“If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu” – community input on City Budget – including libraries – begins

by on February 3, 2009 · 9 comments

in Civil Rights, Economy, Education, Ocean Beach, Organizing, San Diego

San Diego Public Library opens, 1954.

San Diego’s libraries are back on the local issues burner, as the City of San Diego begins a new round of meetings that seek community input on the City’s budget. And this means the libraries and other social services. The community input meetings begin this Wednesday evening, Feb 4, in Council District 4.  The City Council Budget and Finance Committee in conjunction with the Mayor’s office are taking the leadership on these meetings.  Citizens will have an opportunity to speak to the Council and will fill out a survey about the importance of City services.  (If you wish, you may be able to defer your time to another speaker who can make a longer presentation (4-6 minutes).)

Library supporters are urging citizens and staff to attend one of these meetings, and want many library supporters at each district hearing, and especially want a strong library presence on Feb 4.  Organizers say If there is no hearing scheduled in your district, please consider attending that meeting.

Here is the schedule of community-input meetings:

Wed., February 4: 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.    Council District 4
Joe & Vi Jacobs Center
404 Euclid Avenue, 92114

Sat., February 14: 9 a.m. – Noon     Council District 5
Mira Mesa Library
8405 New Salem Street, 92126

Sat., February 21: 9 a.m. – Noon     Council District 3
Hoover High School Auditorium
4474 El Cajon Boulevard, 92115

Wed., February 25: 9 a.m. – Noon    Community Council Committee Room
City Admin. Building – 12th floor
202 C Street, 92101

Thur., February 26: 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.   Council District 7
Lewis Middle School 5170
Greenbrier Ave., 92110

Mira Mesa branch San Diego City Library

Anna Daniels, one of the key city-wide organizers to save the libraries is asking supporters to do the following:

1.  Bring a sign that says “LIBRARY SERVICES ARE ESSENTIAL!   Branch Libraries- ESSENTIAL; Main library- ESSENTIAL; Library Youth Programs- ESSENTIAL  NO MORE LIBRARY CUTS”  This sign reflects the survey choices for libraries and reinforces our message of no more library cuts.
2.  Thank Councilman Young for taking the lead on these community hearings. Speak about the significance of your location and the library cuts and threats of cuts already made in the past years
3.  Wear a “badge” from the Library Foundation that identifies you as a library supporter ( www.supportmylibrary.org)
4.  Make and distribute a handout to your neighbors who are also attending the hearing who are perhaps present because of a different issue.  Libraries should be everyone’s issue.  Our audience is not only the council but our community members.
5.  We need articulate speakers at each hearing to say “We know that the best way to support our branch library is to make sure that we have support for our whole library system which has undergone too many cuts already.  People need libraries more than ever- we are losing our jobs, our housing and our health care.  We are turning to our libraries for services and information.”

Anna reminds us that “If you’re not at the table,  you’re on the menu.”  And that we were successful last November in avoiding library closures, and we can make a difference again.

The following is a message from the San Diego Public Library Foundation (repeating much of above):

Budget & Finance Committee seeks public input

Budget & Finance Committee Chair Tony Young has scheduled meetings to solicit public input in preparation for the FY10 City budget. Most City departments have been asked to present the Mayor with budgets that show 15% cuts for FY10 (compared to the 10% budget cuts that were sought in the mid-term FY09 budget adjustments).
The February meetings will help the Committee prioritize City services as they consider budget cuts. For background from the Independent Budget Analyst on this process, visit here.
In a recent email, the Friends of the San Diego Public Library encouraged Library supporters to attend meetings and make it clear that all San Diego Public Libraries and services are essential and that:
  • Any cuts in Library services, hours or resources is unacceptable.
  • Library services are needed now more than ever with circulation up nearly 13 percent in December alone (versus December of last year).
  • All Library services are essential.
  • The Friends of the San Diego Public Library strongly support the library system. This includes our neighborhood libraries and the central library.

At these meetings, the Committee is planning to distribute a survey (San Diego Speaks) to gauge the public’s perception of City services. The Friends encouraged respondents to rate all Library services (including branch libraries, main library and library youth programs) as “essential.” 

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

OB Joe February 3, 2009 at 10:17 pm

Despite the bad news – I love that slogan: if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu!


emw February 4, 2009 at 3:38 am

Please get out there and do what you can! The city employees have had a hard time knowing what they can and can not say without jeopardizing their jobs. So that means that you… the people… are so very ESSENTIAL to keeping our libraries and parks and all other essential services from getting tanked!

Be there or be square!


Tanja WInter February 4, 2009 at 10:16 am

Hurray for the OB Rag!!
Everyone get aboard!
Save the libraries, etc.!!!!!!
Spread the word.
Organize carpool to the hearings! Great way to get to know your neighbors.


Frank Gormlie February 4, 2009 at 1:25 pm

The OB Rag was informed yesterday (Feb 3) that local business Falling Sky Pottery will be donating $150 to the OB Library. A local family, the Shumways, had pledged to match that amount. All these generous folks deserve our community’s thanks.


YippieReborn February 5, 2009 at 10:27 am

Good to know that the city is at least seeking community input. Let’s not squander the opportunity to keep our libraries open and thriving. Utilize the libraries and attend the Public Hearings!


mr fresh February 6, 2009 at 10:33 am

oh yeah, the city is seeking community input….so when they announce the cuts THAT ARE ALREADY WRITTEN INTO NEXT YEARS BUDGET (OB Library to be open TWO days a week)…the mayor can smile and say “that’s the best we can do”.
this CAN be changed–since the budget won’t become “public” for another two months–but it requires ACTION.
1) EVERY community group (Town Council, PTO, Main Street, Boy Scouts, etc) needs to go on record IN WRITING saying that the OB library MUST be open at least five days a week.
2) DON’T let the Mayor’s cronies divide us; every library is important. They’re lurking around making snarky comments about OBcians being TOO LAZY to walk to the Point Loma branch.
3) DO show up at the hearing for our district: Wed, Feb 25, 9am-noon, City Council Committee Room.


Chimpie February 6, 2009 at 11:26 am

Let’s support keeping ALL libraries open, with no budget or hours cuts for any libraries!


mamie poe February 8, 2009 at 12:17 pm

Mr Fresh- you are so right. Isn’t it bizarre that only the mayor and department heads themselves know what is actually in the budgets? The council doesn’t know, the office of Independent Budget Analysis doesn’t know, and we the citizens don’t know. The possible reduction of open hours at OB is pure conjecture. It is pure conjecture that OB library would be proposed for closure again. The way it stands now, we may not know for sure until April whether there are closures or reduced hours and where they would occur. Now’s the time to do what we need to do! (And remember, this same process is going on in Park & Rec……)


emw February 22, 2009 at 12:08 am

hey i went to the community input meeting in City Heights on Saturday a.m. It was a pretty good turn-out for a Saturday morning (especially when the sun was shining outside)

I just wanted to give you a heads up… if you go to either of the two remaining community input meetings, get your speech down in writing before you go up to the podium to speak. Try not to repeat what others have said before you. If you have an actual suggestion to help balance the budget that’d be great.

We’re not looking for any staff cuts, please be sensitive with the suggestion of using volunteers in a way that would take city jobs away from people who have often gone to school or trained for their jobs. We love volunteers, really, but hey… we don’t want them to replace the work force.

Try to also be sensitive when discussing the pension mess. I’m a city employee. I don’t pay into social security. I have a pension. I am nowhere close to belonging to Carl DeMaio’s $100,000 Club. Most of the decisions that have to do with city employees’ paycheck and/or pensions were not decided by the employees.

I think annagrace is supposed to write something to let you guys know the priorities for the next two meetings. Please attend if you can. Your presence would mean so much to those that would love to keep their libraries and rec centers intact!

Now… go out and do your OB thang!!! Woo hoo!


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