We Are Hopin’ to Keep the Doors Open! Photo Gallery

by on November 15, 2008 · 7 comments

in Economy, Ocean Beach, Organizing

Ocean Beach Library – citizens rally to keep libraries open.


(Click on the pictures to see larger versions of them)

Ocean Beach Library, November 15, 2008

OCEAN BEACH, SAN DIEGO CA. “We are hopin’ to keep the doors open!” was chanted today throughout the downtown business district of Ocean Beach, as 150 O.B. residents and library supporters rallied in front of the historic branch library building.

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Piggy-backing off the OB Library Friends’ book sale, the rally began around noon as residents swarmed the corner in front of the library, many hugging the curbs with colorful signs and getting supportive honks in return.

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Organized by a loose network of groups – the OB Historical Society, the Friends of the OB Library, and the OB Rag blog, the spirited sign-waving and rally was at the intersection of Sunset Cliffs Blvd and Santa Monica Ave, held to oppose Mayor Jerry Sander’s proposal to close the Ocean Beach branch as well as 6 others – all for budgetary reasons.

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Frank Gormlie, editor of this blog, started the speakers off with a welcome to the crowd, and then he laid out important upcoming dates. A strategy meeting is to be held next Tuesday at a local resident’s home, and he urged everyone to attend the next City Council hearing on the budget, scheduled for next Wednesday, the 19th. Car-pooling has been set up.

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Pat James, head of the OB Historical Society, gave a spirited spiel about the history of the OB Library and the building itself. The original library was on Abbott Street, across from what’s now the Lifeguard Station, and the actual building where it now sits has been designated an historical site. Just this past Spring, the Library celebrated its 80th birthday. Now it’s on Mayor Sander’s chopping block.

Suzi More spoke as President of the Friends of the OB Library, thanking the crowd profusely for turning out. She described all the programs the OB branch offers – many for kids. It has an annual circulation of 105,000 books and other materials. 14,000 people went there in October, 18,000 last August. There’s 2500 internet and computer users monthly, she said. Also speaking was Anna Daniels, an actual City librarian speaking for herself. She asked the crowd where all the books from the closed libraries would go, and reminded us that libraries are very important for democratic societies, as they give us “free, unobstructed access to information,” which is essential. (Go here to see video of Frank and Anna speaking)

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Steven Heverly, representing the OB Town Council, announced to the crowd that the Town Council had voted to oppose the branch’s closure. Another sign of support against any closure came from the OB Peoples Food Coop – it was announced that the store had closed its doors for an hour to allow staff and customers to attend the rally.  John Rivera, chief of staff for Councilmember Kevin Faulconer, informed us that his boss will do what he can do to keep the branch open. James Lawson, also of Faulconer’s office, was in the crowd as well. And finally, Scott Andrews advised the gathering of other sources of money to fix the budget.

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The crowd was admonished to sign three petitions: a general one to oppose the library’s closure; another petition of those residents who are willing to work as volunteers with the library staff so it wouldn’t have to close; and a third of those who are willing to non-violently block the library’s permanent closure.

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After the final applause had died down, it was announced that everyone was asked to walk down Newport Avenue on the sidewalks to inform the rest of Ocean Beach. And that’s exactly what happened – with chants and signs, a long line of OBcians flowed down the business district and staged a quick little rally at the foot of Newport Avenue.

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Bob James reminded everyone of the City Council hearing. The group then returned to the library, again with the chants: “We are hopin’ to keep the doors open !” and “Open libraries, open minds!” A lot of folks in the shops, restaurants and bars smiled and gave thumbs up.

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The word has gotten out. O.B. is on the move. It won’t let its library be closed.

And by the way, it was really good to see you all out there. See comment below for times and dates of important upcoming stuff on the library.

~Patty and Frank

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

annagrace November 15, 2008 at 5:13 pm

Awesome rally! I urge you all to ask for complete and comprehensive budget information (which has not yet been made available) before even considering reducing hours throughout the whole system. Libraries (and Park & Rec) have had budget cuts every year for the past four years. Hours have already been reduced. Staff positions have been cut or remain vacant. The material budget has been reduced. These general fund departments have already been slashed while the mayor maintained that services weren’t affected. Not true!

The Office of Independent Budget Analysis HAS identified non-library sources to close the budget gap. The council should evaluate those and any other possible areas BEFORE accepting any cuts to libraries or parks and rec. And WE should be unified in saying no cuts to the library budget- NO closure of branches, No reduction of hours, No lay off of staff until we have been convinced through a transparent, comprehensive and democratic process that cuts to the library department are required. That’s how it’s supposed to work! More to come.


Frank Gormlie November 15, 2008 at 6:14 pm

O.B. Library Alert

Strategy Meeting: Tuesday Nov. 18 – 7 pm at Kathy & Ray’s – for address/ phone # of meeting, email OB Rag at obragblog@gmail.com

City Council Hearing on Budget – Wed. Nov. 19, 2-5pm (although there is some confusion on the exact times – right now, we believe this is correct, but check back for any updates)

Car-pooling from OB Library – Nov. 19, 1:15 pm, return after hearing; if you need a ride or if you have room for other OBcians, show up at library.

For more info: contact OB Rag blog at obragblog@gmail.com


dougbob November 16, 2008 at 4:58 am

keeping the population ignorant (just educated enough to work) is what reactionaries need to stay in power. witness the UT’s opposition to the San Diego school bond proposition (S). fortunately, it doesn’t seem to be working for them lately.


Deb November 16, 2008 at 12:23 pm

Sorry to have missed such a fine rally! Shameful to hear that our council doesn’t insist on CCDC repaying our city (us) moneys owed to keep our libraries and rec centers open. I think the message should be if the OB Library closes then Faulconer can expect to loose his job. A recall action should be initiated and will be successful. Unfortunately money and power are the only thing that will get his attention. If Faulconer believes he will loose both then he will make sure the OB Library stays open. Maybe the discussion of recall can be addressed at the upcoming meeting???


Frank Gormlie November 16, 2008 at 1:32 pm

dougbob & deb – great to hear from both of you. Ignorant masses are what the powerful indeed want, so why not close the libraries – the powerful don’t need them. Deb, interesting, umm, like carrot and stick approach ?
Also it’s important to add that we can’t allow any of the libraries to close – this is not turf war with other Council Districts.


Judith November 16, 2008 at 3:16 pm

Here is a letter that Judith Starker sent to Councilmember Faulconer :

Dear Councilman Faulconer,

I am a retired educator, working 30 years for San Diego City Schools, with Dana Middle as my final assignment. I have loved this library and all that it offers our young people, seniors, and all those in between. We have seen their hours cut, days limited but still it remained open. Please don’t eliminate a free educational resource for all of us in these trying times. We need access to information, recreation and computers and Ocean Beach Library offers us that and much more.

Sincerely, Judith Starker


DAVe November 19, 2008 at 8:54 am

Nice rally at the library, I showed up, dragged my partner with me (she was stoked over the dozen or so enthusiastic comments she got from her t-shirt and the experience of attending her first grassroots rally), signed up for a library card for the first time since my old one from the city of La Mesa expired about fifteen years ago, signed a petition (though I’m too busy/chickenshit/trying-to-make-rent-during-the-day to have signed the volunteer one and didn’t catch the one pledging to physically prevent the closure), and hung around to catch the general scene. When we caught y’all marching down the other side of Newport later at lunch we rallied the random people eating lunch with us to throw out some cheers (should’ve stuck around, didn’t know there was going to be a march and I felt silly not having a sign to wave on the corner). I’ll probably be around next Saturday as well, we want to get our daughter a library card of her own and I’ve read all the books I can afford to buy her at least a dozen times (NO MORE Marvin Mooney!!!).


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