Ocean Beach Library & 6 Others Plus Rec Centers On Mayor Sander’s Chopping Block
OCEAN BEACH, CA. Mayor Jerry Sanders growled at the citizenry gathered today at the City Council hearing on his proposed budget cuts. During his opening remarks, Sanders accused San Diegans questioning his budget proposals of being “fear-mongers.” One local resident – who I recognized and who had missed work to make a comment on the closure of the libraries – later told me in a phone call she actually felt intimidated by the Mayor’s comments.
Watching from the comfort of my bedroom – as I had slightly tweaked my back yesterday – I had a front-row seat thanks to Public Access Channel 24 to most of the reports and public comments during the long hours of today’s hearing. Mayor Jerry Sander’s cuts were to make up for the $43 Million budget shortfall, and on his chopping block was the Ocean Beach library, 6 other libraries, 9 recreation centers and a gym. His other proposals included cuts to police, fire and rescue, and generally a 10% slash in other departments.
Nearly 50 residents spoke in opposition to some or most of the cuts, including at least 3 from Ocean Beach. Stell Holmquist of OB said the slated closure of OB’s library was “the unkindest cut of all.” Jason from OB questioned the notion of “low use” as the criterion for closure, pointing out that there are lines everyday at the Ocean Beach branch for computer terminals, and that the city does not count electronic transmissions as a factor in its usage analysis.
After the Mayor’s proposals, the City’s Independent Budget Analyst Andrea Tevlin gave her report – which needs to be studied and understood by the citizenry for it questions the Mayor’s priorities and rationales for his proposals. An issue to watch develop is the definition of “temporary” as initially Sanders proposed that the public facilities be closed on a temporary basis. But during the hearing, it became evident that future budget projections for the next 5 years had the libraries still closed.
Here’s a link to voiceofsandiego.com ‘s report on today’s hearing.
Here are the Independent Budget Analyst’s (IBA) preliminary reports:
- Preliminary IBA Review Part 2 (PDF)
- Preliminary IBA Review Part 3 (PDF)
- Park and Recreation New Facilities Opening in 2009 (PDF)
The next hearing will on be on the 19th from 2 to 5 pm.
UPDATE: Go here for SignOnSanDiego‘s report from Nov. 13.