Victory for Libraries! San Diego City Council Votes to Keep Libraries & Rec Centers Open

by on November 24, 2008 · 27 comments

in Organizing, San Diego

SAN DIEGO, CA.  After a two hour hearing, the San Diego City Council just voted 6 to 1 to keep the 7 libraries and 10 Rec Centers open.  All were slated for closure in Mayor Jerry Sanders’ budget cut proposals. Councilmember Tony Young made the original motion to approve the Independent Budget Analyst’s recommendations, with Councilmember Scott Peters’ second.

Councilmember Madaffer voted against the motion while Councilmember Huesso was absent. After the vote, library activist Anna Daniels thanked the six Councilmembers that voted to keep the public facillities open: Peters, Faulconer, Atkins, Young, Maienschien, and Frye.

Now, the Mayor has the opportunity to veto the vote, but with the Council only needing 5 votes to override a Mayoral veto, the veto seems unlikely.  “A bad day for the Mayor,” a City Hall insider told me.

This is definitely a victory for those who responded against Mayor Sanders’ original budget cut proposals announced on November 6th. It is a victory for all those signed petitions, rallied at local branches, and who emailed the Council and Mayor’s offices.

Go here for our earlier post on the Independent Budget Analyst’s recommendations.

CHECK OUT voiceofsandiego’s article here.

And here’s SignOnSanDiego’s article – our own Anna Daniels is quoted.

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Breezer November 24, 2008 at 3:51 pm



avatar Sioux Henley Campbell November 24, 2008 at 4:04 pm

Congratulations on everyone’s hard work. This is great news!!!


avatar Lily November 24, 2008 at 4:21 pm

Great news, indeed. I am biased, of course. I am a librarian and I just blogged about the closure of 11 branch libraries in Philadelphia. My grandparents lived 1/2 block from one of the branches– the first library I ever used. I am surprised how hard it is to see it go, even though it has been more decades than I like to admit since I was last there.

That area is very impoverished now. As is usually the case, the public library is the main resource for the unemployed who can create resumes there and look for jobs; and for children. They often don’t have school libraries, so the public library is their best resource for homework, pleasure reading and programs of interest.

Public libraries are a treasure. Hang on to yours as long as you can!


avatar susan orlofsky November 24, 2008 at 4:26 pm

Well-done all! Stay vigilant–together we can make a difference.


avatar Genie November 24, 2008 at 4:50 pm

YEAH! I, (and a certain friend) suggest we change the name to “Molly Maquire Ocean Beach Library”…………..
Power to the People!!!!!


avatar Shawn Conrad November 24, 2008 at 5:13 pm

Good job all!


avatar Andra Loo November 24, 2008 at 5:18 pm

Thanks to Frank and all the former OB Grassroots members who led the charge to save our library. Thanks to everyone who wrote letters and sent emails. Job well done by all. I am a 35 year OB resident and currently the treasurer for the Friends of the OB Library and am very glad I still have my volunteer job!


avatar dougbob November 24, 2008 at 5:38 pm

ob people’s power wins again!


avatar Bruce Murray November 24, 2008 at 5:41 pm

The people have spoke. Thank you to our Cit y Council for listening to us.


avatar Wireless Mike November 24, 2008 at 5:57 pm

Closing libraries to save money is like cutting out part of your brain to lose weight.

We won this round, but don’t underestimate Sanders and his rich developer friends. Keep the pressure on.


avatar annagrace November 24, 2008 at 9:37 pm

When the people lead, the leaders follow. And boy did we lead! VICTORY!


avatar Monty Reed Kroopkin November 25, 2008 at 9:11 am

We can all thank the OB Rag for helping to get people educated and activated on this issue. The corporate news media did get on the bandwagon and report the opposition, but there might not have been a bandwagon to get on, were it not for the existance of independent, alternative news media, like the OB Rag.

I hope every reader will tell friends about the OB Rag, and support its growth. One easy way to do that is to include a link to a story in the OB Rag whenever you email friends and family.


avatar Genie November 25, 2008 at 10:25 am

Another way to support is to DONATE…..!
It takes a lot of time energy and dedication to put this together.
My donation, (in the name of Rich Nadeau, and behalf of O.B. (Molly Maquire) Library) is coming.
And dam, how bout Blue Sky Pottery! Hurray for any business that supports, (Let them know why you are shopping there)!


avatar Elizabeth November 25, 2008 at 12:21 pm

Way to go! What is the easy way to thank our Council Members for this support, and to ask for continued support for our libraries?


avatar Lane November 25, 2008 at 2:50 pm

Great work people. I remember at the first rally when Faulconer’s staffers said that “he would do anything in his power” to keep the OB Library open – except vote NO on the budget proposal. It took about a week of citywide resistance for him and other council members to change their tunes, and now look at the outcome.

The power of communal voices for change is evident in this monumental achievement. Awesome work people!


avatar annagrace November 25, 2008 at 6:24 pm

Elizabeth- your momma raised you right! And yes we should thank the council (weasel Madaffer and the invisible Hueso excepted. ) Valerie Matthews, who spent the past two weeks single handedly collecting over 1,000 signatures in Allied Gardens, set up a card table today in front of their Albertson’s to let the community know that Albertson’s donated to the rally and deserved their thanks! Here are the links to the city council to send an email:


avatar Pat Washington November 26, 2008 at 7:12 am

I am delighted to have discovered the OB Rag and the phenomenal work the people in the community have done to galvanize businesses, community members, activists and elected leaders who shouldn’t have needed persuading to preserve City libraries, but did.

It was most useful to have the analysis that was posted on this site that put the proposed closure of seven libraries into the larger context of community need, projected library construction, proximity of existing and proposed libraries to specific communities.

Outstanding information resources. There were several items that I could download and then share with others who care about library access and related issues.

Thank you, thank you, thank you– setting up card tables at local businesses to get the word out. A wonderful reminder that we have to reach the hearts and minds of those impacted by these heartless government decisions wherever people are. Not just on the internet, though the internet is a valuable resource.

I am encouraged and energized by your example. Pat Washington


avatar Frank Gormlie November 26, 2008 at 12:30 pm

Pat – thank you for your kind words. We all share in this victory – even though it may only be temporary – until the Council looks at the budget again in 6 months. But I think it would be political suicide for any councilmember – new or old – to close down libraries and/ or rec centers next go-around.

There are other issues: some say the fire rings need to be saved – it does seem ridiculous to take them out just to save $173,000, as they are such an icon of the beach scene – and have been for generations.

Plus, we citizens should be looking into the City’s budget for other savings. If you have any suggestions at all, please send them in and we’ll summarize what we have and post them.

Before we start changing the name of the OB Library, Genie, to that of some mythical creature, kudos must go out to Kathy Blavatt, Suzi More, Pat James, George Murphy, Lane Tobias, Carol Bowers, Jonnie Wilson, Stephen Heverly, Ned Titlow, Andrea Loo, all those OBceans that went to the downtown hearings a special thanks, to all the members of the Friends of the OB Library, the stars of the Friends of the San Diego Library like Sheila Padgett, the members of the OB Historical Society, those of the now-defunct OB Grassroots Organization that showed up, to all the folks – the 1300+ people who signed our petition, to all those hearty OBceans who signed up to peacefully block the actual closure of the OB Library, to the people who honked as we waved signs…

And a special thanks to Anna Daniels – who spearheaded the efforts to organize at the libraries city-wide, who articulated the issues so we could understand them, and finally my personal complete thanks to PATTY JONES who not only took all the photos but who is the tech genius behind this blog, which would not exist except for her.


avatar Patty Jones November 26, 2008 at 4:55 pm




avatar annagrace November 26, 2008 at 6:59 pm

RING OF FIRE- Let’s go out and have a party around one of those fire rings, bring a spirit of joy and victory to our public spaces. This Sunday if it doesn’t rain? Someone chose the time and fire ring!


avatar Gary Ghirardi November 27, 2008 at 5:27 am

Congratulations to the O.B. Rag and the people who organized around the library issue. This is the good news that people can change things against a false and cynical assumption of powerless citizenship. What can be fought for and won next?


avatar Marilyn Reed November 28, 2008 at 12:43 pm

I wanted to give a big thank you to everyone who worked to keep our beloved library opened. As a preschool teacher, working with two and three year olds, I not only teach them phonics and letter recognition, but I teach them that they can find books on any subject they are interested in, in the Library. We take them down there and show them how to check out books, and tell them that they can get their own library card, as soon as they can write their name. This is a big deal, because some of them have parents who never take them to the library, and they will eventualy be able to go on their own. It is in such a good central location being right across from the school. Children can stop at the library on their way home from school. When my four children grew up, we were three blocks down the street from it, and it was one of the first places I let them go by themselves and with their friends. There is a light at the intersection for crossing and their is supervision inside. Thanks again for all you efforts on behalf of all the little children in O.B. Marilyn Reed


avatar Garry November 28, 2008 at 8:53 pm

Who the heck dissented (6-1)? Vote him/her out of office.


avatar Frank Gormlie November 29, 2008 at 1:23 pm

“Councilmember Madaffer voted against the motion while Councilmember Huesso was absent.”
Madaffer is a lame-duck, a Republican, and hoping to be Mayor Sander’s next redevelopment czar, so he followed the party line.


avatar obTony December 1, 2008 at 6:13 pm

Hey man…community alert all over again…

Go to the OB planning bored web and see that the old World oil gas station is back on the agenda!!!!!

looks like this wednesday 3 dec! at the rec center at 6pm.

Looks like the old wiley planning board was looking to take advantage of the holidays to slip this one by us.

ob Tony…


avatar Frank Gormlie December 2, 2008 at 9:49 am

OB Tony & all: check out our new sidebar addition: Ocean Beach Alerts – where we have important announcements, including this one.


avatar annagrace December 5, 2008 at 10:40 am

I hope all you wonderful activists come on down to Golden Hall on Monday December 8 when the new council members and our strong mayor take their oath of office at 10:00 am. It is crucial that we maintain visibility on the issues that concern this. For all you library supporters- wear your I love my library badges and have some fun mingling. The general fund issue is not going away, and neither are we.

I had to laugh when I read in the morning paper that our City Clerk has chosen a “tasteful” music CD in this scaled down version of prior year’s pomp and bucks. Perhaps we can slip in an alternative disc… Tuvan throat music? Elvis Costello? Some Phillip Glass?

Are you ready to shake things up?


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