Throw More Book(s) at the Mayor

by on May 7, 2021 · 3 comments

in Ocean Beach, San Diego

Save the Libraries:  Part II

By Colleen O’Connor

Why, ask yourself, is the 8th largest city in the country unable to completely fund its libraries?

Why, with a Democratic-majority City Council, are buckets of taxpayer monies found for a convention center expansion (in the middle of a pandemic); while gutting the greatest aid where it would do the most good?

Granted the outcry from the “friends of the library;” the users of the libraries; the Library Foundation; and the parents of the children without Internet access and a refuge to read; managed to get the Mayor “promise to reduce the cuts.”

The sizeable blowback was politically significant, yet only marginally effective.

Gloria’s promised restoration of library hours, would provide 46 hours of service per week at city library branches; down from the pre-pandemic 55 hours per week.  A 16% cut.

Notice the Mayor’s political word salad, that he would “promise to reduce the cuts.”  Not eliminate the cutbacks and restore all hours at all libraries in the City.

Or his “intent to get back to a seven-day-a-week schedule across our library system over the next year…with a “promise of more information to be released later this month.”  Promises, promises, next year; “committed to a full restoration.”

Delay why?  This is not new.  The best Library champion on the Council, Councilwoman Vivian Moreno, argues that the library’s staffing issues, surfaced during a 2017 audit, and should have been solved long ago.  She is right.

Plus, San Diego was just awarded $306 million in federal pandemic aid.  What is that being used for?  The empty convention center expansion?  Can’t that wait “a year?”

And what about the claim from the Mayor and the head librarian, Misty Jones, who told the City Council “that she can’t move any quicker because she must fill 167 vacant jobs.”

With a 6% unemployment level, is no one available for the benefit-heavy city jobs?

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Gloria and Jones “want to convert many of the library system’s part-time “hourly” jobs into either half-time or full-time positions with benefits, a complicated process that involves meeting with labor union officials.”

So, do it, already. This has been going on for years now.

Is it the Municipal Employees Union that is blocking the Library funding?  Surely, their membership includes families and friends who use the libraries.  Or people who want jobs.  Or just rational individuals who understand that depriving library users in every neighborhood free access to knowledge is just plain stupid!

The May budget revise is due May 18th.

Throw more books at the Mayor and the Council and get San Diego’s libraries up and running at full capacity.  No more promises and excuses.


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

DrTom May 7, 2021 at 3:48 pm

Today’s News
Police ask for $19 million increase to their budget!
I say no.


Frances O'Neill Zimmerman May 7, 2021 at 9:40 pm

Read my lips: No Library Cuts!
After this last year, how is it even possible to propose increases for cops?


Will May 9, 2021 at 3:54 am

Elections have consequences. When you give one party a supermajority you wind up with an out of control machine that doesn’t listen to the voters. And I have to laugh at the “expanded Convention Center” notion. Expanded for what? To house more refugees?


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