7, 2008 at 6:48 pm

Oldest library set for closure! What the @! Can’t it be designated as an historical site?
Yeah Joe, you can count on me, I can dust off my old radical duff, and get my slogans and chants in order….
“outa the houses, into the streets….free ocean beach”
But seriously, it’s more than O.B. It’s about priorities, it’s about where the money goes, and who has a say. Yes we can!


avatar Alissa November 10, 2008 at 3:07 pm

Aaaahhhh!!! I was just at the library with my son and found out about the declared closing. What goes through someones mind when they decide to close a library?! – outrageous! I am an Ocean Beach native, this is my library darn it. They just celebrated they’re 80th ‘birthday’. Hello! I’m going to email these crazy people to say don’t do it and then lets bring on the protest!
My husband always fumes at the PL library, with all they put into it, they could have built ten libraries – anyway I’m taking it too far – got to get to emailing… good luck all you poor little libraries and rec centers out there!


avatar Don November 10, 2008 at 7:41 pm

This is an inequitable and unfair resolution of the city’s budget problems. Why is it that only select community libraries are slated for closure? These communities pay taxes just like everyone else. Why is the city being made well at the expense of a few communities?


avatar Frank Gormlie November 10, 2008 at 9:40 pm

Please – after you email your councilperson (see links at the update above) come here and tell us.


avatar Garry November 12, 2008 at 9:40 pm

wtf?? Why close libraries?? Libraries are good for community and society as a whole. Books!! Hello! And rec centers?? Hello! Physical fitness! Community gathering place.

This is an uproar! San Diego should demonstrate loudly on this absurdity!


avatar Breezer November 14, 2008 at 1:39 pm

As a single mom who relies on OB’s library books to educate her son, Sander’s proposal is a terrible resolution. We have to rally and prevent this closure from happening!


avatar dan h December 13, 2008 at 8:12 pm

how many city council members have reduced their compensation? when are policemen going to be held accountable for their wasteful use of gasoline? when will walmart start paying their full share of their property taxes? when will the city stop giving money to illegal aliens? when will the schools stop providing free lunch and breakfast food to any one who shows up? when will the city require construction licenses for public works projects? when will the city stop wasting tax money by burying power and telephone wires? when will the city hold contractors and developers accountable for crummy road construction? it is time to clean up the mess made by government. tax increases ARE NOT REQUIRED.


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