When he saw what he had done, he said “Screw you, I’ll make it forty-one.”
[Updated April 17, 2011]
Mayor Sanders has released his two yearfor the fiscal year beginning July 1. Sanders is once again using our libraries as the mother of all piñatas, beating an obscene, disproportionate 7.4 million dollar reduction out of the library’s current budget.
Obceans and beyond– are you going to let our mayor reduce branch hours from 36 hours a week to 18 hours? That means your branch will be open two days a week and alternate Saturdays. Are you ok with the mayor eliminating 77 full time positions in the library, which probably corresponds to 100 positions because so many staff members work part time, and adding those people to the ranks of the unemployed? Are you ok with the library system sustaining the largest cuts of any general fund department since 2007- a whopping 22.2% decrease in funds?
Three and a half years ago Obceans became part of a city-wide effort to successfully defeat the mayor’s plan to do exactly what he is trying to pull off now. He hasn’t given up on his intent to redefine our city services and completely crush the library department. Are we going to give up on our support of city services which we value and need and let Sanders carry the day? Do I hear a “hell no!” out there?
Supporting our libraries right now in a vocal very public way is essential on two levels. The obvious level is that the library is a safe place where our kids are introduced to books and reading when they are little, hone their research skills as they grow older and have access to computers and technology that many of them lack in their homes. Our school libraries have been decimated making our public libraries even more important than ever. Beyond the pivotal role that libraries play in the lives of our children, the resources- print, audio visual and electronic are available to all of us and we use them. And we also rely on the assistance of our “information navigators,” the library’s professional staff.
We like libraries. We use libraries. We expect libraries to be present, and open—what a concept! in our communities. That is why our pushback is really important right now. Our city government services are being re-defined in a covert and dangerous way, by a handful of free market anti-government interests. Carl DeMaio, Sanders, and the mayor’s kitchen cabinet comprised of business interests have all capitalized upon a fiscal disaster in order to advance their own political and economic agendas.
Here we are up to our eye teeth in the Great Recession, which was caused by Wall Street’s criminal actions and our own local politicians want us to believe that librarians, trash collectors, police, fire fighters and recreation leaders are the cause of our fiscal woes. Both DeMaio and Sanders, but particularly DeMaio, have made it their personal holy grail to destroy the concept of the public good and the dignity and value of public service. With the aid of their good friend the U-T, citizens are thrown enormous chunks of red meat, while those dangerous assumptions go unchallenged. It appears that our core city services will ultimately be defined and reduced to fire and police. While the library budget has been reduced 22.2% since 2007, the police department will have realized a 9.6% increase in funding, and fire a 14.4% increase in that same period. In addition, the spigot will be opened to funnel our tax dollars to the private sector to provide other city services.
If we become a society that shutters libraries and recreation centers I am certain that in the not too distant future we will find that we don’t have nearly enough cops.
Say no to library cuts! Contact Mayor Sanders firstname.lastname@example.org and cc your council member.
Budget Hearing Dates:
Thursday, April 21, 6-7 pm
Kearney High School Auditorium, 7651 Wellington Way, San Diego 92111
Thursday, April 28, 6-7 pm
Joe and Vi Jacobs Center, 404 Euclid Ave., San Diego 92114
Author’s note: I retired from the City of San Diego Central library with 26 ½ years of service.